Monday, January 31, 2011

Mixed Messages from ABofC Dangerous for LGBT in Uganda

Words Matter
Louise Brooks
Integrity USA
Board Member & Director of Communications

In his press conference yesterday in Dublin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, condemned the actions of the Ugandan rag "Rolling Stone" (not to be confused with the US magazine) for calling for the hanging of "homos". He pointed out that words matter ..... when uttered by what he called "this rotten, disgraceful Ugandan publication" and they have serious consequences.  Responsibility needs to be taken, he said.

The same goes for the Archbishop. Words matter. In the same press conference he defended Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi's anti-gay stance. The Irish Times put it this way:  "Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.

Those words uttered by the Archbishop, supporting the institutionalized homophobia in the Church of Uganda, matter. They send a dangerous mixed message that does nothing but perpetuate an atmosphere of fear and discrimination. An atmosphere that could lead to violence and death. He needs to take responsibility for muddy-ing the waters.

Here is the Church of Uganda's position on homosexuality:

From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other”. The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference). At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.

The Archbishop supports Orambi's exclusion of homosexuals. How does excluding people for who they are even pretend to be Christian?

Words matter. Our words matter as well. We need to continue to urge the Archbishop of Canterbury and all faith leaders to step up and speak out against homophobia. We need to ask the Archbishop to stop speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He needs to hear words that say: Supporting those who support homophobia is no different than supporting homophobia yourself. 

Yesterday  the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts-Schori, called upon us all to "heal the world". A giant step toward healing is ending homophobia. A good start would be for the Archbishop of Canterbury to recognize his words matter. No more mixed messages. Please!!!!!!

Louise Brooks is a Media & Messaging Consultant.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Comments from the Archbishop Of Canterbury on Kato

At a news conference at the end of the six day Primates meeting in Dublin, Ireland, the Archbishop of Canterbury made the following statement when asked about David Kato's murder in Uganda.....

"I think that this murder illustrates that words have results. You can't go around sharing information about the identity of supposed lesbian and gay people to ostracize or worse, hang them, as was in one of the headlines of a Ugandan can't do that without taking responsibility for the consequences."

See his comment on  Video here.

Last Friday the Archbishop released this statement.....

"The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."

Integrity USA applauds the Archbishop of Canterbury for speaking out and condemning the violence and rhetoric against LGBT persons. We urge him and all the Primates to continue to work against the forces of homophobia throughout the Anglican Communion and the world.

Presiding Bishop prays David Kato's work continues

Today our Presiding Bishop gave a sermon at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. She is there attending a meeting of Anglican primates.IShe challenged us all "to show up and heal the world."

She said that the world  "needs the participation and leadership of all parts of the body of Christ. It starts with urgent voices, and changed hearts, our own conversion, and our challenge to systems that perpetuate all kinds of sickness and death around the world."

The healing of the world needs the participation and leadership of all parts of the body of Christ.  It starts with urgent voices, and changed hearts, our own conversion, and our challenge to systems that perpetuate all kinds of sickness and death around the world. 

Jefferts Schori also noted the brutal murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato.

"An Anglican was murdered in Uganda this week, a man who has been a strong voice for the basic human rights of gay and lesbian people.  His voice has been silenced.  We can pray that others will continue that work, or be challenged by the brutality of his death into some conversion of heart.  Will we challenge the world to respect the dignity of every single human being?"

To see a video of her entire sermon click here.

Integrity USA is committed to the recognition that we are all interconnected in this world and we accept the challenge of our Presiding Bishop to "show up and heal the world" in our collective work as an advocacy organization and as individual members of the body of Christ.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Bishops of the Diocese of New York Respond to Kato's Death

Statement on the Murder of David Kato by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

January 28, 2011

Like many around the world, we are horrified to learn of the vicious murder of Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato in Mukono, Kampala. Though the circumstances of Mr. Kato's death are still under investigation, we know that he, along with other activists in Uganda have lived under the threat of violence and imprisonment in recent times. Mr. Kato, who was the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, as well as Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and many others, was targeted last fall in a Ugandan magazine. All LGBT persons along with their advocates are at risk due to the general hostility toward them in Uganda and, in particular, due to pending legislation which would call for imprisonment or even death.

We call upon all people of good will, and especially the people of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and our sister and brother Anglicans around the world, to stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, and to resist language, laws and actions which marginalize and even criminalize their relationships. Further, given the current hostile climate in Uganda, we call upon the Anglican church of Uganda to speak up for human rights for all God's children. Further, we call upon the United States government to grant asylum to LGBT persons from Uganda and other nations where the threat of violence is great.
We pray for the repose of the soul of David Kato, for his family and friends as they mourn, and for the LGBT community in Uganda and their allies as they struggle for an end to the fear and violence, which threaten them every day.


