Friday, 28 January 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Ugandan murder

Archbishop condemns murder of Ugandan gay human rights activist

Friday 28 January 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates’ meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:

“The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities.”

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A little late, the President and Secretary of State of the USA beat him to it, but I give him credit for making the statement, and for being so unequivocal.
Better a little late than never.

Thank you Archbishop.

I hope this is a new beginning.

Posted by: Counterlight on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 12:44pm GMT

At last. But I am afraid that 'such violence' has not been condemned by the Anglican Communion Worldwide. There are quite a few primates and bishops who have blood on their hands. At least though this is a start. But it would be good to hear something from the assembled Primates and to hear an explicit condemnation for the role that 'Christians' have played in creating the climate of fear and violence in Uganda.

In today's Guardian:-
'...the higher profile created enemies. Local religious leaders, especially some prominent evangelical Christians, launched campaigns alleging that the gay community was seeking to "recruit" schoolchildren. Their efforts were boosted by visits from several American preachers renowned for their homophobic views'.

'Christians' both local and imported, have direct responsibility for the lies that have been told and continue to be told about GLTB people both in Uganda and elsewhere. Is there any hope that they may 'repent'? Not a chance.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 12:46pm GMT

"Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide"

If only!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 1:21pm GMT

'The Anglican primate of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Most Rev Henry Luke Orombi, is among seven primates of the Anglican Communion who have boycotted the Primates Meeting now under way...'

How richly significant is this boycott today. I wonder what, if anything, we are going to hear from him?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 1:38pm GMT

Although I welcome this statement, I'd say that such violence has not been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion Worldwide. Indeed, I'd say that the Anglican Communion has helped to provoke such violence and stoke it up.

Its not just this immediate violence that needs to be condemned but also the hate-speech of some members of the Christian community in Uganda and elsewhere.

If Archbishop Rowan cannot condemn such speech, we must ask ourselves why not and whilst welcoming his comments, state very clearly that this only goes part of the way towards challenging that which is so deeply wrong in Ugandan society that it leads to a man's murder.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 1:40pm GMT

"Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide."

With this inaccuracy, the Archbishop of Canterbury sullies his own statement.

Lambeth Palace ought not pretend that the Anglican Communion is entirely innocent of anti-gay violence.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 1:43pm GMT

"Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide"

That's news to me. Would he cite such documents?

By all members of the Communion? Really? Clap if you believe this fairy tale.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 2:49pm GMT

While he has been willing to speak of conversion as that relates to lgbt persons, he still cannot quite bring himself to say that perhaps it is his and the Communions attitudes, ideas, behaviors, and emotions that need repenting, that is, turning to Christ and seeking to see us through Him.

Posted by: Christopher on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 2:55pm GMT

At last a clear and unequivocal statement condemning violence and the dehumanization of LGBT persons from +Rowan Williams. One can only thank him for this strong statement. It is especially important that the Archbishop, a leader in the government of the UK, has called "for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK." Today, the British government plans to deport Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian, back to Uganda where she fears for her life.

I wish it were true that "Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide." As we all know, those who are absenting themselves from the Primates meeting are doing so because of the courageous stand of TEC in standing with LGBT persons in their struggle for full human rights and for full inclusion in the Church. The Primates who are boycotting the Dublin meeting are precisely the leaders of Christian Churches who recognize no responsibility to defend their sheep. Rather, in the Name of God and the Bible, they have joined the wolves in supporting the dehumanization of LGBT persons and their families. These Christian leaders still hold the view that LGBT persons have no right to exist, are in need of their "healing", are dire threats to the innocence of children, and are a danger to the integrity of the family and culture. No one is surprised that their leadership has resulted in a culture of scapegoating and fear that will surely end in more deaths.

