Monday 31 January 2011

Primates’ statement on David Kato's murder brings them closer to the moment of truth

The Primates issued a statement following their meeting in Dublin, supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response. They described the murder as horrific and joined him in saying that no one should have to live in fear because of the bigotry of others.

They quoted from three Anglican documents in support of their judgment:

“We reiterate that ‘the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us’” (Primates Meeting 2005).

“We reaffirm that ‘any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care’” (The Windsor Report).

“We call on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and condemn irrational fear of gay people.” (1998 Lambeth Conference).

I’ve been highlighting the positive elements of Lambeth 1.10, The Windsor Report and other Anglican statements for many years. It seems to me that this is a huge development, the Primates themselves highlighting sentences that affirm the place of LGBT people in the Church and condemn anything that demonises us or provokes ill-treatment.

The next step is a difficult one to make for conservative Christians for whom the Bible is their prime source of authority, let alone for Global South Primates and bishops who believe the Bible judges and condemns lesbian and gay people and legitimizes our persecution. They wouldn’t have agreed the statement, of course, and I wonder what will happen if and when they return to the table.

But let’s stay with the conservatives, many of whom I meet often and count as friends. I think the Primates have drawn closer to the point where the conflict between so-called traditional Christian teaching and the Gospel demands of love and justice, including God’s love for ‘homosexual persons’ who are ‘full members of the Body of Christ’ becomes impossible to resolve.

The Anglican Communion will NEVER overcome its homophobia, NEVER be able to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are free from persecution and demonisation, NEVER be committed to our welcome and full inclusion, until it changes its mind and rejects all aspects of teaching and Biblical interpretation which count us as less than others.

Changing Attitude England will never cease reminding the Church, Synods, bishops, Primates, Instruments of Unity, that there is no alternative but to commit to the full inclusion of LGBT people, admitting us to every order of ministry and blessing our relationships and lives which are marked by love every bit as profound, deep, complex and holy as heterosexual marriage.

David Kato’s murder marks the beginning of a new campaign which will not end until justice has been achieved.

Colin Coward

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  1. You comments are well put, and to the point. The truth is that we must reject any teaching or interpretation of ANY scriptures which seeks to use those scriptures to diminish, harm, or persecute ANY one of God's children (and we all are God's children) in ANY way. Using God to justify our own prejudices, our own biases, and yes even our own hatred is not only shoddy scholarship, but is also absolute cowardice, and must stop.

    Many Lesbian and Gay Christians, and their allies, have already left organized religion because they can no longer support a Church that will not support them. As an ally myself, I found it necessary to leave the instutional Church over twelve years ago. If the institutional Church wants to understand why they are shrinking at a fantastic pace, they need only to look to how they have failed to stand up for their LGBT members and their allies. It is betrayal in the name of God, and completely unacceptable.

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