The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk

Bishop of New York


The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam

Bishop Suffragan of New York


The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith

Assistant Bishop of New York


Integrity USA applauds our colleagues, The Chicago Consultation, for this statement that asks other Anglican primates to join with the Archbishop of Canterbury tocondemn violence aganist LGBT persons.

CHICAGO, IL, January 28, 2011--The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:

"The Chicago Consultation applauds the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, for his statements condemning the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato. We hope the archbishop's statement signals a willingness to speak out against the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people more directly and forcefully than he has in the past.

"It is essential that the other primates of the Anglican Communion join Dr. Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, in condemning the cultivation of hatred and violence against LGBT people. The primates who boycotted the current meeting in Dublin over theological differences with gay-friendly churches have a particular responsibility to affirm the dignity of every human being, and the right of LGBT people to live without fear of violence, degradation or criminal prosecution. We would welcome similar clarity from the Anglican Church in North America, which maintains close relationships with these primates.

"Heartened as we were by the archbishop's statement, we believe that he is speaking aspirationally when he claims that the worldwide Anglican Communion has condemned violence against LGBT people. Occasional references to the dignity of gays and lesbians in voluminous communiqués cannot mask the fact that a number of Anglican provinces have been active or complicit in encouraging state-sponsored persecution of gays and lesbians, including the notorious anti-gay legislation still under consideration by the Ugandan parliament.

"Dr. Williams' advocacy would be more credible were his handling of LGBT issues within the Anglican Communion more evenhanded. He has made it clear that the Episcopal Church may face consequences for consecrating gay and lesbian bishops. Yet primates such as Archbishop Henry Orombi in Kato's own country of Uganda support laws that would imprison same-sex couples for simple acts of physical affection, but risk no such reprisals. The tortured ecclesiological rationale offered for this double standard makes little sense outside the cocoon of Communion bureaucracy, and it compromises the archbishop's ability to be the forceful and effective advocate for human rights that this statement indicates he wants to be."

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit


Friday, January 28, 2011

Shocking: Anglican Priest Shouts Anti-Gay Rant at Kato Funeral

From Box Turtle Bulletin: Scuffle Breaks Out at David Kato’s Funeral

Jim Burroway
January 28th, 2011

A scuffle broke out midway through David Kato’s funeral today when the Anglican priest Thomas Musoke burst out with an anti-gay rant. The had funeral drew about 300 people, including 100 LGBT friends and colleagues. No one was hurt in the fighting, but LGBT advocates report that they had recieved threats that that their cars would be stoned as they left the service.

Reuters desribed the scene this way:

The world has gone crazy,” the pastor told the congregation through a microphone. “People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back, they should abandon what they are doing. You cannot start admiring a fellow man.”

Gay activists, wearing T-shirts featuring Kato’s face with sleeves coloured with the gay pride flag, then stormed the pulpit and grabbed the microphone.

“It is ungodly,” the pastor shouted, before being blocked from sight.

After the scuffle was calmed, villagers refused to bury Kato’s coffin, so it was left to Kato’s friends, most of them gay, to carry him to his grave and bury him themselves.

Pepe Julian Onziema of Sexual Minorities Uganda was at the funeral, and was very upset at what she saw:

After we had read statements from everybody, including Obama, after all the nice things friends said about David, that this man could stand up and throw dirt at someone who should be resting in peace. It’s just disgusting.

Archbishop condemns murder of Ugandan gay human rights activist

Friday 28 January 2011

Yesterday, after the news of brutal muder of gay activist David Kato in Uganda, Integrity USA and its memebrsand supporters called for church leaders to speak out against the violence to LGBTQ persons in Uganda and around the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates' meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:

"The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."

The Presiding Bishop presently is in Dublin, Ireland, attending the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. Here is Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s statement:
At this morning’s Eucharist at the Primates Meeting, I offered prayers for the repose of the soul of David Kato. His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God’s children.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Secretary Hillary Clinton's Statement on David Kato

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the following official statement moments ago on the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato, affirming that “the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.”

Integrity USA applauds Secretary Clinton and her tireless efforts to support the international LGBTQ community.

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

January 27, 2011

We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act.

David Kato tirelessly devoted himself to improving the lives of others. As an advocate for the group Sexual Minorities Uganda, he worked to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. His efforts resulted in groundbreaking recognition for Uganda’s LGBT community, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s October 2010 statement on the unconstitutionality of Uganda’s draft “anti-homosexuality bill” and the Ugandan High Court’s January 3 ruling safeguarding all Ugandans’ right to privacy and the preservation of human dignity. His tragic death underscores how critical it is that both the government and the people of Uganda, along with the international community, speak out against the discrimination, harassment, and intimidation of Uganda’s LGBT community, and work together to ensure that all individuals are accorded the same rights and dignity to which each and every person is entitled.

