Thinking Anglicans

Anglican bishops in Ghana support anti-gay legislation

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.

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.

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.

Updates

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.”

Notes: 

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

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Graham Watts
Graham Watts
1 month ago

I have no words!! I can only cry that this action is taken in the name of God. And this is the behavior of an Anglican Church! A member of the Anglican Community! And that they would attend the Lambeth Conference I guess that at least they are honest about their position Yet on their website in their mission statement – to contradict? Non-Discriminatory We shall remain neutral in all our social dealings with all people and all institutions without favour and discrimination. Human Dignity We affirm the dignity of all people And in their 5 Year strategic plan SWOT… Read more »

Anne Foreman
Anne Foreman
Reply to  Graham Watts
1 month ago

Trustees of the Ozanne Foundation (I am one) deplore the anti-LGBT+ proposals being considered by the Government in Ghana, supported by local bishops. All LGBT+ people are a precious part of God’s creation and must be free to live and love without fear. We call for an immediate withdrawal of this homophobic legislation. Anne Foreman

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
1 month ago

Get ready for expressions of moral outrage from people who think that they will be tainted if they concelebrate with a woman priest, and God forbid that one should ever stand at their altar alone. Shopping at the traditionalist pick and mix counter.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 month ago

I see little difference between this teaching, with its scriptural justifications, and the beliefs of those anti-gay evangelicals elected to General Synod. Any moral outrage by CofE members is hollow. There must be many bible-believers among our number whose main regret is the UK Government’s refusal to lock up LGBTQ sinners for five years.

Simon
Simon
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

I’m not sure if you being deliberately provocative here (I hope you probably are), but I think it is actually a very considerable difference between the developments in Ghana and being a con evo opponent of gay marriage in the CoE. Yes, one can argue that the scriptural basis is similar but the cultural and political context is vastly different. It’s unwise and unhelpful to conflate the two. Like pretty much everyone else on this forum, I totally oppose this proposed bill in Ghana, but just to throw some complications into the mix…. Ghana, by African standards is actually reasonably… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

The silence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the rest of the Anglican Communion is deafening. A day of shame to the Communion.

We pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Ghana who will be hurt and perplexed by their government, and church decision. God loves them, as he loves each one of us created in his image.

Fr John Emlyn

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

This morning at Morning Prayer I read Jesus’ teaching about having to be accountable for every careless word we utter.

I think if I was the Archbishop of Canterbury, I’d want to take a bit of time to make sure that the words I spoke on this occasion were careful, not careless. In the past, Archbishop Welby has spoken out about this kind of thing. I expect he will do so again.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Cynthia Katsarelis
Reply to  Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

TEC’s Executive Council is meeting now and a response is on the agenda.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Cynthia Katsarelis
1 month ago

Thank you Cynthia for keeping us informed of TEC news. And episcopal cafe is a valuable resource as well.

Simon W
Simon W
1 month ago

There are a number of serving C of E clergy who would describe themselves as ‘inclusive’ who have in recent years been made honorary Canons of Ghanaian dioceses – would be interesting to know their response to this development.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
Reply to  Simon W
1 month ago

I’m one of those clergy. The HoB statement – like those of our own HoB – doesn’t reflect the beliefs of all bishops in Ghana.

There are bishops who are deeply uncomfortable with this statement and who are working for full inclusion in a very difficult environment.

Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
Reply to  Simon W
1 month ago

Indeed or the Diocese of Portsmouth who is a link diocese…

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

When I’m arguing with fellow-evangelicals in the west about the clobber texts, I point out to them that if they really believed Leviticus 20.13 to be a word from God condemning male homosexuality, they ought to be consistent and call for the death penalty against gay men as well. I have yet to talk with an Anglican evangelical in the west who is willing to take the second half of the verse as literally as the first. But apparently the bishops of Ghana are willing to do that.

William
William
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Evangelicals and others simply read the Old Testament in the light of the New. There are all sorts of cultic and national laws that were superseded with the coming of Christ. For example, Jesus swept away all the Jewish dietary laws when he declared all foods clean.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  William
1 month ago

Agreed. And the careful reading of the texts evidenced in recent books by evangelical people like Karen R. Keen and David Runcorn shows us that it’s not impossible to hold a high view of scripture along with an inclusive understanding of sexuality. But like all Christians, evangelicals have a weakness for selective literalism.

