The Ugandan Statement

Here’s the statement by the new Primate of Uganda.

Archbishop Stanley NtagaliIt is very discouraging to hear that the Church of England, which once brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Uganda, has taken such a significant step away from that very gospel that brought life, light, and hope to us.

The recent decision of the House of Bishops to allow clergy in civil partnerships to be eligible to become Bishops is really no different from allowing gay Bishops. This decision violates our Biblical faith and agreements within the Anglican Communion.

When the American Church made this decision in 2003 it tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level. This decision only makes the brokenness of the Communion worse and is particularly disheartening coming from the Mother Church.

We stand with those in the Church of England who continue to stand for the Biblical and historic faith and practice of the Church.

Our grief and sense of betrayal are beyond words.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
ARCHBISHOP, CHURCH OF UGANDA.

Hang on a minute. Here’s the key sentence.

The recent decision of the House of Bishops to allow clergy in civil partnerships to be eligible to become Bishops is really no different from allowing gay Bishops.

No, it is completely different. We already have some gay bishops who are completely chaste. They have always been completely chaste. They teach the orthodox position on sexual morality. How are these faithful and obedient men the same as someone in a civil partnership who, for all intents and purposes, has a same-sex lover even if they don’t have sex with them?

The Church of England has made no “decision”, it has simply gone back to where we were in 2011.

Someone needs to either stop scaremongering or start to get to grips with the subtlety of language.

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  • jillfromharrow

    Having watched you conversing with Kevin and George, Peter, there are one or two things you said which I feel I have to take issue with. You tell of how you and your wife, before you were married, slept in separate houses (never mind just separate beds). This was obviously to put paid to any gossip which might have occurred. But then you said something about it being okay for two clergymen to live together with separate bedrooms etc. So why doesn’t the public perception apply to them? How many people, seeing two blokes emerging from the same front door all the time, would not put two and two together, possibly making five but who knows? Twenty years ago this would probably not have mattered, but things are different now.

    To take up your point about Archbishop Ntgali, well really this all goes back to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as far as I can see. Who would know a bishop was gay, unless he told everybody? I do think these African bishops see things a bit more clearly, without indulging in sophistry.

    Before anyone starts shreiking about ‘hypocrisy’ over ‘don’t ask don’t tell’, the reason why it worked so well was that people’s sexual proclivities were their own business, between themselves and God. If they want to make it everybody’s business, then they must expect people who take the Word of God seriously to raise objections.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      So you agree with Archbishop Ntgali that we shouldn’t have bishops who are gay but chaste, have always been chaste and have always taught orthodoxy?

      Because either that is what he believes OR the people who write his press releases need to think much harder about their use of language that comes across as homophobic, telling gay men they can’t be bishops simply because of their sexual orientation, regardless of their orthodoxy or otherwise.

      • jillfromharrow

        Peter, we have had (and probably still have) many such bishops, and I am sure Africa has too, and nobody has batted an eyelid. That is not the point.

        You are looking at Archbisho Ntgali through Western eyes. Africans simply do not see things the same way. I doubt if many Africans would think he was homophobic. And I very much doubt if he has a huge team of press advisors.

        You didn’t answer my point about public perception.

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          And you didn’t answer my original question in the blog post. Can you not see how the Archbishop’s statement comes across? Can you not see the blanket condemnation of any “gay bishop” is just hugely offensive? Does he mean something else then every single homosexual man? Well if that’s the case he should have said so.

          • jillfromharrow

            Well I have Western eyes too, but I have met many African bishops and they just think differently. They just don’t believe in ‘gay’ as an identity, so while we might think it offensive they don’t. I don’t believe he was trying to cause offence, he was merely upholding biblical principles on sexual morality. It’s his job.

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              So he writes a letter addressing the Church of England and no-one advises him how it will be interpreted in England? Come on…

              • jillfromharrow

                Well, perhaps as the Church in Uganda (and the rest of Africa) is burgeoning, and the Church of England is in terminal decline, perhaps he is not that worried about how it will be interpreted in England.

                Time for some African missionaries over here, perhaps?

                • cerebusboy

                  Ah yes, good old Uganda! How many people in the UK do you think are in favour of a Uganda-style death penalty for gay people?

                  Isn’t also good how God has ensured that his good, gay-bashing Anglicans don’t have any HIV/AIDS in Africa, in contrast with the decadent sodomising West? Oh no, wait. That’s not true at all. Perhaps all the AIDS in Africa can be blamed on the Terrence Higgins Trust too. Their reach, like the illuminati, knows no bounds!

                  • jillfromharrow

                    I wonder if you realise how one-eyed you are, Ryan. The Church in Uganda opposes anything of that nature, as evidenced in the statement Peter posted a few days ago. And as for AIDS, if you follow the teaching of the church you will never get it. It is your perception which is wrong, just as your perception of what I am saying is wrong. I do not abuse gay people, as you aver, but I oppose behaviour which leads to destruction, just as I would alcoholism, drug abuse etc. I get very tired of repeating all this, so I shan’t be answering any more of your silly insults.