Everywhere I travel on behalf of our country, I make it a point to meet with young people and activists — people like David — who are trying to build a better, stronger future for their societies. I let them know that America stands with them, and that their ideas and commitment are indispensible to achieving the progress we all seek.

This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us — and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.

Statement on David Kato & Call to Action

Integrity USA statement on the murder of David Kato

Integrity USA is deeply saddened by the murder of David Kato but we are not surprised. The homophobic atmosphere that prevails in Uganda today where draconian laws are proposed, calling for death and inprisonment of homosexuals, and where a so-called magazine can call for the killing of "homos," has created a climate that was sure provoke violence. All the while, the church has remained silent. It has failed to speak out on behalf of the voiceless victims of homophobia in Uganda and across the Communion. It's time the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks out. We call on all our brothers and sisters in faith --from Canterbury to Kampala to Kalamazoo --to join us and take a stand on behalf of "the least of these". Silence equals death.

"Enough is enough," said Max Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of Integrity USA. "In Uganda and around the world, our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion and other churches must insist that all people are treated with decency. All people are members of the human family, and loved by God. David Kato's murder is a wake-up call. Now is the time for church leaders to proclaim that there is no excuse for killing a person simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Christianity - and the Anglican Communion in particular - must be a force for good in the world, and Integrity calls on all Christian leaders to speak out for peace and justice in the face of violence and hatred."


Last year our members signed on to a Facebook page calling for the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak out against the activities in Uganda. Imagine how things might be different if he had.

Here's a link to that page.

The time is come to ask again. In a stronger more pointed way. Lives are at stake. Our dear beloved Bishop Christopher Senyonjo was on the list of "homos" to be hanged. Make your voice heard about the need for the church to speak out. Send an email to the Archbiship of Canterbury at: and CC us at Integrity by inserting

Here is a sample email:

Dear Archbishop Williams:

I am writing to respectfully request that you use your influence with leaders of the Anglican Communion and and specifically the Anglican Church of Uganda and urge them to proclaim the following statement:

All people are beloved children of God. While we acknowledge that we are not of one mind on issues of human sexuality and gender identity, we state unequivocally that it is absolutely unacceptable for a person to be persecuted or murdered because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), or because a person speaks out in favor of people who are LGBT. Violence that is perpetrated against people simply because they are "different" is against the basic principles of Christianity, and a grave sin.


Your name & contact info

Take action today!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ugandan LGBT Activist David Kato Murdered in Uganda

Frank Mugisha, head of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), just reported that his colleague in SMUG, David Kato, has been murdered in Kampala.

 Kato was also one of the plaintiffs in the Rolling Stone defamation case in Uganda. The Rolling Stone promised to out 100 homosexuals, and had started doing so, when a Ugandan judge halted the tabloid, saying that such efforts violated the rights of the plaintiffs. Kato had expressed fear for his safety after the verdict.

The Human Rights Watch webiste posted this:

Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato's home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato's lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it.

Kato was the advocacy officer for the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda. He had been a leading voice in the fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which has been before Uganda's parliament since October 15, 2009. While homosexual sex is already illegal in Uganda, the proposed law would criminalize all homosexuality, making it punishable by a fine and life imprisonment. "Repeat offenders" and those who are HIV positive would be subject to the death penalty. The bill would also oblige anyone with knowledge of someone who is or might be a homosexual to report that person to the police within 24 hours.

The bill has been widely condemned internationally, including by US President Barack Obama, who called the bill "odious." Kato had said the bill was "profoundly undemocratic and un-African."

The fight against the bill has also pushed Ugandan activists to the fore, raising concern for their privacy and safety. These deepened in late 2010 when a local tabloid called Rolling Stone, unconnected to the US magazine, published pictures, names, and residence locations of some members of the LGBT community, along with a headline saying, "Hang Them." Kato's photo appeared on the cover, and inside another photo appeared with his name.

Three activists, including Kato, eventually sued the publication and won on January 3. The judge ruled that the publication had violated their constitutional rights to privacy and ordered compensation. He also issued an injunction prohibiting any further publication of the identities and home locations of individuals labeled homosexuals.

"The Anti-Homosexuality bill has already generated hatred before it has even been enacted and it should immediately be withdrawn by its author," Burnett said. "President Yoweri Museveni should categorically reject the hate that lies behind this bill, and instead encourage tolerance of divergent views of sexuality and protect vulnerable minorities."

