The Ugandan Anglican Church has elected Rev Stanley Ntagali as the new Archibishop to replace the ultra conservative anti gay bishop, Henry Luke Orombi. The Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali, 57, is currently the Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese in western Uganda Archbishop.
Early this year, Archbishop Orombi, who took over in 2003, announced his early retirement saying, a move to devote more time to fulfill his life calling of full time preaching.
Behind the Mask carries this reaction to Bishop Ntagali’s election.
Archbishop-elect Ntagali, who is also vehemently opposed to gay rights is expected to be consecrated on December 16 at St Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, the seat of the Church in Kampala. Ntagali is the eighth Arch Bishop of the Church of Uganda.
Orombi came in as head of the Ugandan Anglican Church in 2004 at the height of internal friction on the Church’s stand on gay rights as a result of the 2003 election of the openly gay non-celibate Bishop Gene Robinson to lead the Anglican Church in New Hampshire, in the USA. Orombi has served as a strong anti gay role model in Africa.
While Ntagali may also be conservative, some pundits believe the ground for extreme and radical opposition to gay rights has changed and it may be difficult to sell his conservative agenda.
Many homosexuals have organized themselves and formed into a strong lobby and advocacy group for their rights.
Ntagali is likely to find it difficult to sell his anti gay views in quite the same aggressive way as his predecessor Orombi did. There is also high profile international interest in Uganda’s human rights situation.
Orombi has also been at odds with Buganda kingdom, one of the most influential entities in the country with his extreme views that gays should be killed. The Kabaka of Buganda who has refused to endorse the killing of homosexuals in the proposed anti homosexuality bill is the Patron of Namirembe Cathedral, the seat of the Church of Uganda.
The Anglican church in Uganda has a traditional non official covenant with the Buganda kingdom. The historical king, Mutesa I, the grandfather of the current Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II voluntarily invited early missionaries to teach religion and gave them (the church) a lot of land for their missions.
There is an old belief that the Anglican church, which is also the official religion of all Buganda Kings following Mutesa I have to listen to the Kabaka. But though it is hoped the new Bishop will also have to be seen to preach tolerance, he has in the past said there is not such a thing as gay rights.