                    • cerebusboy

                      Jill, sexual orientation is not, in and of itself, a behaviour. It’s ironic that you compare being gay to alcoholism and drug abuse and then claim that I’m the one dishing out insults.

                      Are you really defending the Ugandan Church’s record on LGBT rights? Anti-LGBT violence does not operate in a vacuum.

                      Tangentially, you may wish to note that I, personally, am not gay. It’s not me that you’re conflating with shit-eating paedophiles, rather LGBT people everywhere, including the many fine ones who comment on this blog. You can repeat and repeat what you want – but this isn’t Simon says, where merely stating ”I’m not homophobic” gives one a free pass for spouting dehumanising garbage.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      That’s the problem, Ryan. Jill knows quite a lot about male homosexual practices, especially minority kinky ones like fisting, scat and cock-and-ball torture (courtesy of Lisa Nolland), but she knows little or nothing about being gay, and she doesn’t want to know, because she has decided that there is no such thing as a homosexual orientation. She thinks that even if it does just possibly exist, it’s comparable to a childish food fad like not liking Brussels sprouts – her words. She presumably thinks that people have gay sex only on a random whim, in the same way as small children sometimes do silly things like putting their shoes on their hands or putting tea-cosies on their heads.

                      Notice how she insists on referring to “‘gay’ as an identity”. This seems to mean, from what she has said, that a person chooses to assume an identity called “gay” based solely on the fact that he has got into the habit of having gay sex, in much the same way as someone might identify as a beer-drinker because he drinks beer regularly, or as a pipe-smoker because he is in the habit of smoking a pipe. It’s no use trying to explain to her that that isn’t actually how being gay works: she has already made up her mind that it is. It’s as ridiculous as if I were to take it on myself to tell her what being a heterosexual woman is all about.

                    • Tom Jones

                      It is blood-borne so of course you might get it in an altogether non-sexual way.

                    • cerebusboy

                      If you merely oppose destructive behaviour, Jill, then I take it you’ll be replacing your ”horrors of the gay lifestyle” rhetoric with condemnation of HETEROSEXUAL fisting, shit-eating etc etc? Heterosexual BDSM is not exactly unheard of. Never heard of Fifty Shades of Grey?

                      And of course I personally could follow the teaching of the church, marry someone with HIV/AIDS (ever sinner can repent) and contract the disease myself. And that’s aside from those who contract Aids from blood transfusions. Is the RC Church now taking a Jehovah’s Witness line on these or something?

                      To be clear: given the choice, I think most gay people would say they had less to fear from the person who abuses one, single gay person – calling them a faggot, say – to the person who, like you, dehumanises all gay people everywhere. If you disagree with this characterisation, then may I ask what you’d think of a statement like “gangbanging shows the horrors of the black lifestyle”? It makes as much sense as your ridiculous homophobic generalisations.

              • SeekTruthFromFacts

                Do you think that the people who wrote the House of Bishops’ press release, or the media articles covering it, had Uganda at the centre of their minds? My guess is that Archbishop Stanley, like them, was thinking primarily about his own cure of souls. It’s so easy to talk past each other with dealing with another culture. Perhaps Jill is right and ‘same sex attraction but Biblical behaviour’ is just not a concept that Ugandan clergy are familiar with.

                (P.S. I’m desperately resisting the urge to work the phrase ‘Ugandan discussions’ into this comment!)

    • cerebusboy

      Jil, twenty years ago was 1993. There were lots of gay couples. If you wish to pine for the good old bad old days then you might want to pick a time more in line with your views. Perhaps 1950, or Victorian England?

    • cerebusboy

      Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was the Clinton ‘solution’ to gays in the military. It required gay people to lie (if someone asked a straight guy how they spent their weekend, they could say ”with my girlfriend”. A gay person could not admit to spending it with their boyfriend) . And, no, it’s not the fault of gay people that you, madly, interpret ”I’m gay” to mean ”I eat shit, take drugs, sodomise everything that moves and a few things that don’t, fist strangers,die aged 40 from AIDS and plot to seduce your children”

  • gerv

    Isn’t this just a question of terminology? When the Archbishop writes “gay”, perhaps he means “people in an active homosexual relationship”. Combine that with an understanding of CPs as gay marriage in all but name, and you can understand how he then sees allowing CPed bishops as the same as allowing practising homosexual bishops, and that being something he feels is regrettable.

    In normal discourse, if someone says “I’m gay”, most people take that to mean “My sexual relationships which, like most of society, I am open to having when opportunity and feelings align, are homosexual ones rather than heterosexual”. But you use it to mean “I experience SSA”. Your usage may be more accurate, but I’m not sure many people make the distinction, and it could be that the Archbishop doesn’t.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      So we need to point out that his usage of the word is incorrect and needs improving.

