Thinking Anglicans

Uganda: the church must speak up

Savi Hensman has written at Cif belief about A new homophobic law in Uganda. Some extracts below. Read the whole article for links to source documents.

Every day millions of Christians pray to be spared from being put to the test. For some in Uganda, where an anti-homosexuality bill (pdf) is being put to parliament, this prayer may be especially deeply felt. This extremely unpleasant proposed law targets not only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people but also human rights and Aids prevention activists and people in positions of trust. While some in the church are backing the bill, other Christians face a challenge to the principles at the heart of their faith…

The bill is a particular challenge for Christians because clergy have helped to whip up fear and hatred and undermine respect for human rights. Nicodemus Okille, Dean of the Province of Uganda, in his Christmas sermon in 2007 as Bishop of Bukedi, reportedly condemned advocates of gay rights as having no place in the kingdom of God. “The team of homosexuals is very rich,” claimed Archbishop Henry Orombi in 2008. “They have money and will do whatever it takes to make sure that this vice penetrates Africa. We have to stand out and say no to them.” However Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi-Kitara diocese has recently spoken out against the death penalty for homosexuality, while supporting imprisonment….

…Anglican leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury have avoided challenging their Ugandan associates’ complicity in anti-LGBT abuses while soundly condemning Anglican provinces moving towards equality for all.

Sixty years ago, the Anglican Communion was at the forefront of the drive for universal human rights. Though commitment to rights for all, including LGBT people, has been repeatedly endorsed at international gatherings, and many churches are passionately committed, it now tends to be referred to in vague terms by top leaders. But they will have to decide how to respond to this legislation, especially since their own Ugandan-born clergy and parishioners will be affected. What they do, or fail to do, will affect their ability to witness to a God who does not abandon the abused and exploited. These are testing times.

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ErikaBakerUK
ErikaBakerUK
11 years ago

Finally!
A couple of weeks ago Inclusive Church published a sample letter that people could send to their bishops.
http://www.inclusivechurch2.net/Inclusive-Church-October-20-09-41def4a

People living in the UK can also lobby their MP.

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
11 years ago

Leave it to a newspaper reporter to say what the ACC is too chicken to mumble about.

Shame on ++Canterbury!

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
11 years ago

Oh it´s worse than that…the very fact that we ¨soften¨ the thuggery with words of ¨challenge¨ is missing the point…James Buturo, Minister of Ethics and Morals ¨fear and hate¨ campaign is a religiouslike centered pogrom that calls for murder and long sentences of jail for accomplices such as those who ¨minister¨ to LGBT people our families and friends…even Anglican Bishop heterosexual Christopher Ssenyonjo, Retired bishop of West Buganda, Uganda, was excommunicated by Archbishop Orombi after establishing a ministry for gay and lesbian believers in his community of marginalized/persecuted LGBT Anglicans…we NEED FAR MORE than whispers of ¨what ought we do¨… Read more »

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

Thank you Leonardo Ricardo!!
And “Deo Gratias!” for people like Savi Hensman for speaking out. Something has got to be done.
The silence is absolutely deafening. ABC Williams instantly reacts to any move in TEC, while showing absolute blindness to what’s going on in Uganda. Is his desire for keeping the Communion together so strong that it comes at any cost to human dignity?
I’ve written my own bishop. I may be better off writing to my elected members in the US Congress and to our State Dept.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

Horrible, horrible!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

Silence from Rowan++ is just deafening. Is he afraid to offend Ratzi? By contrast, today President Obama signed legislation aimed at reponsing to hate crimes, and for the first time, glbt people were explicitly mentioned as a protected class.

I am hoping that when he learns of it, Phred Phelps’ head explodes.

