A Nevada public health organization has cut ties with the Las Vegas church that counts controversial Ugandan anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa as a mission partner.
... the Canyon Ridge Community Church has an ongoing relationship with Ssempa, who has become the public face of Uganda's "kill the gays bill." At the same time, the church has been working with the Southern Nevada Health District in Las Vegas to provide a location for HIV testing and AIDS awareness activities. But late Friday, in a letter to Canyon Ridge pastor Kevin Odor, the agency's chief health officer, Lawrence Sands, severed the relationship, citing the church's support for Ssempa.
Dr. Sands stated that "Pastor Ssempa's support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would criminally penalize homosexuals, is in direct conflict with the overarching public health goals of the health district."
As written, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would impose the death penalty on HIV-positive people caught in homosexual intimacy. Non-HIV positive gays could get life in prison. In Uganda, support for the bill is driven by a coalition of Muslim and evangelical clergy, with Martin Ssempa leading the charge via local demonstrations and the international media. Despite Ssempa's vocal promotion of the bill, Canyon Ridge Christian Church has stuck by him, declining to condemn his harsh anti-gay rhetoric or the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.