Thinking Anglicans

civil rights in Uganda

The Kampala Mail and Guardian carried this report on 7 July, Ugandan Parliament deals blow to gay rights. This report is amplified in an article from Human Rights Watch Uganda: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Deepens Repression. Other news reports that mention this are in the Kampala Monitor and the Kampala New Vision.

The LGBT community in Uganda had made representations to Parliament for inclusion in the list of recognised minorities for which the proposed constitutional amendments offered further protection and recognition of their special needs.

The actions now taken in response to this request are more extensive than were recommended in the white paper on constitutional amendments which only asked for the first declaration – marriage is between a man and woman – the second part criminalising those who enter a partnership is an additional action now taken by the Ugandan parliament without previous discussion.

Back in February, the primates of the Anglican Communion said:

…We also wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of the moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship…

At the recent ACC meeting in Nottingham, Rowan Williams said:

…The Lambeth Resolution called for just this. It also condemned in clear terms, as did earlier Lambeth Conferences, the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dromantine statement, violent and bigoted language about homosexual people – and this cannot be repeated too often. It is possible to uphold Lambeth ’98 and to oppose the shocking persecution of homosexuals in some countries, to defend measures that guarantee their civil liberties

And again this week, in his presidential address at the General Synod in York, Rowan Williams also said:

If the listening process set up by the ACC is to be of any use, it must have the same character all round. And the point has perfectly rightly been made that it will fail if it does not listen to the voices of homosexual people within the developing world, so often horrifyingly at risk of violence and persecution, just as much as it will fail if it does not listen to those churches in the developing world that are struggling with great difficulty to find a pastoral way forward that is true to their convictions and does not expose their people to real danger.

Will any Anglican primate now speak up on this concrete example of civil rights abuse?

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Peter O
16 years ago

Is the legislating against same-sex unions the same as acting against somebody simply because they experience same-sex attraction? What exactly is the civil liberty issue here? Can one be opposed (legislatively indeed) against formally recognising same-sex unions (because like it or not the legislating in favour IS a moral statement) and yet condemn any discrimination directly related to someone having same-sex attraction (which reasonably legislating against same-sex partnerships isn’t)? I think that’s possible. The only disturbing part of this (if it’s true) is where the state penalises one for entering into such a union. I’m all for refusing to legally… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Its very clear that this is an abuse of civil liberty. If the church believes what it claims to believe – that in civil society, gay people should not be persecuted for being gay or having gay relationships, then clearly this proposal is unacceptable. It appears to go far further than refusing to accept state acknowledgement of a same sex partnership, to attempting to prevent anyone having a gay relationship at all. If people are allowed to believe immoral and evil religions, such as those propgated by the Anglican Church in countries like kenya and Nigeria, which I would accept,… Read more »

Peter O
16 years ago

Thanks for adding the second Rowan quote Simon, but it still doesn’t answer the question as to whether not allowing same-sex unions to take place is, from a Christian perspective. a discrimination of civil rights.

MM – I’m sure your use of the language of “immoral and evil religions” is designed to begin a gentle and courteous debate. Yes, I’m sure that’s what you intended…

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

But you don’t do that, Peter, as you don’t allow opposition on your site!

And I would suggest that your use of ‘immoral lifestyles’ was designed to do the same? I don’t have a lifestyle, I have a relationship, and it is not immoral.

dmitri
dmitri
16 years ago

We can hope that at least the new Archbishop of York will speak out against this human rights abuse. Perhaps he will be listened to.

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

‘If people are allowed to believe immoral and evil religions, such as those propgated by the Anglican Church in countries like kenya and Nigeria….’

Mike of course is a moral and theological authority on what are immoral and evil religions, being infallibly endowed with the Holy Spirit and knowing better than Jesus and his apostles.
Thank you, Mike!!!

Charlotte
Charlotte
16 years ago

Yes, Peter O., and so is your use of the language of “immoral lifestyles.” If what you wanted to do was shut down any possibility of dialogue before the conversation could have a chance to begin — well, you’ve done it. But will someone please enlighten me as to the point of all this shouting and posturing?

Simon Sarmiento asked a question. Is anyone here willing to attempt an answer? But before it’s you (again), Peter O., would you please check into the current state of the laws regulating sexuality in Uganda? Your next post could only benefit.

