Americas / Faith and religion

Eject anti-gay Anglicans or keep a poisoner at dinner?

Richard Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., appealed today to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to denounce statements made by Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali at today’s celebration of the new anti-gay law in Uganda. Rosendall invited others to send similar emails to Welby at contact@lambethpalace.org.uk.

Please denounce rally statements by Archbishop Ntagali

Stanley Ntagali, archbishop of the Church of Uganda

Stanley Ntagali, archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda

Dear Archbishop Welby:

I have been reading the Twitter feed from Ugandan gay rights leader Frank Mugisha on the rally held today in that country celebrating the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

One of the speakers at the rally is Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. He celebrated the Ugandan church’s having cut ties ten years ago with the Episcopal church in America over homosexuality. His statements, as reported by Mugisha, include “Homosexuality is the devil’s agenda in Uganda,” and “We have to be focused, without fear to fight the battles facing us, battles facing our families.”

Ntagali is effectively endorsing persecution and murder. He should be expelled from the Anglican Communion. Your predecessor was so afraid of schism that he allowed the African bishops to behave disgracefully with no consequences, and even pandered to their threats over the participation of Americans at the Lambeth conference. But a problem like the aggressive bigotry and inhumanity of the African bishops cannot be dealt with by avoidance. What is the point of keeping someone at the table who is poisoning the food?

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury., in January called on leaders of the whole church, as well as the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, to support and care for all people “regardless of sexual orientation.”

I appreciate that you have publicly argued with Ntagali over the treatment of gay people by the church. You have stated that some gay couples have loving, stable, and monogamous relationships, and that we deserve the “best pastoral care and friendship,” but you still support the Church of England’s opposition to active homosexuality (that last phrase is according to the BBC). I am sorry, but this will not do. To be merely tolerated and told we must embrace lifelong celibacy is not acceptance and is not humane. Our love and its expression are as good as anybody else’s. We are a threat to no one. We are entitled to equal protection as citizens.

I urge you at a minimum to denounce the participation and remarks by Archbishop Ntagali at the anti-gay rally in Uganda, and not to put a facade of unity before the rights of LGBT people whom some Anglican leaders are persecuting.

I have been in contact in recent days and weeks with persecuted and hunted Ugandan friends. I am grateful to hear from them at all, as it means they are still alive. Asylum efforts are not enough, because most LGBT Ugandans will remain in their country, whose leaders avoid addressing real problems in favor of scapegoating a minority. Words fail in expressing my admiration and respect for Frank Mugisha, who holds his head up and speaks out despite being in grave danger. Please add your respected voice for decency in the face of this mounting horror.

Yours sincerely,

Richard J. Rosendall
Washington, D.C.

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26 thoughts on “Eject anti-gay Anglicans or keep a poisoner at dinner?

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  4. I am afraid that we are not going to ditch 50 million Anglicans for a few million gay rights advocates. The gays will always be on the losing end.

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    • Dear Thomas,

      Thanks for your comment, although the situation is surely not as simple or as brutal as a decision about whether to “ditch” 50 million Anglicans or “a few million gay rights advocates”!

      Nor is there the situation as simple or as brutal as a question of whether “African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage,” as the Guardian says that the archbishop suggests.

      — Colin Stewart, editor of this blog

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  5. Justin Welby
    African Christians will be killed if C of E accepts gay marriage, says Justin WelbyArchbishop says he has seen mass grave of Christians killed by neighbours who said they feared being ‘made to become gay’Share Tweet this

    Email Andrew Brown
    theguardian.com, Friday 4 April 2014 07.33 EDT Jump to comments (985)
    Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said the church’s statements in England went ‘around the world’. Photograph: Rex
    African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage, the archbishop of Canterbury has suggested. Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

    “I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact,” Welby said. If the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, he added, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world.”

    This reasoning has until now been kept private, although both Welby and his predecessor, Rowan Williams, anguished about it in private.

    Welby also condemned homophobia in England. “To treat every human being with equal importance and dignity is a fundamental part of being a Christian,” he said. Although he continued to uphold what he called the historic position of the church, of “sex only within marriage and marriage only between a man and a woman”, he agreed with the presenter, James O’Brien, that it was “completely unacceptable” for the church to condemn homosexual people more than adulterous heterosexual people.

    African churches do not share this opinion, and the Anglican churches in both Uganda and Nigeria have given enthusiastic backing to laws which criminalise even the expression of support for gay marriage. Despite these confusions, Welby denied that the church was woolly in its preaching in a testy exchange with the former Conservative cabinet minister Ann Widdecombe, who left the Church of England over its support of female priests in 1992, but phoned in on Friday to attack it. “I think the opponents of women’s ordination are wrong theologically,” he said.

    Welby refused an opportunity to criticise Iain Duncan Smith on welfare reform, but he was unequivocal in support of the church’s work with food banks and against inequality. He cited statistics showing that a third of those coming to food banks were entitled to benefits which had not actually been paid and another third were in employment, but for them “the month is a bit longer than the money”.

    “Whatever the causes, those are the people we are dealing with. They need to be treated with human dignity and they need to be loved. I do want to live in a country where the economy works in a way that means that food banks are no longer necessary,” Welby said.

    In remarks which showed the clear influence of Catholic doctrine, he said that food, house prices and energy costs were all moral issues that could not be left entirely to the market. “How much you charge for essentials is always a moral issue,” he said.

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