Saturday, 24 December 2016

A selection of bishops' Christmas Messages

Updated 28 December

You are not expected to read/view/listen to these at one sitting!

Most Revd Philip Richardson, Co-archbishop, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Most Revd Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of the Church of Australia

Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil)

Most Revd Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Most Revd John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and Rt Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow
Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester
Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool [subtitled version]
Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle
Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro
Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester

Most Revd Paul Kwong, Primate of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui and chair of the Anglican Consultative Council

Most Revd Ian Ernest, Primate of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, and Cardinal Maurice E Piat, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Port-Louis
[in French with a link to a computerised translation into English]

Archbishops of Armagh, The Most Revd Richard Clarke & The Most Revd Eamon Martin
Rt Revd John McDowell, Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, and Mgr Joseph McGuinness, Diocesan Administrator of Clogher
Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe

Patriarchs and Heads of local churches in Jerusalem (including the Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Most Revd Suheil Dawani)

Most Revd Samuel Azariah, Primate of the united Church of Pakistan

Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Rt Revd Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway

Most Revd Moon Hing, Primate of South East Asia

Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, Primate of Uganda

Most Revd Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States

Most Revd Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph
Rt Revd John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 December 2016 at 3:00pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Regarding the article you linked to: http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/12/primates-christmas-message-archbishop-stanley-ntagali.aspx

I think there may be a case for the Anglican Consultative Council, as the UK-based Registrant of the domain www.anglicannews.org, registered at 157 Waterloo Road, London, to be challenged for publishing the homophobic remarks of Stanley Ngatali, when he writes that families are “facing deliberate attack by different evil forces” and then lists as illustration “domestic violence, child sacrifice, drunkenness, drug abuse, sodomy and homosexuality… and other evils which target the family directly”

I believe this is unacceptable language to be promoted and published by a UK publication. It may be one thing to make an objective statement that “the Bible condemns homosexuality” (though even that assertion is clearly debated within the Church) but to associate gay relationships with activities like child sacrifice, and imply they are one of the “evil forces” which “target the family directly”, appears to contravene the principles of UK anti-discrimination laws, especially as the comments are not accompanied by any critique or qualifying statement.

How does the publication of such statements conform with the claims of people like Justin Welby that the Church should challenge and combat homophobia?

At the beginning of the year he said: “It’s a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality. I want to take this opportunity personally to say how sorry I am for the hurt and pain, in the past and present, that the church has caused and the love that we at times completely failed to show, and still do, in many parts of the world including in this country.”

And yet the Communion he heads, through its Consultative Council operating from a UK main office, uncritically publishes material portraying gay relationships as a kind of ‘evil force’ that ‘targets’ the family. Why would non-Christians want to be associated with an organisation which promulgates this sort of material? Is he prepared to boldly speak out against the language used here? Is ‘sorry’ enough if you don’t speak out, when the lives of others are being demeaned?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Monday, 26 December 2016 at 2:12pm GMT

Couldn't agree more that Ntagali's poisonous rant is homophobic and has no place in the church, but would, reluctantly, defend his right to say it. (Season of goodwill's really something for other people, ain't it, Archbishop? Bet you didn't run your mouth like this when you were at Oxford, either.)

English law bans "threatening words or behaviour" delivered with the intent to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, but the only conviction I can find was for some nasty leaflets threatening gay people with hanging, pushed through their front door. Given the wide free speech defense available in the law, Ntagali's comments appear to fall well short.

Disgusting as his words are, I'd rather they were said openly, so all can see this bigotry for what it is, instead of cloaked in platitudes, only to be whispered in corners, where it's at its most dangerous. Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 12:33am GMT

Good luck, Susannah.

Power doesn't care about righteousness.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 8:39am GMT

Susannah, hard when he is merely expressing views which match those of the Church of England.

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 9:53am GMT

I met ++Ntagali soon after he was made Bishop of the new diocese of Masinde-Kitari (?) and quite liked him but he is obsessed with sex. I even sent him some money. But he needs to listen to the new Secretary of the AC. However, although I completely agree with Susannah, the more biblically illiterate rubbish comes from this part of the Communion the less Lambeth needs to take them seriously.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 10:50am GMT

Absolutely Susannah, any correspondents to this site with sound advice on how to proceed?

