We have heard much in the run-up to the delayed Lambeth Conference about walking together as a communion — a communion whose Primates have pledged to work against homophobia.
Updated 25 October and 26 October
The Telegraph reported last week: Ghana’s parliament to vote on what could be world’s toughest anti-gay laws
From the USA, both the Living Church and Episcopal Café have also reported this story:
The Anglican bishops of Ghana have issued this statement:
We, the House of Bishops representing the Anglican Church, Ghana (Internal Province of Ghana) have thrown our weight behind the anti-gay (LGBTQI+) Bill currently before the House of Parliament, Ghana. Our support is borne out of the belief that LGBTQI+ “is unbiblical and ungodly”.
We see LGBTQI+ as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition.
We further state that, aside Christianity, the Ghanaian tradition and culture do not permit such act. This is about morality today and that of the future generation yet unborn. We as leaders must leave a legacy everyone will be proud of. Christ- like legacy of hope. It will be recalled that earlier on in the year, (28th February 2021) during the enthronement of His Grace, the Most Reverend Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith as Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and all Angels, AsanteMampong, His Excellency the President of Ghana in no uncertain terms, condemned this unholy act.
The Anglican Church, Ghana sees this homosexual practice as an act condemned by scriptures both in the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 20:13 clearly declares that, a male lying with a fellow male is an abomination and punishable by death. Similarly, in the New Testament, Paul speaks of homosexuality as “contrary to sound doctrine” as recorded in 1 Timothy 1:10 ‘for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine’ It must be noted in our earlier declaration that, the church does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities that they perform.
We therefore appeal to our members and the public not to embark on any form of harassment, intimidation, hostilities etc. on individuals or groups associated with LGBTQI+ but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ.
We as a church assures that, we will gladly open our counselling and support centres for the needed transformation services required by these persons or groups. We further advocate for intense education on the Human Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 to avoid acts of emotionalism and sentimentality by our members and the general public.
We will consistently urge our members and the general public to join the church as it prays towards eliminating any impediments towards the realization of the bill. We are hopeful that the House of Parliament will listen to the cry of many Ghanaians who are anxious to see the bill passed. May God continue to bless our beautiful homeland Ghana and free us from all forms of unrighteousness.
Dr Charlie Bell wrote this letter to the editor of the Church Times:
Sir, — This week, the Anglican Church in Ghana urged the government to get on and pass the anti-LGBTQI Bill. The Bill calls for the imprisonment of LGBTQI activists and those who show public displays of affection, for the criminalisation of LGBTQI support groups, the implementation of forms of conversion therapy and forced surgery for intersex people.
Not a word has been spoken by any bishop in the Church of England about this looming, Church-sponsored infringement of basic human rights. It is quite scandalous that our pledge of commitment to the Anglican Communion appears to focus on the men in power rather than the most vulnerable in the pews.
Via Media.News published this by Peter Leonard: Ghana: “Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have….!”
Portsmouth Diocese has published: Senior staff issue statement on our links with Ghana
A statement regarding our links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, and the support of its bishops for a bill being considered by the country’s Parliament:
Our bishop-designate, Bishop Jonathan Frost, our commissary bishop, Bishop Rob Wickham, and the senior staff of the Diocese of Portsmouth said, “As a diocese, we have long-standing, formal links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, which we value. However, we are dismayed to hear that the country’s Anglican bishops have thrown their weight behind the ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’ Bill.
“We are seeking urgent conversations with our colleagues in Ghana to ask why – not least in the light of the communique signed by all Anglican Primates in 2016, in which they pledged to reject criminal sanctions against members of the LGBT+ community, and to challenge homophobia.
“We strongly oppose the bill currently being considered by the Ghanaian Parliament, which proposes imprisonment of members of the LGBT+ community for being who they are, and to criminalise those who wish to support them. We believe this to be a fundamental violation of people’s human rights, which we believe will lead to state-sponsored violence that will threaten the lives of those in the LGBT+ community and their friends. As Christians, we also believe this stigmatises people in a way that does not affirm the value of each person as a unique individual, created in God’s image.
“We are committed to our relationship with our Anglican brothers and sisters in Ghana, and there is much mutual respect. Our close relationship prompts us to challenge each other as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, sharpening each other’s thinking and speaking up against injustice in our respective countries.”
Statement made by:
- The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, Dean of York and Bishop-designate of Portsmouth
- The Rt Rev Rob Wickham, commissary bishop for the Diocese of Portsmouth
- The Very Rev Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth
- The Ven Peter Leonard, Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
- The Ven Jenny Rowley, Archdeacon of Portsdown
- Canon Will Hughes, acting Archdeacon of the Meon
- The Rev Allie Kerr, associate Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
- Victoria James, Diocesan Secretary
- The Rev Max Cross, chairman of Portsmouth’s Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL) committee
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:
“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill.
“The majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10, and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law. In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment “to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” Meanwhile on numerous occasions the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting.
“I remind our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments.
“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ.”
1. The 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/resources/document-library/lambeth-conference/1998/section-i-called-to-full-humanity/section-i10-human-sexuality
2. The 2016 Primates’ Meeting Communiqué: https://www.anglicannews.org/features/2016/01/communique-from-the-primates-meeting-2016.aspx