It is still for the Primates of the Anglican Communion to make good on the Archbishop's claim. They need to take responsibility as leaders of one of the largest Christian denominations and begin to act in defense of those who have been targeted for hatred and violence by fellow Christians. They need to unequivocally call out fellow Christians for formenting this climate of violence and call their brother Primates back to the Lord's Table and the table of meeting to plan a program of support for the human dignity of LGBT persons under their care. If these Primates will not join, then those who are meeting must begin this work. The time for "listening" is long past, when the voices for human dignity are being silenced by a hammer. The Archbishop and the Primates must act as well as speak.

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 3:11pm GMT

"Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide." Rowan Williams

With this inaccuracy, the Archbishop of Canterbury sullies his own statement. Jeremy

Why is it that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury constantly makes up REALITY?

What is it that Rowan Williams thinks happens when LGBTI Anglicans are marginalized, demonized, blamed/shamed, spat upon and thrown from their Anglican Churches, Workplaces and Homes?

Why does Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury ignore the rampant/murderous hate crimes directed agains LGBTI Anglicans when he visted Jamaica? Why is it that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury ignored the Gay Murder of teenager Michael Causer in Liverpool during The Lambeth Conference? Why is it that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury hasn´t spoken out strongly against the grossly horrible multiple Gay Murders in Honduras, in Nigeria, in Uganda and South Africa?

Dear Dr. Williams, it´s time to ¨consistently condemn¨ vile acts against LGBTI/others both at home and abroad at such places as the All African Anglican Bishops Conference in Entebbe, Uganda (you attended last August).

Thank you,
Leonardo Ricardo
Central America

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 3:44pm GMT

This is a good statement and I welcome it.

Posted by: badman on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 4:19pm GMT

Where is the LGBT presence (or acknowledgment) on any single diocesan website? What diocesan LGBT initiatives can be seen published in the light of day?

Until Anglican dioceses show solidarity - and offer support, through the promotion of initiatives to assist LGBT Christians, and LGBT young people facing bullying or marginalisation - in short, until the Anglican Communion gets proactive...

Then it may repeatedly be reacting to tragedies like this, while air-brushing LGBT presence off its public presentations, whereas surely (as with racism) it should be courageously on the frontline of the struggle for social justice...

I am delighted Rowan has made this statement. But the reality still seems to be that Anglican leadership is running scared of the debate and opposition to homosexuality, and so the struggle is left to others, and the lead is not there, with statements like this coming in the wake of events...

Every single diocese in our country should be initiating contacts and gay-straight christian alliances to provide moral or practical support to LGBT people within diocesan organisation... and there should be visible evidence of where an LGBT Christian, or young person suffering homophobic bullying, or a trans teenager living in isolation, can find contacts, help and support.

Take a look at any 5 or 10 diocesan websites... I dare you... and see whether there is anything visible acknowledging LGBT.

You will be very hard pushed.

It might "offend" the Anglicans who oppose it.

There may (or may not) be worldwide Anglican condemnation of the most outrageous violent acts against LGBT Christians of non-Christians, but what is missing is widespread public leadership in exercising an active and caring Christian initiative to acknowledge the reality and authenticity of LGBT people of faith, and signal open doors where such people... and ALL LGBT people... can come for welcome and affirmation, and be directed to those engaged in an Anglican resolve within the diocese to make LGBT presence and value felt...

The welcome happens informally at some local churches... and as a transsexual woman I am grateful... but it's missing from the public example of diocesan websites or the leadership initiatives of those in 'management' roles in the Church...

...who should be taking proactive responsibility but instead see LGBT as a 'management' problem best kept out of sight and sort of hushed up

Susannah

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 4:36pm GMT

From today's Advocate: "A local pastor attending Friday’s funeral for murdered Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato grabbed the microphone in the middle of the ceremony and decried homosexuality, causing a fight to break out and leading villager to refuse to bury the body."

Though it is not stated to what denomination the pastor belonged, this is yet another sign of how far ++Rowan and the rest of the Anglican "Community" are from having any beneficial influence on persecution of GLBT folks.

Of course, there will be denials - if they notice it at all - from various right-wing Christianist groups in the US, that they had any influence at all in these matters.

