Comments: Anglican Church of Kenya must reinstate clergy unlawfully suspended

The Anglican Church in Kenya needs to keep their imaginations zipped up!

Posted by Leonard Clark at Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 5:25pm BST

Once again, the Church, totally obsessed about sex... but gee, wow, these priests re-instated *BECAUSE* they're not gay.

Awesome people leading these Churches... and the Church of England is having its own position on human sexuality threatened, compromised, delayed, avoided, kicked in to touch... so Provinces like these don't get hurt feelings about what other Christians do in the privacy of their relationships, half a world away?

If one wanted a good illustration of why the English archbishops should concentrate on the culture, the diversity, and the needs of their own English churches - and not be constantly compromising and sitting on the fence, and delaying, to placate Provinces like Kenya and Uganda - this episode provides one.

As if there weren't huge needs begging for support, in Kenya *and* in England, without the constant homophobic persecution in cases like these, and in the continuing position set out for priests in England, notwithstanding the sugar-coated pleas for "radical inclusion".

We really need substance, not rhetoric. We need our archbishops to say straight out that "Gay sex is not a sin." But they don't. They continue to align more with the Kenyans, the Ugandans, to appease them, to appease their own conservatives here in England. Or because the archbishops themselves really do think gay sex is a sin.

But aligning with Churches that hunt down people for being gay - or *not* being gay in this case - and creating climates of fear and witch-hunt and marginalisation... we really shouldn't be part of this kind of oppression.

Yet right here in England, we too have celibacy rules for gay priests. In 2017. Given the increasing number of people who now affirm gay and lesbian sexuality, it's really an Alice-in-Wonderland situation. Lambeth spokesperson will say: "The Church opposes gay sex believes it is sin." Except that's not true. Probably more than half the Church doesn't here in England. The archbishops are out of step with their own people. If they had their way, they'd bring back The Covenant to impose a uniformity with Kenya.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 5:42pm BST


Virtue signaling falls to law.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 7:17pm BST

If ever this news were needed it is right now. At a time when the GAFCON Leader, Archbishop Ngatali of Uganda, has pledged his refusal to attend the next A.C. Primates’ Meeting on account of the non-Gafcon Provinces repudiation of sanctions againt LGBTI people in the Church; here is news of the Kenya Government’s rejection of the local Kenyan Anglican Church’s suspension of 3 of its clergy on account of their suspected homosexuality. It should be noted that there was no proof of their suspected sexuality at the time the hierarchy of the Kenyan Anglican Church enforced their abrupt dismissal.

Witch hunts are a dangerous precedent – especially in the witness of the Christian Church.

The culture of homophobia in the Churches of the GAFCON sodality – mostly in Africa – is now being challenged – even by their local governmental authorities, whose own attitude towards homosexuals has traditionally been repressive.

Witch-hunts against suspected homosexuals by the Anglican Church in Africa are an injustice – with which the Anglican Communion Churches world-wide will now have to take serious note: whether, or not, the membership of the Communion can continue to host the cult of homophobia and sexism – on the basis of a conservative understanding of sexuality and gender in its traditions.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 7:28pm BST

"Witch-hunts against suspected homosexuals by the Anglican Church in Africa are an injustice"

An injustice which the Church of England, and its leaders, are entirely relaxed about, and see no reason to criticise. It's culture, you see, and we mustn't criticise.

Posted by Interested Observer at Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 2:18pm BST

Ones thoughts and prayers are with those three priests, their families, and those to whom they minister.
They will have suffered grievously in the past years, and it has taken the civil order to bring justice for them.

Shame on the Anglican Church that has listened to the gossip mongers. Yes the whole of the Anglican church, including the Church of England that behaves no better.

The Anglican Communion, and the Church of England will not move forward as long as we have Archbishops who are afraid of their own skin, and cannot grasp the fullness of the variety of God's creation.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John E Harris-White at Monday, 7 August 2017 at 8:10am BST

"Or because the archbishops themselves really do think gay sex is a sin."

Of course they do. They would hardly say that it is unless they believed it. Let's have a little less of the "educated, powerful men forced to say things they don't believe by (duh duh DUH) SHADOWY FORCES". The reason they say what they say is because they believe it. No more excuses for the words coming from their mouths.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 7 August 2017 at 12:35pm BST

The archbishops probably do believe that homosexuality's sinful (Sentamu was willing to die for his beliefs, so if he now believed in equality, it's unlikely that he wouldn't break ranks; given all his talk of radical inclusion, I guess Welby may've changed his mind and kept quiet for political reasons).

