Comments: Uganda: an update

Thanks to Colin for publishing the letter. I only hope it will get the positive response it so richly deserves.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 3:07pm GMT

Thanks, Colin, for the details. Fulcrum, following on from some private communications, will be publishing an article on this appalling Ugandan bill very soon.

Posted by Graham Kings at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 4:32pm GMT

Another very worrying development is described by Xan Rice in The Guardian, 29 October 2009, 'Kenya launches gay survey while homosexuality remains illegal'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/29/kenya-launches-gay-survey

Posted by Graham Kings at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 4:45pm GMT

Whenever abortion doctors here in the US are murdered, many Christian groups condemn the attacks, period. Other Christian groups express regret that someone lost their life, then proceed to condemn the murdered person for their participation in abortion. I would not be surprised if Fulcrum chooses the latter course: States that the Uganda bill goes too far, then expresses the hope that all homosexuals are one day freed from the bondage of their unique sin, excuses the, um, eagerness of those who wish to rid the world of this sin, etc.
If it's an outright affirmation of the dignity of all people, and denounces the harshness of this bill while still expressing their opinion that homosexual acts are sinful but should not be subject to the death penalty, I will eat my words and will publicly apologize on this site.

Posted by peterpi at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 4:52pm GMT

WE AWAIT WORD(s) from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams...perhaps he ought initiate a EMERGENCY MEETING of The Anglican Primates...afterall, murdering innocent, LGBT Anglicans, OUR families, OUR spiritual advisors and OUR friends in UGANDA/abroad is an EMERGENCY (far greater than +V.G. Robinson being called, nominated, elected and consecrated at TEC as a HONORABLE, and open, uncowardly Bishop)!

ANGLICAN BASIC CHRISTIAN CARE IN UGANDA IS DISMAL and is a deadly igredient to the current pogrom threat:

Please be reminded of the case of Heterosexual Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, Retired bishop of West Buganda, Uganda, who was excommunicated by ¨archbishop Orombi¨ after establishing a ministry for gay and lesbian believers in his community of marginalized/persecuted LGBT Anglicans.

WHERE are the Primates of The Anglican Communion when REAL MORAL leadership is life vs. death critical for millions of Anglican FAMILIES throughout the Anglican Communion?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 5:32pm GMT

With peterpi, I will wait to see what sort of response Fulcrum can manage to emit on the subject of the vicious Ugandan laws.

The best I expect is something like: "Good move: Uganda is right to condemn homosexuals, but they've chosen the wrong tactics."

"Good move, good tactics, wrong time to try it" is what I think they'd say if they thought they could get away with it.

Posted by Charlotte at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 6:52pm GMT

"Archbishop Orombi is a coward who operates in the background and sets up anti-lgbt
Anglican/other outcasting both in Uganda and abroad...his behind-the-scenes manipulating at the Anglican Communion must be CONFRONTED and ADDRESSED! Peoples lives are at stake!"
- Colin Coward : Changing Attitude blog -

It seems that Archbishop Orombi is determined to proceed with his calculated genociDe against the LGBT community in Uganda. Together with at least one other African Anglican Primate (Akinola), he is betraying the Lambeth 1:10 Statement, which urged all Bishops of the Communion in particular to respect LGBT persons, acknowledging their inclusion into the Church by our common Baptism.

For Orombi and Akinola (and other African Primates) to abrogate this part of the Statement, is to renege on a solemn commitment made by the Bishops at the relevant Lambeth Conference. Their attitude since that meeting has done nothing to help the cause of Anglicanism around the world. In fact, many non-Christians are wondering what sort of Justice is being procalimed by the Church.

This attitude on the part of these Prelates sill surely preclude their membership of any sort of Covenant relationship being proposed by the ACC and the Archbishop of Canterbury. No Anglicans I know of would want to be associated with such purveyors of hatred and injustice towards a category of human beings made in the Image and Likeness of God who happen to be homosexual.