If only Canterbury would actually take a stand.

Posted by: Nat on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 4:53pm GMT

http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/uganda-burial-gay-rights-activist-takes-unexpected-twist

"After the incident with the pastor, which put a stain on the whole ceremony, Kasule’s coffin was carried by gay activists to the banana garden behind his ancestral home for burial. In protest, the villagers and some of Kasule’s family members stayed behind"

Remember this man had a family who are mourning him. Can you imagine you have just lost a son, and then hundreds of people descend on his funeral all using it to make political speeches on both sides and don't even allow him to be buried by his family? Respect. Respect. Respect. Please.

Posted by: anon on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 5:51pm GMT

Karen MacQueen:"...a program of support for the human dignity of LGBT persons under their care... The time for *listening* is long past, when the voices for human dignity are being silenced by a hammer."

So well put, Karen.

This is the point exactly. Those in leadership in our churches should not just be reacting to the worst events. Every bishop, every diocese, should be putting in place programs of support for the human dignity, the facilitation, the points of contact, of LGBT persons who turn to the Church in search of care, or who are already in the Church, or who might join the Church if the Church was more proactive, more 'alongside' in the struggle for justice, authentic belonging, and recognition of need.

Events like these tragedies are appalling, and the trouble is that churches by their rhetoric OR by their silence may allow others to think their hatred is somehow validated, because if people are not given solidarity, if they are left marginal, that institutional isolation becomes part of a cultural "othering" which in turn portrays good people as victims and targets in the eyes of those who hate.

That's why silence is a form of collaboration.

I think a lot of it is silence out of fear of dissent within church ranks.

But really, more courage is needed. The example of the TEC is shining, a beacon. This community of believers has been prepared to be vilified, to be portrayed as causing trouble, but they have not remained silent. They have not held back from inclusion.

And it is others who want to exclude them for that.

And frankly, people need to be 'called' on that.

It's not enough to lament a murder like this. Every single bishop, every single diocese, every single diocesan website... should be campaigning and showing solidarity, and organising what you excellently called "programs of support for human dignity."

Thank you.

Susannah

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 5:54pm GMT

I think Kelvin says it all .....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 6:06pm GMT

Anon Writes ""After the incident with the pastor, which put a stain on the whole ceremony, Kasule’s coffin was carried by gay activists to the banana garden behind his ancestral home for burial. In protest, the villagers and some of Kasule’s family members stayed behind"

Remember this man had a family who are mourning him. Can you imagine you have just lost a son, and then hundreds of people descend on his funeral all using it to make political speeches on both sides and don't even allow him to be buried by his family? Respect. Respect. Respect. Please."

But who was David Kasule's "family"? Who is anybody's family? Is a connection by birth the only signifier of a family connection, and a very heterosexual and patriarchal signifier at that.

There are other different precedents.

"Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Kasule's birth family may have rejected him and been embarrassed by his actions, whereas the gay activists loved him and showed him and support. Perhaps David Kasuale's real family was actually there at his burial.

Simon


Posted by: Simon Dawson on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 6:31pm GMT

Though I welcome the statement as a whole, in that noted detail about the whole Communion, we once again see RW confuse statements on a piece of paper (even Lambeth Conference stationery) with "the whole Anglican Communion." Just as there are provinces out of step to the left, there are those out of step to the right. When will Rowan learn that pretending to Unanimity -- or even its stepsister Consensus -- on conflicted matters is counterproductive. Better to acknowledge disagreements where they exist; as +Desmond showed us, truth comes before reconciliation.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 6:35pm GMT

Well, I guess, better late than never.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 6:36pm GMT

He's allowed the church in Uganda to foster this environment. Will he issue a statement condemning himself? He better address this pastoral need right away . . .

FROM THE BBC

Kato's death puts Uganda homophobia in spotlight

Ugandan police have escorted a priest away from the funeral of a gay rights activist after he told homosexuals to repent, sparking scuffles.

