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Archbishops (almost) speak out against anti-gay laws

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, today called on leaders of the whole church, as well as the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, to support and care for all people “regardless of sexual orientation.”

In the letter, which went to those two presidents and to all primates of churches in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby was joined by the John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

The two archbishops had been the focus of an online petition urging them to speak out against the harsh new anti-gay law that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed earlier this month, as well as appeals for them to advocate against anti-gay legislation in Uganda.

Their letter did not specifically mention either the Nigerian law or the similarly harsh Anti-Homosexuality Bill awaiting action by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

The letter quoted from a communiqué that was issued in 2005 after a meeting of the Anglican Communion’s primates at the Dromantine Conference Centre in Northern Ireland.

In their letter, the archbishops said:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

“In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.

“The  Communiqué said;

” ‘….we wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.

” ‘The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give – pastoral care and friendship.’

“We hope that the pastoral care and friendship that the Communiqué described is accepted and acted upon in the name of the Lord Jesus.

“We call upon the leaders of churches in such places to demonstrate the love of Christ and the affirmation of which the Dromantine communiqué speaks.”

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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