Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON: unheavenly silence

Comment is free has published An unheavenly silence on homophobia by Riazat Butt.

…Last night, the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, said the Gafcon movement would liberate people from religious bondage and would offer a spiritual haven for those who could not live under a “revisionist leadership”. It sounds appealing to the millions of Anglicans disillusioned with western churches. But a press conference revealed acute differences of opinion between the bishops, especially, and most worryingly, on the subject of raping and torturing homosexuals.

A question from Iain Baxter, a media representative from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, aroused expressions of disbelief and outright denial from the primates. The name of his organisation raised a discomfiting titter. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya and is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or death.

Archbishops from these countries were on the panel. They said they could not influence government policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legislation, nor could they condone homosexual behaviour because their churches would be shut down. They added one could not break the taboos of African society without suffering the consequences.

Presumably, these cultural constraints justify the punishment meted out to Prossy Kakooza, Baxter’s example of someone tortured because of her sexual orientation. She was arrested, marched naked for two miles to a police station, raped and beaten.

Akinola did not condemn these acts. Neither did the other African archbishops. Orombi said he had never heard of people being tortured because of their homosexuality, that when he learned about incidents – from the western media – he was at a loss to understand why he had not heard of them. He refused to accept that persecuting and torturing gay people was done openly in Uganda…

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robroy
robroy
13 years ago

The bit that Ms Butt refers to was an example of yellow journalism at its seediest:

Asked at the news conference, “I did not hear you condemn the use of torture or rape.”

Mr Smith, when did you stop beating your wife?

A little journalistic integrity would be appreciated. (e.g., Ms Butt, ABp Akinola did NOT accuse Rowan Williams of apostasy as you wrote. In fact, he stated explicitly, that RW was a brother and not an apostate. He did state that RW’s leadership decisions are abetting the apostates.)

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Rape and torture occurs in these places. It is not hidden, it is open, it is–for all intents and purposes–official policy. And the questioner is correct: No one has heard these primates speak out against this.

Robroy, you think it is not a fair question to ask of a Christian leader?

Davis d'Ambly
Davis d'Ambly
13 years ago

“They said they could not influence government policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legislation, nor could they condone homosexual behaviour because their churches would be shut down. ” Riazat Butt

Oddly enough I had thought that the Archbishop of Nigeria had done just that – lobbied the government in favor of such laws. Am I incorrect?

MJ
MJ
13 years ago

Well, robroy, here is the transcript as provided by Stand Firm. Those not completely in denial can see that: 1. +Akinola himself supports Nigerian legislation that jails gay people. 2. When confronted with a concrete example of torture and rape he said nothing in condemnation of it, as any person with an ounce of humanity would. He merely reiterates that Nigeria has the right to punish homosexuals. 3. +Orombi claims no knowledge of torture of homosexuals in Uganda. This is laughable. Someone teach him to Google. 4. It took +Jensen to finally condemn it ON THEIR BEHALF. Why did he… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
13 years ago

I met Riazat when she came to Rome to cover the Archbishop of York’s visit last January. I was duly impressed by her then and she hasn’t disappointed.

badman
badman
13 years ago

robroy, the transcript speaks for itself. The answers were evasive and the question was apt.

You would be more convincing if (like Jensen) you sometimes recognised the indefensible and did not always seek to defend it.

Shooting the messenger has a long tradition but it is not an honourable one.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Read: The Times Ruth Gledhill Rebel bishop accuses Dr Rowan Williams over ‘apostasy’ and on her blog, Archbishop Akinola on error and apostasy under More on Gafcon below, Robroy.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“Mr Smith, when did you stop beating your wife?” So the story of the Ugandan woman was made up? Or is to be ignored because she doesn’t fit your prejudice? So the law that would have jailed supporters of homosexuals for up to 5 years which Akinola supported should not be mentioned in polite society because it puts him in a bad light? I really don’t understand you. Your position would be much strengthened if you admitted that rape, torture and jailing of gay people is wrong. Why is it so hard for you to just oppose homosexuals on theological… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

The fact they support discriminatory laws says it all. Essentially, they are so homophobic that they fail to even see the depth of their prejudice

counterlight
counterlight
13 years ago

Here’s some more “yellow journalism” for Robroy.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Believers follow Akinola and company at their own peril – much more dangerous than, say, listening to a sermon by VGR the New Hampshire bishop. Why? Because the linchpin of traditional straight privileges to do or threaten violence is the traditional glue that holds the whole antigay thang together in one piece. Doing and threatening violence is key, as with any organized social or religious theory of dominance and submission. Having many times been targeted by white supremacy theories, one would have foolishly supposed that African church leaders would have been able to make the connections. Alas, not for now.… Read more »

Rob Leduc
Rob Leduc
13 years ago

“They added one could not break the taboos of African society without suffering the consequences.”

