Shuck and Jive

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Superstition and Prejudice

I try to comment about the superstitions of my own sect and not fret too much about the superstitions of others, but this one caught my eye today.

To get the context here, as I understand it, conservatives in The Episcopal Church want to leave TEC and have an African bishop be in charge of their religious lives. This is because the various Anglican communions in Africa have a better plan as to what to do with the homosexuals.

Homosexual acts are already a criminal offence in Uganda, with the maximum penalty being life imprisonment.
We should remember that the bishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, is a "liberal" on these matters:
"We want to state categorically that homosexuality is unacceptable,"
"I think the death penalty is not acceptable," Ntagali said on October 21. "I think taking someone to jail for a period of time would be sufficient."
In America we make the gays bishops. In Uganda they put them in prison for life.

In which country would you rather live?


  1. This is how injustice survives. It's the same logic that lets a person say with confidence "the only problem I have with _________ is his/her stand on abortion. I agree with everything else they are doing, but as long as they believe abortion is ok, I can't support them." And so they support someone with whom they may have greater ideological differences, but they just don't allow themselves to think about those things. It's more comfortable for them that way. Until it affects them personally, that is.

  2. It grieves me more than I can possibly tell you that my church is far more focused this week on the Vatican's offer to disaffected Anglicans than they are on this travesty. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels...may God have mercy on us all.

    And at the risk of sounding snide, one of the reasons that American "Anglicans" are happy with their Ugandan bishops is that they are FAR AWAY.


  3. Doxy,

    The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton posted on just that very topic--it is worth reading.


  4. Glad you saw that Andy! (At the risk of outing myself, I'm the one who sent her the link. :-)

    The sad thing is that I first saw it on Pam's House Blend---a political blog, not a church-related one.

    Still no statement by the national church or Canterbury.


  5. I am still confused about the article to which I linked from the Episcopal Church.

    What law or laws are being proposed?

    What is "aggravated homosexuality?"

    How is that different from "aggravated heterosexuality" or "sexual assault."

    What is this thing about a 7 year prison sentence for "publishing information." Starting a PFLAG chapter in Uganda would be breaking the law then?

    A very confusing article.

  6. John--the proposed Ugandan law would apply the death penalty to anyone who engaged in same-sex activity with an underage person, a disabled person, or if the accused had HIV.

    Homosexual activity is ALREADY criminalized in Uganda. This would just make the existing situation more draconian---and it would indeed make PFLAG illegal. You and I could both be sent to prison in Uganda for what we have written on our blogs.

    Oh, and the law makes same-sex activity OUTSIDE Uganda illegal for Ugandans as well. Friends and family of LGBTs in Uganda can be sent to prison for failing to report their loved ones.

    It is revolting--and that fact that the Anglican Church in Uganda has supported it is blasphemous. (I suspect it was modeled on similar legislation that was proposed in Nigeria two years ago--and defeated, by the Muslims, no less! The Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria had a big hand in supporting that travesty.)

  7. Thanks Doxy. That helps a lot, except that I don't get why sex with underage people or without consent (ie. disabled) is a homosexual problem.

    Is it the death penalty for heterosexual sex in the above situations or just homosexual sex?

    I think I know the answer. A poorly written article nonetheless.

    This is the scary part. Conservatives in America must really want the criminalization (death penalty if they could get it) of homosexuals. That is why they would join or defect to or whatever these Anglican churches in Africa.

    Once you state for religious reasons that some act is immoral, then criminalization is the logical consequence.

  8. Once you state for religious reasons that some act is immoral, then criminalization is the logical consequence.

    Tell that to all those divorced-and-remarried American "Anglicans"...

    This is the scary part. Conservatives in America must really want the criminalization (death penalty if they could get it) of homosexuals. That is why they would join or defect to or whatever these Anglican churches in Africa.

    Much of the financial backing that has underwritten the schismatics in my church has come from Howard Ahmanson, the California savings and loan heir.

    This is relevant to your point because Ahmanson was a disciple of the Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony, the father of Christian Reconstructionism. Rushdoony died in 2001 with Howard Ahmanson and his wife, Roberta, at his bedside. Rushdoony advocated basing the American legal system on biblical laws, including stoning adulterers and homosexuals.

    Ahmanson has been a big financial supporter for the Institution on Religion and Democracy (IRD). That organization's intent has always been to "restructure the permanent governing structure" of "theologically flawed" Protestant denominations and to "discredit and diminish the Religious Left's influence."

    IRD started with us, but they have been working to stir up trouble for the Lutherans and Presbyterians too. If you are interested, you can read all about the scary foundations for the anti-gay movement in U.S. mainline churches in Jim Naughton's excellent piece: Following the Money. (Jim is the Canon for Communications at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC, the Executive Editor of Episcopal Cafe, and a dear friend.)

    In the summer of 2008, Ahmanson appeared at a meeting in Jerusalem of Anglican bishops who are prepared to break away from the Anglican Communion rather than keep company with churches that welcome LGBTs. I will simply note that +Henry Orombi, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Uganda, gave the keynote address at that conference. You draw your own conclusions...


  9. Oh yes, the IRD has been a topic of chit chat here as well. Thanks for that.

  10. I find it best to stay the hell away from all organized religion, as well as nutty Ugandans.

  11. Let's all remember that sodomy laws were overturned fairly recently in the US. When wast it, 10 years ago? For that matter wasn't there a case recently when a public official we charged and (I think) pleaded guilty to a charge of adultery in VA? Adultery laws are still on the books in most states.

    Of course they were both adultery and sodomy laws were often ignored by the police but there were those cases in Georgia and Texas. The Texas law sodomy law was brought before the Supreme Court and ruled illegal.

    Even though the penalty wasn't death or a long prison term we aren't too far removed from the days of legal punishment of gays for their sexual behavior.

    I'm all for privacy around the issue of gay and lesbian sexual behavior and for legalization of consentual sex for all, although I have some questions about the whips and chains folks.

    Still I think that laws that punish sexual behavior with those who cannot consent - children, and those who are not mentally competent to make decisions have to remain on the books and that punishment or same sex or opposite sex (actually it's rape) with those not competent to make decision should be equal. Making a higher penalty for man who rape boys is terrible.