WHEN ARE THE INSTRUMENTS OF UNITY GOING TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS MANIFEST INJUSTICE???

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 11:19pm GMT

I couldn't agree more to what has been said of this horror!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 6:56am GMT

Sadly, we do not have time to waste in waiting for the ABC and the many tired bishops of the Anglican Communion to take action against the unveiled violence and hatred directed against LGBT persons in Uganda, and other countries with large Anglican populations, such as Nigeria and Jamaica. Too much time has passed since the introduction of the Ugandan legislation.
For many of our Anglican leaders, there is no LGBT life worth saving. And for the political leaders of these countries, statements from feckless bishops who are afraid to act will hardly dissuade them from their murderous course.

We need to recognize that the Churches, as they did in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will fail to exercise moral leadership and will distingiush themselves in condemning the victims. Since the Churches failed for the most part to help us as we were struggling to save even one life, while our dearest friends and family members were dying in unspeakable suffering, what would make any of us think that the Churches would do much better now? Have they not recently distinguished themselves by similar hate-filled condemnations of our brothers and sisters, and exhortations for us to wait while they assuage the feelings of our persecutors?

Now, we need to band together and to seek the support of friendly governments and human rights organizations using every means at our disposal to put an end to these regimes of terror and death directed at LGBT persons.

As a beginning, I suggest the following: LGBT and human rights organizations petition their friendly governments to refuse extradition to Uganda for so-called crimes committed against this proposed legislation; the same organizations petition friendly governments to grant asylum status to LGBT Ugandans, Nigerians, and Jamaicans who present themselves to a friendly country's embassy; LGBT organizations fund and organize a program to assist LGBT persons in these countries to "emigrate", including third country safe refuges while seeking asylum, as is currently being done for LGBT refugees from Iran; tourism boycotts and other selected boytcotts directed at the wealthy in the offending countries be promoted. This time, I expect that there would be strong support among non-gay professional organizations, labor unions, and individuals who are horrified at this campaign of violence.

I could not possibly be a priest if I did not love Jesus and believe in his Gospel with all my heart. But, we cannot wait for the Churches and their frozen-hearted leaders to act. Let the Churches wait, while we get about the business of saving the lives of our brothers ands sisters again.

Posted by karen macqueen at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 9:35am GMT

Surely no-one imagines that Rowan Williams actually cares about any of this?

Posted by Robin at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 1:02pm GMT

I am given to understand that ++Rowan has made his opposition known, but that - for whatever reason - it has not been reported. Make of that what you will.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 1:05pm GMT

Well, if Rowan has made his opposition known, this fact doesn't appear to have made it as far as David Brownlie-Marshall, his own Press Officer at Lambeth Palace. I spoke to DB-M this morning and he had nothing to say on the matter.

Posted by Laurence C at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 2:24pm GMT

"Well, if Rowan has made his opposition known, this fact doesn't appear to have made it as far as David Brownlie-Marshall, his own Press Officer at Lambeth Palace. I spoke to DB-M this morning and he had nothing to say on the matter."

I have had no reply to my email from KJS or staff.

The next time I write, I think I will try to shame them by reminding them of the West's silence and weak response to the Rwanda genocide. This looks to be the beginning of a genocidal pogrom against glbt Africans.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 4:10pm GMT

Disgraceful.

I ask again - why are you all sticking with this utterly discredited and institutionally homophobic organisation?

How far do they have to go before you finally say - enough!

Would you accept such behaviour from any other organisation of which you are part?

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 5:26pm GMT

"I ask again - why are you all sticking with this utterly discredited and institutionally homophobic organisation?...Would you accept such behaviour from any other organisation of which you are part?"