DGus
DGus
16 years ago

Wow! “Victimisation”! “Shocking persecution”! “Horrifying”! I braced myself to learn that the Ugandans were doing something really unconscionable. I was expecting at least–oh, I don’t know–confiscation of property? barring from public office? But the cited article says that the new provision is to “outlaw gay marriage and impose [unspecified] criminal penalties on same-sex couples who wed”. That’s it, right? All it says is that homosexual marriage will be invalid and (as in the case of bigamy or other attempts at void marriages) criminal penalties. From a Christian perspective, illicit sex is a grave wrong. It violates natural law, harms the… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

… also, there is a clear injustice in not recognising same sex partnerships in terms of all the factors which have been resolved in the Civil Partnerships Act.

That’s probably why so few Bishops actually opposed it.

Still, at least it displays clearly how conservatives actually do wish to discriminate against gay people, which is why most of us don’t take their aggrieved complaints seriously when we rightly point out that they are homophobic
(anti-gay)

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Merseymike wrote: “Its very clear that this is an abuse of civil liberty.”

How, MM, would you describe the UK MPs who opposed homosexual Civil Unions ? Maybe “evil and immoral” politicians ?

Peter O
16 years ago

I used the term “immoral lifestyles” specifically within the context of presenting, as a devil’s advocate, an argument that needed to be countered. I noticed that neither of you (Mike and Charlotte) have actually addressed any of the points I raised.

And MM, we do allow all kinds of opinion on the Mainstream forums – it’s disrespect we have a problem with.

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Dave ; yes, that seems reasonable. There weren’t all that many of them, and there will be fewer still in the future – I don’t hear the candidates for the Tory leadership talking about withdrawal of any of the pro-gay measures which have passed under the current Government. The opposite ; they are going out of their way to stress their inclusivity. No room for US-style ‘Christian Right’ politics here! Peter ; things have moved on, and here in the UK at least, we have no need to prove ourselves against people who have a literal belief in books written… Read more »

Peter O
16 years ago

MM, you still haven’t addressed any of the points in my original post. All you seem interested in is calling me “bigot”. In case you lost the original comment (that must be why you didn’t answer it, because it CAN’T be because you simply aren’t willing or able to engage in a debate on the law and morality, or because you deliberately ignored it) let me post just the first question again. Let’s see if you can stretch your impressive academic mind to it: —– Is the legislating against same-sex unions the same as acting against somebody simply because they… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Peter, I know far better than to jump to your tune or to let you and your sort set the agenda. There’s been far too much of that in the past. It is all part of a continuum of policy which regards gay and lesbian people as unequal or morally inferior. Both are examples of legally institutionalised homophobia or anti-gay policy enactment. Perhaps you could try to reply without being sarcastic. I mean, I know I hit home in revealing the true feelings of you ex-gays hence the ban from your site, but really, you don’t have to take it… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
16 years ago

Please would commenters avoid personal attacks and try to comment on the actual item posted.

Peter O
16 years ago

Come on MM, are you going to argue the point I initially raised or just continue to call me “bigot”. We’re still waiting for Dr. MM to answer.

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

OK, I plead guilty to sarcasm. But is it really in order to describe the Anglican Churches in Kenya and Nigeria (full members of the Anglican Communion) as ‘evil and immoral religions’? Such a piece of invective might be expected on an Islamist or atheist site but not one called ‘Thinking Anglicans’.

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

MM wrote: “the true feelings of … ex-gays”.

Mike, you should fear ex-gays more than conservatives. They show that sexuality and orientation have moral and choice aspects as well as nature / nurture effects on psychology.

And as for your denunciation of everyone who isn’t liberal enough on sexuality; aren’t you rejecting your liberal christian principles of “love” and avoidance of being “judgemental” ?

Charlotte
Charlotte
16 years ago

May I second Simon Sarmiento’s remarks, while adding a few of my own. Please note, posters, that Ugandan law currently provides for lengthy prison terms for consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Links on the original post would have informed the posters of this, had they been willing to consult them. Thus the issue at hand is not one of legislation permitting civil unions, nor the existence of social disapproval of homosexual persons, nor the right to disinvite others to one’s birthday parties, nor anything else of the sort. Let me repeat it: the issue is… Read more »

Anna
16 years ago

I would hope that Anglican leaders in Africa would speak up against this in the context of “the pastoral support and care of homosexual people”. Condemning cruel legislation like this is the only Christian response to this particular situation. But in this climate, I fear any condemnation by ECUSA/Canada would be seen as meddling, and any condemnation by an African bishop would be seen as selling out to the West.