Given that they continue to discriminate against LGBT people, does it matter? Whether they're motivated by sincere belief or realpolitik, their actions are the same.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 7 August 2017 at 3:59pm BST

I am somewhat confused about where the Church of England in general and the Archbishops in particular are on all this. Appearing on Good Morning Britain in June 2016 ++Sentamu appeared to say that while he still has personal objections with same-sex marriage, he believes in LGBT equality generally, and does not consider homosexuality to be a sin. Asked whether homosexuality is a sin, he insisted: “I would never say that. I would never say that, because sin is doing something consciously against God.” Am I confused or am I confused?

Posted by Anthony Archer at Monday, 7 August 2017 at 9:44pm BST

Anthony, I think the standard distinction that is commonly made is between 'homosexuality' as an orientation/condition - and acting on that orientation.

If we look at what is actually demanded of priests, they are allowed to have a homosexual disposition to contend with, but if they act on that (in other words, actually have gay or lesbian sex) then they are liable to loss of licence just like the Kenyans.

If gay sex is not a sin, why would priests be threatened with sanctions or risk removal? As things stand, they are required to be celibate. That pretty much indicates where the archbishops stand on gay sexuality, I'd say.

They don't want to seem 'nasty', especially when society around them seems more accepting, so a distinction between disposition and action helps them feel nicer, but the dogma (as things stand) remains as harsh as ever.

It's the partners of gay and lesbian priests that I feel particularly sorry for if celibacy is being demanded. If they are not being deprived for "sin", what ARE they being deprived for?

Whatever the archbishops privately believe, it's pretty clear they have tried at each step to 'hold the line' that the Church believes only in marriage between a man and a woman. Since sex outside of marriage is sin, ipso facto all gay sex is sin.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 7 August 2017 at 10:55pm BST

Anthony Archer is right to be confused, especially in the light of 'The' Statement issued the week before last where homosexuality and sin were in close juxtaposition - and it is largely assumed Sentamu was the author. Perhaps Anthony's membership of the CNC will allow him to have a focused conversation with Sentamu which may lead to greater clarity about what he actually believes.

Posted by Paul Swales at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 8:32am BST

To avoid accusations of misquoting and selective quotation, here's the man himself, writing his own words, with no-one editing:

In his own mind, this is not a manifesto for discrimination.

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 9:48am BST

Congratulations, Anthony Archer, for being elected to the CNC. We look forward to your eirenic influence being felt in the choice of bishops in the Church of England. This is sorely needed at this time in its history.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 10:52am BST

Many thanks to Interested Observer.

John Sentamu stresses that he doesn't want to disrespect gay and lesbian people.

He does not actually address whether he thinks gay *sex* is wrong or a sin. In fact he implies it's unproductive to go down that line.

On the other hand, he explicitly states that marriage is only between a man and a woman. This then leads to a further unstated issue: if this is so, is sex outside marriage wrong?

So there is an indirect implication - because of who he feels qualifies for marriage (not gay or lesbian couples) - that the ideal context for sexual activity cannot be offered to gay and lesbian couples.

This implication would seem to be reflected in the Church's continuing requirement for its gay priests to live in celibacy. If that doesn't signal that gay sex is not right, then what does it signal?

And then, in general terms, John claims that in the past the Church has been complicit in discrimination against gay people: "I will be the first to accept that homosexual people have suffered discrimination and sometimes worse through the decades and that the churches have, at times, been complicit in this. There is much penance to be done before we can look our homosexual brothers and sisters in the eye."

And yet, isn't the 'celibacy requirement' a continuing discrimination that he practises? Doesn't it imply that the Church of England still believes gay sexuality is wrong and sinful (otherwise why ban it)?

Has the time yet come, when our archbishops can look gay and lesbian people "in the eye"?

John's articles clearly state what he thinks marriage should be (heterosexual). He makes nice sounds about being pleasant to gay people. But nowhere does he endorse gay sex. That point is avoided. His view is left to be implied by the Church's continuing position.

He avoids the pivotal question, because he and Justin are being political. They are dancing on eggshells. They are trying to appease the conservative primates, and the conservative churches in England - or simply agree with them.

As Anthony says, there is confusion over this - perhaps mainly because confusion avoids the conflict, and delays the Church's crisis.

It also delays people's lives, because this is not just theological. It is our lives, our love, our acceptance for who we are in the Church.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 3:46pm BST
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