William
William
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I don’t understand what you mean by ‘selective literalism’. As we just agreed, there are Old Testament laws, national, cultic and legislative, which have been made redundant with the coming of Christ, and which are explicitly rejected in the Gospel and the letters of Paul. To hold to a traditional understanding of the moral law however, is perfectly in keeping with (and I would say absolutely necessary for) our understanding of the New Testament.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  William
1 month ago

William. Could I please ask which part of Jesus’ teaching or action lead to the superseding of Leviticus 15, 19-23. This is not a trick question I am keen to learn, as I curious as to why certain texts (about homosexuality) are held to be still mandatory, but others can be ignored. “19 “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. 20 “‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

I think the authors of the Bible texts (both Old and New Testament) are very very concerned with holiness, and the need for people to live holy lives. They tend to model this around the social conventions of their religious communities at the time, identifying various things that make a person unclean, and falling short of the holy life expected of them. Now it is true that in the New Testament, there is a development, because now the line is that ‘all have sinned and fall short’ of God’s holiness. In a sense, everyone is unclean, unless saved by faith.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Susannah, thank you, but my question was not about the Levitical proscription on same sex sexuality, but on the the Levitical proscription on menstrual pollution, and on what specific theological basis we can set these rules aside?

And then given such a theological argument must exist, on what basis can that theological argument be held to apply to menstrual rules, but not same-sex sexuality. Why one and not the other? It is the differentiation of treatment which is the point of my question.

Best wishes.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Simon and Susannah, two books by Mary Douglas that “opened” Leviticus for me: (1) Purity and Danger; (2) Leviticus as Literature. You doubtless know of them.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Yes, but Jesus is said to have ruled out sex outside marriage. Do you not think therefore that the NT authors would have regarded sex between men as wrong in that case? They and their religious communities at that time simply did not regard two men together as a valid marriage. Sex outside marriage = wrong. Therefore sex between men = wrong. Women’s periods are not as far as I recall touched upon in the NT. The position on sexuality IS. And I think that’s where the difference and distinction lies. In the pursuit of holy living, having sex outside… Read more »

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

I agree with Susannah’s comment about the Old Testament being very concerned with holiness. The laws concerning ritual purity were a means of teaching people to understand the nature of sin and the nature of holiness. But Old Testament law has never been binding on Christians. This is clear from the teaching of Paul and from the words of Our Lord himself. Does this mean that we can just change everything to suit ourselves? No of course not. There are elements of the Old Law that are binding on all people of every place and time; Jesus particularly points out… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by William
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  William
1 month ago

Thank you William. I understand your answer, but I am not sure that you have answered my question. You said “There are elements of the Old Law that are binding on all people of every place and time”. And this is what interests me. It seems that you are saying we have a choice – some parts of the Law are binding, and some parts of the Law can be set aside. But my specific question is this. What is the basis for your choice. How do you decide which bits to keep and which bits to ignore? For example,… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

It’s even more subtle than that. Apparently the parts of the Law that condemn gay sex are still binding, but the parts (in the same verse) that make it punishable by death are not.

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

There are three different types of law in the Old Testament; ceremonial, civil and moral. The civil and ceremonial laws are the laws which are concerned with the Jewish people and as such cease to be binding with the coming of Christ. They point to Christ and are fulfilled by him. The moral law on the other hand is quite different. It does not change as it is based on the unchanging nature of God himself.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  William
1 month ago

Thanks William, that is helpful. So to take it one step further, how do we decide which fits into which category. Which of these categories does homosexuality, menstruation and divorce/adultery fit into, and how are those decisions made?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

If I may intervene to represent a more conservative reading of the Bible, I suppose one could argue that there are no constraints preached against menstruation in the New Testament (eg after Jesus), but the NT does offer some comments on marriage, and does reference antipathy to certain kinds of man-man sex regarded as unholy. Interpretations will vary on whether the epistles refer to what we’d today understand as gay sex (in loving, committed lifelong relationships), but I suggest that the conservative reading, especially juxtapositioned against Jesus’s location of sex inside marriage, can with some integrity be taken as ONE… Read more »

William Fisher
William Fisher
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Simon, I think that the answer to your question is a very simple one. We can make the necessary differentiation by using the following, wholly reliable rule of thumb:

(1) Those laws in the Pentateuch which we don’t want to keep are either ceremonial or civil. 

(2) The laws which we are happy to keep, or which don’t affect us one way or the other but which we want other people to keep, are moral.