Simeon
16 years ago

Charlotte has raised the core issue here. Would Martin, Dave, Peter, et al. please respond ?

I suspect that the majority of “reasserters” would love nothing better than to use the power of law, and the threat of punishment, to impose their anti-gay/lesbian viewpoints on society by force…

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Dave ; I don’t fear ex-gays, but I do feel sorry for them. Enforced repression as a result of a religious delusion is not a healthy or well balanced way to live.

Simeon – excellent point.

Prior Aelred
16 years ago

I must concur with Charlotte (who very articulately & dispassionately sets forth the facts on a topic that obviously inflames the passions & clouds judgement).

Likewise with Anna, who makes an excellent point regarding what the ACC unanimously endorsed.

From what some people I know have told me after meeting with “ex-gays” at General Convention, I think that Merseymike may well have an accurate insight on the question (although I do not make windows into human souls — nor judge — another has been appointed for that).

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Well Charlotte, Simeon et al, I’m not Reasserting anything – the Anglican position on sexual morality hasn’t changed: all the instruments of unity officially assert the biblical and traditional teaching that “homosexuality is incompatible with scripture”. As an “Asserter” of biblical souvereignty over Christian belief and practice, I make a clear distinction between morality and criminal law. Our morality should reflect the holiness of God (at least if you want to follow Christ’s teaching it should). Human authorities should make criminal law to keep the worst abuses in check, not to impose morality (biblical or liberal). No way should mature… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
16 years ago

Two things which are far too easy to *say*:

1) “My POV is the God-given one”

2) “I’m not wicked and hateful”

[God only knows, I’ve said them both—Lord have mercy]

Simeon
16 years ago

Dave wrote: “Disapproval is not the same as persecution.” Exactly. Thank you. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever heard one of the “orthodox” admit this. Oh, and BTW, good show on being willing to stand up to protect the rights of LGBT people to live free from persecution – should it become necessary. “shock, conservatives aren’t ‘nice liberals’.. that must mean that they are wicked hate-filled people” No, it just means they aren’t behaving in a moral fashion. (Hah! doesn’t feel so nice when you’re the target, does it ? 😉 But as a good Christian, and with… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

But we don’t agree with you , Dave. Indeed, the Church of England’s official position doesn’t either, given that there is nothing to forbid gay couples in relationships being communicant members of the Church of England (indeed, doing anything except be ordained….) Disapproval is likely to lead to persecution, and certainly inequality, as you indicate above. Whereas I would see a society where stable relationships of all sorts are encouraged and supported as far healthier than one where a section of society is penalised for having those relationships. That is why the civil partnership arrangements have been made, which will… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
16 years ago

Dave, I want to thank you for a clear and well-argued answer to the first of my questions. I have to say that it does raise further questions in my mind. You write: “As an “Asserter” of biblical souvereignty over Christian belief and practice, I make a clear distinction between morality and criminal law. Our morality should reflect the holiness of God (at least if you want to follow Christ’s teaching it should). Human authorities should make criminal law to keep the worst abuses in check, not to impose morality (biblical or liberal).” (I hope I won’t be shocking you… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

MM, I know that you don’t believe in self-denial, or much else that are traditional Christain values and beliefs.. Would you in ANY circumstances admit that people’s “orientation” can change? Exgaywatch.com seems to be less intransigent. In response to recent work by Dr. Robert L. Spitzer (who was instrumental in the getting the APA in 1974 to agree that homosexuality “does not necessarily constitute a disorder.”) who now reports that “Some people can change from gay to straight, and we ought to acknowledge that”, Exgaywatch seems to admit that sometimes “change is practical” though “in only a small minority of… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
16 years ago

In my view RW’s stance is spot-on, with the one exception of his uncharacteristically populist use of the word ‘bigot’/’bigoted’. This word contains a contradiction within itself. (A bit like the word ‘hypocrite’, which by definition can only be used by the whiter-than-white, ie by no-one, and therefore ends up being used only by fellow-hypocrites, who become such by very virtue of using the word of others, and thereby judging others.) To be bigoted is to come to the conclusions one wants to come to, without proper thought and debate. And how much thought and debate is there behind the… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Dave ; I think its unlikely that total ‘change’ takes place. There are people who have attraction to both sexes and can choose – because of commitment to another individual, perhaps – to have sexual encounters with either men or women. Similarly, they can have stronger attractions towards one gender or the other at different times of their lives. However, this isn’t particularly common. Indeed, even exgayers themselves admit that their methods only work with 30% of those who approach them. By default, they are a highly motivated groups of people, desperately unhappy with themselves and with very strong motivation… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

