11/05/2009

The Bishops of the West Indies speak out, why can't the BIshops of Uganda, or here for that matter?

George Conger writes, in an article on the Bishop of the Bahamas denunciation of the government's plan to restore capital punishment that Bishop Boyd said, “The disregard for human life and a perverted value system which allows a person to maim or to kill another in a dispute, are realities that capital punishment cannot ever address, even though a hanging may satisfy the desire for retribution." (Bishop says no to capital punishment)

The article notes that Bishop Boyd takes his cue from an earlier call by the Bishops of the Church of the West Indies.

"At their Nov 2008 meeting, the House of Bishops of the Church of the Province of the West Indies called for an end to capital punishment. “Mindful of our Blessed Lord’s repudiation of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ and, that in our prayer, study, reflection and experience, the death penalty has not been proved to be a deterrent,” the bishops called on “our people to stand with us in our opposition to the death penalty.”

The clarity of Bishop Boyd's statement and his courage in speaking out leads to this question:

Why can't the Church of Uganda do the same, or for that matter the Province of the West Indies, the Church of England or The Episcopal Church as concerns Uganda's outrageous proposal of a new law providing capital punishment for homosexual acts?

Well, some say, Bishop Boyd is speaking to his own government, not to a foreign government. He has the backing of his own house of bishops already. He is not putting the leadership of a fellow church, the Church of Uganda, in harm's way by his own actions. He is speaking to his own about a problem in the community where he has jurisdiction.

Capital punishment is practiced in many states in the United States of America, in many other countries, as a punishment related to various crimes. The question is, do any of these reasons warrant support by Christians? The answer is NO.

Reports are that the Church of Uganda has opposed the death penalty regarding "aggravated homosexual acts" but supported the increased criminalization of homosexuality. This is considered by some to be a step in the right direction. This is nonsense. The proposed law is an instrument of hate and the object of hate is the final elimination of the hated.

Changing Attitudes quotes Okello Lucima, a Ugandan political economist and policy analyst, who says this:

"The sponsors of the bill, their supporters and political leaders- inside and outside parliament- must be identified, isolated and ostracised by the entire civilised world that respect difference and diversity. Most democratising societies have laws that criminalise purveyors of hate and incitement of hatred against a person, persons or communities; and have robust bill of rights that protect citizens and minorities. Uganda should not be an exception.”

Mr. Lucima has it right. This is about hate and about the protection of minorities. The capital punishment threat works. The lengthy imprisonments that are the alternative are threats that work. And all to keep hidden and quiet the reality that there are homosexual persons in Uganda and they are citizens and members of the churches.

The primary spokespersons in the Anglican Communion have been the primates, collectively or individually. Not one has spoken on the issue of the Ugandan legislation as hate legislation.

This stuff is not about capital punishment, although that would otherwise be enough to warrant outrage. This is about adding fuel to the fire, so that all homosexual persons in Uganda will fear the State and keep themselves hidden. It is the use of Faggots to burn out any voice or rights for all homosexual persons in Uganda and for that matter anywhere the reach of that violence can be extended.

And all this from the Church of Uganda whose martyrs were punished by death at the hands of the King. All this from the Church of Uganda whose western gate keeper for missionary engagement in Uganda says, " “If we don’t know you … we can’t assume we share [the same faith] in common.” (From HERE.)

Perhaps we don't know each other. Perhaps we don't share the same faith in common. We Christians have come a long way from burning each other at the stake. More and more of us believe that Capital punishment is flat out wrong. More and more of us believe the threat of that as a way to silence and subdue individual and group voice is wrong.

The question is, when will our "instruments of Communion" find a voice to counter that of rising hate?

2 comments:

  1. Here is the statement of the Anglican Church of Uganda regarding the bill.
    http://www.americananglican.org/the-church-of-uganda-and-the-anti-homosexuality-bill

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am an Anglican and I just can't find words to describe the shame and hurt, that the leaders of my church have endorsed hate in a faith based on love. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me(Job 3:25). I am not gay but I am a sinner first and foremost, and I realise there are some out there in my church who have managed to delude themselves into an illusion that they are not.So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.(John 8:7) It's interesting to notethe one who was not of sin or born of sin (My lord and saviour, Jesus Christ)was in his right to cast the first stone at her and then next in line would be her accusers who by their hesitance to cast even one stone had admitted were sinners. My church has fallen into the Pharisaic trap, where love has no place. My church is content in ignoring the bottom line about christianity, LOVE. The church leaders should not forget the persecution early christians like Stephen, Paul etc and some today are suffering just because of their beliefs or speaking of their beliefs to others. The church leaders in effect have categorised others inferior to themselves,Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves(Philippians 2:3). I hope and pray the church makes a u-turn and does not become a propagater of hate and return to the true gospel. Let the fruits of the holy spirit bloom in this winter of hate.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith(Galatians 5:22-23). I hope and wish Ugandans can look to our national motto for inspiration.
    FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
    John M

    ReplyDelete

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