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

I would say that homosexual relations and adultery are definitely moral laws. Remarriage after divorce would fall into the same category and Jesus is crystal clear about it. The rules surrounding menstruation appear to fall under ritual purity laws. This is just my personal opinion (and I am willing to be corrected), but I take the view that the prohibition of sexual relations during a woman’s menstrual cycle was to teach men the virtue of self-restraint; not an easy task in OT times. Therefore one could argue that such a law is provisional, along with other civil and ceremonial rules.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  William
1 month ago

William, thank you for engaging with this. I am trying to reach across the divide and understand the reasoning of those with a different view to me, so it is helpful when people are willing to explain how they view things. If you could help me with one further question. You say “homosexual relations and adultery are definitely moral laws. Remarriage after divorce would fall into the same category and Jesus is crystal clear about it.” I agree with you, so I hope you can understand my puzzlement when I see homosexuality being absolutely proscribed, yet remarriage after divorce and… Read more »

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

‘Why the double standards? On what Biblical basis do we discriminate between these various apparently sinful behaviours, and even allow the one activity that Jesus himself specifically proscribed?’

I agree with you Simon. There is an inconsistency here which I don’t understand either. Perhaps someone on here who holds the view that homosexual relations are wrong but remarriage after divorce is ok could explain.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  William
1 month ago

I think the point is that blood was considered to be literally the life of a creature, including human beings. Blood was consecrated to God and touching blood made one ritually impure. The blood of sacrificed animals was poured out as a libation on the sacrificial altar, and the consumption of blood products forbidden.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Hmmm… that was doubtless the rationalisation of the male religious leaders… but in reality it was rather like the Taliban requiring women to wear the burqa: it was positioning women as subordinate and ‘to be controlled’ from Eve onwards in anything to do with their sexual reproductive system or the way they were seen as sexually subverting men. It was part of the package of control by the ruling patriarchy. In a similar way, socially conservative Christians still want to control people’s sexuality and what is ‘holy’ and what is not. But again, the holiness issue may be the rationalisation,… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

Dreadful! But let’s not just focus on CofE clergy with a Ghanaian canonry, English dioceses with official links to diocese in Ghana also ought to be asked for a response.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 month ago

The House of Bishops representing the Anglican Church, Ghana have clearly not been doing their pre-Lambeth homework on 1 Peter. Perhaps a little coaching needed.

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

This is an apalling mis-judgement of the real situation of intrinsically gay or trans people – not only in the Church but in every society. One remembers the judgement of Jesus on the Pharisees, who were about to stone to death a woman who had been seen to transgress their Laws: “Which of you has not sinned, let (him) cast the first stone”. Simply being gay or trans is not a misdemeanour worthy of harsh punishment. It is a part of creation as God has made it. The Bishops of Ghana here, and the Bishops of GAFCON should be very… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
1 month ago

We further state that, aside Christianity, the Ghanaian tradition and culture do not permit such act”.
For TA readers who aren’t already familiar with the scholarly debate around the insistence of some African church leaders that there was no homosexuality in their countries before the decadent West came along, I wrote a short piece on this which may be of interest: https://shared-conversations.com/2018/12/09/out-in-africa/

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Thank you, Helen, that is an excellent summary of a fascinating book.   But I think the issue goes wider than Africa. If you look at either the Anthropology from the last few Centuries, or classical texts from pre-Christian eras, it is possible to argue that such “Intermediate Types”, people who displayed all sorts of traits and behaviours somewhere on the spectrum between male and female, were widespread, and often openly accepted by society. It was so widespread as to almost the norm.   But going beyond that, in many (but not all) cases, such intermediate types and behaviours were… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Simon, through my formative life in the Highlands, speaking by firesides with family friends and neighbours, I became familiar with the recognition of the ‘shee’ – the sith, the wee folk, those preternatural presences who were believed to occupy an adjacent world to our own. Certainly until the last generation there was, in the Highlands, an acceptance of this ‘other world’ and its interactions and encounters. I came to know those encounters myself. Of course, even then (in the 1960s and 70s) many or most people were becoming much more practical and distanced, but in conversation with receptives I picked… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Thank you Susannah. I thought of mentioning Jung but did not want to complicate an already long and possibly challenging narrative. But you are right, this whole area of sexuality brings up deep unconscious fears and desires which are present within the story of spirituality and religion, and which need to be acknowledged and studied if we are to make sense of them. It is a commonplace that across cultures, it is those people who live ambivalently between the male and female who are the spirit guides to your liminal world, a world the Christian church often wanted to repress.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

