Thinking Anglicans

WR: news items from Africa

Guardian Stephen Bates Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK (well OK it’s just as much a story from the UK about the Foreign Office)

A gay Ugandan Christian has been denied a visa to enter Britain in order to attend a meeting at the invitation of the Anglican church next week because there is a warrant for his arrest in his home country where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Chris Stentaza, a headteacher at a church school who was dismissed from his job and forced into hiding after speaking at a conference of gay Christians in Manchester 15 months ago, has been rejected for a visa by the British high commission in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, apparently because of his sexuality.
He had been invited to join a delegation due to meet Canon Gregory Cameron, the secretary to the church’s commission responsible for last October’s Windsor report, investigating ways of keeping the worldwide communion together after the row over the promotion of gay clergy.

Update Monday 31 Jan
Today, the Guardian carries a letter about this Christian persecution

Chris Stentaza’s experience of persecution (Gay Ugandan Christian denied visa to visit UK, January 29) has become extremely common among gay Christians in Africa.

The most recent wave of imprisonments and beatings in Uganda started in 1999 when President Yoweri Museveni launched a crackdown on homosexuals, publicly supported by the Anglican archbishop.

Just last month, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda had intensified following the Anglican church of Uganda’s aggressive campaign against homosexuality that was launched as a direct response to the American church consecrating a gay bishop.

Throughout Africa, gay Christians are frightened, isolated and desperate. Those who are open about their sexuality are commonly excluded from church life and refused baptism and communion. They can be subjected to verbal abuse by their priests and bishops. Those working for the church are sacked.

The Anglican church has committed itself to listen to the voices of lesbian and gay people. Yet the church attacks and excludes them as soon as they make their voices heard. The bishops of the Anglican communion must make it possible for listening to take place and engage in the dialogue that it has been so repeatedly promised.

Rev Colin Coward
Director, Changing Attitude
Rev Dr Giles Fraser
Chair, Inclusive Church
Rev Kelvin Holdsworth
Changing Attitude Scotland
Rt Rev Barry Hollowell
Bishop of Calgary
The Rev’d Susan Russell
President, Integrity USA

East African Standard, Nairobi African Anglicans firm on gay bishop

African Anglican Archbishops yesterday rejected the apology by the American Episcopal Church over the ordination of a homosexual bishop and the wedding of gay couples.
The clerics, representing 50 million faithful, asked their American counterparts to repent instead.
“They have only apologised and not repented,” said Dr Reverend Bernard Malango, the Archbishop of Zambia.
“Apology does not make sense to us, the biblical word is repentance,” said Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.
They were speaking late yesterday at a news conference in Nairobi at the end of a two days meeting skipped by South Africa’s archbishop Njongokulu Ndungane, the only pro-gay voice in Africa.
The meeting dubbed third Trumpet, was chaired by the Nigerian Primate archbishop Peter Akinola was also attended by representatives of representatives from South East Asia, Latin America and Asia.

or this report from Associated Press Anglicans Abroad Say Apology Not Enough

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola noted the U.S. bishops apologized to individual church members in a letter issued earlier this month expressing “sincere regret” for consecrating V. Gene Robinson in November 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire without full consideration of other Anglicans’ objections. But Akinola told journalists they failed to repent for an act he said was contrary to their faith.
“That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not,” said Malawi’s Archbishop Bernard Malango.
Akinola spoke after a weeklong meeting to discuss recommendations by an Anglican commission to resolve discord within the communion over homosexuality.
In a report issued in October, the panel urged the U.S. branch not to elect any more gay bishops and called on conservative African bishops to stop meddling in the affairs of other dioceses.
In Kenya Friday, church leaders were circumspect about their views on the recommendations, saying they did not want to pre-empt a meeting of all Anglican archbishops in Ireland next month.
About 15 archbishops attended the gathering in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Daily Champion, Lagos Tinubu, Odili Speak On Role of Clerics in Governance

GOVERNORS Peter Odili of Rivers and Bola Tinubu of Lagos states have hailed the positive roles of the clergy in secular governance, describing same as elevating.
In a brief speech that lasted five minutes, Gov. Odili said both religious clerics and secular rulers had common goal which, according to him, was serving the people and so they should co-operate.
…Gov. Tinubu, in his own speech, lauded the position taken by clerics, urging them to speak the truth always.
…The governor maintained that the church had a social responsibility to crusade against all vices, insisting that it was only by doing so would Nigerians feel challenged and retraced their steps, if they are on the wrong track.
Both Govs Tinubu and Odili praised the Anglican Church for standing firm against gay practice, saying that it was an indication that the church had come of age in Africa.

