East-Central Africa

Ruguri says he’s against proposed Ugandan legislation regarding gays, lesbians

News report suggested he was supportive of bill that could include imprisoning homosexuals

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | ANN staff

Recent comments in the Ugandan newspaper New Vision attributed to the head of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in East-Central Africa do not convey an accurate representation of his intentions or the voted position of the church regarding homosexuality, church officials said.

The newspaper article suggests that Pastor Blasius Ruguri fully supports proposed legislation before the Ugandan Parliament that may include incarcerating and even executing people for same sex intimate contact.

In response to those reports, pastor Ruguri today said, "It is unfortunate that the media took the liberty to extend my statements to suggest what I did not say or imply. I have never seen that bill. Mine was a general statement to disapprove of homosexual practice and behavior. Our church is a ministry of mercy, and as a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church I cannot condemn homosexuals to death or to hell."

The Seventh-day Adventist Church subscribes to the biblical teaching that the practice of homosexuality is condemned by God and is forbidden, church officials said. At the same time, the church is strongly opposed to acts of violence, hatred or discrimination against a person because of his or her sexual orientation.

An official church statement on homosexuality, which was revised on October 17, 2012, says the Seventh-day Adventist Church "recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God" and acknowledges "Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings" and that members should “endeavor to follow the Lord’s instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness.”