Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another GAFCON Update: 6/24

Poor Bishop or "Moderator" Duncan, who had addressed the GAFCON gathering as those who

recognize that the Reformation (Elizabethan) Settlement of Anglicanism has disintegrated. We know that we are at a turning point in Anglican history, a place where two roads diverge. One road is faithful to Jesus’ story. The other road is about some other story…The choice before us is a choice before all Anglicans. It is just as certainly a choice before the upcoming Lambeth Conference,

sounding a note open to, if not openly encouraging, a movement ending in full schism. He assailed "[t]he distortion of Anglicanism in the West – the deceit the Enemy has sown," namely "that Anglicanism should be the bridge between the Church and the world." Give him credit: Duncan seemed to mean it; he just received approval from the state of Pennsylvania for a new corporation, "the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh."

But while he assailed Anglicanism building a bridge to the world, his GAFCON comrade Nazir-Ali was busy extolling what sounds to me like correlationist, i.e. liberal, theology, saying

Translatability belongs to the very nature of Anglicanism. In the preface of the BCP and the Articles of Religion, every church has a responsibility to render the good news in terms of its culture.

If he keeps that up, he'll get an office at 815. Just another gaffe? Or a sign of theological incoherence accompanying the ambient political incoherence? Is our trouble as a communion rooted in accepting correlation at all, or do we rather need more of it?

Speaking of the dangers to Christianity of cultural immersion, I have to mention this press-conference exchange between Baxter, Akinola, Orombi and Jensen. There's capitulation rooted in prejudices, about which one has never bothered to attain a critical perspective:

Iain Baxter: You’re not aware of any who are in jail for being lesbian or gay?
Peter Aknola: I am not aware of any.
IB: But these are the laws in your countries.
PA: But where, give me an example?
IB: I can give you an example: one woman who has claimed asylum in the United Kingdom, she has applied for asylum, her name is Prossy, she is a Ugandan lesbian, she has been… first of all she was jailed, she was raped in the police station, before that she was marched for two miles naked through the streets of Uganda, the British government has accepted this, the fact that she was tortured, and have agreed this in her asylum application, but however they are saying she could be sent back safely to a different village in Uganda and she is appealing. That’s one example. The laws in your countries say that homosexual acts, actions are punishable by various rules. I don’t need to argue. Do you support these laws, or do you think they should be repealed?
PA: OK. Every community, every society, has its own standards of life. In ancient African societies we had what are called “taboos”, things you should not do, and if you break the taboos there are consequences. Alright, so in your Western society many of these have arisen but in some of our African societies many things have not arisen and this happens to be one of them. In fact the word in our language does not exist in our language. So if the practice is now found to be in our society it is of service to be against it. Alright, and to that extent what my understanding is, is that those that are responsible for law and order will want to prevent wholesale importation of foreign practices and traditions, that are not consistent with native standards, native way of life.So if you say it is good for you, it is not good for us …. If they say it is not right for our societies then it’s not right, and that’s it..

Cheap grace indeed: Akinola falling back on sheer moral relativism to excuse his participation in what he himself called "taboo," a relativism one would have thought incompatible with commitment to the Gospel.

Orombi sounds a different note, one even more confused. At first, sure, he seems to be merely agreeing with Akinola, adding that those oppressed by the law for their being homosexual are being moved back to proper godliness:

Can I just come back to say that, that’s an example given for my country. There’s very little influence to stop the legislation of a law, an institute, in practice by the church. The church’s practice is to preach, to proclaim, so that people who find themselves in a position where they go away from the word of God, the same word of God can bring them back to life.

But then he seems to flip out of the frying pan altogether:

I would be in trouble if I were to say to my people in Uganda that tomorrow I can officiate at a same-sex marriage in my church. First of all the church will be closed.. Two, I might even be fired from my job because the question they are going to ask me is “Have you not read the word of God? And teach us now.” Simply saying that the Christian faith that we practice, which was brought from the West, by the way, taught us what biblically sexuality is. We’ve embraced that faith, we are practicing that faith, and moving away from that faith would be a contradiction to what we have inherited.

He speaks--falsely, it seems to me--as if the Gospel and the moral obligations following from it are settled by what was brought from the West, or whether his church buildings will be closed, or even whether he would be out of a job. Incredible.

