Bishop spurns Aids cash

An African bishop has announced that he will not accept more than $350 000 of funding to help Aids victims in his area because it comes from an American diocese that supported the election of a gay bishop two years ago.

Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, the bishop of South Rwenzori in Uganda, has rejected the money from the United States diocese of Central Pennsylvania, saying its clergy and bishop, Michael Creighton, endorsed the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

In a statement released to an American conservative Episcopalian website but not to the US diocese, Nzerebende announced: “South Rwenzori diocese upholds the Holy Scriptures as true word of God … Of course this will affect some of our programmes. This includes our Aids programme and [the money] they have been sending for … orphans’ education.

“We pray and believe that our God who created and controls silver and gold in the world will provide for the needs of His people. Hallelujah! Amen.’‘

The Pennsylvania diocese had been asked to provide $352 941 for the Aids programme and a small amount to assist orphans with education fees. It sends doctors and nurses and helps to support a Christian foundation caring for more than 100 Aids patients.

The church in Uganda, where homosexuality remains a crime punishable by life imprisonment, has taken one of the hardest lines against the gay issue, which threatens to split Anglicanism.

The American and Canadian churches were asked at a meeting of Anglican archbishops in Northern Ireland last month not to attend international gatherings for the next three years or until they repented their liberal line on homosexuality.

Although several African primates have declared themselves out of communion with the north Americans, they have mostly continued quietly to accept dollars for church projects.

The US Episcopal Church has insisted that it does not attach strings to its donations.

Correspondents on the US website were divided over whether the bishop’s action was in accordance with Christian principles. — Â



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