Monday, 5 July 2010

Uganda missing gay man found beheaded in a farm latrine while the CofE worries about Jeffrey John

I have just finished a live discussion on Premier Radio with Chris Sugden about the possibility of Jeffrey John being recommended for Southwark by the Crown Nomination Commission meeting this afternoon.

Chris said ‘so what’ in response to me when I said that his appointment would be good in that it would bring honesty and integrity to the church and a role model not only for LGBT people but for our families, friends, colleagues and congregations. It would also be a landmark in those parts of the Communion where hostility to LGBT people is dominant.

News from Uganda which surfaced today highlights why change in church teaching and practice towards homosexuality is imperative and urgent.

A search for a missing pro-gay priest, the Rev Henry Kayizzi Nsubuga, who disappeared almost two and half weeks ago after delivering a scathing speech at St. Paul's Church, Kanyanya supporting homosexuality in Uganda, led the joint search team of Integrity Uganda and Namirembe Diocese to the severed head of another person. The head was found in a pit latrine on the farm of Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission Chairman, in Makindye Sabagabo, Wakiso District.

Judith Nabakooba, a police spokesperson, identified the head as that of Pasikali Kashusbe, one of the workers on Kigggundu’s farm and a member of Integrity Uganda. Pasikali and his partner Abbey are youth workers with Integrity Uganda charged with the responsibility of mobilising young LGBT people in activities which build community capacity to face up to the challenge of homophobia, especially in the area of attitude change and care through drama and sports activities.

According to the police, a mutilated torso which was earlier in the week discovered in Kabuuma Zone, about half a kilometre away from Kiggundu’s farm was probably Pasikali’s The torso was described as belonging to a young man and had no genitals.

Pasikali went missing over three and half weeks ago when the country was celebrating Uganda Martyrs Day. All efforts by his partner Abbey and other family members to find him had been fruitless.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Chairperson of Integrity Uganda lamented the murder of this young man as ‘absurd’ adding that, ‘clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity’.

Homosexual acts are criminalized in Uganda under a sodomy law inherited from British colonial times, although punishments were substantially strengthened in 1990. Uganda government officials have regularly threatened and harassed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. In October 2004, James Nsaba Buturo, the country’s information minister at the time, ordered police to investigate and “take appropriate action against” a gay association allegedly organized at Uganda’s Makerere University.

State-owned media have repeatedly called for stronger measures against homosexual conduct. On July 6, 2005, an article in the government-owned New Vision newspaper urged authorities to crack down on homosexuality, saying, “The police should visit the holes mentioned in the press, spy on the perverts, arrest and prosecute them”.

The climax of state inspired homophobia was in Mr. Bahati’s draft legislation called the Anti Homosexual Bill which if enacted would broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty to people who have homosexual relations. Until then, there seems to be a new form of state fanaticism leveled against sexual minorities in Uganda -of missing LGBTI peoples who are picked by plain clothed security and found beheaded in latrines.

The Rev Erich Kasirye, General Secretary, Integrity Uganda, said:

‘Pasikali and his partner Abbey joined Integrity Uganda in June 2007 and during the last three years, Integrity Uganda has seen an increase in coordination and harmonisation of youth activities. Pasikali emphasized the promotion of the concept of care across the continuum through the formation of voluntary home care groups for young LGBTIs who continue to live in fear. He will be greatly missed by the entire LGBTI fraternity’.

Integrity Uganda has declared today, Monday 5th July as day of mourning for countless many LGBTI people who continue to go missing in the name of state homophobia and a requiem mass will be held at 2pm. Pasikali will be laid to rest at his ancestral home in Ikumba sub-county of Kabale district in Mbarara Region on Tuesday 6th July 2010 at 4pm.

Pasikali’s death is tragic, and stands as a reason why the Anglican Communion must change its teaching on homosexuality. There is no reason why the consciences of those who oppose the full inclusion of LGBT people should be allow to inhibit change in the church. The prevention of torture and murder of any individual must always be the first priority, ensuring that all citizens and Christians can live in an environment of love, security and affirmation.

The longer the argument about avoiding splits and schism in the church continues in the face of the horrendous legislation proposed in Uganda and the murder of LGBT people in the UK and the USA as well as Uganda and other African countries, the more insistent becomes the call for change in the church, NOW. We are committed to radical change in the Anglican Communion. Now is the time to become a supporter of changing attitude, working together with groups in the UK, North America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand to achieve change which is holy, just and timely.

Colin Coward

16 comments:

  1. Lord have mercy.
    Christ have mercy.
    Lord have mercy.

    Holy Pasikali, Christian martyr, PRAY FOR US!!!

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  2. This is outrageous ! The threats, harassment, and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans must stop.

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  3. Is it possible for an American citizen who is straight to join Integrity Uganda?

    Mack Harrell
    West Orange, NJ

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  4. This is so shocking - where is the outcry in our church? When will we learn to take responsibility?
    I don't know how all those politely anti-gay people in the CoE can sleep at night.
    And I wish there was something more I could do than to pray.