For the same reason that I stick with the country of my birth, in spite of its sometimes stupid actions and policies: it's my home, and I think that I can help make it better. You seem to think of the Church as just another "organisation," like the Rotary Club or the RSPCA; most Christians probably feel differently.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 7:24pm GMT

I wish it was just like any other organisation. But most of then don;t want opt outs to enable them to discriminate

You can always emigrate to use the metaphor....I came to the conclusion that homophobia was just too ingrained in the fabric and beliefs to ever change. So I came to the conclusion that I had no opyion but to change my beliefs

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 9:17pm GMT

"We note that Uganda is current Chair of the UN Security Council which operates with the UN Charter and UDHR as guiding principles. It is also current Chair of the Commonwealth and a signatory to the African Union’s Constitutive Act which has as its premise the promotion and respect of human rights. In 2009 and 2010 it is hosting AU Summits. What will happen to Uganda’s hard-won role on the global stage if it nullifies its international and regional human rights commitments? Uganda cannot wish away core human rights principles of dignity, equality and non-discrimination, and all Ugandans will pay a heavy price if this bill is enacted." - Colin Coward -

Surely, if Colin is right here - about Uganda being Chair of the United Nations Security Council, with the concomitant responsibility of -adhering to the U.N. Charter of Human Rights - then are not the other Members of the Security Council bound to remind Uganda of its need to recognise the basic human rights of homosexuals in its own country? Or have I got that wrong?

If Uganda takes its emmbership of the United Nations at all seriously, then it is obligated to follow the U.N.'s own regulations regarding the protection of Human Rights for its own citizens - regarless of their gender or sexual orientation. Or does Uganda have some special rights which preclude it's being bound by the Rules?

This sounds a bit like the special rights being looked for by anti-women campaigners in the C.of E. who want the legitimising of non-compliance practices for those opposing the ordination of women as bishops in their Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 11:38pm GMT

Merseymike
Your response never made sense. Assuming the Christian God exists, he still exists if his whole church corrupts him and his message.
Leaving the church can make sense. Abandoning faith as a consequence is a non sequitur.

Fr Ron
Here in Britain many of us have also lobbied our MPs. As you say, this is not just a problem for the Christian community.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 8:56am GMT

It wasn't something I did on a whim, Erika....but I came to the conclusion that there was something quite fundamentally wrong with Christianity and that I could no longer in all honesty profess faith whilst maintaining the views I have.

I respect those working for change and still take an interest in what's going on - bit from the outside, I fear that the homophobia is just too ingrained

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 10:38am GMT

Merseymike
I think we’re talking cross purposes. I don’t believe it is possible to come to a logical decision about believing in God or not. Many of us believe because we’ve had some experience that makes it seem more likely that God exists than that he doesn’t. Some would go a lot further than that.
Whether official religion represents him right or not is a completely different question, and it is perfectly possible to come to the conclusion that homophobia is too engrained in Christianity to ever be eradicated.

But that says absolutely nothing about whether God exists or not.
If he doesn’t, Christianity would be wrong even if it were moral and perfect in every way.
If he does, faulty religion will not change that fact.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 2:17pm GMT

"any other organisation of which you are part?"

Really, Merseymike! As Erika says, I believe there is a God because I find things in my life that tell me He exists. Other's might call them coincidences, and I wouldn't argue. But what do you think the Church IS? Before you left the Church, did you think you were part of something like the Lion's Club in fancy dress or what?

Seriously, lots of us have anger issues around specific topics, look at me and Evangelicals, for the love of God! Perhaps we ought to do more work at resolving them than we do. I remember feeling a bit like how you feel, actually, but from a conservative viewpoint. But your particular anger at the Church is more over the top than most I've encountered, and I've encountered some pretty strong hatred for the Church. It isn't healthy to be so continually mad about something. You've left the Church, and I hope for you that you are happy. But might there not be a better way to exorcise your demons than coming here every so often and sneering at everyone else's faith as though your lack of it makes you somehow superior? 'Cuz I gotta tell ya, it shows you are no better than anyone else. No worse, but no better either. And all this sneering anger shows pretty clearly that being outside the Church hasn't resolved your issues or made you all that happy. Unless you were unspeakably miserable and disagreeable in those days.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 4:25pm GMT

Check out this Facebook page for some insight into the mentality we are dealing with here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-are-Ugandans-and-we-do-not-support-Gay/91107543469?ref=nf

And these are the people who now presume to run our church???