Anglican priest Thomas Musoke told mourners that homosexuality was "evil".

Hundreds of people had gathered for David Kato's burial in his home village near the capital, Kampala.

His colleagues say he was beaten to death at his home on Wednesday, although police deny he was killed because of his sexuality.

Last year, Mr Kato sued a local paper which outed him as homosexual.

Posted by: Richard Falk on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 7:29pm GMT

The BBC are reporting that it was an Anglican who attempted to conduct David Kato's funeral thus:

....Many members of the lesbian and gay community wore T-shirts with Mr Kato's portrait on the front and the words "La luta continua [the struggle continues]" printed on the back.

They were shocked when the priest started condemning homosexuals.

"You must repent. Even the animals know the difference between a male and a female," he said, before warning that they would face the fate of residents in Sodom and Gomorrah, the biblical cities destroyed by God.

Gay rights activists then stormed the pulpit and prevented the priest from continuing.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12306077

Achbishop Rowan's words have a rather hollow ring to them once you've read reports of this funeral.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 7:48pm GMT

Martin Reynolds, I do too. But I am still glad to see a start being made. I hope more will be said and done in the future. There is an Ugandan newspaper that needs our support, for example.

I wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury is not beginning to throw off his self-forged shackles, given that most of the ultras are absent from the Primates' Meeting, and Fulcrum has unwisely joined ACI and GAFCON in calling for change in the leadership system of the Anglican Communion.

It would be one thing if these disaffected Anglicans called for Williams' own resignation. Nothing new there. But these ultras want to remove the occupant of the See of Canterbury from his position as primus inter pares. That's quite a considerable structural change, and one I think the present occupant will be most unwilling to grant.

It does point up the improvisational, ad hoc character of the ultras' program. They support whatever, at that moment, seems most likely to give them what they want.

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 8:16pm GMT

I echo other comments. I welcomed the statement - would be very sad comment if it hadn't been made.
That apart, I would like to mournfully reflect that my faith, the scriptures I revere, the anglicanism I belong to have played their part in this and other tragedies by both action and omission. We need to learn that you can't light the touchpaper and then wash one's hands of the matter. Christianity should honour martyrs not create them as seems to be happening. Very sad we recently had Holocaust memorial day. I am not sure we ever really learn from history. How many more deaths like this?

Of course we don't fully know the motives but we know he received death threats, was outed by a,newspaper with a headline 'hang them' with the threat of the death penalty in the recent anti gay Bill supported by church groups. As for anglicanism this is the logical outworking of lambeth 1998.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 8:57pm GMT

"Angry scenes marred the funeral of murdered Ugandan gay activist David Kato today when the presiding pastor called on homosexuals to repent or "be punished by God".

Towards the end of an emotional ceremony to mourn Kato, who was bludgeoned to death on Wednesday, Anglican pastor Thomas Musoke launched into a homophobic tirade, shocking the dozens of gay men and women as well as foreign diplomats in attendance."

-- Rice, Xan. Ugandan gay activist David Kato's funeral marred by angry scenes. Manchester: The Guardian. 28 January 2011. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/28/gay-activist-david-kato-funeral

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 9:00pm GMT

However welcome parts of the Archbishop's statement may be, the claim that "[s]uch violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide" is so obviously stretching the truth or simply false that it drowns out the rest of the words for me. Instead of "I find no fault in this man," all I can hear is "I wash my hands."

Posted by: Neel Smith on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 9:30pm GMT

"Anglican pastor Thomas Musoke launched into a homophobic tirade" at David Kato's funeral.

So.

Everyone should know this. Everyone should know what the Anglicans of Uganda do and say. Those who support GAFCON should be told so they know exactly what they are supporting, and everyone else should be told so they know it, too. Everyone on the Fulcrum Forum should know this story so they know exactly what Fulcrum supports.