Meanwhile, can I say how much I enjoyed the Bishop of Worcester's message - and his amazing display of Christmas trees!

Posted by: ExRevd on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 11:25am GMT

How about sending ++Ntagali and our other leaders the briefest of quotations from Dorothy L. Sayers:

"Those who deify the family, in disregard of Christ's reiterated warnings (e.g. Mt 12.47-50; Mt 10.37; Lk 9.59-60), are from the Christian point of view equally in error with those who deify sex, or power, or pleasure."

All these are guilty of giving excessive devotion to things which are not of first importance. The quotation is found in the introduction to her translation of Dante's Purgatory.

Posted by: Barry on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 6:26pm GMT

The issue is not about the law. It's about how long the Church of England should maintain the false show of unity with him and within itself, given that, as already stated, many share his views. Time to move to a much looser model of federation or non federation. LibCathAccEvExit perhaps?

Posted by: Turbulent Priest on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 6:36pm GMT

A Google entry for Stanley Ngatali indicates that he was educated at the University of Oxford. But according to Wikipedia, he studied at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, which is located in Oxford, but is not a part of Oxford University. It is an independent Christian charity, and its degrees are validated by the University of Middlesex.

Posted by: Flora Alexander on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 7:26pm GMT

I agree with ExRevd that the Bishop of Worcester's message, including those wonderful Christmas trees, was lovely. I've changed my mind about Christmas trees in churches!

Susannah, I'm sorry that a message of such negativity was expressed by Bishop Ntagali.

Posted by: Pam on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 9:06pm GMT

You think Welby will care more about the message from Wales / Liverpool than those from Nigeria / Ghana / Sudan? The only sensible solution is a new, properly liberal communion.

Posted by: S Cooper on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 9:41pm GMT

The reference to Archbishop Ntagali being educated at the University of Oxford is clearly a mistake. The Ugandan provincial website confirms that he studied at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

http://churchofuganda.org/about/provincial-secretariat/the-archbishop-2

Don't believe everything you read on the internet!

Posted by: Peter Owen on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 9:54pm GMT

Yes, I noticed the potentially conflicting accounts of Ntagali's alma mater before I posted, but since I couldn't get a definitive answer quickly (and he could've studied at both), left it vague. Whatever the case, he was resident in England for a time, likely met LGBT people, and is certainly aware of Welby's promises to end homophobic language. Regardless of his traditional beliefs, Ntagali has no excuse for this Westboro-esque bile.

I fully expect that the English hierarchy's devotion to realpolitik will ensure silence or fudge, but open evangelicals who, regardless of their scriptural beliefs, aren't personally homophobic, should make it clear that they've no tolerance for this kinda talk.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 10:48pm GMT

"How does the publication of such statements conform with the claims of people like Justin Welby that the Church should challenge and combat homophobia?"

The only difference between Welby and Ngatali is that Ngatali is honest about wishing ill to my friends and family, whereas Welby doesn't like admitting to it.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 at 10:53pm GMT

This Ugandan bile (hasn't Uganda been here before?) inter alia will attract a significant number of questions at the February Group of Sessions of the General Synod, made even more poignant by the presence of the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, who has been invited to make a speech.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 at 11:14am GMT

I did have to chuckle at this on the ACNS website. And it would be marvellous to hear how the trustees of the Anglican Consultative Council justify the publication of the Ugandan rant given the very restricted Objects shown on the Charity Commission website.

"Avoiding harm and offence

We balance our duty to act as a communication channel of the whole Anglican Communion with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from harm and avoid unjustifiable offence. While we endeavour to publish any relevant content sent by Member Churches, we reserve the right not to post anything that would put people at risk or that would reduce ACNS to a vehicle for maliciously criticising individuals, dioceses, Provinces or the Instruments of Communion."

Posted by: american piskie on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 at 11:52am GMT

In the spirit of the OT prophets, I have sent the following message to Lambeth Palace:-

= = =

His Grace in his Christmas Message said this:

"The measure of a Christ-like community is the extent to which it holds the vulnerable and marginalised of the world at the centre of its life."

