Thinking Anglicans

African bishops conference: more reports

Two reports in the Ugandan Daily Monitor.

The first is dated last Wednesday and is titled Nsibambi lauds bishops for rejecting homosexuality.

The Prime Minister, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, has commended African bishops for rejecting the practice of homosexuality in the church. “I thank the church in Africa for being exemplary by not accepting homosexuality… they see that it is not acceptable in the society where they serve,” Prof. Nsibambi said yesterday during an opening service of the second All Africa Bishops Conference in Entebbe. He, however, added: “We should not persecute them (homosexuals) but I think it is wrong and we cannot recognise them because it is wrong like ordaining a gay bishop.”

The second, dated tomorrow, Sunday, is titled African bishops unite to denounce homosexuality.

…Breeding disunity
“Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon in the society but the only trouble is that the issues dividing us (church) now are very difficult to handle. They are threatening the unity of the church because they disobey the authority of the scriptures,” says Bishop Okoh. He says homosexuality is a result of some people engaged in making their culture to be superior to the biblical teachings. “It is two sided; while some people want to be obedient to their culture to determine the content of the church, others say no and it must be the guidance of the bible,” he added.

The primates describe homosexuality as an imposed interpretation and alien culture that has hindered the growth of an authentic church which could respond to its people. “We are saying homosexuality is not compatible with the word of God. We are saying that this culture of other people is against the traditional belief of marriage held by the Anglican Communion,” says the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi. Bishop Orombi says that the Anglican Church will never accept homosexuality because the scriptures too do not allow people of same sex to join in marriage.

Evil practice
“Homosexuality is evil, abnormal and unnatural as per the Bible. It is a culturally unacceptable practice. Although there is a lot of pressure, we cannot turn our hands to support it,” says Bishop Orombi…

And further on:

..The Archbishop of the Province of Indian Ocean, Ian Ernest, says the bishops have to courageously raise their voices to counteract the false ideologies that creep into the church and put at stake the mission that Christ has entrusted to his church. “We cannot afford to continue to lurch from one crisis to the next in our beloved Communion. Despite attempts to warn some western provinces, action has been taken to irrevocably shatter the Communion. Sadly existing structures of the Anglican Communion have been unable to address the need for discipline,” says Bishop Ernest, the chairman of CAPA. He says the teachings of homosexuality are irrelevant to the needs of Africans and are unrepresentative demographically hence the need for new structures that are credible and representative of the majority.

The anti-homosexuality voices from the bishops are a likely boost to proponents of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009), before the Ugandan Parliament which proposes life imprisonment for acts of homosexuality and introduces “aggravated homosexuality” as a serious crime.

According to the proposed law, offenders must face death if they have sex with a minor or a disabled person, or are found to have infected their partners with HIV/Aids. The proposed law, if passed in its current shape, would also punish attempted homosexuality as well as the failure of a third party to inform the authorities of homosexual activity.

Bishop Orombi says the primates in Africa have since shared their stand with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. Bishop Okoh says Africa has various challenges of disease, young widows, divorce, single motherhood, poverty which affect the church. “The issue of moral failure in the community is another problem to the church. But we have to work hard to ensure that the church of God is not divided by some practices like the ordination of women clergy which we are still studying,” he says.

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Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Rowan Williams continues to remain absolutely silent on this important development in Africa. It is a shameful and cowardly demeanor for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Every time there is a virulent attack against gay human beings such as this latest attack by the Prime Minister and many but not all of the bishops of Africa, Rowan just crawls into his cave and misses the opportunity to stand up for the disenfranchised and marginalized groups in the Anglican Communion. It sickens me.

Bill Dilworth
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““It is two sided; while some people want to be obedient to their culture to determine the content of the church…”

“Homosexuality is evil, abnormal and unnatural as per the Bible. It is a culturally unacceptable practice.”

So, when those in the West support gay rights, we are guilty of giving in to our culture, and that’s bad. But when Africans refuse to recognize even the existence of gay rights, they are justifiably holding up their own culture. I’m confused.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

It’s the same law they were trying to pass before. Nothing’s changed. And @Chris Smith, I agree. None of this can come as a surprise to any of us.

What is shameful is that Trinity Wall Street–a US Episcopal Church — was a funder of this conference. I don’t expect the Church of Uganda to return the money, but we should certainly never help make such shenanigans possible again.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Let’s face it – Rowan is a moral coward. Very bright, of course – you’d have to be, to write many books. But no moral sense at all.

Glad he was not ABC during the lead up to WW2. Would have made old Neville look like a statesman. Would he have said that the West should be understanding about the cultural penumbra of the death camps?

This day 47 years ago, MLK proclaimed “I have dream …” Can anyone imagine Rowan making such a speech on behalf of lgbt people?

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Do I detect a note of panic in the Ugandan bishop’s rhetoric? He seems to be arguing against an enemy within, in Uganda itself. The attack on the West may be a strategic ploy to make pro-gay forces in Uganda look like Western puppets. I recall that when Anglican bishops got sodomy made a capital offense in Ireland in the 17th century, the first person to be executed was a bishop who had pushed for the measure.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

We have seen many telling moments over the last few years and I think this is another important milestone in the steady disintegration of the Anglican Communion as we have known it. The “middle ground” promoted by Lambeth and represented here by Ian Earnest has been thoroughly trounced it appears. The “cut off the two extremes” mantra that guided Lambeth policies has been shown to be the hopeless illusion it ever was. The main ACO speakers are sacked – though strangely some survived – the work of undermining the ACC by such as Radner and Seitz has born its fruit.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Homosexuality is evil, abnormal and unnatural as per the Bible. It is a culturally unacceptable practice. Although there is a lot of pressure, we cannot turn our hands to support it,” says Bishop Orombi. – Archbishop Orombi @ Entebbe – This is proof positive of the intransigence of a highly-placed Anglican Communion Archbishop’s failure to grasp the reality of the situation vis-a-vis human sexuality and the place of same-sex relationships among God’s human children. Despite Orombi’s supposition that ‘there are no active homosexuals in Africa’, this is blatantly untrue. What is needed from the ACO is a strong state-ment of… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Since we believe that God made man in his own image, and not just some men (and women) but ALL then either he has made a dreadful mistake somewhere along the line or he has done it deliberately to ensure that some 5% of humanity will always be condemned by Him and the church. That 5% includes men and women in Africa too where the church seems eager to identify itself in opposition those who are Gay and Lesbian. Alternatively, of course, we could just be notorious sinners who refuse to repent. The African and other parts of the church… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“The primates describe homosexuality as an imposed interpretation and alien culture that has hindered the growth of an authentic church which could respond to its people.”

Can somebody explain what this means? O_o

JPM
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JPM

JCF, I think that particular chunk of verbiage boils down to, “Whitey did it.”