      • gerv

        Or we could accept the definition as it’s generally used, and switch to using something like “I am attracted to people of the same sex” for the other thing.

        This ‘un-common’ (trying to pick a neutral term) use of words seems to be getting more common in this discussion, and I fear it’s hindering communication. Another example: I suspect most people see CPs as “the thing gay couples do because they can’t get married”, but some Christians want to say “but when Christians have one, a CP is actually a celibate relationship formed for tax reasons and other legal advantages”.

        I suspect CPs are no-sex-required for practical definitional reasons (that have been discussed before on this blog) rather than because it was an important use case that people with a traditional sexual ethic should be able to get tax advantages without the world assuming they are hypocrites.

      • jillfromharrow

        Perhaps it is the other way round, and we should be listening to them. As I said earlier, they simply don’t recognise ‘gay’ as an identity, only a behaviour, which is condemned in scripture, and was accepted by all until the day before yesterday. ‘Gay’ is a thoroughly modern construct.

        • cerebusboy

          Homosexuality, as concept, dates from 1863. That might be modern for you, dear Jill, but that’s not saying much. And of course, from a wide enough historical perspective, it is monotheistic homophobia, not homosexual activity, that is the aberration.

        • Tom Jones

          Then these bishops are wrong and in denial when they say homosexuality is a Western aberration, unknown to Africa. We hear them all too clearly, Jill, but that is all we should do because they are just plain wrong about human nature and as wrong as you are when they muddy the waters by introducing the concept of homosexuality (as Ryan points out, dates only from 1863) into a text which dates back at least 3000 years. Unfortunately for them if they carry on with the intention to pass the kill the gays-type of legislation, in Uganda or elsewhere in Africa, they will be heard but never listened to again…and the consequences will be undesirable for their populations.

          http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/08/ugandan-university-loses-uk-accreditation-over-anti-gay-legislation/

      • SeekTruthFromFacts

        When I saw the statement, I also noticed his use of ‘gay’. My first
        thought was that it is a classic example of how people will interpret
        the House of Bishops’ decision, pace your ‘no change’ reading. If an
        Anglican Archbishop thinks it’s means ‘same-sex acts OK’, then it seems likely that the English public will read it that way. The English
        conservative bishops seem to have been tactically outmanoeuvred on this.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667301476 Brian Kelly

        I think it’s about 40 years too late for white Brits to go round “correcting” Africans. They are the majority of the Anglican Communion in any case, and not likely to be impressed by the West, despite our overflowing churches and devout public culture.

        • cerebusboy

          Indeed, it’s surprising how few evangelical-conservatives leave the decadent west to embrace Africa’s more faithful pleasures. Or not so much ;-)

    • cerebusboy

      But hasn’t the Vatican reiterated the orthodox line when it says that being ‘gay’, in and of itself, is problematic for potential-clergy? I don’t see why we need to pretend that all conservatives referring to ‘gay’ clergy actually mean ‘having, or are up for having, same-sex relationships’.

      • Tom Jones

        Yes, Ryan, this is right. A few years ago now noises were being made about excluding any kind of homosexual from the priesthood, even the “good” ones. It was as iff homosexuality made a man ontologically unable (not just unfit) to take the sacred character of orders. Quite a few of the Lay traditionalists were implying this, if not saying it outright, people like Barbara Kralis of the Ave Maria Network. The bishops never corrected it. I pointed out to her and others who held that view that if it were so that the sacrament of holy orders would not “take” on gay men that would drive a coach and horses through the whole doctrine of Apostolic Succession.

        http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/question1.htm

        • Tom Jones

          PS This is similar what High Anglicans believe will happen if they get women bishops – the sacrament simply won’t “take” on their souls – I don’t supposed it worries evangelicals as much. When women were first ordained in the CofE there was a fascinating documentary about Canon Lucy Winkett at St Paul’s. It was all very well avoiding taking communion from her on the day she officiated at Holy Communion but how would you know if on the next day you would be given one of the wafers consecrated by her and reserved for distribution to the sick or if more communicants turned up than expected? One of the other canon came up with the solution from Catholic sacramental theology. The real presence exists in its entirety under the form of bread and wine, so as long as you took the chalice as well as the bread it would not matter if you had been given one of the duff-winkett-consecrated hosts!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667301476 Brian Kelly

      Yes, I would wager that is what he means. As a good evangelical, I’m sure he understands the difference between ‘I’ve committed adultery in my heart’ (of which there will be a few bishops) and ‘I’ve committed adultery in my bed’. Anyway, English Standard English is probably not his first language.

  • David Baker

    Peter, I have written an article about this on the Christian Today website here:

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/jesus.the.bishops.and.civil.partnerships/31406.htm

    I think Andrew Goddard’s item is also helpful at http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=773 which I expect you have seen.

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