LGBT people are among the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in this country and around the world, particularly those changing gender and lesbian couples. Why then are we not held at the centre of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion? Why does the Church of England and the Anglican Communion instead feed and succour those who would abuse us by refusing to celebrate our relationships and by failing to recognise change of gender? Does the Archbishop not recognise that if over the next 12 months he himself marries a few same sex couples in Canterbury Cathedral that thousands of vulnerable people around the world will be safer and at less risk of abuse once the leader of Anglicanism shows that he embraces LGBT people. Through his personal actions, His Grace has an opportunity to save thousands of people from abuse and violence. What would Jesus do? What will His Grace do?

Or are we beneath "marginalised and vulnerable"?

The Archbishop said this too:

"I ask your prayers for those of us who live in safety that we may not be bystanders afar off, beating our breasts as we retire to the security of our homes, but that we may draw nearer to the cross of Jesus, stand there alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and be ready to take our part in practical action for change."

Will the Archbishop remain a bystander or will he in the next few months draw near to the cross of Jesus and take practical action by celebrating same sex marriages and holding services to recognise a change of gender to save many thousands of vulnerable people, many thousands of vulnerable Christians, from the abuse they suffer by being born LGBTI?

I am grateful to the Archbishop for putting things this way in his Christmas message. So much of what the Church of England says about same sex marriages is dry theology. But there are real people suffering terribly. What the Archbishop does in Canterbury will affect people not just in England but in Uganda, in Barbados and Egypt. Will the Archbishop do as Jesus did and face down the theologians to save people from suffering or will he spend another year as a complicit apathete?

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 at 12:25pm GMT

I have sent a complaint to the Anglican News Service and to the Anglican Communion itself as follows. Don't suppose I will be popular in some quarters but Jesus calls us to stand up for the oppressed. I don't think they will publish an apology but if people complain maybe in future they will think twice before publishing clearly homophobic material. At the least, complaints may cause them to think again about the personal impact of the material they publish.

The Archbishop has an absolute right of free speech but that doesn't mean a right to use the Anglican Communion as a vehicle to disseminate his homophobic views.

= = =

Hello

Your editorial guidelines say this:

"We balance our duty to act as a communication channel of the whole Anglican Communion with our responsibility to protect the vulnerable from harm and avoid unjustifiable offence. While we endeavour to publish any relevant content sent by Member Churches, we reserve the right not to post anything that would put people at risk or that would reduce ACNS to a vehicle for maliciously criticising individuals, dioceses, Provinces or the Instruments of Communion"

Over Christmas you published the Christmas message from Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. The Archbishop says:

"We are greatly concerned about domestic violence, child sacrifice, drunkenness, drug abuse, sodomy and homosexuality, joblessness, poverty, permissiveness, peer pressure and other evils which target the family directly."

Likening homosexuality to child sacrifice and describing it as an "evil which targets the family directly" does cause unjustifiable offence. Indeed, that portrayal, I suggest, also does put LGBT people at risk of violence and abuse when such attitudes appear to be endorsed by the Anglican News Service and the Anglican Communion.

The Primates released a Communique at the end of their 2016 Gathering, which included these two sentiments:

"The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation."

And

"The Primates recognise that the Christian church and within it the Anglican Communion have often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. Where this has happened they express their profound sorrow and affirm again that God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression."

Less than 12 months later, the Anglican Communion's own news service has published a message which is clearly prejudiced against homosexual people, likens homosexuality to criminal acts, manifestly gives the impression that homosexuals are not loved by the Church and will obviously cause deep hurt.

I ask that the Anglican News Service speedily publishes a formal apology to LGBT people and that the Anglican Communion disassociates itself without delay from the remarks of Archbishop Ntagali which likens homosexuality to child sacrifice and describes it as an evil threatening the family

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 at 1:25pm GMT

Well done, Kate!

Posted by: american piskie on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 at 4:06pm GMT

"Less than 12 months later, the Anglican Communion's own news service has published a message which is clearly prejudiced against homosexual people, likens homosexuality to criminal acts, manifestly gives the impression that homosexuals are not loved by the Church and will obviously cause deep hurt."

