Issues Concerning Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual and other Sexual Minorities Africa We started off as GayUganda...., but time changes all....
Monday, June 23, 2008
An Unheavenly Silence
An unheavenly silence on homophobia
Clerics at the Global Anglican Futures Conference have been slow to condemn violence against gay people. It's incredible, and unchristian
Barely 24 hours into the Global Anglican Futures conference (Gafcon) in Jerusalem and the assembled leaders have already exhausted every synonym for schism, without uttering the word itself, to describe the impact of actions taken by the US Episcopal church and the Anglican church of Canada. The meeting, lasting eight days and costing £2.5m, is the climax of ultimatums and summits, spanning a decade, about the ordination and consecration of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Last night, the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, said the Gafcon movement would liberate people from religious bondage and would offer a spiritual haven for those who could not live under a "revisionist leadership". It sounds appealing to the millions of Anglicans disillusioned with western churches. But a press conference revealed acute differences of opinion between the bishops, especially, and most worryingly, on the subject of raping and torturing homosexuals.
A question from Iain Baxter, a media representative from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, aroused expressions of disbelief and outright denial from the primates. The name of his organisation raised a discomfiting titter. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya and is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or death.
Archbishops from these countries were on the panel. They said they could not influence government policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legislation, nor could they condone homosexual behaviour because their churches would be shut down. They added one could not break the taboos of African society without suffering the consequences.
Presumably, these cultural constraints justify the punishment meted out to Prossy Kakooza, Baxter's example of someone tortured because of her sexual orientation. She was arrested, marched naked for two miles to a police station, raped and beaten.
Akinola did not condemn these acts. Neither did the other African archbishops. Orombi said he had never heard of people being tortured because of their homosexuality, that when he learned about incidents – from the western media – he was at a loss to understand why he had not heard of them. He refused to accept that persecuting and torturing gay people was done openly in Uganda.
It was clear they failed to grasp how homophobic rhetoric from the pulpit led to violence and intimidation, as described by Colin Coward from Changing Attitudes. Still no condemnation was forthcoming. As a follow-up I asked whether the lack of condemnation meant they condoned torture of homosexuals. It took the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to articulate opposition to all acts of violence towards all people. The Africans didn't even nod in agreement.
Their muteness – either because they did not understand the question or did not understand why they had to issue a condemnation – is a harrowing glimpse of a dogmatic and draconian narrative that has not been explored thoroughly; least of all, it seems, by those who have allied themselves with the populous Anglican churches in Africa.
Failure to condemn acts of torture is inhumane, incredible and unchristian. Three characteristics that no Anglican movement should be proud of.
Should i add in my shillings worth? We have been talking about the Ssempa's and Orombi's of this world. Kimbowa, one of Ssempa's flock was only the latest to come and piously show how much he hated me. Because i am a homosexual. Nothing new here. yet everything is new, isnt it?
Ahem, I had not seen this analysis of the thoughts of their excellencies from Nigeria and Uganda. The Nigerian Archbishop actually lied. (disingenious, political correctness for lies). He lied, and here is some interesting proofs of his lies.
Posted by gayuganda at 6:06 PM
It's well documented how monks and priests are some of the worst perpetrators of non-Christian behaviour.
This lot just continue to prove that they, like a lot of self-styled "Christians", wouldn't know true Christianity if they fell over it in the street.
I read the transcript. Poor guys were realy in a fix. But I do not have any sympathy for them. If one binds himself or herself to ideals of any kind, then it is ok for me to question it when they fail them! At least that is what I believe. They are fair game. Just like Kimbowa is!!
But these guys see homosexuality as some alien thing. If I tell Orombi that I am a gay Ugandan, he may say that he has never heard of gay Ugandans, and may even wonder how a Ugandan can be gay. When Akinola first came to know that he had shaken the hand of a homosexual, he was discomfited. They do not think of us as human beings!
I'm really glad you are including these churchly horror stories on your blog! And they ARE horrendous!
But they do not represent Christianity -- as I know you realize. In fact, they don't even necessarily represent all their own people in their own congregations!
These are sad power-hungry, self-aggrandizing narcissists, dragging down the name of Christianity in their ignorant, perverse, homophobic actions.
I assure you that the majority of Christians in the world are not represented by these awful people. I feel the same way about them as you do - and I'm a Christian clergyman!
By the way, did you pick up on the fact that they got $5 million to put on this show? Would you like to bet that that doesn't come from the pockets of poor Nigerians and Ugandans?
Well, that is reason for them to do what they are doing!!!
You know, it has always puzzled me how the COU people here seemed to be so homophobic. This was back before 2007, when literally no gay Ugandans were out. They were literally fighting shadows. It was not a concern in the country, but the church seemed to be agitated. That was before we came out. And of course they were saying things like there are no gay Ugandans, and they were doing their very best to silence any that came out. Hurt a lot of people, they did.
Ok, so now they have the money which is pushing them. Good that they are showing their real stripes! May the chaff be separated from the true seed!
And yes, those very people are some of the ones in the 'Inter Faith Coalition against Homosexuality' here, apparently a pressure group formed because we came out. Again, using a sledge hammer to crack open a nut, and all the time we wonder why they are so homophobic! 5 Million reasons, heh?
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