The Anglican Bishop of Mombasa, Kenya, Reverend Julius Kalu denies he made anti-gay comments and that he is against homophobia and for dialogue with gay people.
Bishop Kalu met a group of gay Christians last Saturday in a move that has raised eyebrows among the country's LGBT advocates, as the cleric recently compared gays to terrorists.
Last week, during a telephone conversation, pro gay cleric Rev Michael Kimindu, president of Other Sheep Africa asked Bishop Kalu if he ever met any gay people.
The bishop replied ‘Are they in Kenya really?’
Kimindu then invited the bishop to attend a LGBT religious seminar in Mombasa.
During the seminar last month's murder of Tanzanian LGBT rights campaigner Maurice Mjomba was raised and Kalu was reported to have ‘appeared visibly disturbed, saddened and struck with grief' by the news. According to the report ‘he stated that there was a need for human societies to live in love, care and harmony with one another without assigning indifferences.’
He condemed the murder of Mjomba as a ‘heinous and cowardly’ act and expressed the wish that someday soon LGBTI people will live in a free world without ‘violence and discrimination’.
Kalu also stated that he was taught by a lesbian professor and was influenced by the Lambeth Conference in 1998, helping him learn about gays and lesbians.
Kalu, who is on record for saying that gays are ‘worse than terrorists’ and calling for Christians to be vigilant and prayerful against what he termed as ‘new liberal teachings’ denied making such remarks.
‘It was not me who said that gays are worse than terrorists. Never. However, all things work together for good to those who love God and I confess to you that, that article however disparaging and infamous has helped me know a lot about LGBT people,’ he said.
‘Because of it, I have been contacted by my fellow bishops in the listening group in the UK, Canada and individual LGBTI people in Kenya. Therefore, let me clear the air on this issue, I never said anything of that sort!’
Kalu also stated: ‘This is my very first time to ever see or even meet with LGBTI people and especially from Kenya. It is indeed a shame to me that I’ve been shepherding to LGBTI people in the Anglican Church when I even don’t know!
‘However, I ask you to abstain from drugs and keep the good qualities of Galatians 5 and God will have no problem with you and I will have no problem with you as a bishop! From what I’m gathering from you, I say homosexuality is not a choice but homophobia is,’ added Kalu.
Finally, the bishop remarked, ‘Out of the testimonies I have heard from you, I have learned a lot,’ and closed the seminar with a word of prayer.
Kenyan activists welcomed this apparent change, while others remain sceptical.
A prominent Kenyan activist who wishes to remain anonymous told Gay Star News: ‘I know he had asked money from pro LGBT Christian groups and I wonder if that happened and now he has people he has to please.
‘Only time will tell were his heart is, we are watching Kalu very carefully’