When the topic comes up again, Orombi simply sounds as if he has lost his grip on reality, prompting Jensen to jump in and say what neither Orombi nor Akinola could bring themselves to say:

RB: We’re not talking about freedom of expression, he was specifically referring to the use of torture and rape.
HO: I would not believe a thing like that is done in the public knowledge of the people of Uganda because the gay people who are Ugandans are citizens of the country and we would cherish the fact that we would want to send it our people. For some of those things probably you get information in England and we may not even get information, I don’t know how they get their information.
Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen: Can I add to that, because I think it needs to be said, on behalf of these brothers, if not by themselves, any violence against any person, is in Christian terms wrong....

In my view, Jensen's right to jettison Akinola's moral relativism and Orombi's mix of mercenary motives and flat-out denial and simply say the violence was wrong, period.

But it seems to me Jensen displays another type of cultural immersion, one First-Worlders have seen time and again in the polished equivocations of partisan press-conferences: the techne of the spin artist. It's not that there is anything wrong in the propositional content of his spoken paragraph; he's got serious polish:

I certainly have public condemned and will continue to publicly condemn any violence against any people and in particular gay and lesbian people. I am certain that this is, I understand, what Archbishop Orombi says and that is exactly the position and I am very glad that this opportunity has arisen for the question to be raised again because I thought it was not answered in the answers which were being given to the others side of the question. But I think I am right in speaking for all of us here and, indeed, if that were not the case I would certainly stand alone here and say it but I am sure I speak for all in saying that any such violence, any such behaviour within the prison system, for Christians of another variety, or whatever, is condemned by us.

He knew what needed to be said, and he said it and said it well--it's a perfectly formed and most likely sincerely felt bit. The problem is rather in the performative aspect of his utterace, which functions rather as a whitewash, as denial. There is sound evidence that Jensen in fact is not speaking for Akinola and Orombi. Maybe Akinola and Orombi are on pilgimage to a point where they will be able to sincerely speak what Jensen did, but there is reason to think they are not quite there with Jensen yet.

And that in itself is a grave problem; the future of the Anglican Communion, and the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church in Canada, and the Church of England to a large extent has been in the hands of those two--and their assorted ghostwriters.

It's been five years or so, and the Anglican right's leadership has not developed to the point where its members openly agree that violence against--and the political oppression of--gays is wrong. Jensen paraded his personal convictions at just the right moment; good for him, But it does not settle the issue. It is as if Jensen wove a story, a bit of narrative everyone would like to believe in because it would be so much nicer if it were true. But our really, really wishing we could count on Akinola and Orombi's moral convictions does not make it true that we can count on their moral convictions--indeed, Orombi seems to have tried to rationalize oppression. How many GAFCON leaders share their ambivalence? Is socking it to the Episcopal Church real good, and securing the private property of Minns' Virginia congregations on the side, that important? Surely not, surely not.

We should not let Jensen's skillful display distract us from what remains a very real problem in the Anglican Communion, a problem many suspected was there before GAFCON, and one which GAFCON has confirmed.

30 Comments:

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

It appears to be Ian Baxter who was confused. Baxter was speaking to Akinola and claiming to be giving an example from ++Akinola's country, Nigeria. The example Baxter gave was from a different African country, Uganda. I would think that racist gaffe, being unable to tell the Africans leaders or their countries apart, is the real story here.

 
At 6:33 PM, Blogger bls said...

Gee, that's an interesting statement.

Here's Ian Baker as quoted right on this page: "I can give you an example: one woman who has claimed asylum in the United Kingdom, she has applied for asylum, her name is Prossy, she is a Ugandan lesbian, she has been… "

But of course, the "racist" card gets played every time Anglican bigotry and violence against gay people is pointed out. And it's never, ever disavowed, either.

It's all our fault, you see....

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Anglican bigotry and violence? That's a BIG leap. Where are any facts that support the claim that the case of this Ugandan lesbian is associated with Anglicans?

 
At 7:03 PM, Blogger bls said...

How about an apology for your false and slanderous statements above, Perpetua? Or are you just going to keep trying to point the finger at somebody else?

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger bls said...

(BTW, for anybody else who'd like to know: I wasn't referring to this particular woman as a victim of "Anglican violence." She's certainly a victim of Anglican bigotry - that's plain on the face of it in the refusal to condemn the way she was treated, and in fact the seeming approval of it - but then so is every gay person in Uganda.

However, it's not hard to find examples of Anglican violence towards gay people. Akinola's fascistic attempts to jail innocent gay people is one particularly good one; it's exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews and homosexuals and others - but of course nobody cares, because it's just queers this time. And of course, the entire Communion's refusal to censure him would count as condoning such violence.

