Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Times: Archbishop of Canterbury in intensive efforts to combat Ugandan anti-gay death law

Ruth Gledhill, a conservative religion columnist for the Times, reported on December 3 that Abp. Rowan Williams is in intensive efforts to engage the Anglican Church of Uganda against the proposed anti-homosexuality law.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has been criticised widely for failing to speak out against the new anti-gay law in Uganda that could see some homosexuals being executed. But there is method in his silence. Today, Lambeth Palace told me: 'It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both national and diocesan level, with the local church will therefore remain intensive but private.'

In fact, we can take for granted that Dr Williams is against the draconian new law. But speaking out publicly to this effect could indeed, as he says, have the opposite effect to that intended. It would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values upon traditional African culture. It would not help the local Anglican Church, which has yet to come out on either side. But we can assume that the word 'intensive' in his statement today indicates that he is as distressed as the 2,000 who have signed a petition against it.

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