Sunday 6 December 2009

Lambeth criticises TEC lesbian bishop but fails to criticise Uganda bill - why?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has, with great speed, issued a statement on the election of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. The statement says:

“The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

“The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.

“The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”

Posts on this blog have been dominated by the Anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda for the last 5 weeks.

On 29 October, Giles Goddard and myself wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on behalf of Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude. We asked them to speak out against the proposed legislation and to argue for the protection of lesbian and gay people in Uganda in accordance with the resolutions of previous Lambeth Conferences.

We have not received any reply to the letters and as those following this blog will be aware, neither of the Archbishops has issued a statement condemning the Bill.

Contact with Lambeth Palace persuaded Ruth Gledhill that any comment “would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values upon traditional African culture. It would not help the local Anglican Church.”

The Anglican Communion’s official stance means that it is committed to oppose the consecration of a partnered lesbian or gay bishop at all costs, but not to the execution or life imprisonment of a lesbian or gay person in Uganda nor imprisonment for 3 years of any family member, church member, priest or bishop who fails to denounce a known lesbian or gay person to the police within 24 hours.

This order of priorities is totally wrong and misguided. The Archbishop allows himself to be driven by conservative forces in the Communion who wish to cleanse and eradicate LGBT not just from epsicopal office but from any role in the church – no baptism, no confirmation, no communion, no membership of any congregation.

A reverse colonialism is at work, and very effectively at work, in which the place of LGBT people in the Church of England has been severely diminished over the past 11years, starting with Lambeth 1998. This becomes more and more intolerable for us in the UK, and utterly intolerable for LGBT Anglicans in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and every part of the Communion where the church judges and condemns us.

This is made the more intolerable because those who identity with us in the counsels of the church and might counter the intense prejudice afflicting the Communion are constrained by the need to protect themselves and the corporate commitment to a policy which judges and condemns LGBT people but not States which propose the death penalty and life imprisonment.

The attitude towards the place of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion has become totally intolerable and raises new and challenging questions about the place of LGBT people in the Communion.


  1. I am so surprised that people are worried about someone (who happens to be gay) being a bishop, rather than worrying about the possiblity of horrible legislation in which gay and lesbian persons could be murdered. We really need to rethink what is most important!

  2. You wanted to convert "the heathen" in "darkest Africa".
    You never thought that you'd differ on anything you cared about. When it was support for "progressive" economics, everything was fine. Now it's sex and you've hit a bump.
    Be careful what you wish for.

  3. If that good and tortured man ++ Rowan Williams chooses not speak out against the Ugandan Bill because he is subservient to the Head of The Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, then neither should he chose to comment on the internal affairs of ECUSA since he is no more that "Primus Inter-Pares" in our Communion

  4. Once again, a comment from Brad that makes absolutely no sense.

  5. Caminante,

    I believe I understand exactly the point Brad is making. If you let a bunch of Rottweillers out in the woods, don't be surprised if one of them comes back to bite you.

    Laurence C.

  6. Colin,
    do you really tolerate comments that compare Africans to a bunch of Rottweilers, as something we "let" out in the woods?
    Whatever we think of the actions of individuals and individual groups of people, I really don't think this comment is acceptable at all.

  7. NOOOO!!!!!! The Rottweillers were a metaphor for the Christianity introduced into African culture by Victorian missionaries. I was ABSOLUTELY NOT comparing Africans to Rottweillers.

    My sincere apologies for a remark which could be misinterpreted.

    Laurence C.

  8. Laurence

    I apologise for the misunderstanding!
    It's hard sometimes, to know what is meant when you don't know the contributor. And my mind was still on the Ugandan priest who compared gay people to cockroaches - maybe it's a sign of the times that we all tend to think the worst of each other.

    I'm really sorry.

  9. It does not matter the color of the skin.Homophobes are homophobes.They hurt LGBTI People the same.The African homophobe has no room for non-procreative sex.This has nothing to do with faith.The white homophobes may be accused of neo-colonialism in Africa.Let justice flow like a river to all.Leave judgement to God.Michael- Nairobi