But I'm sure we'll still be accused of "racism" for pointing these things out. That's what happens when trying to defend the indefensible.)

 
At 8:26 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

BLS,

Barber was addressing ++Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria -- claiming that there were "bishops who support the jailing of lesbians and gay people thoroughout Africa, which then leads to rape, which leads to torture..." When ++Akinola asked for an example, Barber gave an example from Uganda. Did Ian realize that he was addressing someone from Nigeria, and if so why did Barber give an example from Uganda? I do think this confusing exchange was racist. The errors of fact I made in my previous post are trivial and have been corrected.

Now, BLS, I am glad to see you have admitted that there is no Anglican connection to the story of the poor Ugandan woman that Barber told. But isn't your accusation of "Anglican bigotry and violence against gay people" still a false and slanderous claim?

You seem to be degrading the English language by your use of the words "bigotry" and "violence" to mean something much less than they mean to others. Does "bigotry" mean to you anyone who doesn't think the way you do? And does "violence" means any words or actions that you find offensive?

 
At 11:57 PM, Blogger Jake said...

bigotry:

1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own...


From Abp. Akinola's numerous public statements regarding his revulsion at even the idea of being in the presence of a gay Christian, I think he has earned that particular label.

Regarding violence, Akinola is on record as advocating for legislation to jail all gays.

That is not violent enough for you? Ok, then how about the two incidents in which he is implicated in violent acts against Muslims.

Abp. Akinola is a violent bigot. This is not slander. This is well documented common knowledge.

For someone to defend such unChristian behavior suggests to me that they may be deserving of a similar description.

 
At 1:27 AM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Oh no, BLS has called in the big guns. Now Jake is threatening that if I don't back down, he is going to call me a violent bigot, too.

So using that definition isn't it bigotry to refuse to accept that the orthodox Christians are following a different morality than the progressive creed? Aren't you just being stubborn and intolerant of other opinions, insisting that everyone has to see the world the way you do.

Violence is the use of extreme physical force to cause injury, assault. Advocating a jail sentence for someone who breaks the law is not violence.

The young Ugandan woman suffered violence. Clearly rape and torture are violent. No one has defended the horrible things that were done to that young woman.

However,the British government has made a finding that this was a unique experience and not a feature of Ugandan society. Claiming that her experience is the norm in Africa without providing any additional evidence makes no sense unless you harbor racist beliefs about Africans and assume your audience also shares those racist beliefs.

You call people bigots and violent because they won't let you set the topic of conversation and defer to your agenda. Flinging around the words bigotry and violence at anyone who disagrees with you cheapens the discourse and cheapens the language.

 
At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

"One road is faithful to Jesus’ story. The other road is about some other story…"

What irony! Talk about putting one's finger on the pulse by mistake, complete with a bifurcation fallacy into the bargain.

Why not say simply "there is value to be had in studying Jesus' life through the eyes of history as well as faith", where "history" is grounded in realism and admits that he might have had something to say *before* dying, and "faith" carries the post-mortem deduced theology so beloved of reformed protestants?

Is there something wrong with saying something positive such as that?

Sheesh.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Nathan Empsall said...

Perpetua - violence does not have to be physical. One can destroy a person just as thoroughly without ever lifting a finger. But that aside, the reason we all fail to see your point is that Iain did acknowledge that he was talking about Uganda, and the Ugandan archbishop was on stage right next to Akinola... even if he was a little off-the-mark, and I don't think he was but I could at least understand why that claim could be made, he was certainly not being racist.

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Nathan Empsall said...

As to the content of the original post, what I wonder is if this press conference will lead - has lead? - Akinola and Orombi to lose credbility in the eyes of their movement. If that is the case, perhaps Jensen really is the person to keep an eye on now.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

I just returned from three months in Uganda and I can assure you that the situation for the woman mentioned is not unique. I refer you to an editorial in "The New Vision," a Kampala newspaper, which speaks of an incident when gay activists were arrested for interrupting an HIV/AIDS meeting. Here's a section of the editorial:

"The right of expression is guaranteed but it’s not absolute. It does not provide for legally proscribed groups and activities.

"Whatever the arguments and concern, including human rights considerations, homosexuality is illegal. This curtails any programme for those with orientations against the course of nature.

"Besides it’s not only in the law books, but the Uganda cultures abhor it too. It might be argued as sad, but the stark reality is there is no room for gays at the moment in Uganda. It will require a change of laws, cultures and customs for space to be created for them, which is impossible."