Integrity USA invites prayers of thanks for David Kato's life, work and witness and we call for an end to violence against LGBT people everywhere.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011



A discriminatory bill that would prevent Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions performed out of state cleared its final hurdle Monday in the Wyoming House of Representatives and is headed to the State Senate tomorrow.

Here's an urgent message from our friend, Will Welch, who's working hard on our community's behalf to represent our interests before the Legislature. Please heed Will's plea! SJ 005 is before the Senate now and senators will vote on it again tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Send a quick note NOW!

These are the Senators we want to vote against SJ 5 which would put on the ballot next election a proposal to AMEND THE WY CONSTITUTION to define marriage as between a man and a woman and EXPLICITLY deny recognition of civil unions. We need three of them.

- Sen. Tony Ross/Cheyenne -- 307-632-8960
- Sen. Phil Nicholas / Laramie -- 307-742-7140
- Sen. Leland Christensen / Alta -- 307-353-8204
- Sen.John Schiffer / Kaycee -- 307-738-2232
- Sen. John Hines / Gillette -- 307-682-3943
- Sen. Bill Landen / Casper -- 307-237-4067
- Sen. Wayne Johnson / Cheyenne -- 307-635-2181
- Sen. Charles Scott / Casper -- 307-473-2512

Recognizing the face of God at the Primates' meeting in Dublin.

Today is the first day of a six day meeting in Dublin for the The Primates of the Anglican Communion.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori sent this statement to ENS from Dublin: "In all we do, we seek to recognize the face of God wherever we turn, realizing that the body of God's creation will only be healed when all members of the body of Christ are working together."

The Anglican Communion News Service issued this list of who are present, on their way or are expected:

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia The Most Revd Winston Halapua
The Anglican Church of Australia The Most Revd Phillip John Aspinall
The Church of Bangladesh The Rt Revd Paul Sishir Sarkar
Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil The Most Revd Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
The Episcopal Church of Burundi The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi
The Anglican Church of Canada The Most Revd Frederick J Hiltz
The Church of the Province of Central Africa Represented by The Dean of the Province The Rt Rev Albert Chama
Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America The Most Revd Armando Roman Guerra Soria
The Church of England The Most Revd Rowan Douglas Williams
Also represented by The Most Revd John Sentamu
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui The Most Revd Paul Kwong
The Church of Ireland The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan) The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
The Anglican Church of Korea The Rt Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim
The Church of the Province of Melanesia The Most Revd David Vunagi
The Church of Pakistan (United) The Rt Revd Samuel Azariah
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea The Most Revd Joseph Kifau Kopapa
The Episcopal Church in the Philippines The Rt Revd Edward Pacyaya Malecdan
The Scottish Episcopal Church The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth
The Church of South India (United) The Most Revd Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa The Most Revd Thabo Cecil Makgoba
The Episcopal Church The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Church in Wales The Most Revd Barry Cennydd Morgan
The Church in the Province of the West Indies The Most Revd John Walder Dunlop Holder

Several were unable to attend for reasons of visa difficulties, for health reasons, previous committments, personal reasons and Provincial matters.

Then there are those who have chosen to stay away over recent developments in The Episcopal Church:

The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean The Most Revd Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East The Most Revd Mouneer Hanna Anis
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) The Most Rt Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh
The Church of the Province of Uganda The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi
Church of the Province of South East Asia The Most Revd John Chew
Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America The Most Revd Hector Zavala
The Church of the Province of West Africa The Most Revd Justice Ofei Akrofi

Integrity USA applauds our Presiding Bishop for showing up in Dublin and for her continued message of seeing God in "the other" and promoting our interconnectedness in the 21st century.

Meanwhile here at home, Integrity pledges to work with her to convey the same message in every province and diocese throughout the Episcopal Church.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bishop Of Virginia Calls for Same Sex Unions

Statement by the Rt.Rev. Shannon Johnston in his 2011 Pastoral Address -- which included the call for the election of a Bishop Suffragan (in April 2012) -- on the blessing of same-gender unions:

You may remember that I have always affirmed that committed, monogamous same-gender relationships can indeed be faithful in the Christian life. Therefore, I plan also to begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the “generous pastoral response” that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches.

Personally, it is my hope that the 2012 General Convention will authorize the formal blessing of same-gender unions for those clergy in places that want to celebrate them. Until then, we might not be able to do all that we would want to do but, in my judgment, it is right to do something and it is time to do what we can.

To thank Bishop Johnson for taking this stand email him at

Integrity allies in Ireland call for Primates to confront homophobia

The Anglican Primates’ Meeting will be held in in Dublin, 25th-31st January 2011. Our colleagues at Changing Attitude Ireland are calling for the Primates to confront homphobia throughout the Anglican Communion. Here's the story:

As the senior bishops from Anglican Churches worldwide prepare to meet in Dublin for their Primates’ Meeting (25th-31st January) there has been a call on the Irish Government by an Irish Anglican group to request the visiting Archbishops to address the problem of Christian-backed persecution of gay persons.