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  5. i am a journalist in kampala. is there someone i can speak with to confirm this?

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  6. The Church is culpable because of its institutionalized homophobia. It has blood on its hands. Why is it so very hard to understand this as a basic civil right? Why are your hearts so very hard?

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  7. Is the report from Uganda a hoax? See http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/07/05/24020

    Colin, I would appreciate any light you can throw on the matter.

    Louie

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  8. Christ is my Lord...I trust him to judge the butchers... Karlaee Dezno

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  9. Chris Sugden7 July 2010 13:51

    Dear Colin,

    To set the record straight, Premier Radio have kindly provided a transcript of a portion of the studio discussion held on Monday July 5th between you and me

    My"so what?" refers to your sentence "the views held by many Christians are simply not held by the majority of the population in
    this country" as my next words about Christians in first century Rome make clear.

    Chris Sugden

    Premier Transcript here:

    COLIN COWARD:

    We’ve been living with the possibility of schism and the threat of splits for several years now, and splits have developed – as of yet, no full schisms. That’s one matter to take into consideration. The other is that lesbian and gay people, not only in this country but across the whole communion, often are abused and treated violently in other countries, and this abuse is not going to change until the Church changes its’ teaching about the nature of homosexuality.
    Ultimately, the church teaching I have no doubt, will change. And of course, what has changed in the meantime in the period that Chris was referring to, is that Western society and opinion about homosexuality
    and whether or not it is in any way a deviant lifestyle in this country has changed dramatically. And the views held by many
    Christians are simply not held by the majority of the population in this country.

    BRIDGITTE TETTEH:
    Chris, do you think it is inevitable that actually we will now finally see a split? There’s been lots of talk about it but if this were to come forward and we were actually to see a homosexual Bishop being put into Southwark – as you said, key diocese – would we see a split?

    CHRIS SUGDEN:

    Well, I just quote from you from a clergyman in Southwark Diocese, Ray Skinner – Rector of Morden in Southwark, who says “Unless the next
    Bishop keeps to the rule, that none of the clergy can declare themselves to be in an active, same-sex relationship, he will lose the
    allegiance of the orthodox parishes and clergy in Southwark, who keep and teach the New Testament standards of morality”, and he’s very
    clearly saying, and I’ve talked to others, who have said they would not be able to give their oath of allegiance to somebody as Jeffrey
    John, and I just want to respond to what Colin has said about opinion in this country, and I’d want to say – so what? The church grew in
    first century Roman empire where everybody was expected to burn incense and offerings to Caesar. If you wanted to get on in society,
    if you want to be part of the ruling elite, if you wanted to prosper, you offered incense to Caesar, and the Christians said no. And the
    Christians ended up in the catacombs, they ended up in Nero’s amphitheatres, being thrown to the lions, all sorts of things because
    they said – even though the majority of society goes with this, this is not God’s will, this is not God’s best, and this is what we want.

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  10. Colin or whoever is moderating this blog: This story has some significant credibility issues and it would be helpful for you to comment about how you came to have this information. You been referred to Boxturtlebulletin.com and I hope you can respond to the reporting there.

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  11. Warren, as I hope you've seen, after a day of extensive research and consultation with friends in the USA and Uganda I have apologised for posting the story without first checking the background. In the process I discovered evidence that Erich Kasiyre may have been restored to the Church of Uganda with the blessing of Archbishop Henry Orombi. The truth is sometimes very difficult to extract in Africa.

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  12. Dear all, we can not continue to lament about the spread of a disease, without considering the origin, the source and the mode of transmission. Where do this developing countries inherited this laws from? This are the question we all have answers to.

    Any injustice, human violation and stigma implemented by the African Countries are the wounds that then colonial masters have planted and this will take a very long time to heal. Our leaders should take the responsibilities to account for all the human rights violations against Lesbians, gay men,transgenders, and bisexuals and other like minds in Africa.

    I can not imagine this happening in my country.

    Victor Olaore Omoshehin

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  13. Colin, could we have a direct answer to the point above. How on earth is it relevant what view is held by the majority in this country? (1) First of all, the majority is not always right. (2) Second, it's obvious that Christians must always be counter-cultural where necessary. (3) People find it diffcult to be countercultural because of peer-pressure, so it is predictable and inevitable that some will not be. (4) It is only in this one generation that this view has been held by the majority in this one country. Other generations had either other dominant views or other thought-patterns or both. (5) Why no attention to the opinion-formers who affect these shifts in opinion in the first place? Where the media-class and the political class (however unrepresentative) are the most vocal and influential and (most importantly) realise that the main thing one has to do to effect a change of norms is to present a certain paradigm as being the norm (whether or not it is) for long enough, knowing that people are afraid of being in a minority - well, the rest follows.
    This has nothing to do with whether your own paradigm is right or wrong. It is to do with your surely false idea that the church should follow the majority in any given society. (Should they have followed the majority when most were anti-homosexual, do you think? Or does the majority principle then fall down?) For then there is no need for the church at all - they are redundant followers rather than prophets or leaders. How can this view of yours be defended? Best wishes, Christopher Shell.

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