(The whole article is at http://www.sundayvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=7&newsCategoryId=124&newsId=632160)

I can't imagine what kind of courage it took for those folks to enter that conference.

The Anglican church in Africa and its leaders have a real opportunity here to speak up and say, "Whether or not you think homosexuality is morally right, people still should not be jailed for it, and violence against any person is simply wrong." That's the invitation they were given in this press conference and they didn't take it.

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Hi Laura,

I wondered if you knew about the Martyrs of Uganda, so I went to your website. Yes, I did find your post that discussed them

As you tell it: "It's a national holiday, for one thing. Banks, post offices, government offices are all closed. MCDT is closed. Walking around the neighborhood, more of the small shops around here are closed today than were closed on Good Friday.Here's the deal, very briefly: in the late 1800's, various pages and members of the Bugandan court became Christian converts, both RC and Anglican. In 1886, the Bugandan king, or kabaka, Mwanga II, told them to give it up. When they refused, these converts were tortured and killed in various nasty ways, leading up to a group of some 30 Christians being wrapped in straw mats and then burned at Namugongo, about 10 miles from the city center."

The problem is that you don't seem to realize, or have deliberately left out, that what the Ugandan King demanded was to have anal sex with the pages. They refused because of their Christian faith. That is why they were martyred. The national holiday, and revered not just in Uganda, is about refusing to engage in homosexual behavior because it is against the Christianity taught in the Bible and by the Catholic missionaries.

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

Sweetheart, yes, I did deliberately leave it out. That blog was particularly aimed for former parishioners of mine and was meant to be a broad view of my experience in Uganda rather than a deep one. As I wrote to a number of people in private correspondence, I realize that this experience is part of the story of the demonization of homosexuality in Uganda and in Africa, but it is by no means as simple as that.

May we just be clear here that there is a distinction between "homosexual behavior" and "use of power to force sexual consent"? And that the latter is always wrong, whether of heterosexual or homosexual variety? The Kabaka's pages were not allowed to say no. That is in no way the same as mutual partnership that I believe is the hope and hallmark of homosexual relationships supported by a large part of the Church.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Laura,

My point is that for the Uganda nation and the greater African community that revers these martyrs, they were martyred for refusing to engage in homosexual behavior because it was against the Christianity taught in the Bible and by the Catholic missionaries.

To avoid that knowledge, to leave it out or try to re-frame it, is to avoid understanding their cultural context.

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger Laura Toepfer said...

I truly hope that I am not trying to avoid understanding the cultural context. I hope I continue to be open to information and insight about Uganda and about African Christianity and spirituality in all their complexity.

I understand that we disagree on this topic and on how I have handled the information I have in my possession. All I can say is that I am endeavoring to understand the cultural context in Uganda and Africa, knowing that I will never fully do so. I will, however, share what understanding I have when I deem it appropriate and look forward to gaining more understanding from others.

Laura

 
At 10:36 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Well, thanks everyone for the vigorous debate/back-and-forth.

On my reading, the deaths of the Ugandan martyrs signify an absolute submission to Christ, above and beyond any powers of this world--even when those powers threaten death. Such submission, we need to be reminded, is timeless in value: they are models for our imitation. That is to say, there are some things worth dying for, and the Faith is one of them.

So far as I can tell, permission to do violence against gays is not part of the Faith, and is no part of Christ. It goes without saying it does no service to the memory of the Ugandan martyrs to suggest such a thing was any part of what they died for.

Does Orombi--does any bishop or archbishop or presiding bishop--think anamnesis of these martyrs makes violence permissible? I'd need to see more evidence before saying he thought such a thing.

On the best reading of Orombi's actions I can come up with--a reading that does not exculpate--he's never had to deal with anything like a gay liberation movement in Ugandan culture. One might as well ask him to speak Akkadian or in the tongue of Linear B.

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Priscilla said...

I doubt that any kind of proof would satisfy Perpetua, since she started out with that classic neoconservative tactic of "shoot the messenger, avoid the message entirely" ploy.

It is extraordinarily offensive that Perpetua is willing to ignore centuries of violence, torture, and execution of gays by the church catholic and try to justify modern-day violence against African gays with the Ugandan Martyrs.

http://www.afrol.com/articles/28983

African gays "face persecution and violence"

And from the Rev. Tracy E. Longacre
Bambui, near Bamenda, Cameroon:

"As is true in many Anglican churches, most of the “who’s who” of Nigerian society are Anglicans–politicians, police chiefs, military officers, the rich and successful. Davis himself comes from one of these families. It means, though, that the Archbishop, Bishops and even priests, indirectly at least, have some political power and know who to contact if they want someone to be found, persecuted, arrested or harassed."

