Ten miles from a Ugandan blood-stained home, 300 friends, fellow activists from the LGBT community, his mourning mother and family joined foreign dignitaries and embassy staff to pay their respects to David Kato.

Since Kato was an Anglican, the local parish church of Nagojje was responsible for his funeral rites to be read from the Book of Common Prayer. Although tributes have been pouring into the Kato family from President Barack Obama and other international leaders, the Church of Uganda sent no priest, no bishop, but a Lay Reader to conduct the service.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo arrived in his purple cassock accompanied by his wife Mary and let the master of ceremonies know he would like to say a few words at some point in the service. He was going to read a message from Frank Mughisu of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) where David worked tirelessly since 2004.

As an excommunicated bishop of the Church of Uganda, Christopher has no standing in the official hierarchy of the church. The Lay Reader began to make inappropriate remarks condemning homosexuality quite graphically and stating the Church of Uganda’s position that homosexuality was a sin and against the Bible.

The crowd began to cheer him on and the bishop described the event as turning into an anti-gay rally. The bishop was never called upon to speak. He felt for the LGBT community having to suffer yet another public humiliation.

The Church of Uganda, a member of the Anglican family of churches to which I belong, took a pastoral opportunity for healing and reconciliation with family members and LGBT people and allies and turned the event into an anti-gay political rally. Following this horrific incident with the Lay Reader who condemned the LGBT community, Bishop Christopher, as a bishop of the church and wearing his purple cassock, walked behind the coffin carried by David’s friends and family to the graveside. There, although he was disinvited by the Church to speak at the funeral, he found a way to bring words of comfort to the mourners and said the final blessing over David’s battered remains.

In this one sad occasion, we can see there are two churches in Uganda and indeed elsewhere. The bishop was horrified by what he witnessed from his fellow Christians. Yet, it was good that Christopher was there. He told me he was honored to be there and though was not welcomed to speak to the whole assembly, had the final word of love and peace for David. May he rest in peace.

COMMENT: When you consider what had just happened to his fellow campaigner for justice you have to come to the conclusion that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo is one of the bravest people on the planet. That this courage comes from his understanding and love of the Gospel keeps me proud of the name Christian. If it was not for living saints (and I'm not exaggerating in calling him that) like Bishop Christopher I would have disowned the name of Christian out of embarrassment a long time ago.

In Dublin, the Anglican primates have spent most of the week talking about their position in the church and what being "first among equals" (yes they actually brought that despotic phrase up themselves) means in respect of their leadership role. I would humbly suggest that they s.t.f.u. and learn what episcopal leadership is about from Bishop Christopher.

And what would they learn from him? A man, in a loud purple shirt, who walked behind a gay man's coffin in the most homophobic country on earth and then spoke to the mourners at the graveside in front of the hateful Ugandan press?

They would learn that actions come before words and not the other way around when you truly walk with God.



  1. Well said! If bloody orombi doesn’t come out and condemn this travesty, then he ought to be booted from the Communion. Fat chance of the Welsh Windbag doing that though.

  2. The simple fact that even violent death is not enough to assuage their hatred and that hatred must be given vent even at a funeral service is a good example of “insider knowledge” that most GLBTQ live with every day.

    I learned this lesson when I was 17 years old (over 3 decades ago) when I had to dodge bullets from men who stationed themselves on a ridge across the road from the local gay bar that I wanted to enter for the first time. Our lives have little worth and our existence is an affront to these kinds of people.

    Killing us, whether through legal or extra legal means, will not be enough. It is a genocide that will end their hatred, and nothing less. That is the root of the “ex-gay” movement and the vitriol that feeds their consuming hatred. They must eliminate us entirely, wipe us from the face of the Earth.

    That Ugandan “Christians” participated in this kind of horrific spectacle surprises me not in the least. I’ve seen this deep hatred up close and personal throughout my life, whether it was the “Christian” woman who spit in my face at a political rally or the rednecks shooting at me and my friends like we were rats in a farmer’s field.

    For those who call for more dialog and understanding, maybe now you can begin to understand why we who are the brunt of this hatred are reluctant to place ourselves at the mercy of these hate-filled “Christians” under any circumstance.

    For every Fred Phelps there are many, many who silently cheer on what he does and says and many more who would never go out of their way to condemn him. We have moved from being burned at the stake to being grudgingly tolerated but the hatred remains the same in those who hate.

