Thinking Anglicans

Observer challenge to Anglicans

Today’s Observer newspaper carries this editorial article:
Homophobia
The church must not be complicit in gay persecution in Africa
with a strapline on the web version:
Anglican influence must be brought to bear to end this vile practice.

The article begins:

Homosexuality is not a sin or a crime. There is no caveat or quibble that should be added. The repression of gay men and women by legal means and public intimidation is an offence against the basic principles of a free and just society. Where it exists, which it does to varying degrees in many countries around the world, it must be confronted and defeated…

And the article ends:

The Anglican hierarchy in Britain has avoided speaking out too frankly on this matter to avoid a schism, but the church’s quiet diplomacy has done nothing to help the victims of homophobic repression. Increasingly, it looks like complicity.

For the background to this, see Love in the dock from Saturday’s Guardian.

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Rev L RobertsFather Ron SmithGöran Koch-SwahneAchillesErika Baker Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The Anglican hierarchy in Britain has avoided speaking out too frankly on this matter (homosexuality) to avoid a schism, but the church’s quiet diplomacy has done nothing to help the victims of homophobic repression. Increasingly it looks like complicity.” – Observer Editorial – Culture may be locally conditioned, but justice is universal. Where the Church of England has taken pains to establish the Anglican Way of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, all inheritors of that tradition have a responsibility to open up clear avenues of dialogue about the emergent science of gender and sexuality, so that a clearly-enunciated theology of sexuality… Read more »

Counterlight
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Counterlight

The State Departments of 2 different American administrations have both spoken out more forcefully against the legal persecutions of gays and lesbians going on in Uganda, Malawi, and in the rest of the world than any Christian bishop anywhere. So much for the moral authority and moral leadership of Christian hierarchs who once again bring up the rear in a major humanitarian transformation. If Christian bishops are associated with anything these days, it’s backwardness, hypocrisy, and pedophilia scandals. I suppose institutional preservation precludes any real effort to present Christianity to the rest of the world as anything other than bigotry… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

The Observer may dream on, but the Church of England will never denounce the brutality of African homophobes, not any more than it will remain in communion with churches (Sweden, TEC, Canada) that ordain gay and lesbian persons in committed relationships. Everyone knows what the Church of England’s position is on these matters; the last couple of years have made it blindingly clear to all.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Once again, Fr. Ron Smith writes a beautiful and clear response to the issue of homophobia in the Christian community. Fr. Smith sounds like the Anglican version of our Fr. Kung in the Latin Rite Church. A recent “incident” in the Roman Catholic Church in America involved some children in Colorado who were refused a place in a Catholic school because their parents were gay. The local Colorado archbishop fully agreed with this homophobic position and said so. At the same time, a similar incident happened in the Boston archdiocese and another parish school offered these children a place in… Read more »

Fr. Jon
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Fr. Jon

One excuse for such homophobic legislation in the developing world has always been presented as being because other faiths will persecute Christians by being accepting of people with differing sexualities! Didn’t our Saviour stand up and defend those which God’s people of that time rejected. May be Christians in such places need to consider that perhaps God is perhaps calling them to treat others as Jesus did and create a home for those who are the persecuted of today!!!

Leonardo Ricardo
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NOT just AFRICA! It´s especially dangerous as the Archbishop of Canterbury gives freely of his enthusiasm for the ¨Anglican Covenant¨ as it was shaped and is written currently…unfortunately the lethal undertow/tone of this potentially ¨excluding¨ document reflects the deadly culture of Jamaica and the Anglican Province of the West Indies. A Province where crimes of HATE are running rampant and MOST ALL MEMBER COUNTRIES have anti-lgbt laws against ALL CITIZENS for simply ¨being¨ alive. I suggest that Archbishop Gomez, in his retirement, make use of his ministry efforts and compassionate ¨inclusive¨ Christian teachings at home, in the WEST INDIES. Bishop… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
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The difficulty in having any meaningful debate in the present climate is two fold 1) There is something to the sugggestion that opponents are guilty of homophobia. Certainly those who are happy to accept divorce and remarriage in church and who are happy to completely divorce the conjugal act from its procreative function. Until this is admitted then there is a problem because the accusation of homophobia is, in part, fair. 2) But on the oother hand there are the militant liberals who shout too loudly and are very unfair in their utter refusal to admit that it is perfectly… Read more »