I find this comment, from Perpetua's blog, to be indicative of her position on ant-gay violence:

"In this case, African bishops can condemn violence in prisons without condemning prison sentences for homosexual behavior. The gay rights advocate question made the unsubstantiated claim that jailing people inevitably leads to rape which leads to torture."

Claiming that there is no rape or torture of gays in African prisons is beyond the pale.

A quick look at Human Rights Watch reveals the following statements:

"Nigeria’s police force remains mired in deeply entrenched patterns of torture, corruption, murder, and other forms of human rights abuse. Torture remains a routine part of police interrogation and police officers have carried out numerous extrajudicial killings of suspects in their custody."

"Human Rights Watch has repeatedly drawn Ugandan authorities’ attention to patterns of abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In an August 2007 letter, Human Rights Watch wrote to President Museveni concerning threatening statements made by government officials against LGBT people in Uganda. In an October 2007 letter, Human Rights Watch expressed alarm over authorities’ call to tighten enforcement of the country’s draconian sodomy law, which punishes homosexual conduct with up to life imprisonment. "

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Priscilla,

It is false to say that I am trying to justify modern-day violence against African gays with the Ugandan Martyrs. You are conflating:
1) trying to understand the Other, their context and worldview, and
2) justifying the behavior of the Other.

My point regarding the Uganda Martyrs is that they are revered for refusing to engage in homosexual behavior because it was against the Christianity taught in the Bible and by the Catholic missionaries, and that to avoid that knowledge, to leave it out or try to re-frame it, is to avoid understanding the cultural context of the Other.

It is also false to say that I claimed that there is no rape or torture of gays in African prisons. On my blog I said that at the Press Conference Barber made an unsubstantiated claim that jailing people inevitably leads to rape which leads to torture.

On this blog I have also said that, at the Press Conference, Barber seemed to confuse or conflate the criminal justice systems in Uganda and Nigeria in a way that was racist.

The quotes you selected from Human Rights Watch:
1) Nigeria -- supports the claim that there is a pattern of torture by police, but does not mention rape or indicate this is particularly related to gays.
2) Uganda -- does not support the claim that there is a pattern of rape or torture by police or in prisons. This information on Uganda is consistent with the ruling of the British government in the Prossy case.

However, even if the quotes you provided on this blog had supported Ian Barber's claim, they were not presented by Barber at the Press Conference. So it would still be unfair to criticize the African Archbishops responses at the Press Conference.

Priscilla, I hope you will be more careful in the future about making false statements and conflating concepts.

 
At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Pricilla said...

Perpetua, you do yourself a great disservice by digging your hole ever deeper. Your position is clear. Stand by it and stop trying to pretend that you are compassionate in any way toward lesbians and gay men. You shame yourself repeatedly and I will pray for you my sister in Christ.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Priscilla,

Don't you notice the underlying narcissism in attempting to "shame" me for daring to attempt to imagine the Press Conference from the point of view of the African bishops rather than from your own perspective?

Or, maybe if you are a narcissist that would be exactly the sort of thing you couldn't perceive -- that everything is not always about yourself and the people just like you.

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger bls said...

You seem to be degrading the English language by your use of the words "bigotry" and "violence" to mean something much less than they mean to others. Does "bigotry" mean to you anyone who doesn't think the way you do? And does "violence" means any words or actions that you find offensive?

Perpetua, let's try it again. Peter Akinola attempts to imprison innocent gay people. That is, in case you don't understand the implications, forcibly taking people against their will and locking them up - for having done nothing wrong. This is what fascists and tyrants do, and have always done. That is a violent act - and that is what you're allied with. What happened to the woman in Uganda was a violent act - which neither of these two so-called "religious leaders" could bring themselves to condemn.

And yes: so-called "orthodox" Anglicans are horrifically bigoted against gay people. They try to exorcise us at synods, and won't take Communion with us at all. Some of the things I've heard in my short and unfortunate experience with the so-called "orthodox: the Episcopal Church is a "sodomite cult"; we are "pansexualists" and "satanic"; a "cancer" that needs to be excised. "Even among the animals, you don't hear of such things" (that's from Big Pete himself). Perhaps this doesn't seem lik "bigotry" to you; well, Q.E.D. That's pretty much the definition.

