Comments: Anglican bishops support Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The homosexuals, and lesbians are all children of God but we want them to repent and have eternal life,”

Is that it? And does it work both ways? As an unrepentant heterosexual, if I repented of my heterosexuality, would I have eternal life? Or does being heterosexual mean I qualify without repenting? I do wonder whether this view of Christianity has anything in common with my faith. I find nothing here which equates with the joy of being indwelt by the Spirit of the Risen Lord.

Posted by Nigel LLoyd at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 10:59am GMT

Now that these bishops have spoken up, may we hope for a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury? Bishops outside the UK feel perfectly able to comment on such inconsequential things as the Pilling Report. Surely English bishops should feel confident to comment on such consequential things at this bill!

Posted by Commentator at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 11:50am GMT

It is just that they do not understand, really, that is all. It is a totally different thought world, and the fact they they do not know all the perfectly normal gay people we know, keeps it that way. The very fact they do not, and cannot, link it to normal things (weddings, family occasions, births, mourning, supporting freinds and family through traumas and sorrows) that very fact, keeps it abnormal. I think my son's husband is a great guy!

The tragedy is not that they found themselves in a position many in the UK were in 100 years ago, the tragedy is that our ABCs are happy to leave them there, supporting the insupportable.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 11:58am GMT

Even in the Church of Uganda's terms, throwing LGBT people in prison for life is not an obvious way to promote love and reconciliation.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 12:05pm GMT

I think Rosemary Hannah's comment is extremely constructive - thankyou!

Posted by Flora Alexander at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 1:30pm GMT

Things have changed in Uganda. It was always a conservative country but the gay issue was hardly on the radar in the old days and a homosexual sub culture was allowed to exist in peace.

Everything changed with the importation of the American cultural civil war that is now being fought by proxy across Equatorial Africa. Conservative American evangelicals have been stirring this up for some time (successfully from their point of view).

If you want to find the root of all this trouble and profoundly unchristian activity look to the Anglican Church of North America and its various factional near clones.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 3:07pm GMT

Remember this is coming from inside the Anglican Communion. I thought there was an anathema on this.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 3:20pm GMT

"Now that these bishops have spoken up, may we hope for a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury?"

Welby will say nothing because, after all, plenty of his con-evo mates agree with Uganda's legislation, and Welby himself is hardly unambiguous on the topic. If forced to say anything, he'll say that it's racist and judgemental to criticise, and aren't their robes colourful?

Posted by Interested Observer at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 3:21pm GMT

Welby will probably say something politic about the Anglican Communion standing against homophobia and valuing LGBT people.

The burning question is why the Church of England is so desperate to be in communion with people such as these. Why's their distant company so valuable that the oppression of LGBT Anglicans in England is considered a price worth paying to maintain it?

Posted by James Byron at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 4:23pm GMT

Rosemary. The law, as it stands there, makes it quite impossible for gay men and women to be better known. It also envisages jail terms for people protecting them. These prelates have absolutely no excuse, it is culpable ignorance.

Posted by Lorenzo at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 5:03pm GMT

and they are perfectly able to challenge their culture on many other topics.

Posted by Lorenzo at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 5:06pm GMT

Nigel LLoyd on Friday, 27 December 2013 at 10:59am GMT,

The short answer is, being heterosexual means never having to say you're sorry.
There is a so-called "reality series" TV program called "Duck Dynasty" here across the pond on an American cable television channel. The main characters are a family that makes duck calls, kazoo-type instruments for, well, calling ducks so that one can hunt them. For some reason, the show is an absolute ratings smash for the network it airs on.
The head of this duck-call-making clan spoke out against gay people, calling them vile names, calling their relationships vile names, all the while invoking God and the Bible. The network told him he was suspended from the program. But, social and religious conservatives have rallied to his cause. Just to seal the deal with the social and religious conservatives, he gave his wife a brand-new wedding ring.
We all know that had the man said vile things about inter-racial marriage or inter-religious marriage, he would be toast. But, all one has to do is invoke God and the Bible, and statements about gays are still bullet-proof.
Being heterosexual means never having to say you're sorry -- at least to gay people.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 6:58pm GMT

Thank you Simon, for giving us the latest about this bill from Uganda.
No world spotlight. No passionate calls of outrage from prime ministers or presidents.
The Ugandans and their allies-in-crime simply improved their timing.

John 11:35 -- and Jesus still does so.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 7:04pm GMT

The situation is appalling but to demand that Western Archbishops somehow intervene, rebuke them(?) and tell them how wrong they actually shows very little awareness of the significance of their history and ours.
I found this blog very helpful from a missionary couple in Uganda:
they are clear that every experience of Western pressure on this process is actually strengthening their resolve.

Posted by David Runcorn at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 9:20pm GMT

"Why's their distant company so valuable that the oppression of LGBT Anglicans in England is considered a price worth paying to maintain it?"

Because the Ugandan Church is only saying what Welby would if he thought he could get away with it. Welby wants to remain in communion with homophobes in brightly coloured robes because he thinks their Christianity is authentic, and if that pisses off gays in England, so much the better.

People are labouring under the misapprehension that violent homophobia is seen as a flaw in African churches. For Welby and his like, it's part of the appeal.

Posted by Interested Observer at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 9:26pm GMT

"The burning question is why the Church of England is so desperate to be in communion with people such as these."

Because their numbers make the Archbishop of Canterbury look more important?

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 10:35pm GMT

The sooner the Anglican Communion separates itself out from the GAFCON anti-Gay Provinces, the better will world-wide Anglicanism be able to present the Good News of God's love for all humanity.

"God so loved the world, that he gave his Only-Begotten Son...."

