Homosexuality Dispute Expected in Zimbabwe

Religion News Service

Two major North American Christian denominations--one from Canada and the other from the U.S.--will be at the center of an expected controversy over homosexuality at the upcoming World Council of Churches assembly in Zimbabwe.

The United Church of Canada and United Church of Christ are among the few Christian denominations that ordain sexually active gays and lesbians. The churches will raise the topic of homosexuality in a country where President Robert Mugabe has criticized the council for allowing discussion of the issue.

Mugabe recently said homosexuals were lower than jungle animals. "Will not God punish us for such practices?" he said. Homosexual acts are punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment in Zimbabwe.

The council, which meets every seven years, represents 400 million Christians from more than 300 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox denominations.

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