Matthew 7:15. Don't listen to what Anglican Leadership says, look at what they do. They say that they "condem[...] homophobic prejudice", apart from the bit where they condemn homophobic prejudice.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 29 December 2016 at 4:19pm GMT

I noted particularly the message of Australia's Anglican Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier, who articulates what is a reality at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and is made so evident in the different degrees of tolerance and openness to ALL people in different parts of the Anglican Communion:

"The Christmas message of God’s love and generosity stands in stark contrast to one of the great problems of human nature, our tendency to tribalism. As humans, we easily identify with our in-group, whether defined by nation, race, religion or some other source of identity. This is a problem because it excludes others; all those who do not belong to our in-group. We see this in the so-called identity politics that seem to have swept up so many people in recent years."

The Archbishop then goes on to identify what is missing from the messages of some Anglican Primates around the world whose conservatism will not admit to the need for acceptance of people on the margins of society:

"But God does not make distinctions based on ethnicity or citizenship. He is the Creator of all. And Jesus made the consequences of that explicit in the parable of the Good Samaritan and other teachings. In doing so, he was confronting some of the prejudices of his society, and most other societies."

Any message of 'tribal superiority' that fails to address the complementarity of other people's understanding of God's loving mercy and grace at work in the Incarnation of Jesus and His acceptance of the marginalised - that is enshrined in some of these messages from the GAFCON Primates, can only serve to further the division that exists within the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

'Holier than thou' messages rarely inspire faith in those who feel the Church to be an exclusive club - open only to the privileged and self-righteous. Perhaps is now the time to formalise the difference that exists between us by the formal acknowledgement of our tribal prejudices. This would avoid the need to pretend that we are of 'One Mind' about the basic Gospel imperatives.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 7:08am GMT

Kate---if any of the relevant bodies are regulated by the Charity Commission, then you could consider making a complaint to them too.

Posted by: Turbulent Priest on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 12:54pm GMT

Comments appear to be one-sided. From thinking people there ssems no sympathy for Ntagali who has suffered a recent bereavement.
Empathy also is lacking: a failure to recognize that the founding Martyrs of Uganda (collectively canonized whether Catholic or Anglican by Pope Paul VI) suffered for refusing to submit to sodomy on the part of the ruling Kabaka.
Other issues also might have drawn attention, e.g. child sacrifice.
I am sure that your contributors can do better than this

Posted by: Clive Sweeting on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 2:11pm GMT

Kate: Well done for making a complaint to the ACNS. Please will you post any response you get on TA so the rest of us are kept up to date.
Interesting idea from Turbulent Priest re a potential complaint to the Charity Commission. Are you thinking of doing this, too?

Posted by: Anne Lee on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 4:42pm GMT

I'm sorry for Ntagali's loss: it's irrelevant to his homophobic language, and offers no mitigation.

The murder of a 19th century king's pages for refusing rape is, likewise, irrelevant to LGBT people and equal rights.

Anything pertinent to add?

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 4:53pm GMT

"From thinking people there seems no sympathy for Ntagali who has suffered a recent bereavement."

Does bereavement makes people into homophobic bigots who lack agency for their bigotry? How does that work?

"the founding Martyrs of Uganda (collectively canonized whether Catholic or Anglican by Pope Paul VI) suffered for refusing to submit to sodomy"

Quite a lot of Catholics suffered at the hands of Protestant English monarchs, and vice versa. That's not normally advanced as a reason, still less a justification, for sectarian bigotry. Indeed, vile behaviour at Old Firm matches is usually roundly condemned.

"Other issues also might have drawn attention, e.g. child sacrifice."

What? What? What?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 5:10pm GMT

I had no idea bereavement brings on homophobia.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 6:24pm GMT

Clive, if you read my post - the first one in the thread - you will note that my criticism is not directed at Archbishop Ntagali, but at a UK-based publication for a UK-based charity, registered as a charity with the benefits and responsibilities that involves, uncritically publishing unacceptable language associating gay relationships with activities like child sacrifice, and implying they are one of the “evil forces” which “target the family directly”. This kind of language is discriminatory, and incompatible with the duties and benefits associated with a UK charity. I also challenged Justin Welby as the President of this Charity, since the tone and content of the published material seems to conflict with the respect he claims should be shown to LGBT people and his earlier repudiation of homophobia.

My post had NOTHING to do with the sad bereavement of Archbishop Ntagali, nor the bereavements of millions of other people around the world.

