Faith and religion / International

Anglican leaders oppose anti-gay laws; let’s repeal them

Logo of Anglicans for Decriminalization

Logo of Anglicans for Decriminalization

 

A year ago something remarkable happened in the Global Anglican Communion (GAC), but most persons missed it, even senior Anglican clergy.  This miraculous event occurred on Jan. 15, 2016, when the Primates representing all the Provinces in the 80 million+ denomination agreed, for the first time, that criminalizing same-gender intimacy is wrong.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin apologized for pains that the Anglican Communion has caused for LGBTI people. (Photo courtesy of ITV)

In January 2016, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met briefly with LGBTI protesters and apologized for pains that the Anglican Communion has caused for LGBTI people. (Photo courtesy of ITV)

However, this ground-breaking declaration was, sadly, lost in their joint communiqué released after a painfully contentious meeting at Lambeth.  The reason the Lambeth meeting was held in the first place, i.e., to discuss the vexed issue of same-sex unions that resulted in consequences  for the Episcopal Church which celebrates them, is why the rather tame matter of decriminalizing homosexuals was so gravely overlooked.

The relevant part of the Primates’ Communique reads:

“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”

To be absolutely accurate, the Primates had never before definitively affirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people, although there had been statements from as far back as 1998 condemning unnamed homophobic discrimination.  So this 2016 “reaffirmation” was indeed revolutionary.

However, since last year, other events have overtaken the GAC and once again threatened the Primates’ united commitment to ending criminal sanctions against homosexuals.   These events of course include the continued ordination of openly gay bishops in some Provinces, which is vocally opposed by others.

In the midst of these debates, lives of LGBT people continue to be irreparably damaged (e.g., through dehumanizing and pointless anal examinations to “prove” homosexuality) through the existence of anti-gay laws. Therefore, a group of Anglicans (Anglicans for Decriminalization – AfD) who support the innocuous objective of decriminalization was formed with the aims of:

  • Sensitizing members of the communion about the dreadful impacts of criminalization on the lives of LGBT people;
  • Publicising the Primates support for decriminalization; and
  • Leveraging the immense power of the Communion to generate support for a petition calling on governments with these archaic laws to repeal them.

In over 40 of the 77 countries that still have anti-sodomy laws the Anglican Church is very influential and its members hold significant sway.  Many Anglicans are politicians, judges, and policy-makers.

It is hoped that these persons will use their influence to condemn the British colonially imposed laws that have long ago been jettisoned by Britain itself.  These imperial edicts reflect an anachronistic Victorian morality that was initially dictated by our church.

Alan Turing, hero of World War II and victim of British anti-gay law. (Photo courtesy of biography.com)

Alan Turing, hero of World War II and victim of British anti-gay law. (Photo courtesy of biography.com)

To its credit, the church was also the first to call for decriminalization in Britain during the 1950’s when the real horrors of these statutes were revealed.  The British law’s distressing impacts included the forced chemical castration and eventual suicide of Alan Turing, the father of theoretical computer science who helped crack Nazi codes and win World War II.  The British Parliament has passed legislation to pardon Turing and all other individuals who were wrongly convicted under these draconian directives.

The decriminalization petition has been circulated to every province across the GAC and clergy from across the world have signed on.  Many of those who received the petition expressed surprise that such harmful laws continue to exist and are still being applied to persecute LGBT people even today.

Some examples of responses to the petition are below.

From Jamaica:

"The Bishops at the level of the CPWI [West Indies] are making slow progress on this matter. We do not yet have unanimity, but we press on. Keep me posted. Pax." -- The Rt. Rev. Robert McLean Thompson, suffragan bishop of Jamaica (Photo courtesy of The Bajan Reporter)

“The Bishops at the level of the CPWI [West Indies] are making slow progress on this matter. We do not yet have unanimity, but we press on. Keep me posted. Pax.”
— The Rt. Rev. Robert McLean Thompson, suffragan bishop of Jamaica (Photo courtesy of The Bajan Reporter)

From Guyana:

"So unfortunate. I wish you well in getting the laws changed." -- Charles Davidson, bishop of Guyana (Photo courtesy of Demerara Waves)

“So unfortunate. I wish you well in getting the laws changed.” — Charles Davidson, bishop of Guyana (Photo courtesy of Demerara Waves)

From Ghana:

"Thank you for the good work you are doing for people created in the image of God. Jesus came to call us all into fellowship with himself. We will do our best for these abuses to stop." -- Daniel Torto, bishop of Accra, Ghana (Photo courtesy of TheHeraldGhana.com)

“Thank you for the good work you are doing for people created in the image of God. Jesus came to call us all into fellowship with himself. We will do our best for these abuses to stop.” — Daniel Torto, bishop of Accra, Ghana (Photo courtesy of TheHeraldGhana.com)

From Malawi:

Brighton Vita Malasa, bishop in Malawi (Photo courtesy of ACNS)

Brighton Vita Malasa, bishop in Malawi (Photo courtesy of ACNS)

“I really symphathise and empathise with you on what is happening to you and what you believe and advocate. We should pray that homophobic attacks should not be the order of the day but people should listen to each other and help to move together in Christian life. I would like to say that whatever the situation you are in, God loves you and I pray that you should enjoy this Christian love from everyone who pronounces that you are a human being, an image of God whatever the case.

