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Ugandan archbishop banned; ‘adultery is as bad as homosexuality’

Stanley Ntagali, the homophobic retired archbishop of the Church of Uganda, has been banned from carrying out any priestly work following the revelation of his extramarital affair with a married woman.

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David Bahati (left), author of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act, which was overturned in 2014, congratulates retired Archbishop Ntagali (centre) and wife on their anti-gay stance during a service in August 2019 during his countrywide tour before leaving office.

By Kikonyogo Kivumbi

Archbishop Ntagali has admitted the affair, in which he is alleged to have sired a child last year.

Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the current Archbishop of Uganda, announced the suspension of his predecessor in a Jan. 13 letter to other Anglican bishops.

“I have informed retired Archbishop Ntagali that he is not permitted to function sacramentally, preach or represent the Church of Uganda in any way until further notice,” Kaziimba stated.

“…..I want to make it very clear that the Church of Uganda continues to uphold marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman. Adultery is as immoral as homosexuality and we will not shy away from our commitment to this moral standard,” Kaziimba added in a statement he published on the official website of the Church of Uganda.

The statement continued: “He betrayed the office of Archbishop, his ordination vows, and the moral commitments he championed. The Church of Uganda has approximately 13 million members, all of whom have ‘sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,’ as the Bible says in Romans 3.23. At the same time, the Church holds its leaders more accountable to the same standards we are all called to uphold.”

Kaziimba’s letter went to bishop in the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), formed by churches in the Anglican Communion that reject the open and accepting stance of others in the 85 million-member communion, which consists of churches descended from the Church of England.

The GAFCON chair, The Most Rev. Dr Foley Beach, acknowledged receiving the Ntagali suspension letter. He published a statement on the matter, hailing the integrity “with which Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba and the Ugandan House of Bishops have handled this matter. They have modeled godly leadership and discipline for all of us in the Gafcon movement. Please join me in keeping the whole Ugandan Church in your prayers.”

Ntagali and polygamy

Retired Archbishop Ntagali’s hostile attitude toward homosexuals contrasts with his approach to polygamy, which is the topic of a book he has published about what he believes the church can do about admitting polygamous men to the Anglican Union. That book, “More than One Wife: Polygamy and Grace“, is available for sale on on Amazon.  The description of the book on Amazon is below.

Cover of a book about polygamy by Ntagali

“What does the Bible say about polygamy? What did Jesus say? How should the church approach the subject of polygamy in the 21st Century? Should polygamists be admitted to the church membership? ‘More than One Wife’ is an exploration of the Biblical and cultural roots of polygamy and its place in modern African society.

“Although the authors are firmly in favor of monogamy as the ideal for Christian marriage, they urge us to have compassion for the men, women and children trapped in polygamous cultures. Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, Primate of the Church of Uganda, recalls the pain created by the first missionaries in their attempt to impose Western standards on African society which resulted in refusing church membership to polygamists and their wives and children.

“This book asks and answers challenging questions for indigenous African pastors and for visitors from other cultures, and reminds us that we are all sinners and that Christ Jesus came to save sinners.

“Written by the Archbishop of Uganda, and with a foreword by Justice James Ogoola, Principal Judge (Emeritus) of Uganda, and Chairman of the Uganda Council of Elders, this is a book to be taken seriously by anyone planning to live or work among the people of East Africa.”

Dr Stephen Kaziimba, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda


Ntagali’s anti-gay crusade

Archbishop Ntagali has been a vocal opponent of homosexuality and of churches that do not discriminate against LGBTI people.

Under his leadership, the Church of Uganda in 2016 boycotted a top Anglican Communion summit in the Zambian capital Lusaka over failure by the top church leadership in Canterbury, England, to disassociate itself from the practice.

He has portrayed himself as a morally righteous person, castigating parents for defiling children and fathering others outside marriage.

“Parents, you can control your sexual urges and stop defiling children and stay faithful to your spouse. We all know what it is like to attend the burial of a man in our community and for children from other women to appear at the burial asking for support. Most of the time, his wife and her children never knew about these other women and their children,” Archbishop Ntagali said in his Easter message during a media briefing at the Church of Uganda Provincial Offices in Namirembe, Kampala, on  the eve of Easter in 2019.


Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (right) receiving Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (center) and now-retired Archbishop Ntagali (left) at State House last year.

Kikonyogo Kivumbi is the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association.