David Kato was buried today in Uganda. There are numerous commentaries on his brutal murder and his active ministry and life and witness. There have been statements from a variety of Anglican leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.
But Integrity today reported on the sad disruption of David Kato's funeral. Read that report HERE.
The disruption by an Anglican priest was bad enough, but we should not be surprised. There are angry mad people ready to make a play to the media almost everywhere these days. But what followed was genuinely sad, both as a commentary on the state of affairs in "local" Uganda and of the enduring possibilities of applying Jesus' parables to contemporary context.
The report reads, "After the scuffle was calmed, villagers refused to bury Kato’s coffin, so it was left to Kato’s friends, most of them gay, to carry him to his grave and bury him themselves."
David Kato came home, and they did not receive him. It was left to outcasts and strangers to attend to his burial.
He will rest in peace, which is more than can be said for the villagers who refused his last need for help. Generally speaking we cannot leap into the grave ourselves, we must be cared for. Perhaps we thought that was what villages were for, but alas it is not so. Villagers might just as easily take you to the edge of town and throw you off a cliff, or scorn your dead body and leave it unattended.
The Presiding Bishop, writing from far Dublin, said this:
"At this morning’s Eucharist at the Primates Meeting, I offered prayers for the repose of the soul of David Kato. His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God’s children."
The villagers brought stones, his friends brought living caring hearts.
A rather chilling note from Anglicans United does nothing to help. The lead in to a Christian Science Monitor article posted on AU's site states:
"[Ed. Note: Western gay activists financially support and encourage gay activism in many parts of Africa, without recognition of the strong Islamic belief against homosexuality and lesbianism. While Anglicans United condemns violence or discrimination against homosexuals this outcome is not unexpected. It is a different world over there, and lack of appreciation or understanding, while demanding that they conform to our norms, is unrealistic. Of note, the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, an effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation predicted yesterday that the Muslim population will grow worldwide by 35% in the next 20 years. They predicted the increase partially by birth rates, but primarily by conversion, especially from Christianity, which is seen as 'not standing for anything in particular'. Right now, it is the fastest growing religion on this planet. Even moderate and cultural Muslims find homosexuality to be in opposition to the Koran, and not defensible. Cheryl M. Wetzel]"
I have no doubt that Cheryl Wetzel and AU "condemns violence or discrimination against homosexuals," but apparently they believe David Kato et al have brought all this on themselves. While it is not completely clear just why David Kato was killed, AU jumps to suggest that, if it was, it was brought on by outside agitators who put Ugandan LGBT persons in danger. The rest of the editorial comment is illogical in its implications.
AU should be ashamed of this editorial comment. It is as miserly as the reaction of the villagers. It was from a heart of stone.