The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby, has expressed “grave concern” about proposed legislation in Ghana that would imprison anyone who is LGBT+ or advocates for them for up to ten years.
Archbishop Welby, the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, stated this in a statement on Tuesday, October 26, in response to the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill that the Ghanaian parliament is set to debate.
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other people of similar orientation, according to the Archbishop, are all members of the Body of Christ.
“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill,” the statement read.
“The majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10, and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law. In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment “to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.”
“Meanwhile on numerous occasions, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting.
“I remind our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments.
“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ.”
Meanwhile, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Ghana earlier endorsed the passage of a proposed law that would sentence anyone who self-identifies as LGBTQ to up to five years in prison.
According to the Ghana News Agency, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, metropolitan archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, which is part of the Anglican Province of West Africa, signed a statement in support of the bill.
“The support of the church for the Anti-LGBTQI Bill is borne out of the belief that the practice is unbiblical and ungodly,” the statement said.
“We see LGBTQI as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition. Leviticus 20:13 clearly declares that a male lying with a fellow male is an abomination and punishable by death
“The church does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities they perform,” the statement said, adding that LGBTQ supporters should not be harassed or subjected to violence, “but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ
“We will gladly open our counselling and support centres for the needed transformation services required by these persons or groups,” the statement concluded.