(Continued from Previous) Carpenter argues that in the same way, in the Hebrew/Canaanite succession, and then in the Christian/Pagan succession, it was the homosexual and cross-dressing temple priests who were the most visible symbols of the old religion, and they became anathema, and were hunted down and killed. I wonder if the widespread adoption of celibacy by early Christain leaders then added to the general negativity towards the sexual and erotic.   And then, one and a half thousand years later in Ghana, those same intermediate types became anathema in the colonial take-over of Africa, as Christian doctrine was imposed… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 month ago

Thank you Simon for that thoughtful and informed response. Adriaan van Klinken has just commented on twitter: “Specifically with regard to Ghana, these church leaders may want to read this article by Rose Mary Amenga-Etego: http://ugspace.ug.edu.gh/handle/123456789/34088…” – that’s an article on woman-to-woman marriage in Ghana. If you click on the next link there’s another article by the same author which looks interesting.

https://twitter.com/AdriaanvKlinken/status/1451886500614922249?s=20

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Helen, thank you for two things. Firstly for that affirmation. I have been putting out this story for twenty five years now, initially to total incomprehension. So it is nice for me to hear how the world is changing, and that the same narrative can now be accepted, and seen as helpful.

And secondly, thanks for the links. I work outside academia so it is always helpful to be pointed toward interesting texts.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
1 month ago

I assume the ABC will say to the Ghanaian Bishops what he said the Nigerian Bishops – that ‘this language [and behaviour] is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion’. But they wouldn’t be the first Anglican church around the world to point out that they are being faithful to scripture and ethics originally taught them by the Church of English. Furthermore, the Ghanaian church was founded by SPG missionaries – so not the ‘usual suspects’ when it comes to the bible in this debate either – though theological influences will have no doubt fluctuated over time.  No doubt… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I suspect David, as elsewhere in West /East Africa, the bishops worry about loss to Pentecostalism and the impact of Islam. While still ” high church’ the Ghanaian church is less solidly Catholic in its ethos as it was.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

You make a pertinent point David but the Ghanaian church is no longer in its infancy. I’m sure our missionaries taught them all sorts of nonsense as part of our colonial past but as we’ve hopefully moved on in an albeit imperfect snakes and ladders way, so too should Ghanaian Anglicanism. Lambeth conferences have opined all sorts of silliness, on contraception for example, only to backtrack next time around. Anglicanism can be desperately infuriating at times but at least we don’t have the contortions and intransigence of the Vatican when it has spoken definitively on a subject usually a moral… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
1 month ago

This endorsement of brutal human rights abuses by leaders of the Anglican Church in Ghana is appalling and I hope that others across the Anglican Communion distance themselves, whatever their views on sexuality and gender identity. It might be helpful for the Church of England, when speaking out officially, to recognise that, up to the 1950s, this church colluded in such cruelty itself, as well as having helped to justify criminalisation overseas, and so to do so in a spirit of penitence as well as of commitment to love and respect for all, including LGBT people.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Franciscan theologian Daniel Horan has written an article critical of the Roman Catholic Church on the Ghana situation. Assessments of human rights in Ghana by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are chilling; but they provide context. It may be best for bishops outside Ghana in both churches to stay out of it. There is an old rabbinical saying, “Do not throw stones in the well you draw water from”. Both global Anglicanism (generally) and Roman Catholicism lack the ground from which to speak with credibility on the situation in Ghana, a situation which includes human rights violations against several… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

“The draft legislation argues that any person who deviates from an arbitrary standard of sexual orientation or gender identity is immediately to be considered dangerous, sick or anti-social,” said the experts. “Such laws are a textbook example of discrimination.   “The proposed law promotes deeply harmful practices that amount to ill-treatment and are conducive to torture, such as so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and other heinous violations like unecessary medical procedures on intersex children, and so-called corrective rape for women,” they added.   Thats part of what the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) has said. https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27378&LangID=E… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Kate
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Which is is why it is important for everyone, including including Christians, to stick with the framework and language of human rights. The tragedy for the people of Ghana is rooted in colonialism. The churches must be understood within that context. What would an intervention by church leaders from elsewhere be based upon, a so called ‘biblical’ teaching paradigm? All that will accomplish is reinforcing a paradigm in which bishops from within Ghana and those elsewhere end up arguing over who has the better ‘interpretation’ thus validating the paradigm itself. Religious confirmation bias has caused enough damage. Hardly the place… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
1 month ago

I gather from a friend who knows Ghana that this legislation originates with the parliamentary Opposition.to embarrass the Government and President, by putting them on the spot. The Church has been very unwise to get involved.

