Thursday, 29 November 2012

Uganda anti-gay legislation: latest news and comment

Updated Friday afternoon

I last reported on the situation in Uganda a few weeks ago, in Uganda anti-gay bill requested by Christians. And before that in June Bishops support Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I have seen no more recent statement from the Anglican bishops in Uganda.

Meanwhile, the proposed legislation moves nearer to enactment. Here are a few recent comment articles:

Some news reports:

A detailed clause by clause analysis of the bill starts here, and ends here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:43pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Fundamentally, what have our church leaders had to say, in speaking out against this proposed violent suppression of people on grounds of their sexuality?

Is silence sufficient?

What comes first, solidarity with church leaders who endorse this terrible law (not interfering, not challenging publicly) or spoken and public solidarity with gay and lesbian people who are facing real oppression, including the terrible and active endorsement of some church leaders?

In the same way that our diocesan websites airbrush LGBT issues out of sight to avoid offence, it seems to me that there is a terrible silence on the part of UK church leaders who should be loudly opposing the church's involvement in oppression.

Why are Anglican church leaders willing to speak out against TEC and threaten diminished communion, and yet there is no equivalent distancing from a movement (for that is what it is) to oppress gay and lesbian people, with terrible effects on their lives, quite disproportionate to anything TEC has supposedly done in affirming people's sexuality?

Is this silence (or lack of open solidarity and protest) a kind of moral cowardice?

Posted by: Susannah on Friday, 30 November 2012 at 2:51pm GMT

[Can't remember who said it, but] "Every time you draw a line between yourself and other people, Jesus is on the far side of the line." It applies in Uganda, and it applies here.

Posted by: David Robinson on Friday, 30 November 2012 at 10:05pm GMT

"Why are Anglican church leaders willing to speak out against TEC and threaten diminished communion, and yet there is no equivalent distancing from a movement (for that is what it is) to oppress gay and lesbian people, with terrible effects on their lives, quite disproportionate to anything TEC has supposedly done in affirming people's sexuality?"

Good question. As an American, I eagerly await the answer from my brothers and sisters in the UK. And I'd like to see theological support, because we've all seen that compromise for the sake of "unity" has been an utter failure in the UK.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about radical, inclusive love. His harshest words are for the Establishment for oppressing people. How difficult is that concept?

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 30 November 2012 at 10:41pm GMT

Zen koan of the day: How do we include people who won't feel included unless they can exclude other people?

Posted by: Counterlight on Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 1:05pm GMT

I've said it on other threads.

Last Sunday, up to thirty people were killed by Islamist suicide bombers in Northern Nigeria, but since they were normal Christians, not "gays", Nobody on this site is in the least bit interested.

Pastors have been killed, churches burnt, but parts of the Anglican communion in Britain are focused like a laser on "gay rights".

Let me tell you something, we can read and we can't take you seriously, because you don't care.

Posted by: A Nigerian on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 8:03am GMT

Nigerian:
It is not true that people don't care about the situations you describe. Of course we do. It is a terrible situation, and prayers are often offered in our churches and (speaking for myself) as individuals for those suffering in your country. I actually composed quite a long response to your last message about this, but didn't send it because I simply wasn't sure what is was you were looking for from us.
Of course we care that people (not just Christians) are suffering and dying because of the trouble in your country.
What I cannot see, however, is how failing to protect the lives of gay people would help anyone in the long run. I understand that the accusations thrown at Christians by Islamist movements often include the fact that some parts of the Church include, ordain and bless gay people and their relationships. That must be an especially bitter pill to swallow if you (and the majority of your church in Nigeria) don't take that stance. However, I am afraid (and this is where I fear you will take offence) I also find myself thinking, "if this is how those even suspected of sympathising with gay people are treated, then how are gay people themselves being treated? What persecutions and sufferings are being heaped on them?"
Injustice cannot be tackled and healed by more injustice.

Posted by: Anne on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 12:01pm GMT

I wonder if one massacre pardons or justifies another massacre.

Posted by: Counterlight on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 12:32pm GMT

"Last Sunday, up to thirty people were killed by Islamist suicide bombers in Northern Nigeria, but since they were normal Christians, not "gays", Nobody on this site is in the least bit interested."

It makes no sense whatsoever to take postings or comments on this site as evidence of the full range of interests and concerns held by Western Anglicans.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 1:52pm GMT

I am not sure what 'a Nigerian ' would have us do. Nigeria was prayed for in my cathedral this morning, as it often is, and the persecution in the north is often explicitly mentioned in prayer too. Does he think really think that a more condemnatory attitude to gay and lesbian people in the west is going to affect what happens between extremist Islamists and Christians in Nigeria? And when does one persecution justify another one? And when does being a victim permit the making of victims out of others you happen not to like?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 4:35pm GMT

Take a look through the threads on this site, when the topic of Africa comes up, it is usually in relation to gays.

If I didn't live in Africa, I would conclude that (a) gays are treated appallingly by the Church and (b) the treatment of gays is the most serious matter facing the Anglican Church.

None of that is correct.

The tepid "let us pray" response to real Christian persecution stands in stark contrast to the rage and fury against real and imaginary "persecution of gays". We are not deceived.

Posted by: A Nigerian on Sunday, 2 December 2012 at 9:27pm GMT

All persecution is bad. All of it. The oppression of women, of gays, of anyone for religious, racial, or cultural reasons is an abomination.

When a government or institution such as the church makes a law or policy that violates the dignity and rights of any people, gay, straight, black, white, Christian, Muslim, whatever, that is an abomination.