The call comes from Changing Attitude Ireland and its Secretary the Church of Ireland clergyman Canon Charles Kenny requests Ireland’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Brian Cowen, who is also the Prime Minister, “to maintain the interest shown by the Department of Foreign affairs under his predecessor Micheal Martin in the persecution of gay persons in Uganda and Malawi”.

Dr Richard O’Leary of Changing Attitude Ireland called in addition on Mr Cowen “to match the concern of his former British counterpart, Prime Minister Gordon Brown when Mr Brown used the November 2009 meeting of the Commonwealth to speak out about the threat to gay persons from the Ugandan government”.

Dr O’Leary said “In the month that Ireland recognised Civil Partnership for same-sex couples, let us not forget the recent violence against and imprisonment of a gay couple in Malawi”. He continued “Archbishop Rowan Williams and the leaders of the Anglican Communion who are meeting in Dublin this week need to assume their responsibilities in tackling homophobia and the Churches collusion in it”. Canon Charles Kenny added “The Meeting of the Anglican Primates takes place over a whole week so I think they should be capable of finding some time to discuss the scandal of homophobia that exists in the Church, especially in Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria.” The Primates from all the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been invited to the Meeting in Dublin by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and are hosted by the Primate of all Ireland, Archbishop Alan Harper.

Last year the Ugandan parliament was presented with a draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would introduce the death penalty for some behaviour by gay persons. The Irish government is a major development aid donor to Uganda and Malawi and last June the Director of the Human Rights Unit in the Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs was briefed in Dublin by the retired Anglican Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo on the problem of the Christian-backed anti-gay crusade in Uganda. Bishop Senyonjo in his address at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin called for education to counteract homophobia because, "I have found that a lot of the prejudice against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people comes from ignorance." Bishop Senyonjo, a rare courageous voice in the conservative Anglican Church in Uganda, and who speaks in support of gay persons, visited Ireland on the invitation of Changing Attitude Ireland, and urged people in Britain and Ireland to oppose the Bill.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Integrity Alabama Holds Feast of St. Aelred Celebration

CORRECTION IN PARAGRAPH TWO: This is not the first time the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley has participated in the St. Aelred celebration. He both preached and celebrated several years ago and has been supportive of his fellow bishops coming to do the same. Integrity USA apologizes to Bishop Parsley for the error.

Over 100 Integrity members and friends from throughout the state of Alabama and beyond participated in Integrity Alabama's annual celebration of the Feast of St. Aelred of Rievaulx on Saturday, January 15th.  The event took place at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Birmingham, AL (an Integrity Proud Parish Partner).

Max Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of Integrity USA delivered the homily.  For the first time, The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley, Bishop of Alabama joined the festivities as the celebrant. The service was followed by Integrity Alabama's annual dinner, which hosted 130 members and friends.

 Here is an excerpt from Max's homily.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Aelred. In the Episcopal Calendar of Saints, this is also a day when we celebrate the life and ministry of Martin Luther King, Jr. St. Aelred and Martin Luther King are quite a pair. St. Aelred: An English monk who lived almost a thousand years ago, ran an abbey full of monks who probably never took a bath in their lives, and wrote books on sheepskin. Martin Luther King, Jr.: An African American civil rights leader and preacher who fought for change through peaceful witness, and was assassinated just 42 years ago.

But these two men are actually parallels of one another in many ways. They were both like Mary Magdalene: Like her, they were from groups that were – and still are, in many cases – mistreated in society. People like them – or, I should say, people like “us” – are told by a lot of folks that they’re not as good as other people, or shouldn’t have the same privileges. We know a lot about Dr. King. Aelred is less well-known to many of us. When he was entered into our calendar of saints, the Episcopal Church understood that he was gay. In effect, our Church is on record as saying that gay people can be “saints.” I think that’s pretty wonderful.

More importantly than any of this, though, is that fact that Aelred and Martin Luther King are two of our greatest saints of Christian love and reconciliation.

Aelred was a great mystic and author. In his book Spiritual Friendship, Aelred writes, “In friendship are joined honor and charm, truth and joy, sweetness and good will, affection and action. And all these take their beginning in Christ, advance through Christ, and are perfected in Christ… Friend cleaving to friend in the spirit of Christ is made, with Christ, but one heart and one soul, and so mounting aloft through degrees of love to friendship with Christ [friends are] made one spirit with him.”

