New York, NY – March 20, 2014
In recent weeks the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has been asked to comment on the law in Uganda that criminalizes homosexuality and the international reaction to this law. The WEA recognizes that the issues are far greater and more complex than one nation’s law; that stereotypes within Christianity of a liberal west or a fundamentalist south are not helpful; and most of all, that just as the apostles Peter and Paul needed one another for discernment and correction, so too Christians need one another. May we all have the wisdom and grace that are needed as we seek the best ways to follow Christ in our diverse contexts.
Despite the complexity of the issues and the challenges these pose to the Church worldwide, the WEA affirms these basic convictions:
Evangelicals are on the side of life. We believe and trust in God, the creator of all life, God who raised his Son Jesus Christ from the dead and through whom we are all offered eternal life, God who enlivens the Church with the gift of the Spirit.
It is precisely because of our life-giving God that we condemn any practice or law that promotes injustice or death. We also believe and trust in a just, merciful and loving God, who is Lord over all, and who calls us as Christians to be imitators of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. As followers of Christ we are called to be a people who show mercy, grace and love, and who strive for justice and peace in this world.
We recognize that there is great diversity in the body of Christ and that there are different perspectives and opinions within the evangelical world. Yet for the sake of our witness of Christ to the world, we are compelled to denounce both unjust discrimination - such as the recent law in Uganda - and unjust pressure and manipulation on the part of international governments - such as the threat from the United States to Uganda. Criminalizing homosexuality and threatening to withhold aid from an entire nation are both unjust practices that endanger life and threaten religious liberty.
We stand with the local Church as it prayerfully and patiently tries to discern the best ways to witness, to restore, and to show the love, justice and mercy of Christ to all people. We affirm the Church’s role to be the faithful community of followers of Jesus who live and witness in the multiplicity of contexts in which God has put us, despite the all too frequent threats of persecution or violence.
As evangelicals, we affirm that God created marriage to be solely between one man and one woman, faithfully committed to one another in a life-long and faithful relationship. We further believe that God must always be at the center of marriage and the family. Through the Spirit we learn to love, to forgive one another, and to live together as witnesses of the good news of Jesus Christ.
By opposing the Ugandan law against homosexuality - recognizing that such laws exist in many other countries - we are not condoning homosexual behavior. We also oppose any threat against the people of Uganda - or that of any other country - that places conditions on aid such as food or medicine. Both the laws and the threats bring with them the potential for violence, injustice and abuse, examples of which have tragically already been seen.
We pray for the people of Uganda, for the government and for those who suffer because of injustice, as well as for the Church in Uganda and all around the world as it seeks to be a true witness to the Gospel of Grace.