JCF wrote: “,,things which are far too easy to *say*:..”My POV is the God-given one”” Simeon wrote: “No, it just means they [conservatives] aren’t behaving in a moral fashion. MM wrote; “..this is old news now in terms of the wider society. Even the Conservative party realises theres nothing to be gained in advocating inequality for gay people.” It all depends what authority you base your morality on. I really don’t care what politicians or society believes about an issue, or I wouldn’t be wanting to assert the supremacy of Christ, the need for salvation from sin, and eternal death… Read more »

Dave
Dave
16 years ago

Charlotte wrote: “you are taking here a (classical) liberal view of the proper scope of the State’s powers.” Hi Charlotte, Thanks! I’m not afraid to agree with liberal attitudes that are correct! A friend of mine who moved fom the US to France once told me how shocked she was that she was challenged by people on her side of a debate about some of the assumptions she was arguing from; whereas in the U.S. you NEVER challenge someone on your side (and presumably always attack whatever the other side say). Maybe the more we learn from each other the… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
16 years ago

But Dave, overfondness for shortbread is a moral issue. It’s gluttony, which is a mortal sin, whether or not the body of the glutton suffers from it. And +McGirth is defying the Church’s teaching by persisting in his gluttony. So (again supposing that heterosexual intercourse within lifelong marriage is the only Christian option), there is in fact no difference between +McGirth and +Robinson. Surely, Dave, you should be reacting in identical ways to both. So why do some make a difference between the two cases? I think the reason must simply be that, for whatever reason, they don’t take the… Read more »

Simeon
16 years ago

Charlotte is doing a wonderful job of getting right to the core issues of these topics lately, and holding some feet to the fire, too 😉 Good show!

So, “reasserters,” what about those greedy, wrathful, envious and/or gluttonous Christians (clergy or otherwise) ? How come they don’t seem to be in your crosshairs as thoroughly as one gay Bishop ?

J. C. Fisher
16 years ago

[NB to Charlotte— Very instructive about “Bishop McGirth”: I like the way you think!] “There is enough in the bible and tradition to form a basis for establishing their moral stance on most sexuality issues.” If it relates to sexual *orientation* (it is acting in accord w/ one’s homosexual orientation which is being criminalized, reprehensibly, in Uganda: to stay on topic, Simon ;-/), then there is far less than “enough.” There is, in fact Dave, *nothing* about it in the Bible (nor within what one could properly consider “tradition”, having stood less than a century’s time). “As some quicker wit… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

Charlotte: eating shortbread is no sin, unless it was stolen. Gluttonous overconsumption is a different matter. Where overconsumption begins is a matter of judgment. The comparison you attempt with homosexuality fails because sexual behavior outside of marriage is proscribed by the Bible, the Church’s tradition and the dictates of good reason as well. to use your analogy, sex outside marriage would be like eating stolen shortbread: it is taking something that does not belong to us.

DGus
DGus
16 years ago

Simeon asks, “what about those greedy, wrathful, envious and/or gluttonous Christians (clergy or otherwise)? How come they don’t seem to be in your crosshairs as thoroughly as one gay Bishop.” I can think of five reasons why the admitted homosexual acts of a Bishop would receive special attention compared to the greed, wrath, envy, and gluttony of other Christians: 1. Sexual sin imposes unique harms on the sinner: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18.) 2. Homosexual acts are objectively… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

Further: 1. There is no ‘right’ to homosexual marriage, since marriage is always between a man and a woman, despite the secularist (anti-Christian) efforts (and successes in some places) in the West to change the definition of marriage. It’s a matter of natural law known to all mankind. All that the Ugandan law does is clarify this fact and pre-empt any attempt (by judges or others) to change the law. There is no civil rights issue here. 2. Charlotte castigates traditional Christians for allegedly turning a blind eye to gluttony, acarice and other sins and obessing about homosexuality. Well, the… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

