By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

  KAMPALA, February 19, 2008 ( – The Anglican Secretary of Uganda’s Central province, Aaron Mwesigye, yesterday announced that Uganda’s Anglican Church will withdraw formally from the Anglican Communion unless U.S. clergy condemn homosexuality.

  He said: “We have complained against homosexuality several times but no action is taken. If they don’t change and continue to support homosexual practices and same-sex marriage, our relationship with them will be completely broken. Anglicanism is just an identity and if they abuse it, we shall secede. Yes, we shall remain Christians, but not in the same communion.”

  The announcement came after Uganda’s Anglican bishops decided last week to boycott this summer’s Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican Church leaders that takes place every ten years, because of the U.S. Episcopal Church’s ordination of homosexual bishops.

  Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, as well as archbishops from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, informed Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that they will not sanction the liberal attitudes of the western Anglican Church and that the actions of the US Episcopal Church could precipitate the disintegration of Anglicanism.

  The Anglican Communion of 77 million followers worldwide is embroiled in a fierce dispute between liberals and conservatives that began when openly homosexual U.S. bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated in 2003. Most Anglicans outside the U.S. believe homosexual relationships are sinful, and they are distancing themselves from the U.S. Church.

  A Reuters Africa report quotes Ugandan Anglican laity in support of their church’s stand. Robert Rujuga, 47, who attends All Saints Church in Kampala said, “The whole issue of homosexuality is evil. Our leaders have done the right thing to boycott that conference and if possible they should secede from the Western Anglican Church.”

  Senkubuge Siyasya, a prominent comedian on a local radio station, spoke from Namirembe Cathedral, Uganda’s largest Anglican Church, saying, “If western churches do not stop promoting this practice, then it is time for the church to split.”

  Homosexuality is considered a criminal offense under section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, which deals with “unnatural offences.” It is punishable by life imprisonment.