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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Convenient Prophets

I am thankful that more and more organizations and religious denominations are beginning to protest the proposed Ugandan law which seeks capitol punishment for anyone convicted of being "aggressively homosexual".

So far, the Church of Canada has a resolution expressing its "deep sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights and, through diplomatic channels, to press for its withdrawal; and we ask the Primate to send this message to the appropriate bodies."

Even Randy Thomas, the Vice President of "Exodus International" - the organization of so-called "ex-gay" people, has made a statement - such as it is - against the Ugandan law.

Oh, by the way, that's Randy (unfortunate name for someone in his 'position') Thomas to your left.

'Ex-gay'?  My left foot!  There's no such thing!  That term is a total fantasy!   He may have stopped having sexual relationships with men, but that doesn't - would never - change the essential nature of his orientation. It certainly doesn't make him "ex-gay".

You'll find an excellent discussion on this topic over at OCICBW.  I am grateful to Jonathan for raising the subject and contributing to this important part of the conversation.

The news this morning brought the press release from the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.

They state:
"It is our humble opinion that the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 violates the rights of God's children in Uganda. It punishes the free association and expression that is necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility which undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans."
"Because the bill also prohibits any organizing around sexual orientation, it will make it difficult, if not impossible, to do effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex material."
Religion Dispatches has been on the case in terms of the bigger pictures of the relationship between American Evangelicals and the Evangelical Churches in Africa.

Yesterday's post "The Anit-Gay Highway" features an investigation which was commissioned by PRA, Political Research Associates (the organization which was most recently headed up by the Rev'd Dr. Katharine Ragsdale, now President and Dean of The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge,, MA), that clearly details the role that US-based renewal church movements have played in mobilizing homophobic sentiment in at least three African countries.

The report is authored by Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest and doctoral candidate at Boston University. You can read the interview with Kaoma and Religion Dispatches here.

So, let's recap here: Organizations around the globe are writing to the Ugandan Government to express their concern or make known their outrage over the proposed Ugandan law. (Read more about that law here.)

The United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ, two organizations which have had a long history of working in Uganda against the local manifestations of the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS, have also registered their protest.

Even the boyz over at Exodus can see that the proposed Ugandan law is a serious breach of Human Rights.

I don't expect the same from the uber-Christian Calvinists on our side, but that doesn't mean I don't have any expectations.

Where is the expression of 'outrage' from Anglican bishops in Uganda?

Why the silence from Katharine Jefferts Schori, our Presiding Bishop and Primate?

Where is the voice of 'concern' from the Archbishop of Canterbury?

Interesting, eh, how Lambeth Resolutions are used to remind LGBT Anglicans that they are not living lives that are 'compatible with Scripture' - but they forget their own promises of pastoral care of same said LGBT heathens?

I suppose they save their outrage and prophetic voices for moments when it is convenient for them.

Hell, at this point, I would even take the practiced raise eyebrow and the grave, modulated voice of Anglican concern.

I mean, it's not like it's a Major Human Rights Emergency or anything. The law has not ACTUALLY passed their Parliament and made it to the books.

But, it would be at least 'nice' - and God knows, we're all about 'nice' in the Anglican Communion - to hear a word or two from the Religious Leaders of our Church.

You know. At their 'earliest possible convenience'.

Or, as we used to say in the 60s and 70s:

If you're not outraged,
 you're not paying attention.


Muthah+ said...

The PB will be at Dio Convention tonight. If we have a chance to ask her questions, I will ask her to comment on the situation.

David@Montreal said...

Thank-you Elizabeth
you do those prophet shoes proud.

Maybe ++Rowan and ++KJS need their own 'Uganda:Silence = Death' moment.

You and I learned it the first time round, when the suffering and dying was going on right in front of our eyes.


JimB said...

So when is someone going to say it? The fact that the Executive Council is being told not to comment by the Presiding Bishop has leaked on the HoBD board. Looks to me like she has decided Uganda too can be a crucified place.

I am not quite ashamed enough to become a Methodist, but I am getting there.


Fr Craig said...

PB was at our clergy day recently and was asked about this. She said that they have made our feelings against this known to the ABC and also to Uganda, but felt that a 'quiet' approach was best for the moment. I can't agree, but I did come away from the meeting respecting her deeply.

June Butler said...

Where is the expression of 'outrage' from Anglican bishops in Uganda?

Why the silence from Katharine Jefferts Schori, our Presiding Bishop and Primate?

Where is the voice of 'concern' from the Archbishop of Canterbury?

God only knows, Elizabeth. I'm embarrassed for my church and the Anglican Communion. How could the leaders possibly be silent for so long?

Brother David said...

From Mike in TX's post at OCICBW... regarding ex-gays;

Only 4% (i.e. 8 patients) reported a shift in sexual orientation from 5 or more to 3 or less on a 1-7 scale of hetero/homosexual balance. Of these - the only ones who could perhaps be classified as 'ex-gays' - 7 out of 8 put down as occupation that they were 'ex-gay' counselors. The eighth person refused a follow-up interview. Obviously there is a serious conflict of interest/secondary gain issue among this group

Anonymous said...

"Ex-gay'? My left foot! There's no such thing! That term is a total fantasy! He may have stopped having sexual relationships with men, but that doesn't - would never - change the essential nature of his orientation. It certainly doesn't make him "ex-gay"."-- Your Quote

Well Betts, apparently someone can be "ex-straight" or else children and grandchildren can be spontaneously generated.

For a priestess, you seem to miss the fact that the same LORD who delivered demoniacs is able to deliver those in the satanic bondage of homosexuality today.

I write as one who was delivered after two decades of bondage. BTW, as a six year old, I had this "alternate lifestyle" thrust upon me at the cost of severe physical and emotional damage. Yes, as the doctors can repair one's lower GI tract, our LORD can deliver.

Not afraid to sign my name,

David Rourke
A member of Dio PA

Priscilla said...

Elizabeth, thank you for this commentary.

I am wondering if there is a possibility of forming some kind of fund to help our LGBT family in Christ escape from Uganda (and, for that matter, any other homophobic, dangerous place) if it comes to that and they are willing to leave their homeland? What a tragic idea that is yet I can't fathom watching Uganda imprison and execute fellow human beings like the do in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

I don't want to be a part of a church that stands idly by and issues "statements" or mumbles and grumbles, speaking quietly during an LGBT persecution. Waiting until things get much worse (if the legislation does indeed pass) seems like a dangerous chance to take.

I will pray and ask for others to do the same.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

David R - I thought a great deal before publishing your screed-as-comment and decided that you do more damage to yourself and the so called 'ex-gay' movement than anything I could post. So, I'll give you this one shot.

BTW, it's "Elizabeth" - not "Betts". You are not allowed a 'term of endearment' if the rest of your post drips with hate and anger.

You also need a few lessons in Human Bio 101. LGBT people can and do have children all the time w/o "benefit" of heterosexual intercourse. Oh, and BTW, so do hetero people.

It's 'priest' not 'priestess'.

Homosexuality is an orientation, not 'satanic bondage' - but it sure sounds like your soul is bound up in the past.

Having a sexual experience 'thrust upon' a six year old is not a sexual experience. It is an act of violence known as 'rape'. I am truly sorry that you were raped at such a tender age, but you must know that, statistically, the man who raped you was not only heterosexual, he was a pedophile. None of any of that has to do with being homo or bi sexual.

If you think rape is an expression of sexual orientation, well . . . I can only feel enormous sadness for you and pray for the healing of your mind, body and spirit.