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Church of England to blame for anti-gay Nigeria, Uganda?

The Rev. Richard Kirker protested today that an Erasing 76 Crimes blog post (Anglicans’ LGBTI schism: Archbishop’s realism or bad idea?”) erred in listing the Church of England among the inclusive churches of the Anglican Communion. Further, he stated, the Church of England is partly to blame for “extreme forms of homophobia in … Uganda and Nigeria.”

The Rev. Richard Kirker (Photo courtesy of Pink News)
The Rev. Richard Kirker (Photo courtesy of Pink News)

Kirker, a former Church of England curate who was chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, wrote:

“I am afraid to describe the Church of England as ‘inclusive’ stretches credulity and truth far too far. It has acquired at its own request over the last 15 years a whole raft of opt-outs from equalities and anti-discrimination legislation, as well as making it impossible for same-sex couples to be married on its premises, or to involve any of its clergy.

“It sacks and refuses to employ or ordain those who are self-affirming LGBT, whether in loving relationships or not. In that sense it is no different from the Churches of Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, etc, etc. In fact the Church of England is homophobic to its official core.”

I replied:

“Basically, you’re right. The Church of England doesn’t pressure the government to imprison LGBTI people, as Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria do, so it’s different in that way. But it doesn’t deserve to appear in a list of inclusive churches.

“I removed it from that list.

”    — Colin Stewart, editor/publisher of this blog [and a member of the Episcopal Church]”

Kirker then added:

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, in January 2014 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.”

“Thanks for the editorial axe falling as it did.

“I hold the homophobia of the Church of England partly culpable for the even more extreme forms of homophobia in other parts of the collapsing Anglican Communion. The failure of the Church of England to understand homophobia, let alone admit that it is endemic and sanctioned in its own life, has made it much easier for the likes of Uganda and Nigeria to go on their own merry way with impunity as the Archbishop of Canterbury has never said their presence in the Communion is incompatible with contemporary understandings of sexuality and faith. Then again he could hardy say that since he and his predecessors have been busy becoming more homophobic – to the relief of the arch-bigots.”

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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