    Not long ago I read a horrific story about other gay murders in Africa where the bodies of the deceased were actually dug up and defiled by their fellow “Christian” villagers as a sign of their hatred to any who might think of standing up for their rights.

    This is not a game nor a debate. It is far more deadly for too may people.

  3. This is not a game nor a debate. It is far more deadly for too may people.¨ Brian

    So many don´t get it!

    Many think us bitter, angry, unforgiving–if only that–come with me to the central cemetery in the capitol city in the country where I live–there is a very old family masuoleum filled with wonderful people (I was/am told)…amongst them is my dear one who was murdered 12 years ago…simply murdered in his own home after work–another loving person lost to bigotry and hate…no, we´re not playing games here and maybe, just maybe, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury can dare venture outside his ¨pasturized¨ sealed vacuum brain long enough to get a glimpse of the dangerous reality that LGBTI live with daily–real people, real pain, real struggles by those who are members of everybodies family at The Body of Christ. Everybodies family members, friends, coworkers and loved ones who must be respected, protected and honored for exactly who they are (just like everyone else, nothing more)–it´s bigger than the task of curing Malaria and it´s specifically about love, murder, salvation, emotional/spiritual stability and knowing the difference between right vs wrong with others at The Anglican Communion/beyond.


    No means no–to the bullets,to the hammers and the knives..the persecution of LGBTI Anglicans/others must stop.

    Dr. Williams, It´s YOUR moral duty and responsibility to Anglicans (everywhere) to stop ignoring deadly lies against humanity. The reality IS that millions of us are unsafe as you determine what it means/takes to be ¨first among equals¨…I think you´ve been ¨called¨ to the opportunity of a lifetime in that department!

    Have courage as do the tens of millions of LGBTI humans throughout the World who strive to live honorably each day.

  4. Sometimes I think it’s a shame, that we wait till someone dies, to proclaim them “saints” (On the off-chance Christopher Senyonjo reads this, I ask you Kind Sir, please pray for us!)

    Holy David, pray for us.

    MP, thank you.


  5. If you were to write a really, really, unbelievably bad essay entitled, “Christians Behaving Very Badly”, they would though out this bit saying, “Nah, no one would ever believe that.”

    Blessings on Bishop Christopher who blesses us with his bold witness to the Gospel.

  6. Officially, I don’t have the authority to proclaim people saints. But, both David and Christopher have been OCICBW… Bricks of the Day in the past.

    Perhaps I should stop doing that.

  7. The Rev Canon Albert Ogle who wrote this article has set up a foundation called
    St Paul’s Foundation for peace and reconciliation. Bishop Christopher recently completed a tour of the US and then he and Albert went to Africa. Albert returned to because Bp Christopher’s voice here.

    I can be familiar because I know Albert. He is a passionate advocate for justice for GLBT people.

  8. I’m away from home (Miami, for a nephew’s wedding), and am just now learning of this tragedy.

    It is impossible to understand how the fascists can claim the name of Christ, or even want to. Bizarro World.

  9. Mr. Williams – I no longer believe that he can possibly be regarded as a true minister of God – should be hounded at every public appearance, picketed at his home, to remind him and everyone else that the blood is on his hands . . . he helped make this possible.

  10. It is a genocide that will end their hatred, and nothing less. That is the root of the “ex-gay” movement and the vitriol that feeds their consuming hatred. They must eliminate us entirely, wipe us from the face of the Earth.

    That is an impossibility.

    God creates a few more of us every day. If they could miraculously kill every one of us today, there would be more of us tomorrow.

  11. Elizabeth, during the worst days of the AIDS crisis I attended many, many funerals in my native Appalachia where preachers took the opportunity to preach on the topic of “the wages of sin is death”.

    Cold comfort indeed to a family who sits in numb grief looking at the emaciated corpse of a 20- or 30- something year old man who died in unimaginable pain and suffering listening to God’s minister tell them he is now burning in he’ll for eternity. Of course that was for the one’s that would actualy agree to a Christian burial for these sinners.

    Sadly, this Ugandan spectacle is nothing new nor is it confined to Africa. A friend died last week from complications due to AIDS. He is being buried without ceremony today. Some things never change.