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 10:25pm GMT

Other reports suggest that the minister leading the funeral was a reader not a priest http://www.sdgln.com/commentary/2011/01/28/commentary-david-katos-funeral-illustrates-schism-anglican-church and that family members took part in paying tribute http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/28/gay-activist-david-kato-funeral) to a remarkable man

I am glad Rowan Williams has spoken out. The accuracy of his statement depends on what is meant by the 'Anglican Communion'. International Anglican gatherings have indeed upheld human rights for LGBT people - indeed there was a 1988 Lambeth Conference resolution with the title 'Human Rights for Those of Homosexual Orientation'. But leaders who disregard this have seldom been challenged to justify their stance, whereas those favouring greater inclusion have been repeatedly criticised.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 10:50pm GMT

"Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide."

...and simultaneously enabled.

AC and ABC: MAKE UP YOUR MINDS. What Our Lord (and Abraham Lincoln) said is STILL true: you CANNOT serve two masters!

EITHER we condemn the violence AND THE HOMOPHOBIA WHICH CREATES IT [NB: to deny equality is to empower homophobia], or we don't, and slink off to the fetid (though worldly-wonderful) swamps of the Father-of-Lies. WHICH IS IT????

"Choose This Day"

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 11:23pm GMT

"Gay rights activists then stormed the pulpit and prevented the priest from continuing."

God forgive me, I think I would have, too.

There comes a time, when even the STONES cry out. Justice! Justice! Justice! Justice!

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 28 January 2011 at 11:28pm GMT

"He's allowed the church in Uganda to foster this environment. Will he issue a statement condemning himself? He better address this pastoral need right away . . ." - Richard Falk -

Richard, let's be quite fair to Rowan Williams here. It was his predecessor, George Carey, not the present ABC, who started the ball rolling in the Anglican Communion - allowing certain of the African Primates, including Uganda and Nigeria, to highjack the agenda of the Con/Evo 'Christian' attitude of homophobia towards the LGBT community.

Most of us are aware of the true sympathies of Abp. Rowan, but he is powerless in the situation of the actual nature of his primus-inter-pares status, and - unlike George Carey - he has not put his own agenda before that of the other primates. Carey sold out on gays right from the start, whereas Rowan has been overwhelmed by the subsequent vehemence of the vitriolic right-wingers among the Primates (most of whom are not now in Dublin because of their homophobia).

Maybe now the the air has cleared a little, by virtue of the civilised world's distaste for Uganda's thirst for the blood of LGBT martyrs - and the ABC's condemnation of discrimination against LGBTs in the UK - the gathered Primates will be able to re-order the direction of the Communion towards an ethos of inclusive Unity in Diversity. My prayers are towards that end. Good can come out of evil. The Evil has first to be recognised and dealt with.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 9:04am GMT

Thing is, Ron, while people die, there is no moral option, no matter how horrible one's double bind, but to speak out for peace and justice. Nothing excuses failing to do so, however much one sympathises with a man caught in a nasty position.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 5:19pm GMT

Dr Williams wishes to address those attitudes of mind which endanger lives. Fine words, which are not backed by deeds - he leads the only public body in the UK which is allowed to discriminate against LGBT people. The church has fought tooth and nail against every advance in civil rights for gay and lesbian people and has consistently condemned gay behaviour even in loving relationships. Perhaps Dr Williams should get his own house in order then his fine words would be credible.

Posted by: sjh on Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 6:47am GMT

In the New Testament, the Bereans healthy scrutiny was contrasted with those who vehemently opposed the Christian cause: 'Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.' (Acts 17:11) There are many, like me, who follow their example in addressing issues of sexuality.

While it may advance the cause of fixing collective heterosexual blame for David Kato's death, it is important to maintain this distinction. We are not all like Saul was: 'still breathing out murderous threats'(Acts 9:1), nor have we 'heartily approved of putting ... to death'(Acts 8:1).

There might even be grace for the irredeemably self-righteous Sauls of Uganda to meet Christ on the Damascus Road.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 11:04am GMT
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