Judith Maltby
Judith Maltby
1 month ago

This report was produced in 2016 by a unit at the LSE but sadly I imagine not terribly out of date.

https://www.lse.ac.uk/business/consulting/reports/anglicans-and-sexuality

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The spouses of gay and lesbian bishops have been locked out of attendance and participation at the next Lambeth Conference. The spouses of bishops who support the locking up of gay and lesbian people are still invited (though whether the Ghanaian bishops will choose to attend is another matter). Meanwhile gay and lesbian people in Ghana face fear, arrest, imprisonment. I really don’t see how solidarity can be shown to these persecuted people, while welcoming their persecutors. Meanwhile gay and lesbian partners of bishops are ostracised. It doesn’t make the Archbishop of Canterbury seem impartial on issues of human sexuality.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The Archbishop of Canterbury says that the Anglican Communion 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.”

If the gay and lesbian partners of bishops are full members of the Body of Christ, why have they been banned from attending the Lambeth Conference?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Did Archbishop Welby follow through and say that therefore all the baptized have access to all the sacraments, i.e. marriage? Again, the use of religious and biblical paradigms rather than the framework and language of human rights muddies the waters, and allows the patriarchy to have it both ways. Have you seen the interview Welby gave to La Repubblica earlier this year (link)? Scroll down to his response to the sixth question about ‘Gay marriage’ and the C of E–a question he answers at length after saying he won’t answer it “properly”. It would seem love is not enough. The… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Rod: Sadly, the use of the phrase ‘all the baptized have access to all the sacraments’ is unhelpful, as many of those who are opposed to equal marriage don’t see marriage as a sacrament. This is an example of our common tendency to use arguments that are very effective for us, but not so effective for those we are seeking to persuade. And before any commentators get side-tracked into the old chestnut about how many sacraments there are, let’s just acknowledge that the two sacrament view has at least as much historic right to be seen as authentically Anglican as… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Tim Chesterton
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Tim, good point. Let’s run with it. The fact that marriage may not even be considered a sacrament and yet access is denied based on discrimination makes my question about the ABC’s political tap dance in La Repubblica all the more poignant. Fact is marriage has been the focal point for those in the churches wishing to maintain a religion based binary construction in opposition to modern insight. If marriage is denied to same sex couples then appeals like those made by the ABC referenced above become effete. Churches and church leaders holding such views are in a weak position… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Thank you for that link, Rod. ‘Biblical’ theology is indeed a problem, if by ‘Biblical’ we also mean the pre-supposition that the Bible is an inspired text that represents God’s own views in everything it says. On that basis, socially conservative Christians will always have a reasonable case based on what the Bible authors wrote, and that has indeed been the case, resulting in never-ending theological logjam in the Church of England. An elevated view of scripture as ultimate authority means that socially conservative Christians will always, arguing from that pre-supposition, have a strong foothold in the theological debate. By… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

The thread is winding down, so I will reply with a ‘closer’ to just one of your points . Your assumption that conservatives have an “elevated view” of scripture is diagrammatically incorrect. It is not that conservatives have a higher view of scripture ( up here somewhere) compared to ‘liberals’ who have presumably a lower view of scripture (down here somewhere). For one thing it implies that conservatives have a higher regard for scripture than their opponents–something that is a rhetorical tactic on their part. If you want to use a diagram then a lateral spectrum of biblical analysis is… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Very much agree with you Rod. By ‘elevated’ (which, I take your point, may be an unhelpful term) what I meant was the elevation of scripture above individual conscience and responsibility, and above science if science conflicts with the surface texts of earlier (and fallible) human beings. But indeed, many of us who apply a rational critical approach to understanding the profound in the Bible actually deeply value the Bible. Personally, the Bible has become more precious, not less precious, as my approach has moved on from quasi-fundamentalism. But the sad thing for me is that taking a more literalist… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Completely agree, Susannah

Colin Coward
1 month ago

Ghanaian bishops have not previously been actively and publicly homophobic. I’ve visited Ghana five times and found it an easy place to be. My gay friends in Accra today are remarkably relaxed about themselves and their sexual desires and remarkably successful in finding other guys, gay and straight, it would seem, who are comfortable with being sexually involved. The bill has to be to some extent a reaction to the development of a publicly visible LGBTIQ+ centre in Accra and visible and confident LGBTIQ+ advocates and campaigners, an impressive group. But why the backlash? Ghanaian churches have not noticeably had… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Colin Coward
1 month ago