“May the LORD of mercy have mercy upon us all for at times doing too much of what is not expected of us and let us avoid being so judgemental but instead pray and support for each others that we may come to realise the love of God. If you feel there is any specific thing I can do to help the situation, let me know. Peace be with you!”
— The Rt. Rev. Brighton Vita Malasa, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi

 

In the second year of AfD’s work it will be even more important to reach larger numbers of Anglicans with the ‘gospel’ of the Primates’ call for decriminalization, as well as the petition.  This is because the rising tide of populism across the globe threatens to undo many of the advances in human rights for LGBT people that were ushered in during the Obama years.

In particular, powerful anti-gay evangelical groups from the global north will be now emboldened to halt and even reverse the civil rights of LGBT people, including pushing for increased sanctions against same-gender loving people.

We therefore need your support to ensure that more people, especially Anglicans,  know about and come to support this life-saving effort.
Already one Canadian church, St. Matthias Bellwoods, has decided to make Anglicans for Decriminalization a part of their ministry and we need churches in each Province to help marshal resources and coordinate the telling of stories.

Please contact us if you can help.  For truly, “Without knowledge, the people perish.”

For more information, write to anglicansfordecriminalization@outlook.com.

To sign the petition, go to Change.org.

Related articles:

 

5 thoughts on “Anglican leaders oppose anti-gay laws; let’s repeal them

  1. Read the story of Sodom & Gemorah in Genisis. Who were the evil doers in the eyes of God and why that city was destroyed by God and why God chose a few to save?? Any clergy of the Christian religion who denies the words of God or refutes any part of the bible is NOT Christian but rather has become the “false teacher” as Jesus warned about in the Holy Gospels: “beware of the false teacher, the wolf in sheep’s clothing who comes as the deceiver to confuse the people.

    Like

    • Jesus: “Love thy neighbours as thyself”. Without any conditions! Jesus improved the Bible… for that reason Christian have this name… because they follow the teachings of Jesus.
      Plus, God did not destroy Sodoma because of homosexuality: He destroyed it because the inhabitants tried to rape anyone… and that is a huge difference.
      And, last but not least, Science has demonstrated that homosexuality is natural. If it is natural, then is God who creates homosexuals. If he creates them, he can’t hate them.
      But, in the end, as Jesus says: “Love thy neighbors as thyself”.

      Like

  2. Yes we should all love one another, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and I do love homosexuals as I love heterosexuals because God loves all of us including sinners who Jesus came to die on the cross for our redemption from sin. But Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you could continue committing sins and willfully act against God. Review LEV 18:22 & 20:13 where God clearly says what He will do to the abominable, unrepentant sinner. Review Genesis where God clearly says that a man leaves his mother and father to join with a WOMAN (not a man) where the two will join and become one…(procreation, offspring, children) this cannot be done EVER by 2 men or 2 women because it is absolutely NOT natural as you falsly claim. If homosexuality was natural and created by God, why would God condemn it as a sinful act as stated in the bible??? Why do deadly diseases (AIDS) and high rates of suicide directly connected from it? Just as God condemns a man having sexual relations with his mother or a married woman to death (adultry), homosexuals too, are condemned to death. If natural why can’t homosexuals produce children to continue their genetic liniage?? Because it is not a natural act. The answer is clearly stated in numerous places throughout the bible.
    Finally, Jesus came to FULFILL the Holy Scriptures (bible), not change it in anyway or improve on it as you falsly state. Jesus came as the great devider, pitting mother against daughter, son against father, brother against sister, mother against father! Found in the Holy Gospels. Why would Jesus do such a thing if we are to love everyone?? Jesus came to devide the sleeps from the goats. Who are the sheep and the goats? Review Mt 25:32 the division of lies & deceit from the truth. God doesn’t only condemn homosexuality but also all forms of sexual deviance to include beastyality, polygamy, incest,….etc,etc. According to biblical teachings, the ONLY accepted act of sexual relationships pleasing to the eyes of God is within marriage between one(1) man and one(1) woman and is considered a consummated marriage once the man and woman give up their virginity for each other to spend their lives together in an unspoken commitment, loyalty, alliance bound by the true love of God.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Church of England rejects homophobic proposal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s