No thanks.

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 9:52pm GMT

Merseymike,

With respect - and I have great respect for you - you wrote:

"....I came to the conclusion that homophobia was just too ingrained in the fabric and beliefs to ever change. So I came to the conclusion that I had no option but to change my beliefs. . . "

Note the use of "I" throughout. This was a personal decision on your part, and you wish people to respect it in the face of what seems to them nonsense, so, they have every right to ask you the same respect of their beliefs.

For myself, I found that things were no better without God or religion or what have you than they were with. For myself, I can never fully doubt that there is a God, which I directly experience, so the idea of atheism is preposterous for me. I've found no greater tolerance, respect or acceptance among non-Christians as a whole than Christians, with the difference that, among a growing minority of Christians is a determined goodwill toward the social underdog that the coldly scientific lack. I've also found that atheists and agnostics are no better at making objective decisions, being just as stuck in subjective interpretation as the most dogmatic cardinal, and just as prone to human error as the huckster-preachers on local TV. For me, in short, it was a determination between a largely un-evolved, bestial mass of humans who believed in transformation in this lifetime by effort and faith, or a largely un-evolved, bestial mass of humans who believe in social Darwinism and the helplessness of human nature in the face of science.

The problem is neither religion nor science, but the rather curious hairless apes that practice both and which one allows the individual to help those apes evolve.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 5:11am GMT

JPM,
We can hope that this is just one or two people who have invited their like minded friends to join them. 1240 fans. According to one poster, at least some of them are African American, though how she knows they are not Ugandans studying in the US or something, I don't know. We can hope this is just a bunch of bigotted nutbars. But, in light of the other developments in Uganda, if there is a significant population in Uganda with these attitudes, I dread what's coming.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 2:30pm GMT

Ford, we know exactly what's coming.

Posted by JPM at Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 7:25pm GMT

Really don't know why you don't think I'm happy, Ford. The internet is a good place to play with words and to provoke debate - that's all I do. I have always been interested in the 'politics of religion'. Why should I not engage with the discussion simply because it gives you an excuse to trot out the same old resentments against my presence here?!

I think that I was kidding myself that I had genuine belief and maybe that's why, when it came down to it, I realised there was nothing left.

However, look towards yourself when you do your amateur psychology - one thing I have recognised is that gay Christians are very sensitive when they have to face the utter illogicality of belonging to a religion whose 'holy book' condemns them - and you know it does!

Mark: for me I simply accepted what had been a reality for a while - that I don't believe in a God. That probably makes me a humanist by default - certainly a materialist - but I tend to think that no one 'explanation for everything ' is particularly helpful. I also agree that all beliefs are ultimately subjective.

Must say, though, that I've never come across an organisation which I have as little respect for as the church! And that really has been reached through experience....

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 1:53am GMT

"one thing I have recognised is that gay Christians are very sensitive when they have to face the utter illogicality of belonging to a religion whose 'holy book' condemns them - and you know it does!" - Merseymike -

No, not so, Mike! It is only the implacable biblical fundamentalist who claim that. To those of us who believe that the Gospels are the most important Scriptures for followers of Jesus, the tenor of his teaching says something quite different from what the homophobes might like to be the basic message of the Bible.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 10:27am GMT

I think Merseymike makes a great contribution here. I think it probably does us good to be challenged in the way he does: it is, after all, quite possible that he may be right in thinking that we are complicit in immorality by supporting an organisation which is an agent of injustice in the world. It is because of what people like Merseymike see in the Church that it is imperative to work to change it soon.

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 5 November 2009 at 1:41pm GMT

I think there is a fallacy here, Merseymike, in that you assume all Christians must regard both their "Holy Book" and the authors thereof to be infallible. This simply isn't the case.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 6 November 2009 at 5:23am GMT
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