I think, like Kate, I have really had enough of patience and toleration of UK organisations thinking they can spread this bile, just because they are 'religious' and somehow exempt from basic decency and respect towards minority groups. The publication of this material - with no critique of it whatsoever - is so obviously advertising and promulgating insidious discrimination that the article should be removed and an apology published straight away.

How can the Church possibly present itself as 'opposed to homophobia' when it publishes homophobic material?

As for charitable status, when asked why the ACC was made a UK charity, their legal advisor said "There are many tax advantages to having charitable status." Indeed. But there are also responsibilities, including operating in ways that are not discriminatory, and that comply with UK and EU equalities legislation. The Charity Commission’s objectives, as set out in the Charities Act, include the requirement to:

•increase public trust and confidence in charities
•promote awareness and understanding of how charities must operate for the public benefit
•promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations
•make charities more accountable to donors, beneficiaries and the general public

Publishing homophobic material does not 'increase public trust', does not 'benefit the public', may fail to meet legal obligations, and in terms of accountability to the general public, considering the public purse loses tax revenue from charities, I'm not sure the general public deserves to get homophobia in return.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 9:06pm GMT

"I had no idea bereavement brings on homophobia."

Trauma doesn't make people do things they abhor. It does, however, sometimes remove the filter they use to mask their real self. As Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 9:32pm GMT

To answer a few questions...

I have said that the Archbishop has freedom of speech. I don't like what he said but, as with Susannah, my complaint was not directed against him.

I can't see grounds for a complaint to the Charity Commission and as a Christian would be highly reluctant to complain about the Anglican Communion to an external body anyway. I have (I feel) a legitimate complaint but I still would not want any sanctions imposed by the Charity Commission. (There would be grounds for a complaint if this material had been published by a non-religious charity, but the rules allow religious charities to say such things.)

Yes, I will of course publish here any replies from Lambeth or the Anglican Communion (moderators permitting) - or will report in a couple of weeks if I do not get replies.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 10:19pm GMT

The home page of ACNS indicates that it recognises the need not to post material which might cause harm or offence. Stanley Ngatali's message comes into this category, and either the Director for Communications or the Editor ought to have seen that it is not suitable for publication.

Posted by: Flora Alexander on Friday, 30 December 2016 at 11:35pm GMT

"I think, like Kate, I have really had enough of patience and toleration of UK organisations thinking they can spread this bile, just because they are 'religious' and somehow exempt from basic decency and respect towards minority groups. The publication of this material - with no critique of it whatsoever - is so obviously advertising and promulgating insidious discrimination that the article should be removed and an apology published straight away."

There is an interim editor in post and I wouldn't rush to judgement on the Anglican Communion just yet. This might be an error by one individual. How they respond will be telling, and I do agree about the publication of an apology but we both know they won't because an apology would spark a contretemp with Uganda which would spread to GAFCON. Easier to throw LGBT people under the bus - again. And for me it is when we don't get an apology that the organisation as a whole stands in disrepute and there is a real story.

Posted by: Kate on Saturday, 31 December 2016 at 3:13am GMT

Remember: The Anglican Communion has become an instrument of oppression.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 31 December 2016 at 2:09pm GMT

Hoping 2017 will bring good things for the poor and marginalised.....

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 1 January 2017 at 1:24am GMT

"I wouldn't rush to judgement on the Anglican Communion just yet"

Again: "When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 1 January 2017 at 10:41am GMT

@Interested Observer

Christ forgave Peter although he denied Christ three times. We need them to do better but part of that is showing that Christians - we LGBTI Christians - can reach across the divide and still love those who abuse us. It is hard. I fail far more often than I succeed, but I know what I should do.

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 2 January 2017 at 2:21pm GMT

Would the ACNS - or other Anglican news organs - accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Monday, 2 January 2017 at 2:31pm GMT

"Would the ACNS - or other Anglican news organs - accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?"

Would they accept it from a European bishop?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Monday, 2 January 2017 at 6:40pm GMT

There'll be nothing official disagreeing with Ntagali. There'll be no change in the official position of the Church of England. The English bishops love their global role....haven't they shown that many times? No change is coming.

