I am a Ugandan. And I happen to be gay. That part of my identity is just that- a part of my human-ness. Yet there is a danger that in the eyes of the world, it seems to define me.
That is what is happening in the Anglican church. I am not an Anglican, nor a Christian. Yet as an African, and a Ugandan, my spirituality is so persuasively a part of my environment that I cannot deny its influence. I am a spiritual person. Many of my country mates, some homosexual, identify as Christian, many as Anglican.
That is why the current schism in the Anglican communion is of interest to me.
It is also of interest because they are at war, civil war, and the battle grounds are defined by my sexuality, a part of my identity that I have just affirmed as part of me, but not the whole of me.
Hate is a strong word. Christians want to be identified by its contrast, love. But hate is being dressed up as love. I have been cruising the blogs of world opinion. A lot of what is being said of Anglicans and homosexuality, and I cant help noticing distinct groups.
One I call hate groups. They are very common, they are the most vocal. They are not talking about human beings. They are talking about ‘homosexuals’, ‘sodomites’. They believe the litmus test for any human being is whether he or she supports their view that homosexuals are out to thrash the world. The Rt. Rev. Akinola reports how he sprung back after being informed that he had just shaken the hand of a homosexual. It was like he had touched a leper. Same insinuation. Less love. From the leader of millions of ‘Christians’. Think of Jesus keeping his hands away from touching a sinner.
These hate groups support any measure against the ‘Homosexual Agenda’. They are loud, vocal, and see no problem with taking basic human rights from homosexuals in the name of ‘Biblical’ christianity. Ask the Rev Akinola about his views on the recent gay bill in the Nigerian Parliament. It should technically be impossible for two gay people to meet in Nigeria and shake hands after that bill is law. Even HIV prevention will be impossible. You just cant legally meet a homosexual!
According to Agape news, it is ok to bully school children suspected of being gay. It is a small price because some will not become homosexuals.
The language is bitter. There is no compromise, no call to logic. The only logic that is seen is the scripture. The church is bleeding.
Yet, Christ’s body, being Christ’s body, has that grain of love that still draws people to it. There are other Christians who believe homosexuality is wrong. And they are holding out the hand of love and care to the ‘wrong’ homosexual.
Frankly, the rabid hate groups don’t scare me. Their hate is so virulent that, like Akinola, their sheep’s clothing of Family Christianity’ are ill fitting. The love groups are more likely to draw in the unwary and homosexual and convince him or her that he is wrong. Yet they can be reasoned with.
Yet there are Christians who are gay. I admire these guys; because they are standing like a stone determined to reverse the welling tide of hate. They are determined to claim their spirituality, their place at Christ’s table. They will not deny themselves their sexual orientation. And at the same time they will not deny or reject their faith. It is also a part of their identity and they affirm it. (One, Two)
LGBT Christians are crucial. They are the very essence of virtue that hate groups have to deny.
For the wounds of the ever bleeding Church to be patched, LGBT Christian have to stand out and be counted. When I came to myself as a homosexual, I got this tremendous relief, this assuarance that I had stared self hatred in the face and I had won. The victory was mine.
The LGBT Christian, standing up and winning in the face of this hate is given. Because hate has that virulence which is self consuming. And love is an over whelming wave when we learn to embrace it. Let the LGBT Christian stand up and affirm himself, herself. There is yet hope for the Church, maybe just because its foundation is love.