Update Sunday
Here is another item from the Standard Anglican bishop urges all faiths to reject gay unions

Christians were yesterday exhorted to intensify the fight against gay relationships in the church.

Mombasa Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu made the clarion call yesterday, urging all religions to come out against homosexuality and lesbianism.

“Homosexuals have invaded all religious institutions, including non-Christian ones,” said the bishop.

In a statement issued just a day after Anglican Church of Kenya bishops rejected an apology by the Episcopal Church in America over the ordination of an openly gay bishop and its support for same-sex unions, the bishop said: “We call upon all denominations to come out and condemn this evil, which is against the commandments of God.”

The bishop also expressed concern over the rampant practice of lynching suspected witches in parts of Coast Province.

Several suspected witches have been killed in Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta districts over the past few months. In the latest incident, a middle-aged woman in Voi Division, Taita Taveta District, was set upon by an angry mob which beat her senseless before setting her ablaze.

A community in Kaloleni Division, Kilifi District has also put up a list of 11 suspected witches, whom it wants eliminated.

Bishop Kalu pointed out that the government has enough machinery to deal with those involved in the vice and proposed that they should be charged in court or placed in seclusion.

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J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

When I read the headline (from the _East African Standard_) “African Anglicans firm on gay bishop,” I was struck by the word “firm”. *Firm*: as in hard. As in hard-hearted. As in *Pharaoh*. Hey, wasn’t he African too? Oh, and look: Nigerian Governors Odili and Tinubu are praising the Anglican Church (leaders) for “standing firm against gay practice”. Ah yes: must keep those *worldly powers* happy! Just who, exactly, is the lord of the Nigerian Church again? The one whom has dominion over the world? [Note: I don’t want to harangue African Anglicans. Nor do I wish them (their hierarchy)… Read more »

19 years ago

“I don’t want to harangue African Anglicans”. But oh, I can’t help myself so I’ll imply they’re like Pharoah…… How deliciously ironic! A parallel between the orthodox African Anglicans and Pharoah? And Gene Robinson is Moses I guess…. The Apostle Paul uses the judgement of God on the unfaithful Israelites in the desert after the Exodus as a warning to the church in Corinth against (amongst other things) sexual immorality. (1 Cor 10:8) And he goes on to warn against complacency v12: “So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”…. You argue for live… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

You’re right, Neil: the equation to Pharaoh, *merely* on the basis of both being Africans (note: a century ago, European and American Egyptologists would have denied that the Egyptians _were_ African. “Too advanced a culture” and all that racist BS), would have been a cheap shot. But hardness of hearts knows no geographic or ethnic boundaries(neither does a *passion for justice*: see +Desmond Tutu, or his able successor +Njongokulu Ndungane). As far as sexual immorality goes, Neil, I’m agin’ it, just like Paul. But as *Paul says nothing against homosexuality*, I’m thinking we, his spiritual descendents, shouldn’t either (simply speak… Read more »

19 years ago

Hi JCF. As I said before, claiming that “the Bible says nothing about homosexuality” is just playing with words. The bible doesn’t use the word homosexuality, but you can’t honestly claim that we can find nothing of relevance in the bible! There ARE moral/ethical issues facing us today that were not addressed at all in the bible (human cloning for instance) but even then we can extract principles from the bible to help us in understanding what God’s attitude might be. However, in the case of homosexuality there is direct comment on same sex desire and on same sex acts.… Read more »

19 years ago

I cannot bring myself to entertain the idea that the African Anglicans are in any way showing hardness of heart by contending for the faith passed down to them. In fact almost without exception the non-Western parts of the communion are experiencing phenomenal church growth and that suggests quite the opposite of hardness of heart – not resisting God but remaining faithful to God. They have a passion for justice and righteousness. We all know the Africans are sinners – as much as any of us. But they are repentant sinners – standing firm only in the mercy of our… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

