Wednesday, 18 November 2009
US Conservatives, African Churches and Homophobia
Political Research Associates has published a major report entitled Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.
The report is written by The Revd Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia.
From the press release:
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 6:47pm GMT
Groundbreaking PRA Investigation Exposes Influence of U.S. Religious Conservatives in Promoting Homophobia in Africa
U.S. Christian Right also mobilizes African clerics in U.S. “culture war” over ordination of LGBT clergy
Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) discovered.
Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, a new report by PRA Project Director Reverend Kapya Kaoma, exposes the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality and otherwise infringe upon the human rights of LGBT people while also mobilizing African clerics in U.S. culture war battles. U.S. social conservatives who are in the minority in mainline churches depend on African religious leaders to legitimize their positions as their growing numbers makes African Christians more influential globally. These partnerships have succeeded in slowing the mainline Protestant churches’ recognition of the full equality of LGBT people. It’s working despite the real movement toward full equality within deonominations because of the sensitivity of liberals to the question of colonialism. Are we being insensitive to the realities of Africa? But, Kaoma argues, although U.S. conservatives have organized African religious leaders as a visible force opposing LGBT equality, it is not true that all of Africa takes this stand…
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Why am I not surprised. Sniff hard enough and you'll find something rotting...and it's on our backstep.
What the American evangelical Christians are doing is colonialism in another form. They are exploiting Africans for the Americans’ own domestic purposes. In doing so, they are creating the seeds for potential catostrophe.
It also continues a tradition: In the USA during the civil rights struggles by black people and others in the 1950s and 1960s, many conservative or evangelical protestant Christian churches not only stayed on the sidelines, some denounced the movement as anti-American, anti-biblical, and Communist. As one example, there’s an infamous Virginia court decision upholding Virginia’s ban on inter-racial marriage where the judge opined, among other arguments, that the Bible shows that God placed different races on different continents with the divine intention of keeping them apart. Then in the 1990s, with conservative evangelical eyes set on anti-GLBT and anti-abortion concerns, these same churches suddenly discovered their black brothers and sisters. Now they're doing it in Africa.
I'm suspicious of the whole recruitment campaign by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and protestant Christian evangelicals in Africa anyway: Europeans and Americans, through slavery, exploitation of resources, arrogant and condescending colonial regimes, and outright racism and bigotry, destroyed Africans' native cultures and religions. Now Americans or Europeans are amazed and gratified that Africans are flocking to Christianity, seeing the hand of God. I say baloney! It's the hand of human beings.
If some outside power destroyed our culture and ancestral religion, we'd go looking for something else also. Most people have a need for the spiritual.
I've got a novel thought: Why not assist Africans in determining for themselves what kind of society they want, and helping them to develop it?
Well, this simply cannot be. We have +Abuja's assurance that what we call homophobia is simply good old fashioned African family values, and something shared by all the Anglican Churches of the Global South™ share*. Why, if this report were true, it would mean that Peter Jasper Akinola is a liar!
*except, of course, for those of New Zealand. And Brazil. Oh, and South Africa. But they don't count. Somehow.
"As 'Globalizing the Culture Wars' reveals, it is U.S. conservatives - including those associated with the neoconservative 'Institute of Religion and Deomocracy - who have organized African Protestant leaders to protest against any movement towards LGBT equality in U.S. mainline churches. THEIR RELATIVE SILENCE ON SIMILAR DEVELOPMENTS IN ENGLAND speaks volumes."
- extract from Foreword to the PRA Report -
In his excellent report on 'U.S Conservatives, African Churches, & Homophobia', Zambian cleric
Kapya Kaoma, highlights the importance of the influence of conservative U.S. churches, in the current tide of homophobia being stirred up among certain Archbishops in African Anglican Province of the Communion.
This U.S. religio/political movement has long been suspected as the motivation behind the likes of Archbishops Akinola, Orombi, and others on the African Continent, in their insistence on further criminalisation of the LBGT community in Uganda, Nigeria, and other African countries.
This is one reason why resources have been directed towards the importation of illicitly-ordained conservative American 'bishops' into the territories of The Episcopal Church in the USA., spreading discord and schismatic activity among Episcopalians and the Anglican Church of Canada. ACNA is one of the direct fruite of this 'Fifth-Column' activity.
No wonder these African Prelates do not have the same success in the U.K. Their credibility has been besmirched by the attempt by one of them at the 1998 Lambeth Conference to 'exorcise' a gay priest of the Church of England on English soil - a dangerous example of primitive African culture, which backfired.
The sooner this report from the P.R.A. is shown around the Provinces of the Communion, the sooner our Archbishops will be aware of the seditious nature of this underground homophobic movement - being fired up by U.S. Evangelicals bent on barring women and gays from ministry in the Anglican Communion.