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
11 years ago

However did the ABC get himself manoeuvred into this position? I will write. I will pray. I will also rage at intervals.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“The bill is a particular challenge for Christians because clergy have helped to whip up fear and hatred and undermine respect for human rights. Nicodemus Okille, Dean of the Province of Uganda, in his Christmas sermon in 2007 as Bishop of Bukedi, reportedly condemned advocates of gay rights as having no place in the kingdom of God. “The team of homosexuals is very rich,” claimed Archbishop Henry Orombi in 2008. “They have money and will do whatever it takes to make sure that this vice penetrates Africa. We have to stand out and say no to them.” – Savi Henseman… Read more »

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

No matter how many letters of protest flood The Archbishop of Canterbury from lay people, clergy and bishops around the world, Rowan Williams remains silent. His failure to speak up regarding the most recent developments with Rome and the violent developments against glbt people and their supporters in Uganda tells me Rowan is a dysfunctional leader who is also displaying the traits of a coward. I used to think he was the kind of man who would stand up for the disenfranchised people on this planet. It is very sad and pathetic that he remains silence at such a crucial… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
11 years ago

Williams says nothing because he is a spineless coward who doesn’t care about anything which might threaten the human organisation he worships – organised religionism. I despise him.

Spirit of Vatican II
11 years ago

The proposed First Tier in the two-tier Anglicanism proposed by the Covenant seems to be people with murderers. Shame.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

“No matter how many letters of protest flood The Archbishop of Canterbury from lay people, clergy and bishops around the world, Rowan Williams remains silent. His failure to speak up regarding the most recent developments with Rome and the violent developments against glbt people and their supporters in Uganda tells me Rowan is a dysfunctional leader” yes – but worse – he is a moral coward. He is despicable. He did not decry the proposed legislation in Nigeria. He is silent now. There is a rude southern US saying, that I now will apply to Rowan – and pardon if… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

Oh, and by the way, I would also like to hear a word from our own Presiding Bishop.

KJS – where are you?

BillyD
11 years ago

People in some non-Western nations often seem to say that homosexuality is a corrupt Western practice foreign to their own culture (I once had a Serbian Orthodox priest tell me in Confession that there were no gay people in Serbia). I think what they really mean is that not killing gay people is a corrupt Western practice foreign to their culture.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

I’m with Billy D ;=)

Kevin Montgomery
Kevin Montgomery
11 years ago

As for letters and such to the ABC, I wonder how many actually get to him. It’s quite common for people in those positions to be very isolated and even cocooned. Depending on who the gatekeepers are, what he does receive might be fairly slanted. That’s not to take away responsibility from Rowan. He can’t possibly be THAT clueless about what’s going on. Does anyone know what kind of people he has on staff who would be controlling the flow of information to him?

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

BillyD, people in Western countries suffer the same delusion about GLBT people being non-existent. I used work with a legislative advocacy group on behalf of GLBT people. I would have conversations with rural legislators in Colorado who insisted that there were no GLBT people in his district, that we were all in decadent Denver!

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

I think that prayers for Archbishop Rowan, which I offer every day, need to be substituted for the wrath that is being poured on him by many of our supporters of women and the LGBT community around the world at this time. “There are more things wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. I just would not like to take on the tremendous responsibility Rowan has for doing his best to keep the Anglican Communion together. Perhaps the time has come for the Communion to be shaken up and stirred, so that homophobes and misogynists might be ‘let go’.… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
11 years ago

Gee folks we’re Anglicans; one may be angry with Rowan Williams for his silence and his ineffectual leadership on hot button controversies; and pray deeply-warmly for him at the same time. Regards the former, our dilemma is that his faults stretch large over all of us thanks to his position – an bullhorn amplification that harrows even the person himself, probably. Regards the latter, either we are a praying community, deeply rooted in incarnational theologies, or we are what the evangelical and Anglo-Catholic right wings consistently try to mistake us as being. Speak up, discern, investigate, decode, pray, give thanks… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

“As for letters and such to the ABC, I wonder how many actually get to him.”