Achilles
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Achilles

I am in spirit with FRS but reading through all the comments it strikes me that we have to be careful about scapegoating Africa; there are homophobes everywhere – if we keep using news from Africa as *the* occasion for standing up and defining ourselves in this respect, then we run the risk in my view of providing those whose secularism is a specious means of attacking “the Third World” with a certain type of heavy munitions. I certainly don’t think this is part of our intent, or that it’s on anyone’s agenda here – but I know I have… Read more »

Davis d'Ambly
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Davis d'Ambly

“The difficulty in having any meaningful debate in the present climate is two fold” Ed Tomlinson

Oh I don’t know. I should be equally horrified should a man and woman be sent to prison for 14 years for contravening some such law.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ed
when you start to speak out very loudly and clearly against gay persecution wherever it arises, I may just believe that your beliefs are purely theological.

Until then, while you and the rest of the church remain silent and your campaigning voice is only heard when you’re upset about women bishops, it is patently obvious that this ice-cold “theology” without a shred of compassion or empathy and without a care for the real lives of real people cannot be labelled as anything other than homophobia.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

I do agree with Achilles (on Monday) when he says that we can overdo the reference to African countries as being particularly homophobic. South Africa, for instance, cannot be accused of this. However, the recent homophobic activities of some African Governments have drawn attention to their oppressive treatment of Gays – especially Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and now Malawi. Granted, they are influenced by early Missionary Teaching on certain sexual taboos which the Church of England then considered to be sacrosanct, but that does not excuse modern governments in those countries from making their own research into modern scientific and social… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The church will give you little succour. “Homosexuality,” says Pastor Mario Manyozo of the Word of Life Tabernacle Church in Malawi, “is against God’s creation and is an evil act, since gays are possessed with demons.” The Anglican bishop of Uyo, Nigeria, the Right Rev Isaac Orama, believes homosexuals are “inhuman, insane, satanic and not fit to live”.” – Guardian article – Now, I wonder what the Primates’ Conference will have to say about this appallingly ignorant assessment of the LGBT community in Malawi?? In their future talks about the ‘immorality’ of TEC and the A.C.of C.’s inclusive initiatives, will… Read more »

Achilles
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Achilles

FRS. Yes, first of all, quickly, resolutely and unambiguously, the Church of England has to make a statement about sexuality and gender that is fully cognizant of the advances we have witnessed in science and our rational human understanding and appreciation of them over the past 50 years. It has to say: “This is our story”. But digging deeper, I see parallels here between the concentration on one aspect of intolerance and what Adorno observed was taking place in West Germany after WWII, where reconciliation with Jews and with Israel stood as a kind of proxy for a liberation from… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“2) But on the oother hand there are the militant liberals who shout too loudly and are very unfair in their utter refusal to admit that it is perfectly possible to believe that sexual activity is for heterosexual marriage alone without being in any way homophobic. The simple statement support us or be labelled as hate filled might work politically but it does not theologically.”

Would you care to explain this salto mortale?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“certain sexual taboos which the Church of England then considered to be sacrosanct”

Only because they were the LAW in England and some other countries which didn’t have the French Code Civil.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Like Polygamy and Slavery Homophobia depends on being supported by law. Ask any 18th century jurist. They can tell you! It is not in any sense “natural”.

“the state of slavery is so odious that it can be upheld only by positive law.”

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

It is good to read of the Province of South Africa’s letter of protest on the issue of the recent legal action against the two LGBT men in Malawi. This is further proof of the fact that not all Africans are united in the predominant climate of homophobia on the African Continent. Thank God for the Church in South Africa, which is not afraid to speak out on issues of justice. Desmond Tutu must be very proud of his successor! When will the Church of England come out in protest at Malawi’s action?

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Great to hear today of their release at last.