Thinking Anglicans

developments in the Uganda story

Updated

Ruth Gledhill reports: Archbishop of Canterbury in ‘intensive’ efforts to combat Ugandan anti-gay death law.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has been criticised widely for failing to speak out against the new anti-gay law in Uganda that could see some homosexuals being executed. But there is method in his silence. Today, Lambeth Palace told me: ‘It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both national and diocesan level, with the local church will therefore remain intensive but private.’

And there is an excellent set of links there to what various other people have said recently on this topic.

Warren Throckmorton reports:
Extreme Prophetic declines to oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Is Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill part of reclaiming the 7 mountains of culture? – Part One
Addition Is Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill part of reclaiming the 7 mountains of culture, Part Two

He also provides links to the coverage of this story by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, here, and earlier here.

Update

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a statement, see Presiding Bishop expresses concern about Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill for the full text.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
41 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robin
Robin
11 years ago

After his repeated betrayals I now believe nothing that Rowan Williams says on this or on any other subject. He has achieved the seemingly impossible in making me sigh for the return of George Carey!

Bill Carroll
Bill Carroll
11 years ago

This is like the Chinese claim that their human rights record is an “internal matter” and that outsiders should not comment.

All Christians should feel free to tell the Ugandans that this bill is horrible and immoral and that it will lead to violence. Damn this culture of secrecy.

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
11 years ago

“It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter productive.”

It is very strange that the same logic did not seem to apply when the Archbishop waded in to the internal decision-making procedures of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention this Summer. Really, there does need to be a little more awareness of the appearance of hypocrisy and cant created by the Archbishop’s very selective interference in public ethical debate.

Pluralist
11 years ago

What does intense mean? Any put aside appointments, lots of telephone calls to Uganda? So what. And when is Sentamu next jumping out of an aeroplane?

toby forward
11 years ago

They came to Jesus for help, and he saith unto them: ‘It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the Temple or political opinion in Judea would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both national and Sanhedrin level, with the scribes and pharisees will therefore remain intensive but private.’
Ah, the Gospel of Lambeth – a faith to die for.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

Robin: If you knew what George Carey was up to in the USA this past summer when he met with and supported extreme right wingers who left the Episcopal Church USA to form the GAFCON groups, you would NOT wish for a return of George Carey!

Bill Moorhead
11 years ago

Although some of us would have wished that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori had made her statement a bit sooner, it is nevertheless thoughtful, measured, and very firm. My judgment is that it is a much better and more inclusive statement than a knee-jerk reaction a few weeks ago might have been. (Note her poke at the American schismatics — fully deserved, I think.) Once again, we on this side Pond are grateful for +Katharine’s ministry. I do hope that some valued friend of his will tell +Rowan that the “Anglican Covenant” is dead. Dead in the water. Dead, dead, dead.… Read more »

JPM
JPM
11 years ago

When did Williams ever hesitate to interfere publicly in the internal affairs of the Episcopal Church?

I’m with Robin; I, too, am beginning to miss George Carey. For all of his faults, he is no coward and no hypocrite.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

I am glad to see that KJS is now speaking up clearly and directly, and also nailing some of the Americans who are fomenting this horror. As someone else noted, His Fuzziness doesn’t mind trying to mix it up with our polity. He’s probably communing with the little box he keeps his spine and other equipment in.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

I’m with Robin; I, too, am beginning to miss George Carey. For all of his faults, he is no coward and no hypocrite. – JPM on Friday – Nor were Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin – but that did not make them friends of the LGBT community! Let’s get our priorities right here. Would you prefer and honest opponent of gays, or one who chooses the time and the curcumstances in which to affirm their human rights? Remember, Rowan is Head of the Church of England, whose colonial past ties them more securely to their ex-colonial Church partners than say,… Read more »

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

“When did Williams ever hesitate to interfere publicly in the internal affairs of the Episcopal Church?”

Hear, hear, JPM.

Re ++KJS: better late than never! (And I agree, it is a VERY good statement)

Re the Throckmorton-reported bits: very scary. Jesus said “My Kingdom is not of this world” and “I came to SERVE” . . . and yet we read of these (so-called) “Christians” who are all about “administrating spheres of influence”. Feh!