Time for a new, liberal, global communion.... or more years will be wasted compromising for institutional unity

Posted by: S Cooper on Tuesday, 3 January 2017 at 8:26am GMT

"Would the ACNS - or other Anglican news organs - accept for publication conflation of child-sacrifice and homosexuality if it came from a layperson?"

Would they accept it from a European bishop?

uh..good point. and, I think, even the pope wouldn't care for it very much.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Tuesday, 3 January 2017 at 10:29am GMT

As far as I can make out the ACNS have merely reported what the primates Christmas message said. So also has this site. Ntagali's message is available elsewhere on the web so ACNS have done nothing more than report the news that an archbishop has issued a message. I don't see this is the same as accepting an article.

He lists several disparate issues including drunkenness, joblessness, poverty, child sacrifice and homosexuality. There is no suggestion these are on a par. To say that he has conflated homosexuality with child sacrifice (or drunkenness) seems to misconstrue this, however offensive it is that it was included in the list at all.

Posted by: T Pott on Tuesday, 3 January 2017 at 1:27pm GMT

It's the racism of low expectations: violent bigotry is accepted from African bishops because they are assumed to be incapable of better, whereas a European bishop who wrote like that would be (rightly) dismissed as an ignorant bigot.

Some misguided people think that they are being progressive by holding African bishops to lower standards. They aren't: they're just being racist.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 3 January 2017 at 2:10pm GMT

@ T Pott--your argument would cut some ice with me if I didn't already know what I know about what Stanley says about gay people. But I do so it doesn't.

Posted by: Daniel Berry. NYC on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at 11:44am GMT

I got a reply from Lambeth Palace:

"Archbishop Justin is on leave after Christmas and the New Year and so I am writing on his behalf to thank you for your message. He will of course recognise your point of view and the strength of feeling that supports it. I am afraid though that in this country is it against the law for Church of England clergy to solemnise marriage between two people of the same sex. The Archbishop is under no illusions about the challenge posed for the Church and the Communion by the wide range of views held on this issue, or about how strongly they are held by many people.
With best wishes"

One of the great saints of England is Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, venerated as a martyr for his opposition to Henry II. For an Archbishop of Canterbury to use the excuse of secular law to justify the continued treatment of same sex couples by the Church of England demeans the office of Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at 5:39pm GMT

"For an Archbishop of Canterbury to use the excuse of secular law...".

The position of Parliament is not one forced upon the Church of England--a là some analogy to Becket--but one that the Church of England argued for and secured. Indeed, in the spirit of Becket, it argued for this on the ground of church independence to articulate its own definition of Christian marriage. Becket is hardly your ally here.

Posted by: cseitz on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at 6:08pm GMT

Re Lambeth's reply to Kate. It was possible for the Archbishop to get Parliament to speedily change the law re women bishops to sit in the House of Lords. So how about action to change this secular law?

Posted by: Malcolm Halliday on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at 6:39pm GMT

"So how about action to change this secular law?"

Welby demanded that clause, and no-one cared enough to oppose it. The Church of England has no-one to blame but itself for that clause having been put in. If members of the Church of England don't like it, blame the leadership, not the legislature.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Wednesday, 4 January 2017 at 11:24pm GMT

The Church of England's wedding 'Ceremony Planner' on its website states "The law prevents ministers of the Church of England from carrying out same-sex marriages."

As Interested Observer points out, this prevention is only there because the Church of England demanded it. To imply that if it weren't for 'the law', the Church would be only to happy to marry same-sex couples is disingenuous, to put it charitably.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Thursday, 5 January 2017 at 4:26pm GMT

The situation is slightly more complex than this. Whether or not the Church of England demanded this or not (there is a suggestion that the Government pre-empted the Church - even wrong-footed it), the SSM Act had to prevent the marriage of same-sex couples in Church as otherwise the Act would have been in conflict with Canon Law, a constitutional impossibility. Of course the easy answer to that would have been to change Canon Law, but of all the changes many of us are urging that is the most far-reaching and most difficult to achieve any time soon.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Thursday, 5 January 2017 at 4:51pm GMT

Anthony, I am with Lawrence. It is quite common for statutes to include provisions which aren't brought into effect immediately. The SSM Act could have easily deferred the question of SSM to Canon law.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 5 January 2017 at 9:27pm GMT

"the SSM Act had to prevent the marriage of same-sex couples in Church as otherwise the Act would have been in conflict with Canon Law"

