Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What are Anglicans doing about the LGBT people who are being raped and murdered?

Cain Murders Abel

Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’

Genesis 4:8-12, NRSV

For my money, the most important aspect of the "fringe events" was the presence of the LGBT folk and their straight allies from Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda. Some of them risked personal harm when they return home because of their truth telling. You can read about one example - a printed statement by Rose Ngeri which she personally handed out to African bishops and their wives - on my blog.

When Rose was asked if she feared reprisals she said, with a chilling calm, "Oh, they will just rape me, but they will torture and kill my brothers. Do you not understand? They will torture and kill my brothers. I have to do this." And so, she did.

Rose Ngeri, as told to the Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton

As the Lambeth conference in Canterbury was drawing to a close, Michael Causer died. He was not an Anglican bishop, but an 18-year-old hairdresser, a popular lad described by his family as "definitely a 'people's person'. Our world will never be the same without him." He was the victim of a homophobic attack.

In other countries too, during the conference, virulent hatred of gays and lesbians continued to take its toll – sometimes in spectacular fashion. A gunman in Tennessee shot two people dead during a children's performance in a Unitarian church he thought too "liberal" before being overpowered. A Ugandan gay and lesbian rights activist was kidnapped by police in Kampala and tortured. A wave of homophobia swept Indonesian capital Jakarta, and arrests were reported.

In many countries, repressive laws fuel bigotry. All too often in schools and workplaces, temples and churches worldwide, people learn to hate or despise lesbians and gays. To Christians, this is tragic, not just for the victims: those who do not love their neighbour are spiritually dead. Yet talk among Anglican Communion leaders about homosexuality seemed oddly disconnected from the world in which most of us live, and the challenge to make it more just and loving.


Meanwhile, at the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a "covenant of faith" that would "promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us", and suggested "a Pastoral Forum to support minorities". But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer's family.

Savitri Hensman, writing for the Guardian

Folks, the Anglican churches of the Global South who stand by while such things happen are spiritually dead. They question whether the Western churches are still visibly Christian; the same should be asked of them.

However, the same was not asked of them at this Lambeth conference. There is ample evidence that the human rights of LGBT persons are being violated in the Global South. Why were they not asked to repent?

Cain came to murder Abel over petty jealousy. God asked him where Abel was. Cain lied. God called BS.

The blood of our LGBT sisters and brothers is crying out to God from the ground. We should call BS.

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