In the US, Martin Luther King taught us much about the rights of all people. In South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu has inspired words on this. "No one is truly free until we all are free." All. LGBT. Women. All.

For the record, I rarely hear about human rights work by Nigerians, Ugandans, et al. I'm sure it happens. I just don't hear about it. So please tell us more about that.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 4:37am GMT

Nigerian,
(I do wish you had the courage not to remain anonymous).

On TA we try as much as possible to confine our comments to the topic of the thread. This one is titled "Uganda gay legislation - latest news and comments".

If it was called "Persecution of Christians in Nigeria" we would be talking about that, as indeed we have done in the past.

It is possible for people to be interested in both topics, appalled by both and pray for both.
Do not be deceived.

And in a previous thread I have asked you what we can do to help your human rights efforts. You did not reply then. Maybe you would like to reply now?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 9:05am GMT

This thread is about the disgusting persecution of gay and lesbian citizens in Uganda, in which sadly some Christians including Anglicans have colluded, contributing to a climate of vilification, condemnation, and now proposed legal persecution.

Just because we are not discussing the conflict between Islam and Christianity in Nigeria - in a thread about homosexuality in Uganda - does not mean that the real persecution of LGBT citizens in Uganda is any less appalling. Both issues merit discussion, but right here in this thread the subject is the vile legislation being set up to target decent gay and lesbian people in Uganda.

Shouldn't the present Archbishops here in England (and the future one - and all leaders with moral decency in the Anglican communion) be speaking out in clear and absolute condemnation, both of the terrible legislation and the role some churches have played in its promotion?

Silence is a collusion in terrible acts which are likely to follow.

We have seen this before in history.


Posted by: Susannah on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 10:55am GMT

Of course I know this is a thread "about the persecution of gays in Uganda". My point is not that the thread is wrong, but take a step back and look through this website and indeed "liberal Christianity's" engagement with Africa.

The weight given to homosexuals is far out of proportion to the actual seriousness of their condition compared to say, the experience of Anglicans in Northern Nigeria.

There will be several threads in the future around "Uganda", "Nigeria" and "Homophobia", but precious little about the ten Christians murdered just a few days ago.

I just need to point that out - if need be, forcefully.

Posted by: A Nigerian on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 12:37pm GMT

A Nigerian wrote: The weight given to homosexuals is far out of proportion to the actual seriousness of their condition

It is a very serious condition to be condemned to death by a law that condemns a person for who God created them to be. The nature of persecution is that oppressed people are unlikely to talk about it openly. Consequently, it's quite possible that the LGBT situation is far more serious than you know.

Having said that, I would like to hear about the Human Rights work going on in Africa. What are Africans doing to lift persecution from women, or from the Christians, or the Muslims, or any group being persecuted? I invite it because I'm sure it is happening but that I'm just not hearing the news.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 4:11pm GMT

"Of course I know this is a thread "about the persecution of gays in Uganda". My point is not that the thread is wrong, but take a step back and look through this website and indeed "liberal Christianity's" engagement with Africa."

Is it so very odd that we would be more vocally engaged with the persecution of gay people by African Christians than the religious violence in Nigeria? Boko Haram isn't claiming to kill people in Jesus' name, or out of a twisted (IMNSHO) interpretation if the Gospel, and there's little hope that we can have any effect on them or the public reception of their hateful message. The hateful message of Ugandan (and other) Christians , on the other hand, is being presented as being consonant with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If nothing else, our opposition gives the lie to the idea that imprisoning gay people has anything to do with Christianity.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 4:13pm GMT

Bill Dilworth,

Sometimes I think that I should just give up on communicating with you people. What sort of gospel advocates acceptance of homosexuality? Is that what the Church Missionary Society preached when they landed on the banks of the River Niger at Onitsha in 1857?

What are you talking about?

I'm talking about people whose throats are being slit as we speak for staying true to Jesus and you are talking about a few vocal gays who have all the exposure in the World - from the US State Department, the EU and Elton John.

When did gays become an important topic to Africa/Africans?

Posted by: A Nigerian on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 9:57pm GMT

Bill Dilworth,

"Boko Haram isn't claiming to kill people in Jesus' name"

Great logic. So the Bible tells us that persecution is persecution "only when they claim to kill people in Jesus' name"!

The little girls and boys killed in Kaduna had nothing to do with "writing anti-gay laws" nor did the little boys and girls killed in Kenya.

We get it, it is all about gays.

The same way the Western Church ignored the plight of Iraqi Christians, Syrian Christians and Coptic Christians - that same treatment is going to be meted out to African Christians. But the Lord has increased our numbers and He will continue to do so. And when we reach a position of power and influence our prayer is that we don't ignore the plight of our brethren in distress.

Posted by: A Nigerian on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 10:19pm GMT

OK The point about Nigeria has now been fully made.

Now in accordance with normal policy, please limit comments to the subject of the article namely Ugandan legislation.

Thank you.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 3 December 2012 at 11:59pm GMT

Simon, does Uganda's status as a member of the Commonwealth have any bearing on the legislation? Does membership in the Commonwealth imply a given standard of human rights?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 at 5:42am GMT

Getting this thread back on track, and to actually listen to people involved in Uganda, I'd like to offer this YouTube voice of lesbian and gay activists, if anyone would like to listen to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLWZ5USTmus

I think it brings home the oppression, including the role of some Christians, building up against decent lesbian and gay and bi and trans individuals.

Things are getting very very dangerous, even more than when this film was made last year.

Solidarity demands that people at all levels of the Church speak out.

Posted by: Susannah on Tuesday, 4 December 2012 at 5:32pm GMT
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