Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion has criticized the support given by the Anglican “Church” of Ghana to the new anti-LGBT bill in that African country.
The new law provides for severe prison sentences for people who have sexual relations with people of the same sex and for distributing materials in favor of the latter. 93% of the population are in favor of the new law.
“We are a worldwide family of churches, but their mission is the same in every culture and every country, namely to demonstrate, through their actions and words, the unconditional offer of God's love to every human being through Jesus Christ,” said Welby, who also said he was “very concerned” about the new law.
In a country where same-sex sexual relations are already punishable by three years in prison, the text aims to increase prison sentences to ten years.
It also aims to provide conversion therapy, to impose fines for public displays of affection, and same-sex cross-dressing, and to ban the dissemination of content that encourages such behavior.
Mr. Welby said he will, in the coming days, take his “concerns” to the highest Anglican authority in Ghana, a country where more than 40% of the population is attached to Anglicanism. About 13% of the inhabitants are Catholics.
The Anglican Church of Ghana, awaiting further comments, has previously said it “does not condemn people with homosexual tendencies, but the sinful acts and activities in which they engage.”
Entitled “Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values in Ghana,” the bill has been widely debated in the African country in recent months and is expected to be adopted in the near future due to the good reception it has received in Parliament, even within the opposition.
“Laws are a reflection of what society wants. The UK, for example, has laws that reflect what the British people want, Brexit,” opposition MP Samuel Nartey told the BBC.
“In a recent survey carried out by a private civil society organization, 93% of Ghanaians support this position,” he added, a few days after the closure of a community center for the LGBT community in Accra, in the face of protests from local residents.
Welby was recently the guest of Pope Francis in Rome for a conference on ecology and the signing of a common message - with Bartholomew I - for Cop26. He reported his support for the ongoing synod process in the Church and the common understanding of ecclesiology: walking together and attentive mutual listening.
It seems that for Welby, the overwhelming majority of Ghanaian loyalists against the LGBTI ideology are worthless and cannot be accommodated. Will listening only go one way in a synodal church?