Aelred and King both deeply understood the commandments to love God first, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. They deeply understood that when we really love one another, we are abiding in God, and God is abiding in us. They both made that deep, Christian love the centerpiece of their lives. And they both worked in friendship with Jesus Christ and their brothers and sisters to transform the world.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be here with you today for the Feast of St. Aelred. The witness to God’s love that is present in this church, and in the work of Integrity Alabama, is truly humbling.

........when we are at our best, we strive to follow the lead of saints like Aelred and Martin Luther King, Jr., even when that is difficult: Saints who give over their lives to seeking reconciliation and true friendship with all people – who challenge us to turn our backs on fear and division – to fight for what is right – and to embrace all of our brothers and sisters as living members of God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Anglican Covenant: Who Wants it?

This is the third installment of Integrity's series on the Anglican Covenant, written by the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall.

If you missed Part 1: Where Did it Come From? Click here.

If you missed Part 2: What's in it? Click here.

The desire for an Anglican Covenant came from those who want the Anglican Communion to be more defined. The way it has developed historically is rather like a village that becomes a city without any central planning. There is very little infrastructure and no-one quite knows where the city starts or ends. The Anglican Communion has few formal lines of communication and no clear boundary – how do you know if you are worshipping within the Anglican Communion? Anyone can call themselves Anglican – and do. There are “Anglicans” who worship in my town who are not in communion with Canterbury – they are not recognized by the Episcopal Church nor by the Archbishop of Canterbury. But they identify as Anglican.

For those who believe that accepting same-gender relationships as holy is equivalent to abandoning the Christian faith, it is highly disturbing to find that they are expected to be “in communion” with people who they see as apostate. It makes them ask whether the Anglican Communion is a Christian church, and what it means to be Anglican if even those who preach heresy are acceptable.

The Anglican Covenant is one way to redefine our identity, to say who is “in” and who is “out”.

Others who are less disturbed by the question of including gay and lesbian people in all the rites of the church still think that it is time to modernize the Anglican Communion and create structures and agreements which work for who we are today. Which of course begs the question which the Covenant sets out to answer – who are we?

For a long time the Anglican Communion has in some significant ways acted as though it were one homogeneous body –as if it were an Anglican Church rather than an Anglican Communion. The biggest example of this is in our discussions with other churches. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was created in 1967 to work towards greater understanding and unity of the two communions. This was not just a Church of England enterprise, but one in which those working on the Commission were thought to be able to speak for Anglicans the world over.

Since the 1960s the diversity of the Anglican Communion has become apparent and such conversations have become more and more difficult. Ordaining women and then ordaining LGBT is a divide too far. Bishop Robinson’s ordination created a significant stumbling block with our ecumenical conversation partners, particularly the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches. It also raised the question, how can we continue ecumenical talks towards reunification when we are increasingly disunited ourselves?

When Anglican churches, like The Episcopal Church, come to agreement with other churches, like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ECLA) we have no problem in making covenants. Why then should we not make a covenant with each other which would enable us to move forward again with a degree of certainty about who we are?

So those who want the Covenant are those who want a clearer sense of the Anglican Communion as a recognizable ecclesiastical body – dare I say, as an international church. They want a redesign which will create an organization with clearly defined leadership and clearly defined boundaries.

And then there are those who want the Covenant because it will, they hope, calm everyone down, or at least make the Archbishop of Canterbury happy, poor man. The recent declaration by the Primates of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON) that it is inadequate and they will not sign in, put this centrist group into a bind – sign it or no, everyone will not be happy.

Note: So far the Church of Mexico has signed on to the Covenant; the Churches of South Africa, Australia and England have sent it to their dioceses for ratification, and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has asked dioceses to study it and comment with a view to voting at General Convention in 2012.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall is priest-in-charge at St. Benedict's Episcopal Church in Los Osos, California. She is a former Integrity Board Member where her portfolio included international affairs and a frequent contributor to Walking With Integrity.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.: A White Southerner's Perspective

by Louie Crew
© 1974 by The Living Church; © 2004 by Louie Crew

First appeared in The Living Church 168.1 (March 31, 1974): 9.

A person's message often succeeds as much with outsiders as with the audience at home. As Gandhi astounded the British, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., left some of his greatest treasure to white Southerners, like me.

Dr. King taught me that people close to me, people whom I trusted, my people, people who had treated me well, wronged black people. Learning this lesson, I wondered how many other ways my people had taught me to transgress. Dr. King took away some of my props. I could no longer afford to accept anyone's views without first carefully examining them. He began my education.

