I’ve been following with some anxiety the progress of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda and the news published yesterday about GAFCON’s future plans.
The Uganda Bill first, and to simplify by focussing on one detail – MP David Bahati, sponsor of the Bill has been saying for some time that the death penalty will be removed from the Bill.
The report from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee recommends that in Clause 3 which specifies that “A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death,” the phrase “suffer death” should be replaced with “the penalty provided for aggravated defilement under Section 129 of the Penal Code Act.” That section of the penal code specifies that anyone who “commits a felony called aggravated defilement is liable to suffer death.” In other words, the death penalty is being replaced with the death penalty and Mr Bahati is not telling the truth. Warren Throckmorton reports in detail here.
Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill has already intensified prejudice and hatred towards LGBT people in Uganda and will further criminalise people because of their innate, God-given sexual identity.
The GAFCON primates meeting in Africa announced plans for a second international conference in 2013 as well as plans to open a GAFCON Global Coordination office in London and a chairman’s office in Nairobi, Kenya. The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns, Missionary Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, will serve as Deputy Secretary and Executive Director in the London office where he will be organizing a powerbase to rival and challenge Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office. GAFCON sets out to humiliate and conquer.
GAFCON thinks the faith of the Anglican Communion “masquerades as a religion of tolerance and generosity” and yet is decidedly intolerant to those who hold to the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints”. The GAFCON leaders claim to ‘represent’ more than 35 million Anglicans worldwide. Both statements are as false as Bahati’s statement about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The Church of Uganda, a leading GAFCON member, is complicit in support for the Bahati Bill. This is in contravention of Anglican Communion policy. Lambeth 1.10 recognises the reality of homosexual orientation and assures us that we are full members of the Body of Christ. Dromantine unreservedly commits the Communion to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The GAFCON movement is selective in its observance of key Anglican documents while denigrating other Provinces for failing to adhere to them.
It’s hard not to react to GAFCON’s plots and impossible not to campaign against support given directly or tacitly to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Conservative, anti-gay forces around the world consume energy and attention. They are toxic and destructive.
We would all be much healthier and far more creative and far more in tune with the Spirit of God if we were free from the conservative’s obsession with sexuality, selective Biblical literalism and addiction to money, power and control.
Changing Attitude is here to campaign for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion. We are also here to model the glory of God and the transforming, creative, radical life and teaching of Jesus Christ. We are here to respond to the Spirit of God, blowing where it wills in creation, inspiring us to live and breathe in freedom and love.
If the Communion and the Church of England capitulate to conservative forces (on gender as well as sexuality) then we will resist strongly – but take the road less travelled by the Church and immerse ourselves in the New Creation of Easter and Pentecost.
If GAFCON succeeds in its dream of global domination in the name of a false God, then we at least are free to walk away from such a negative vision and live in an environment where we can be set free to flourish and live.
If you haven’t yet signed the petition against the Uganda Bill, please do so now and add your signature to the 1.6 mllion who have already signed. All Ugandans need to be set free from prejudice against LGBTI people and the Church of Uganda should be leading the way.