Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told attendees of this year's All Africa Bishops Conference on Tuesday that tolerance is a biblical imperative and that Christians should not “have one minute of time wasted” by those promoting prejudice.
Speaking to nearly 400 Anglican bishops and other guests from across the continent, Museveni used the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan to highlight the need to overcome difference and pursue peace and healing.
He recalled a time in Uganda’s history when Catholics and Protestants were fighting and killing each other.
“I don’t’ know where they heard God wanted them to fight and kill each other,” he said, according to the Anglican Communion News Service.
“A civil war between those calling themselves Catholics and those calling themselves Protestants,” Museveni exclaimed. “Then there was another war between the two of them and Muslims. They were all fighting on behalf of God, they said.”
In recounting the story of the Good Samaritan, Museveni illustrated how prejudice should not get in the way of peace and helping other human beings.
According to the story, as recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, an Israelite who was attacked and in need of help was passed over by members of the Jewish religious elite and eventually aided by a Samaritan, who at that time was a traditional enemy of the Israelites.
“I am always looking for the good Samaritan,” Museveni remarked. “Jesus says you shall know them by their fruits. You shall know them by their actions. Not by their words, not by their addresses, not by their titles, but by their works, by their deeds, by the products of their works.”
And the Ugandan president said anyone promoting intolerance should not “waste one of our minutes with this.”
"There should be no room for intolerance because everyone is made in the image of God,"he added.
Museveni concluded his well-received speech by officially opening the 2nd All Africa Bishops Conference, which has brought together Anglican bishops from more than 400 dioceses in Africa for seven days of discussion, worship, and training.
The conference is being held at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, until Sunday and is being attended by the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams.
The aims of the conference include mobilizing the bishops to tackle the obstacles that continue to keep the continent in conflict, poverty, corruption, poor leadership and disease.