Dr. King taught me that fair people sometimes have to subvert a sick society. While only a few in the black community considered him "subversive," in living room after living room in my part of town the name "Martin Luther King" used to turn even sweet grandmothers into raving preachers and jolly uncles into Klansmen and Citizens Councilors. It did not take long for me to see that the violence my people feared from Dr. King was the violence of our own nature. His doctrine of love exposed us, as spiritually impoverished. Without this painful exposure, few of us would have done much to remedy our plight.

Dr. King humanized my personal heroes. I do not mean remote heroes in books. I mean those closer to us, figures in one's family or community who, despite routine and heavy exposure, still suggest a measure of greatness. I could have chosen one of the little Confederate soldiers on any town square, or a daddy serving on a local school board. But Dr. King showed me that the soldier (my great-grandfather) fought in a morally questionable cause and that the school board which my father chaired, unjustly robbed black people of their human rights and personal dignity when it segregated them.

Dr. King became a different kind of hero, someone who showed that when we try to discover a just way, the world does not tumble down. On the contrary, it starts to make sense.

Dr. King did not allow even well-meaning white people to control him. He taught me to respect blackness as I had never done before. I graduated from high school the year of the Little Rock decision. My environment had segregated me from all black people except domestic servants. I never met a black person with more than a high school education until I was out of college. I even had to sneak to read black literature, never mentioned by my professors. Dr. King broke through these barriers, revealed to me the inadequacy of my education, showed me that to live in the world, I had better start looking for leadership in new places, in black places, from black people.

Most importantly, Dr. King shared his dream of reconciliation. He taught me that no matter how wickedly my people had behaved, we whites might one day worthily sit at tables with blacks. Dr. King kept open for me and for all people, a chance to walk out of narrow racism into a world community right in my own home town.

Louie Crew says 'this was published 8 months before I founded Integrity, and before I was banned by THE LIVING CHURCH. The editor (Carroll Simcox) wanted to remove my remark about the White Citizens Council, saying that he had readers who respected the organization, but kept my reference when I asked him to."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Integrity USA celebrates 10 Years of "Common Missions" with ELCA

This month, Lutherans Concerned/North America and Integrity USA celebrate the tenth anniversary of the "Called to Common Mission" agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). On January 6 , 2001, the two denominations formalized a relationship of "full communion," recognizing mutual commitments to the essentials of the Christian faith and acknowledging the faithfulness and validity of each church's confessions, ministries, and ministers. Among other things, the full communion relationship allows for joint worship and the sharing of clergy, and facilitates common commitments to evangelism, witness, and service.

Max Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of Integrity USA, said "Together, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America include nearly seven million members and over seventeen thousand parishes. We are blessed by this partnership, and by the partnership between Integrity USA and Lutherans Concerns/North America. Together, we are striving to make God's love tangible everywhere, both within our churches and in the wider world. Over the past decade, both of our denominations have made tremendous strides in extending a warm welcome to all of God's children. That really is something to celebrate."

Ross Murray, Deputy Director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said "I have appreciated the partnership between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church because it has created a way for congregations to be served, the gospel to be preached, and the sacraments administered. The work of both Lutherans Concerned and Integrity has been strengthened through this partnership. We have certainly learned from one another and bolstered one another."

At this ten-year mark, Integrity USA and Lutherans Concerned/North America celebrate our mutual ministries by, with, and for the sake of the whole people of God, including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. We celebrate our common mission and true Christian unity, for which only the Gospel is sufficient and to which each of us-without exception-is called in Baptism.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A St. Aelred Catechism

Today, January 12th, we celebrate the feast of Aelred of Rievaulx, patron saint of Integrity. Below is some basic information about this holy man.

Who was Aelred?

Aelred was one of three sons of Eilaf, priest of St Andrew's at Hexham and himself a son of Eilaf, treasurer of Durham.

Aelred was born in Hexham, Northumbria, in 1110. He spent several years at the court of King David I of Scotland, rising to be Master of the Household before leaving the court to enter the Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, in 1134, at the age of twenty-four. He may have been partially educated by Lawrence of Durham, who sent him a hagiography of Saint Brigid.

Aelred became the abbot of a new house of his order at Revesby in Lincolnshire in 1142, and later, abbot of Rievaulx itself in 1147. He spent the remainder of his life in the monastery. Under his administration the size of the abbey is said to have risen to some hundred monks and four hundred lay brothers. He made annual visitations to Rievaulx's daughterhouses in England and Scotland and to the French abbeys of Citeaux and Clairvaux. He is recorded as suffering from an unspecified and very painful disease in his later years.

Aelred wrote several influential books on spirituality, among them Speculum caritatis ("The Mirror of Charity", reportedly written at the request of Bernard of Clairvaux) and De spiritali amicitia ("On Spiritual Friendship"). He also wrote seven works of history, addressing two of them to Henry II of England, advising him how to be a good king, and declaring him to be the true descendent of Anglo-Saxon kings. Until the twentieth century Aelred was generally known as a historian rather than a spiritual writer; for many centuries his most famous work was his "Life of Saint Edward, King and Confessor." Aelred died on January 12, 1167, at Rievaulx.