Rev Ivan Ackeroff
11 years ago

I notice that the “conservatives” at STAND FIRM are criticising Bishop Schori for her liberal attitude towards gay executions. But even the Stand Firm bible-believers may have a conscience. “If we rule out imprisonment and the death penalty, what punishment should be prescribed by sodomy laws?” asks one devout believer. “How about something akin to a speeding ticket with a fine” advises Matt Kennedy. Perhaps after accruing too may points on one’s gay licence that an execution is appropriate.
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/25081

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

The problem with “private” conversations is that they’re, well, private. If the Archbishop privately says something along the lines of “I say old chaps, this bill is most uncivilized. Kindly leave the homosexuals alone.” and the Ugandans reply with “With all due respect to Your Grace, mind you own business!” then a frank exchange of opinions has occurred, His Archbishopness can smugly report same — and nothing will change. The Ugandans know that. Regimes like private exhchanges, because they know they can continue business as usual. I did like the Presiding Bishop’s statement, especially her denunciation of American interference in… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
11 years ago

Let’s all say it together: “Attempts to publicly influence” the Episcopal Church “would be divisive and counter productive.”

Canterbury’s tactical judgment seems highly selective.

Leonardo Ricardo
11 years ago

Go ahead ++Rowan and ++John/York, speak outloud in front of US…we can take it (afterall The Ugandan religious folk are trying to murder us and YOU want to be discreet?)! Shabby. I believe it to be shabby that ++John, Lord of York, escapee from Idi Amin, refugee to England, Asylum Granted person in the U.K. doesn´t want to ¨interfer¨ with critical and deadly issues at his homeland…President Idi Amin has been replaced with someone who quietly ALLOWS the persecution of LGBT Anglican/others…wait, ++John and others, is that the sound of tens of thousands of LGBT immigrants (like YOU) who are… Read more »

BillyD
11 years ago

“”If we rule out imprisonment and the death penalty, what punishment should be prescribed by sodomy laws?” asks one devout believer. “How about something akin to a speeding ticket with a fine” advises Matt Kennedy” Well, the exchange went somewhat differently. After Fr. Kennedy too the PB to task for speaking out against the measure (trying to play the race card while he was at it), someone asked him if he supported the bill. He responded that he was okay with sodomy laws, but against imprisoning or killing us if we break them. This resulted in someone asking him what… Read more »

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Is it more important that +Rowan has a big splash in the press we can all read, or is it more important to avoid this bill becoming law? I don’t know Uganda particularly well, but I’ve lived in Africa and worked with and around the continent all my professional life. Given the post-colonial legacy, if you want something to become law, then denounce it from England. If you want to prevent it, quiet diplomacy will be more effective. I’m really struggling with the strident desire for +Rowan to dash to the microphones. That may make us all feel better, but… Read more »

Terry Pannell
Terry Pannell
11 years ago

Publicly naming codified terrorism for what it is is counter productive? If history is any indication, it hasn’t worked too well in the past.

Repressionist regimes (secular & ecclesial)retain their power by silencing people through intimidation, threats and violence. Canterbury’s response telling us to mind our own business and let them take care of things is hardly reassuring, especially given Lambeth’s recent track record.

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

Leonardo, you can’t possibly expect ++John of York to compare his situation to GLBT Ugandans, can you? Why, ++John is straight! And, yes I’m being sarcastic. The world is rife with religious and secular leaders who are sanctimonious hypocrites. Sadly, it is not unheard of, either in the Church (broadly defined) or outside it, for the persecuted to become the persecutors or the persecutors’ supporters. As far as ++Rowan and his approach towards TEC and Uganda, he knows that TEC won’t fight back. TEC will self-examine, agonize, express humility, while Uganda will tell him forcefully where to go. Much easier… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.’ – Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori – This paragraph in the TEC Primate’s statement of condemnation of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexualty Bill is seminal – for it’s insistence on her own constituency’s (TEC’s) need… Read more »

Prior Aelred
11 years ago

I am puzzled by the suggestion that speaking out against a law that proposes the death penalty for gays & imprisonment for anyone who doesn’t denounce them could make things worse.

How?

Spirit of Vatican II
11 years ago

Excellent statement from the Presiding Bishop — though why so late?

Spirit of Vatican II
11 years ago

Stuart does make a troubling point: dashing to the microphone may just be counter-productive. But an implication might be that none of us should say anything because the international outcry itself makes the Ugandans more entrenched. Many will be voting for the antigay law because not to do so would jeopardize them in the forthcoming elections.