But all the above assumes that we agree with conservative theology. Martin, Gus – I don’t agree with it. So really, what you say makes little impact upon me. I am sure the reverse is true as well. These problems only occur because we share the same denominational space. In terms of Uganda, the life of gay people there is made extremely difficult – and whilst we can have neither influence upon or meaningful faith-based comment on Islamic regimes, the church can have a voice in Christian countries. The reality is that not only has the Church opposed change within,… Read more »

DGus
DGus
16 years ago

Dear MM: You say, “Gus – I don’t agree with it. So really, what you say makes little impact upon me. I am sure the reverse is true as well.” You don’t agree with what? Simeon’s implication was that it makes no sense for conservatives to treat the issue of a homosexual bishop differently from the way they treat other sin issues (such as gluttony). But he’s quite wrong. Even though you disagree with the conservative view of homosexuality, you must (I insist) allow that homosexuality take a different place in our public discussion of moral issues (for the five… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

I don’t believe that gay relationships are sinful in themselves, Gus, so the approach I take comes from a completely different starting place. I would disagree with all 5 of your points as I think they do not stand up to either reason or experience, and that Christianity which does not have those factors applied to them has little or nothing to offer. For me, its not only a case of what I think, it isn’t ‘theory’, given that I live within a long-term (over 13 years) same sex relationship. So, whilst what you think really is your business, I… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

Mike, I think I know what you don’t believe, but what you do believe about Christianity is unclear to me. I am far from certain, for example, what you mean by ‘liberal theology’, which is not a uniform or monolithic concept today, as it was more or less in the days of Hensley Henson. So as to avoid a dialog of the deaf, I’d be grateful if you could tell me what you believe about the following doctrinal points (which I accept in each case): God as an eternal Trinity of three consubstantial hypostases Y/N Jesus Christ the Incarnation of… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
16 years ago

DGus:

“3. Bishop Robinson admits to homosexual acts.”

Citations, please? Or do you mean the “homosexual act” of making dinner, or the “homosexual act” of jointly-owning a house, or the “homosexual act” making their wills, or the “homosexual act” of spoiling a grandchild, or what?

Stop making this *about sex*, when no homosexual couple does!

What +Gene Robinson and Mark Andrew, life-partners, do or don’t do, in the privacy of their own home—and which they *never* discuss—IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN AND GOD’S. Period!

Logs. In your own eyes, DGus. Get ’em out!

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

J.C. Fisher’s comments might make sense if Robinson was a private citizen and not one who purports to lead the historic and catholic Church of God. Does JCF think it would be OK for a single cleric occasionally to have sex with a prostitute in the privacy of his home?

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
16 years ago

Lambeth 1.10, The Windsor Report, previous and subsequent Primates Statements do not call homosexuality a sin, or express any view on it being a “disorder” or any such thing. The Windsor Report clearly rejected the option that homosexuality is proscribed by Divine Law, stating that it remains a matter for debate as there are widely differing opinions within and amongst Anglicanisms sister Churches. It is that reports only saving grace. It argues that while the diversity of opinion MAY not be a threat to unity – a diversity of practice in relation to the appointment of bishops is. It recognises… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
16 years ago

Martin ; I can’t see how tickbox theology as to what I do or do not believe has anything to do with this thread….funny how I have never seen a liberal do the same with a conservative, but I think that is largely because the conservative mindset is such a black/white, in/out way of approaching questions.

DGus
DGus
16 years ago

Dear JCF: There’s one funny feature of that “logs” passage (Matthew 7): One can never use it against anyone else, only against oneself. Each of us has to assume that it’s his own eye that has the log in it, and that it’s only a “moat” in his neighbor’s eye. Accuse someone else of “logs”, and immediately you’re the accuser with the log in your own eye. Jesus was being very tricky, eh? You say, “Stop making this *about sex*, when no homosexual couple does!” That’s almost amusing. But not quite. As you well know, conservatives’ only complaint with same-sex… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Martin Hambrook
16 years ago

Mike comments: ‘Martin ; I can’t see how tickbox theology as to what I do or do not believe has anything to do with this thread….funny how I have never seen a liberal do the same with a conservative, but I think that is largely because the conservative mindset is such a black/white, in/out way of approaching questions.’ What you dismiss as ‘tickbox theology’ is simply a convenient way of summarizing the cardinal points of classical christological orthodoxy as they are expressed in the Cathloic Creeds. I could have asked the questions differently, but I suspect you would still have… Read more »

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