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 10:39pm GMT

Interested Observer: I doubt that Welby wants homosexuality criminalized. He's unambiguously condemned homophobic violence and abuse. He's called gay relationships "stunning." Even if the difference is more in degree than in kind, it's a substantial degree.

I suspect that Welby doesn't care much either way about changing Anglican teaching. He's already said, in his speech to the Evangelical Alliance, that his mind isn't made up. This is likely a political issue for him.

A mark of "open" evangelicals is a willingness to move when the pressure mounts. If Synod repealed Higton and 'Issues ...' tomorrow, can you see Welby resigning his orders? I can't.

Posted by James Byron at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 11:32pm GMT

Importance surely plays its part, Jeremy. For Rowan Williams, it seemed to be more about vicarious post-colonialist guilt. I hope Welby's too pragmatic to follow his predecessor in that.

I hope peacockery is the principle attraction in maintaining communion, because if so, the cost is fast outweighing the benefits. Like Father Ron, I believe that the sooner schism comes, the better. The remaining provinces can then begin the long, hard process of reform and atonement.

Posted by James Byron at Friday, 27 December 2013 at 11:47pm GMT

Hang on, Ntangali says:

"In Uganda, there are so many injustices like child sacrifice, domestic violence, drug abuse which are now a big issue in our schools…"

Excuse me, friends, but *child sacrifice*?! And penalising gay people is the priority here?

Being gay is worse than taking the life of your own child? Huh?

Just excuse me while I retreat to ponder the skewed priorities of these Ugandan bishops, and you can keep wasting effort speculating about ++Welby. I wonder what he makes of kids being sacrificed, women getting beaten up, and people being left to waste away with drug abuse while his fellow-bishops get worked up about gay folks.

The bottom line for at least two of these problems is rampant patriarchy and a lack of the rule of law. I suppose it's a bit much to expect the likes of Ntangali to see it, but the way they use their advocacy is part of the problem. If you can't treat women and children well, then no-one else really has a chance.

Posted by Victoriana at Saturday, 28 December 2013 at 4:07am GMT

What happens in Uganda doesn't stay in Uganda. LGBTs/allies worldwide *notice* this (execrable bill, and Ugandan Anglican support for it), and it is DISASTROUS for mission. Frankly, I'm not sure there's anything that LGBT-affirming Anglicans can do to wash off the vicarious blood, but for the sake of our SOULS, by God we have to try. And we're not doing remotely enough now.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 28 December 2013 at 6:52am GMT

*I doubt that Welby wants homosexuality criminalized.*

You mean, the homosexuality that "dishonours marriage" like domestic violence? That sort?

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 28 December 2013 at 9:08am GMT

Of course it is totally wrong - and of course the church leaders are painting themselves ever more firmly into a corner. But pin the blame where it really lies - with the current and last ABCs and with the church leaders and bishops who DO know better and cannot be excused. (And of course the American right-wingers, though they are less under the control of the C of E). Our leaders should have made a stand twenty years ago - ten, five. They are not even making a stand now. Look at Pilling!

The Pilling Report is a disgrace and would have been a disgrace twenty years ago. Fifty years ago it would have looked liberal, and that is about how out-of-date it is.

We are not giving a lead. That is the real disgrace.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Saturday, 28 December 2013 at 2:12pm GMT

These bills in Uganda and Nigeria are antithetical to the Anglican tradition.

Will any archbishop or bishop of the Church of England say as much?

Of course not. And that's part of the tragedy.

Bishops =?= cowards

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 29 December 2013 at 2:32am GMT

"These bills in Uganda and Nigeria are antithetical to the Anglican tradition."

But their robes are so colourful!

It's a combination of post-colonial guilt ("we can't say anything because of Empire"), the racism of low expectations ("we can't say anything because they don't know any better") and colonial patronisation ("see how colourful their robes are, and how happy their smiles").

In each case, under the guise of progressive thinking, what you actually have is a belief that black gay people are less entitled to rights than white gay people, because the need that some (and I stress some) black heterosexual people feel to kill gays trumps everything else. It would be racist to impose our value (no, they're called fundamental rights for a reason). They will improve in a generation or two (not much comfort for those killed now). They mean well in their hearts (er, no).

Posted by Interested Observer at Sunday, 29 December 2013 at 12:55pm GMT

I think you nailed it, Interested Observer.

However, in addition to the notion of fundamental human rights, there is also the example of South Africa. It has a progressive constitution for LGBT persons, thanks to the likes of retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The racism of low expectations is sadly accurate. Those people (Ugandan and Nigerian politicians and Anglican GAFCON church leaders) know exactly what they are doing. They are following the money of the American conservatives who are desperate for a "victory," having lost the culture wars in the US. They are coming together with Muslims in gay bashing. Nothing brings foes together like a common scapegoat. All politics are local and there's always a price tag. What they are doing is not out of ignorance, and that makes it more evil.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 30 December 2013 at 12:18am GMT

I echo Cynthia's praise, Interested Observer, although I'd add "vicarious" to post-colonial guilt. I doubt any bishop in-post in England today had anything to do with the Empire (even in the CofE, they're not *that* old). This "guilt" is an indulgence, not the sting of personal wrongdoing.

What's most bizarre about this affected "guilt" is that colonialism is, somehow, atoned for by allowing reverse-colonialism. "We imposed our values on them, so we have to allow them to impose their values on us." Which says, by implication, that colonialism isn't inherently wrong.

"Racism of low expectations" says it all. How pathetic to see self-styled progressives echo the pernicious brand of Empire racism that viewed "natives" as children of whom no better could be expected. Calling primates and provinces out on their bigotry instead treats them as adults, of whom we sure as hell do expect better.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 31 December 2013 at 1:00am GMT
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