MarkBrunson
11 years ago

The PB has issued her own October Manifesto to stop the peasants’ revolution.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Is there any real evidence that quiet church intervention behind the scenes has ever resulted in changing an aggressor’s policies? This is a genuine question – I still remember those who opposed economic boycotts of South Africa although black South Africans were repeatedly and loudly asking for them. The church has already publicly condemned the violence in the Congo and has strongly criticised Robert Mugabe. If silence and working behind the scenes are better – why has it done that? On what basis do people decide when speaking out is better and when acting behind the scenes makes sense? What… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

“Would you prefer and honest opponent of gays, or one who chooses the time and the curcumstances in which to affirm their human rights?”

Only… he doesn’t do that 🙁

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
11 years ago

Of course should ++Rowan ever set foot in Uganda wouldn’t he also be subject to the death penalty for his own behaviour and writings?

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
11 years ago

Does anyone know if there has ever been a Lambeth Resolution on capital punishment?

Robin
Robin
11 years ago

> Would you prefer an honest opponent of gays, or one who chooses the time and the circumstances in which to affirm their human rights?

Fr Ron, I’d prefer the honest opponent. At least he’s…. erm….. honest.

Fr Mark
Fr Mark
11 years ago

Stuart, I am sure there is a lot in what you say about the appropriacy of quiet diplomacy from the representatives of a former colonial power in an African context. However, both Archbishops of Canterbury and York are given to intervening frequently in public debate about ethics in a rather grandstanding way. The Archbishop of Canterbury has a lot to say about the ethical values of society – recently about the banking system; and next week is flying (sic) to Copenhagen to attempt to have his voice heard amongst the global political leaders and environmentalists meeting to discuss climate change.… Read more »

JPM
JPM
11 years ago

Ron, hardly a week seem to go by when we in the U.S. don’t have Williams or Tom Wright here scolding us for being such naughty colonials.

Clearly their fear of playing the colonialist is mighty selective.

As for Williams vs. Carey, I would rather have my enemy standing in front of me than slipping up silently behind me.

john
john
11 years ago

‘Would it not be appropriate for a Ugandan who himself found refuge in the UK from human rights abuse to make a strong public denunciation of this human rights abuse in his own country? Would that not be the most effective voice of all? If he won’t make any public on this issue, then what moral credibility will he have when he does so on any other ethical issue?’

Couldn’t have put it better myself, Father Mark. Gosh, actually I did say something pretty similar myself! Not accusing you of plagiarism: the point seems so obvious and so cogent.

Oriscus
Oriscus
11 years ago

re the discussion at StandFirm: I notice it didn’t take long before one of them latched onto +Jefferts Schori’s “Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine” and beat it with their “she denies the uniqueness of Christ” stick.

Lord have mercy.

Charlotte
Charlotte
11 years ago

The Diocese of Los Angeles (TEC) has just elected two suffragan bishops. One is a partnered Lesbian.

So: Let’s start a pool. How many minutes does each of you think will have passed before an official spokesperson for the Church of England — perhaps even the Archbishop of Canterbury himself — publicly denounces the Episcopal Church? Thirty minutes? Forty-five? As many as ninety?

Then compare with the inaction on the Ugandan laws, and be glad they don’t want us in their church any more.

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

This late on a Saturday evening in the UK, I doubt there will be a quick reaction, Charlotte.

But another comparison to be made is with public statements after the election of Eva Brunne in Stockholm. I am still waiting for that…

Joseph
Joseph
11 years ago

I don’t think it would be wise for the Archbishop of York to make a statement, because I believe he has family in Uganda and they might be at risk if he should denounce the pending legislation.

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
11 years ago

Just listening to the Archbishop of York’s homilies interspersed between excerpts of Handel’s Messiah performed live by the Huddersfield Choral Society on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday service this morning.

A most refined performance. As Primate of All England, it’s over to Him to sort out the dross in the House of bishops…

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
11 years ago

And if one of his family members happens to be gay, would s/he be safer if ABY spoke out … or kept mum?

Simon Sarmiento
11 years ago

Well there you have it Charlotte. The answer was ELEVEN HOURS.

Prior Aelred
11 years ago

Simon — I think Charlotte wins this one.

41
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x