So the excuse for refusing to condemn torture is that the church is meant to accommodate local culture, even at the expense of the gospel? I thought that was what they were accusing the west of doing.

Rob Leduc
Rob Leduc
13 years ago

robroy “Mr. Smith, have you stopped beating your wife?”

No robroy, asking someone to condemn acts of violence against people is not a “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” question. All they have to do is to say what Archbishop Jensen said. But then they have to live that response in their home countries as well, or else they are shaping the faith to be subservient to local culture.

counterlight
counterlight
13 years ago

Oh heck! My link didn’t work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FannyAnn_Eddy

Apologies to Simon.

bls
bls
13 years ago

“So the excuse for refusing to condemn torture is that the church is meant to accommodate local culture, even at the expense of the gospel? I thought that was what they were accusing the west of doing.”

Yes, it is – and this is what they have always been doing: accommodating the culture, specifically.

It’s just finally being recognized for what it is.

Malcolm+
13 years ago

I swear, I can’t tell whether Peter Akinola is evil, or merely stupid. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that he really has never heard of violence against homosexuals. (Not a credible assumption, I grant, but let’s play along.) How hard would it have been to say: “I have never heard of such violence against homosexuals, but obviously I could not condone it.” Not hard at all, really. Instead, he and Orombi dance around the issue – to the point that even a homophobe like Jensen of Sydney is too embarrassed to let it go on. Well, one… Read more »

Treebeard
Treebeard
13 years ago

‘Robroy’ brings shame on decent people -let alone those claiming to follow the gospels of Jesus.

The African bishops seem not to realize how they come across in UK, and that’s a cultural thing. (Especially the Nigerian bishop on radio 4 5pm and 6pm News today). The more they rail against Rowan and us queers, the worse they sound to (most) people in the UK.

What on earth were CMS doing in Africa for all those years ?

pete hobson
pete hobson
13 years ago

It’s absolutely true that Akinola and Orombi don’t seem to be aware how they come over to most UK people, Christian or not. Or else they only talk to UK Christians who agree with them. But in the same way UK Christians are also likely to be unaware of how they come over in the majority of Nigerian or Ugandan cultures. The strength of feeling against past and present Western imperialism cannot be ignored as blithely as some appear to do. I think it’s legitimate for Malcolm+ to postulate that they either hadn’t heard, or were disposed not to believe,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

The real silence in the Holy City of Jerusalem is the GAFCON silence on the teaching of our Blessed Lord on marriage annd divorce. Because they can’t agree it has been neatly brushed away and only Genesis referred to in both the hand book and Akinola’s sermon.

Furthermore jensen is keeping silence,. he sees the ordiantion of women priests as heretical, but he will not upset the Kenyan, Ugandan and Rwandan primates!

Devious Silence is not just linked to homophobia.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“I think it’s legitimate for Malcolm+ to postulate that they either hadn’t heard, or were disposed not to believe, of violence against gay people, including the specific example quoted, and that their own cultural milieu dictated the, to our ears, evasive answers they gave.” I’m sorry, Pete, Archbishop Akinola knows very well that Davis Mac-Iyalla was thrown out of his church and his job because he admitted to being gay. He knows that Davis was held in a police cell without food and very little water for 3 days. He knows that Davis was beaten. And he knows that Davis… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

Robert Ian is spot on.

Much more needs to be made of the glaring holes in this unholy alliance.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“They added one could not break the taboos of African society without suffering the consequences.” So much for their claims that Christians are called to be countercultural, then. “Why is it so hard for you to just oppose homosexuals on theological grounds without needing to use a whole quarry full of rocks to stone them with?” Fascinating, isn’t it, Erika? And no matter how many times you point out how this kind of thing shows that their real motivation isn’t concern for the Gospel, the more you point out how the unexamined assumptions and hatreds are so clear in these… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
13 years ago

I don’t know why some souls are now preaching they are against violence to any individuals. They didn’t have a problem going to the pulpit on 16 January 2005 to spout off about Judgement Day and how many souls who had died in the tsunami were going to hell. In all the frothing at the mouth for their new heaven expunged of all the “ungodly” who are consigned to hell and death, such selfish souls have forgotten that this earth was not made to be empty but to be inhabited (see Isaiah 45:18). Of course, they can tout off that… Read more »

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