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.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you for these important words - that DO matter because ALL of God's children matter.

Great picture of you, BTW.

Phil said...

How dare you caricature ordinary Christian teaching as homophobic - or, indeed, the compassionate Rowan Williams who cares about people's real lives and suffering far more than those who exploit events like the recent tragedy for their own cheap and tawdry political ends. TEC and its sympathisers are just unbelievably shallow, dishonest, destructive of Christian unity, and - clearly - about to lose the support even of what might be described as the "mildly liberal" parts of the Anglican Communion.

Muthah+ said...


An important statement. I am becoming more and more aware of how duplicitous the ABC is. I thought he was just trying to hold the Communion together, but now I am not sure. His support of Orumbi is disgusting.

JCF said...

How dare you caricature ordinary Christian teaching as homophobic

Homophobic "Christian" teaching---of the sort perpetrated by Orombi and enabled by Rowan Williams---is becoming less and less "ordinary" every day, Praise Christ!

[I'm sorry the Truth hurts, Phil. I urge you to turn to the Great Physician, Who heals ALL pain.]

frharry said...

Well said, Louise. No actions ever occur in a vacuum. As Jesse Jackson said, "A text without a context is a pretext."

William's statement ignores context to the peril of the most vulnerable members of his flock. When the church is silent in the face of dehumanizing polemics, it gives its implicit acquiescence to if not endorsement of the content of those polemics. The genocide of Tutsis in nearby Rwanda took place in the context of a state run radio system calling them "cockroaches" and advocating their extermination. David Cato died amidst a homophobic moral panic which began with church leaders and continued through national media targeting LBGTQ people. And through all this, the Anglican Church - both in Uganda and in Canterbury - have either been silent or, worse yet, joined in the moral panic.

Williams' semantic games of behavior v. orientation are lost on a population driven by the fear of moral panic. And his failure to condemn the behavior of his Anglican primate, bishops and priests - including the priest who shamefully despoiled Mr. Cato's funeral rite with his homophobic rant - in that context gives the appearance of acquiescence if not endorsement.

Mr. Williams, it is not important that you hold the respect of people like myself. And that has long since died in my case. But it is critical that you come to grips with your complicitness in the events occurring in Uganda. Mr. Williams, you have blood on your hands. And this will be your legacy.

Terri said...

I hope you don't mind but I copied this post on the WordsMatter.Episcopal blog and linked back to here.