“Playing with words,” Dave? What do you mean by that? “but you can’t honestly claim that we can find nothing of relevance in the bible!” Not at all: there’s plenty of relevance in the Bible (especially when that “in” is the Bible *en toto*). As far as specific pericopes? I think we have to be very careful here: it can too quickly devolve into those Gideons-type pamphlets of non-canonical “canons”: “If you have questions about ______, then see ______.” Who gets to make up these canons? (And even more importantly, who has been left out of making them?) But I… Read more »

Derek Olsen
Derek Olsen
19 years ago

fact almost without exception the non-Western parts of the communion are experiencing phenomenal church growth and that suggests quite the opposite of hardness of heart – not resisting God but remaining faithful to God. Umm, not necessarily. There are *many* reasons for conversion, not all of them motivated out of a genuine love for Christ and the teachings of the church. High numbers of baptisms are always good (make disciples of all nations…) but too often catechesis, instruction in holy living, and long-term follow through get lost in a drive for numbers (…teaching them to obey everything that I have… Read more »

19 years ago

JCF Wrote “. . . and as I keep saying, Dave, w/o any understanding of sexual orientation, these texts applicability to “homosexuality” is ZERO. Would you please address this? Because otherwise, we keep talking in circles.” Hi JCF The bible’s writers thought that MSM (ie homo-sexual action) should be condemned – though I would would not single it out as the only sexual orientation that was severely restricted…. Jesus and the Apostles were also very tough on things like incest, fornication, perversions, orgies and the like…(so I guess that hits on bisexuals, SM and polyamory) as well as adultery and… Read more »

19 years ago

Derek, church growth in Africa cannot be written off so easily – I don’t deny nurture and discipling and growing in maturity are essential, and nor would the Africans. However the point was that, as we rejoice at what the Holy Spirit IS doing on that continent, it is ridiculous to suggest that the Africans are hardening their hearts against the LORD! Contrast the supposed “new thing” the Holy Spirit is doing in the West and how it is emptying churches? The statistics of course don’t say everything, but they do say quite a lot! And JCF: The faith passed… Read more »

19 years ago

Dave wrote, “…you’re just saying that because you’re a liberal!”

Oh *that* settles it now, doesn’t it ?! Stay back! it’s one of the demon *liberals* ! (cough) argumentum ad hominem (cough)

J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

“The faith passed down to them, for which the Africans contend, is the faith entrusted to them in the Scriptures.” Opinion, unsupported by the facts. And who are “the Africans” anyway? I *always* qualify my comments along the lines of “certain African Anglican bishops” or “some members of the African Church hierarchy” or somesuch. I can point to my *lifting up* two African bishops (+Desmond and +Njongokulu) in _this very thread_! It is *you, Neil*, who are lumping “the Africans” together in a most dubious fashion! Dave: what the heck is “MSM”? Etymology, please? _I say what say—and do what… Read more »

19 years ago

And now we’re getting desperate: “Unsupported by the facts”?! There was never a more contemporary message for the church today: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
19 years ago

Two comments in this thread got posted to the following item in the blog: I have rescued them and show them below, but unfortunately they are now out of time sequence, and I don’t know how to fix that quickly, so please accept the deficiency 🙁 ——- Comment “You only thing that because you’re a liberal.” Hmmm. I think its the other way around, sort of. Because of a collection of beliefs and values, one could be identified as a liberal. On the other hand, I’m somewhat disturbed at the discounting of what someone says or believes simply because someone… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
19 years ago

I am not desperate, Neil, but I confess it is sometimes difficult to avoid giving into *despair*—when I see Scripture quoted in a way to justify bigotry. For example: “Dear friends, although . . . ” (et al in Jude v.3-7): speaking personally—and, I think, for every other LGBT Anglican—I neither deny Christ (as “our only Sovereign and Lord”), nor allow any sort of rape. Why do you cite this text to me? How does it explain the prejudice that some (whether Africans or any others) have against us? “Lots of qualification there!” I qualify my terms, Neil, because God,… Read more »

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