Anyway, you should know about these things, since you hang out at Stand Firm and MCJ; it's all right there for anybody to read. Anglicans are by far the worst and just plain low-down meanest anti-gay bigots I've ever come across, in fact.

But listen: if you don't mind being associated with this, that's entirely up to you. It doesn't hurt me in the least; if anything, you help make our case for us.

I notice that "reasserters" often seem much more concerned with things like "degrading the English language" than they are with actual human beings. Well, if the human beings happen to be gay, that is. Again: Q.E.D.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

bls,

I had understood the comment by Anglican Scotist to be our host's gracious way of closing off the debate. Then pricilla, who had not participated in the original exchanges, showed up with a comment addressed to me and I felt I should respond.

Now here you are as well, seeking to extend the debate.

I do care that we follow rules of logic and factual accuracy in such debates. Ian Baxter's "question" makes sense to people who share his world view. It doesn't make sense to people who don't already share his world view, i.e., the African bishops to whom he (ostensibly) addressed the question.

If Baxter had brought up some of the points you raise now, we would have had a different Press Conference. But I would still point out that you are assuming that homosexual behavior is innocent. This is a basic presupposition to your comment above. Their presupposition is that this behavior is criminal.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger bls said...

You miss the point, Perpetua. Akinola doesn't want to imprison gay people for "behavior"; he wants to imprison them merely for speaking aloud about who they are - and of course for even trying to work to change the law itself.

Christians are called to disavow torture in any case, and rape, I'd think. (Torture would seem to be the easy call - given the fact of Our Lord's treatment at the hands of the authorities before his death.) My "presuppositions" have little to do with it; torture and violence ought to be denounced by Christian leaders. At least Catholic leaders do this, no matter how they feel about homosexuality; Anglicans are a sad spectacle at this point, and do not reflect well at all on Christian faith.

I'm hoping for a split, personally. We can't afford to be associated with this any longer.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

bls,

The point is that Iain Baxter, at the Press Conference we discussed on this post, used the premise that there is systematic torture and rape of gay people in Africa. Of course all Christians disavow torture and rape. The problem is that Baxter's question sets up the respondent so that an immediate response of disavowal might seem to imply one has acceded to the premise.

Maybe the premise is correct, but maybe not. It is a very broad claim. The British agency found in the Prossy case for her asylum claim that she was in danger if she went back to Uganda. The Human Rights Watch material priscilla cited on this post does not support the claim either.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Ooops, I meant:
The British agency found in the Prossy case for her asylum claim that she was NOT in danger if she went back to Uganda.

 
At 2:42 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

It seems the Home Office justified refusing asylum by claiming the violence was action by random individuals which she would be able to avoid by settling elsewhere.

That is an interesting argument. Uganda already has an atrocious human rights record in general:

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/08/0080142

http://hrw.org/doc/?t=africa&c=uganda

And the state seems to have problems acknowledging gay civil rights:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2008/06/11/uganda19091.htm

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR59/004/2008/en

It's easy to find record of things like this:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6957336.stm

In other words, the government's decision in this case seems questionable--and in fact there is an ongoing appeal effort on Prossy's behalf.

It would seem a measure of mercy would be appropriate.

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger Perpetua said...

Just saw this at Anglican Mainstream in a post on a panel discussion at GAFCON and thought I would share it here. (It's the third question)

Q: Would the panel unequivocally condemn violence against lesbian and gay people, and how do you handle issues of polygamy in African culture.

Henry Orombi: Violence against homosexuals is wrong. Jesus did not condemn tax collectors etc. On polygamy my grandfather had six wives and my father two. When dying, none of my grandfather’s wives offered him sanctuary. My father’s two wives, including my mother, were at constant war. I resolved only to have one wife before I became a Christian. As Church the bottom line is I would not ordain a polygamist or give one a prominent place in leadership. We would like to live our lives seeing transformation because of the gospel. We do encourage converted polygamists to formalise marriage with the first wife, whilst the other will live with her children without marital relations.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

The first two sentences are just what we need to hear--good for him, and good for the Communion too.

Alas, I think the "we" in "what we need to hear" is pretty restricted. And I have no idea how to address the larger question of turning around a whole society.

Yet it seems both sides in our dispute want to do that. One side would like to combat the tendency to act out violently against gays, and the other side would like to turn back--it seems to me--a culture of materialism and permissiveness.

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

BTW I'm not sure exactly what policiy he should have on polygamy, in terms of making a transition from where his flock is now to monogamy.

 

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