I wrote to His Silence some time ago, objecting to his use of language about glbt people. {it was an email]. I got an email back from some functionary that was along the lines of “Thank you for your comments.” I doubt he reads anything that hasn’t been vetted by someone – probably someone even more prejudiced and clueless than Himself.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

I respect Father Ron Smith’s post about The Archbishop of Canterbury, in this thread. I think the reason most people of good will are upset by The Archbishop’s silence at this time is because they expect a man such as Rowan to stand up for ALL HUMAN BEINGS when violence and hatred are being perpetuated upon them. After-all, he made a statement about the Environment today, so why does he fail to address the Church in Uganda. It’s the spiritual power his office carries, I understand he has no power over bishops who act in in Uganda, but sometimes there… Read more »

Dennis
Dennis
11 years ago

He has already shown himself willing to insert himself in the internal affairs of other churches with his comments on gay bishops and unions and how troubling women bishops are to those poor oppressed Anglo-Catholics. That he doesn’t comment on this tells us a lot about this man – and none of it is good. He should resign. People should march in Canterbury demanding that he resign. He should be met with catcalls and heckling everywhere he goes. People of goodwill should get up and openly walk out of services when he steps into a pulpit. He has reduced the… Read more »

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

Does the Queen of England as Supreme Governor of the Church have the authority to request that The Archbishop of Canterbury relinquish his throne and step down? Has this ever happened?

DeaconScott
DeaconScott
11 years ago

Cynthia Gilliatt wrote earlier:

“Oh, and by the way, I would also like to hear a word from our own Presiding Bishop. KJS – where are you?”

I really don’t think it would matter too much if she spoke up. She would be written off, as she usually is.

What *would* carry some weight would be if some of the moderate or “orthodox” American bishops were to write publicly in condemnation. John Howe, William Love, Don Wimberley, Mike Klusmeyer. Let’s hear from guys like these.

MarkBrunson
MarkBrunson
11 years ago

So, we are supposed to excuse the coward Williams because he allows himself to be isolated? Is he in a lead-lined box in a bunker somewhere, that he doesn’t know about the Ugandan monstrosity?

He is fully culpable for his silence. Sometimes, the best thing to pray for people to have is consequences.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Scott
it doesn’t matter how speaking up would be perceived, everyone has a moral duty to speak up very loudly, and the higher up the hierarchy you are, the more important it is that you do not appear to condone violence like this.

Even if you look at it from a purely practical point of view, can you imagine how they will pounce on KJS whenever she tries to make a moral statement in the future, having clearly shown herself to be selective by not responding now? Her opponents would rightly have a field day.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“it doesn’t matter how speaking up would be perceived” It matters a great deal, Erika. If our speaking up will only inflame people and make them more likely to carry out the acts of violence we are opposing, then our speaking out will have had exactly the opposite effect we want. To refine this a bit, it matters a great deal HOW we speak up, I guess. I think it’s pretty obvious that Uganda, or Nigeria will use any protest against this as yet another example of the arrogant authoritarianism of “the West” that is keeping Africans oppressed, as more… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Ford
leaving aside the question of whether speaking out is necessarily counter productive or not – what, precisely, are you doing to help these people? And what, precisely, would you suggest others do?
Or are you saying that in order not to make their lives worse we remain quiet when others are making their lives worse?

I will credit that your view has some kind of morality I cannot at the moment detect. Please tell me how you would counterbalance the detrimental effects of just looking on.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

Ford, I am inclined to agree with you – to the extent that uncoordinated action against the policy of Uganda could do more harm than good; not just to the victims of this discrimination against the LGBT Community there, but also the individuals who voice their concern. The dangers of Western Church and Governmental authorities speaking out individually against the governments (& Churches) of the Global South countries which seek to reinforce the entrenched prejudices of the pre-enlightenment era, are legion. We are not just battling pre-historic attitudes in colonial churches here – but the cultural inheritance of ex-colonial government.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“Please tell me how you would counterbalance the detrimental effects of just looking on.? Where did I ever suggest that we only look on? There is a vast difference between sitting back and doing nothing on the one hand and going off half cocked, insulting and further enraging people who now have the power to enact a genocide against gay people in Uganda. 30s style appeasement is also not an option. But they have already painted homosexuality as an something imported by white people to oppress Africans. Gay people are “not African”, even AIDS is a white plot to keep… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
11 years ago

“An something imported”

How very G and S of me!

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