The ball is in the court of grassroots local church communities. If they’re not prepared to take a stand on their own consciences, I doubt anyone else is likely to achieve it for them. They know the status quo is very harmful, now, right now. They know that submitting to the status quo (celibacy for life, for goodness sake) is a terrible failure of solidarity to LGBT people, does harm, and is a dreadful message for the Church to send out to communities. Will the votes be found in General Synod to change the doctrine? I’m not convinced. And if… Read more »

Colin Coward
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I agree with you entirely, Susannah, and wish with longing for this kind of change to occur, but the times are not propitious. At every level of the church the courage is lacking to make any kind of adventurous move that would lead to transformation and the manifestation of God’s unconditional love and the creation of a new radical Christian inclusion. The fact that the Archbishops named this vision in 2013 but lack the courage to pursue the vision is unavoidable. The radically inclusive members of the Next Steps Group don’t have the courage to pursue this vision. Local clergy… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Colin Coward
1 month ago

Your second last paragraph asks a very important and poignant question. See the article (link) by Graeme Reid (Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program) from Human Rights Watch. He notes the bill is supported by religion in Ghana. He also connects the dots with the the U.S. based group World Congress of Families and the influence of this group elsewhere in Africa. One may follow the embedded link for World Congress of Families in his article and/or do one’s own search.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/08/10/homophobic-ghanaian-family-values-bill-odious-and-beggars-belief#

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

“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…”

With that statement, at such a moment, the Archbishop of Canterbury has pretty much revealed his personal support for the prohibition on same sex marriage. He is obviously not going to push the Church of England into accepting it.

LLF is dead in the water.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

Of course many of us will be upset and horrified by this statement by the Anglican bishops of Ghana.
However let’s not forget that there are statements stating similar views coming from conservative evangelical churches in England. After all the issue for conservative evangelicals in England is not just gay marriage – but also the sinfulness of same gender sexual relations.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

The Anglican Church in Ghana is perfectly entitled to issue a statement that sex between two men is wrong, and that might be a reasonable faith-based statement, which we can indeed observe in various churches in England. The difference is expression of support for imprisonment, and the use of the justice system to punish LGBT people. I don’t hear a single Anglican church in England calling for a return to the arrest or imprisonment of men who have sex together. In the same way, no Anglican church in England would advocate imprisonment for adultery. So while the opposition to gay… Read more »

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Indeed Susannah. An important distinction.

However I am a little cautious of an appearance of Western superiority in this. After all some western Christians condemn gay people who are in committed relationships as sinners. Eternal damnation being a rather severe punishment. (This is the position of a neighbouring Church of England parish church).

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I find it disappointing that on Ian Paul’s Psephizo website, he has asked people to sign up for a statement that piggy-backs on the Ghanaian criminalisation disgrace, using the issue to get people to sign a statement affirming the theological condemnation of LGBT sexual intimacy, rebuking those who “undermine” the Lambeth I:10 position. “We are grieved when we see Christians, especially church leaders, failing to uphold [both principles of inclusion and the conservative view on homosexuality as expressed in the 1998 Lambeth I:10].” As I have written elsewhere, I think Christians can believe that gay sexuality is wrong, and can… Read more »

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

“Sadly I have spotted a number of LGBT-affirming signatories (including a friend of mine) who obviously saw the Header about the Ghanaian criminalisation and signed the Statement without reading through all the sections.”

Really? It’s not exactly a long read.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 month ago

I know, but evidently some people saw the Ghanaian criminalisation header and just signed up. I’m not saying that was stellar brilliance on their part, but it was a by-product of something packaged as championing the cause of LGBT people while actually opposing the lives LGBT people live with tenderness and decency. To me, it was piggy-backing on something bad for LGBT people, in order to promote something else that was also bad for LGBT people. I didn’t like that. I felt, as an act of integrity, it was… shall we say… fragile?

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

I take your point… But as a signatory I simply don’t read it that way. I’m not sure “championing the cause” or not fits. It’s not attempting to do that is it?

It is a protest against persecution in Ghana.

As it’s from the “use whatever word is acceptable” side (winks in friendship) I’d rather hope that this latter might be more appreciated, even in a small way, as primary to it. Had the preamble not been there would these suspicions not have been voiced or thought? I doubt it….

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