Cockatoo, Dunedin | 28.12.09
Uganda be sorry | 18.12.09
Little did I know that shortly after I wrote this post last month, two challenging events would face the Anglican communion: the election of a lesbian bishop in Los Angeles, and the impending ratification of an anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda which will see gay people facing the death penalty for their sexual orientation. To his credit, Gideon Byamugisha of the Ugandan Anglican church has spoken out against the law, though it is no more than we are entitled to expect.
However, Archbishop Rowan Williams has been deafeningly silent on the issue of the impending state-sponsored murder of a country's gay community, while robustly condemning our friends in Los Angeles for contravening the voluntary freeze on gay ordination. Is this what passes for moral leadership these days? Personally, I think this hypocrisy is deep enough to warrant Williams' resignation. Others will disagree. But what is certain is that we can all pile pressure on him to radically rethink his present moral priorities. You can join the Facebook group here, and below is the latest message from Susan Russell, the group's creator.
"Do you hear what I hear?" isn't just one of the Christmas carols echoing in the airwaves this week-before-Christmas. It is also the question I'm asking about the responses we've gotten from Lambeth Palace regarding the "disconnect" between the Archbishop of Canterbury's readiness to issue a formal statement on the election of a bishop suffragan in Los Angeles and his reticence to "go and do likewise" on the draconian anti-gay legislation pending in Uganda.
Like many of you, I received a "boilerplate" response in an email from Marie Papworth in the Lambeth Palace office. (text posted below) If you "heard what I heard" in that response, you heard words like "unacceptable" and "deep concern."
My question is: how deep does concern have to be before the Archbishop of Canterbury uses his moral authority to speak out on behalf of gay and lesbian Ugandans who cannot speak for themselves? How unacceptable does it have to get before he says so?
And to be clear: a comment in response to a question from a journalist does NOT an "official statement" make.
Do you hear what I hear? In the email from Lambeth Palace and in the deafening silence on this pressing human rights issue I hear that speaking out to protect gay and lesbian lives in Uganda is less important than speaking out to protect the Anglican Communion from a lesbian bishop.
If you hear what I hear, you hear that the leader of the Anglican Communion is more concerned about preserving institutional unity than he is protecting innocent Ugandans.
If you hear what I hear, then I invite you to do what I'm going to do:
Send another email.
Write another letter.
Post another blog.
Let us urge him to send a word of hope to LGBT Ugandans who "mourn in lonely exile" that the Emmanuel whose coming we prepare to celebrate in a few short days came not just for the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Lambeth Palace warm ... but for those who shiver in the cold of dehumanizing homophobia.
O come, O come, Emmanuel!