That's over-dramatising, to put it mildly. The Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act 1907 permitted civil marriages which the Church of England would not celebrate, left the decision to individual clergymen, and still the world turned. So there's my instant counter-example to your claim of "constitutional impossibility". See also remarriage of divorced people: permitted in civil marriages, at the discretion of the church in churches. Why was SSM so unique that it required an absolute ban?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 6 January 2017 at 8:04am GMT

Yes, but the other issue was the equality laws and protecting clergy/the Church from litigation for declining to marry same-sex couples. It is just another example of the Church being miles behind the State, and from what I am hearing that is not going to change any time soon, more's the pity.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Friday, 6 January 2017 at 8:06am GMT

"Yes, but the other issue was the equality laws and protecting clergy/the Church from litigation"

The church already has an exemption in most discrimination legislation, so another "it's OK to be a bigot so long as you're a Christian" clause wouldn't have been difficult to organise.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 6 January 2017 at 8:58pm GMT

The Government could of course have removed the right of clergy to marry heterosexual couples altogether, but most observers saw that as an unnecessary and certainly premature step on the road to disestablishment.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Saturday, 7 January 2017 at 7:47am GMT

It will surprise nobody but the Anglican Communion has simply ignored the email I sent.

Posted by: Kate on Sunday, 8 January 2017 at 6:20pm GMT

Responding to T Pott:

I think you make a fair point that Archbishop Ntagali may not have been specifically conflating gay sex with child sacrifice. Rather, by listing the two together, he is creating a negative association. It's like people who link gay sex, paedophilia and bestiality together.

With regard to the ACC 'only' publishing what is written, suppose a white British bishop had written about how black people should never lead the Church. Would it be acceptable for the ACC to use itself as a mouthpiece for racism? If not, then why is it alright to act as a mouthpiece for crassly disdainful attacks on gay lives?

Could the ACC not have distanced itself, or offered some kind of balanced critique? By not doing so, and reproducing it, it sends a seal of approval. It also means that a UK-based organisation and charity, is using a UK-based website, to act as a vehicle for homophobic and harmful slurs, that re-inforce the impression that the Church is unwelcoming to LGBT+ people.

As someone else has said, Archbishop Ntagali has ‘previous’ on this issue, as indeed do Ugandan politicians, and these prejudices do not belong in a UK-based charity, claiming tax benefits from the general public, many of whom are lesbian, gay, bi-, trans.

The Church cannot say it wants to welcome LGBT people, and at the same time publish vile and indefensible statements that portray gay people as 'attacking' families, and essentially being perverts, deserving association with other groups committing foul crimes.

The ACC needs to take responsibility for what it disseminates. At least here on 'Thinking Anglicans' if a link is posted, then people are able to debate it, critique it, call it out for what it is: a pernicious, unfair, and frankly homophobic attack on decent people's private lives.

The fact that the ACC hasn't even bothered to reply to Kate's concerns when she contacted them, suggests a complacent attitude and a lack of care. An arrogance even, though I'd allow them more time to reply, or to reappraise what they have done. The Charities Commission might also do well to appraise this misuse of a charity's benefits, in publishing defamatory content.

Lastly, why should decent people outside the Church join an organisation that promulgates such vilification of those who may be their children, their colleagues, their friends? Articles like this make the Church look disgusting.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Monday, 9 January 2017 at 8:18am GMT

If a white bishop had already published, on his diocesan website, a statement objecting to the appointment of any further black bishops, then wouldn't we want to know? So, yes, I would expect ACNS to report it. It is a news service, not a catechesis site.

Perhaps ACNS could have provided a critique of Ntagali, but by whom? Should the newsclerk simply add a note that, in his personal opinion, the Archbishop is wrong? That would carry little weight, but what more than the personal opinion of the functionaries is ACNS able to give.

They should have published a critique submitted by Welby and others, but if the other primates say nothing can we blame ACNS?

I fear we are in danger of shooting the messenger.

I hope when Kate gets her reply it will be substantive and more than the glib fob off from Lambeth. It is not yet two weeks since she wrote, and it has been Christmas.

Posted by: T Pott on Tuesday, 10 January 2017 at 9:16pm GMT
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