It is documented that Belgian missionaries in Rwanda fomented the racist distinctions between Tutsi and Hutu that led to the genocide in which Christians were massively involved.
These nauseating anti-gay campaigns are an example of similar evil.
Fr. Ron is right that this report from the PRA should be esssential reading for action to all the provinces of the Anglican Communion. I myself have e mailed my own Scottish Province to ask if they will be supporting the Canadian resolution.
It makes you wonder if the Anglican Communion should in fact have a Primate who was not equal but senior to all other Primates and be able to discipline these anti Christian so called Bishops who have no idea of the inclusive Gospel of Love proclaimed in Our Lord Jesus Christ. Again the fundamentalists use money, and bully tactics to spread their evil thinking.
We need to remember that not all African Bishops are tainted, and very many are as disgusted as we are.
Perhaps we need a modern day Hilda of Whitby.
What, I wonder, are the real connections between conservative American money and anti-progressive organisations in the UK? And do financial contributions come with an ideological agenda which they expect to see forwarded?
I see in the report that the IRD is part funded by Howard Ahmanson Jr's Fielstead and Co to the tune of $500,000. On the Fieldstead site they acknowledge funding the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies whose Registrar used to be Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream. Did Ahmanson fund GAFCON, or does he currently fund AM?
We know that a large number of delegates to GAFCON came paid for by others (see the quote in the report about Ugandan bishops) but does GAFCON have accounts published anywhere which show who funded what?
And if conservative American political groups have, as this report claims, the intention of destabilising mainstream religious orgaisations in the US so that they can take them over, then if they have live connections to UK groups do they share that ambition with regard to the C of E? Not that I think it will work here...
The GAFCON/ FCA matter cannot be properly understood, I think, unless as a Western phenomenon by which other Anglicans in the world are providing ballast.
In other words, the extreme Protestant evangelical wing is now but a minority of the Western Churches - and what are they to do? They've cottoned on to the idea of strengthening their hand by internationalising, by inventing a World Anglican Church and via their Leninist entryist methods have set up a conference with a pre-arranged outcome to have a new Primates Council and oversight crossing the boundaries.
They have done this at a time when an Archbishop of Canterbury has his own fantasies of world wide Anglicanism, except in his case it involves keeping the diocesan structures - he would just bypass the national Churches if he could in a sea of bishops and dioceses, primates and then him. He has discovered he cannot do this because of Canon Laws for each Church, but is trying to have international structures and laws via the Covenant.
In order to have a reasonable and broad, culturally responsive Anglicanism in places around the world, both these models need either defeating or minimising.
The latter is a shadow form of papacy via meetings and committees, recently undermined by the real deal, but it gives legitimacy to the hard right, and in the face of unethical activity in the name of religion results in international silence.
I would add only Stephen Noll's co-drafting of the alleged CAPA "Road to Lambeth" to this well-documented essay. The difficulty is that it appears to be open to the same criticism as those it references: funding from an outside source (this time liberal Americans), "assistance" to its African author (U.S. based research team) etc. For these reasons, the truth of its content is likely to be overlooked by those it is most designed to inform.
"It is also a dead give away that the growth of the Anglican Communion in Africa is in direct relationship with gospel proclamation, while the slow but accelerating death of Western pan-Anglicanism is in direct relationship to its failure to articulate the gospel and Mrs. Jefferts Schori's public repudiation of the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Mr. David Virtue (virtueonline) -
This latest diatribe from a former Baptist, now professing to be the voice of 'Orthodox Anglicans' in North America (aggrandised by his oxymoronic-titled web-site 'Virtue-on-Line') shows something of the panic on the part of ACNA and CANA at the exposition of the underhand dealings of the US conservative wing of the Church
The truth, as exposed by the PRA investigation, is too close to the bone to be allowed by the likes of David Virtue, whose livlihood depends on providing the religious right with ammunition for their cause: destablisation of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. However, fortunately for the Faithful of TEC and the A.C.of C., other, more reliable, sources of information about the real mission of the Anglican Churches around the world are freely available to all who care about the inclusive nature of the Gospel of Christ.
The conclusions of the report "Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia" are at odds with the only serious, academic look at this issue found in "Anglican Communion in Crisis: How Episcopal Dissidents and Their African Allies Are Reshaping Anglicanism" by Miranda K. Hassett.
One review of the book states "Based on wide research, interviews with key participants and observers, and months Hassett spent in a
southern U.S. parish of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda and in Anglican communities in Uganda, Anglican Communion in Crisis is the first anthropological examination of the coalition between American Episcopalians and African Anglicans. The book challenges common views--that the relationship between the Americans and
Africans is merely one of convenience or even that the Americans bought the support of the Africans. Instead, Hassett argues that their partnership is a deliberate and committed movement ..."