How did Aelred become the patron saint of Integrity?

At the 1985 General Convention in Anaheim, CA, at the suggestion of Howard Galley, Integrity/New York, the Standing Liturgical Commission recommended Aelred, along with a number of others, for inclusion in Lesser Feasts and Fasts. When this resolution came before the House of Bishops, the preconversion Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong informed the house that, according to John Boswell, Aelred of Rievaulx had been gay--implying this might disqualify his inclusion. With little discussion the House of Bishops approved the others on the list but sent Aelred back to the commission which sent him back to the House of Bishops where, in spite of his being gay, and with the bishops' full knowledge that he was, he was admitted to the calendar.

During the 1987 national convention of Integrity, in St. Louis, the following resolution was submitted by the Rev. Paul Woodrum and was passed: "Whereas the Episcopal Church USA meeting in General Convention in Anaheim, California, in 1985, with full knowledge, thanks to the vigilance of the bishop of Newark, of St. Aelred's homoerotic orientation, did approve for annual commemoration in her liturgical calendar the Feast of St. Aelred on 12 January and did provide propers for the same, Therefore be it resolved that Integrity Inc. place itself under the protection and patronage of St. Aelred of Rievaulx and, be it further resolved that Integrity, Inc. dedicate itself to regularly observe his feast, promote his veneration and seek before the heavenly throne of grace the support of his prayers on behalf of justice and acceptance for lesbians and gay men."

Source: Archived material on Integrity website written by Paul Woodrum.

What are the propers for St. Aelred's feast day?

Collect: Almighty God, you endowed the abbot Aelred with the gift of Christian friendship and the wisdom to lead others in the way of holiness: Grant to your people that same spirit of mutual affection, that, in loving one another, we may know the love of Christ and rejoice in the gift of your eternal goodness; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lessons: Ruth 1:15-18, Psalm 36:5-10, Philippians 2:1-4, Mark 12:28-34

Source: "Holy Women, Holy Men" [which replaced “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” in 2009]

Whose is celebrating St. Aelred's feast day?

At least three local groups are holding special events in honor of honor of St. Aelred--Integrity/Portland, Oasis California, and Integrity/Connecticut.

If your group is also holding a St. Aelred celebration, please share details [before or after the event] at

Where can I get an icon of St. Aelred?

Robert Lentz has created an excellent icon of St. Aelred that is available from Trinity Stores on a wide variety of media.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hopes for gay-rights gains shift to courts

Source: Boston Globe
Writer: Donovan Slack

WASHINGTON — Gay-rights activists, acknowledging they will lose momentum for their agenda in Congress when Republicans assume control of the House this week, are pinning their hopes for further gains in 2011 on a series of incremental measures and a host of federal court cases.

Last month’s historic repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military signaled an expanding political acceptance of fuller integration of gays into American life. Yet activists and observers caution against expecting anything as dramatic from the next Congress.

For instance, a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, is virtually out of the question in the near future because of the GOP’s rise to power in the House, advocates said.

“It’s frustrating. The repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was a tremendous victory, but there’s a great deal more to be done,’’ said Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

Smaller steps may be possible without congressional approval, however. Rights groups plan to push President Obama’s administration to make regulatory changes, such as reversing a 27-year-old ban on gay men donating blood and requiring that federal contractors not discriminate against gays and lesbians.

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of GOP members who support gay rights, said party leaders have already told him that the economy will take center stage as the new Congress is sworn in Wednesday, forcing major social issues into the background.

Cooper, whose group filed the lawsuit that helped lead to the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, said he is focusing on smaller-bore provisions that might appeal to the economic sensibilities of Republicans, such as legislation that would affect taxes on health benefits for same-sex partners and spouses.

“If we can stick to what unites us, we’re going to be OK,’’ he said.

The retrenching comes after two years of relatively steady progress. In addition to the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, Congress passed a hate-crime bill in 2009 that included protections for gays and lesbians. Obama issued a memorandum extending limited benefits to federal employees with same-sex spouses, such as sick leave to care for them. And in 2010, the US Census recorded same-sex married couples for the first time.

Advocates had hoped to continue racking up milestones with at least two pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill: one granting gays and lesbians protection from discrimination in the workplace and another overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

Americans for Truth, an Illinois-based advocacy group for heterosexual marriage, is hailing the new Republican majority control in the House as a huge victory that it hopes will put the brakes on further progress toward what it calls “taxpayer-funded homosexuality.’’

Read the rest here: