Tackling Homophobia

Here’s the response from Uganda.

Archbishop Stanley NtagaliThe Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”

Accordingly, we are grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.

We would further like to remind them, as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

It was the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago. We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.

Furthermore, as our new Archbishop of Canterbury looks toward future Primates Meetings and a possible 2018 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, we would also like to remind him of the 2007 Primates Communique from Dar es Salaam, which says that there are “consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion” for TEC and those Provinces which cannot

“Make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through” their governing body;

“Confirm…that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent.”

It is clear that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada have not upheld these commitments, and so we do pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he considers whether or not to extend invitations to their Primates for the next Primates Meeting or to their Bishops for the 2018 Lambeth Conference. To withhold these invitations would be a clear signal of his intention to lead and uphold the fullness of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali

Handbags at dawn.

It’s actually a very good response. The Ugandans are saying that they are doing their best to practice all of what Lambeth 1998 1.10 asks, and so why are the Archbishops getting uppity with them? When was the last time they wrote a similar open letter to TEC and Canada to remind them of their doctrinal obligations under the same Lambeth resolution.

All well and good, and to be fair to the Church in Uganda, their response to the “anti-gay” Bill has been marked by a serious engagement with the pastoral issues it obviously raises. And of course, once you get past the loony left Changing Attitude argument that even holding to a traditional view of sexual relations is homophobic (a nonsense that the official Church of England position rejects), whilst Uganda could possibly be doing more openly to fulfil the other aspects of the resolution, in practice they are not Nigeria.

Oh Nigeria. Nigeria, Nigeria, Nigeria.

Nigeria is going to leap up and bite conservatives square in the arse on this issue. The new law there is blatantly draconian and unjust. Here’s what the Church Times reports today.

Church TimesThis month, the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in Nigeria, which entails a 14-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships, and states that anyone who “administers, witnesses, screens, abets and aids” a same-sex union can be imprisoned for ten years.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has said that she has “rarely…seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”

This month, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, refused to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which provides for life imprisonment for homosexual acts.

On Monday, Davis Mac-iyalla, a gay Nigerian Anglican who has taken refuge in the UK after receiving death threats, said: “People are calling on Western religious leaders to please say something and talk to the African bishops who are publicly supporting these draconian laws.” Life was “very frightening” for LGBT people.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, Makmid Kamara, said: “The Church and other religious groups have been very influential in supporting the passing of this Bill… If you can get very reputable religious leaders in the UK to speak out and reach out to the religious community, that would be a significant boost to the current calls being made inside and outside Nigeria.”

Now, I’m looking for a conservative who can justify to me how locking someone up for 14 years for engaging in an act of fornication is loving and kind and Gospel focussed. Really, explain it to me. The good news of Jesus Christ is that he can save you from your sins. So for someone who engages in fornication, the good news is that there is forgiveness and restitution and reconciliation with God. That is the Gospel. But I’ll tell you what the Gospel is not. It is not a social agenda that legislates for morality (for the Church exists in many places where it has no political power whatsoever and yet it grows just fine). It is not a conversion course to make you straight as a sign of transformation (because lust is sinful wherever it is directed, and we are not promised perfection this side of glory but rather strength to resist).

People come to Christ and repent of sexual sin because they see his power in other people’s lives and they hear the word of God preached as the Holy Spirit softens their heart and takes the scales off their eyes. They do not come to Christ because some leading UK Christian spokespersons speaks at a conference saying there is a link between paedophilia and homosexuality and then refuses to answer emails from fellow conservatives asking her exactly what does she mean and can she provide some evidence to back up her claims. Seriously. People do not come to Christ through political rhetoric, they come to Christ through the preaching of the Word and the work of the Spirit.

And you know what my readers, it doesn’t matter if you can point to one Church who are trying to engage constructively in their country’s political processes to temper outrageous legislation if at the same time you refuse to criticise the other Church that is actively supporting a Bill that makes the first one look mild. Really, it doesn’t. If we genuinely want to offer good news to those who struggle with sexual temptation, let’s not condone throwing them into jail for over a decade if they fall, and let’s not say they’re linked to the evils of paedophilia if we want to be seen to offer a safe space for people to bring their brokenness.

Because if I was gay, or homosexual, or same-sex attracted or whatever you want to call me, the last people I want to go to for help are the ones who call me “queer”, agitate to have me thrown into jail for kissing another man and who say that “my kind” are just trying to get children into bed with them.

And you know what, don’t come back at me with “Well TEC and Canada bless gay relationships”. Yes they do, they’re a bunch of heretical apostates, but at least they don’t throw their clergy into jail just for disagreeing with them.

But hey, what would I know.

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  • Sigfridii

    Locking up people who wilfully spread disease and undermine society is actually a very good idea.

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

      What if there’s a monogamous couple who never do any political agitation, they just want to get on with their lives (even if we disagree with their choices). How do they “wilfully spread disease and undermine society”?

      • Sigfridii

        There is an important principle at stake (which exists for the good of society) that it is actually illegal to do certain things to the human body, either to oneself, or to another person even if they have given their consent. Unnatural sexual intercourse used to be in this category, partly because of its potential for damage to organs and tissues which are not designed for such abuse, and partly because it subverts the idea of marriage as a procreative union. Latterly a plague of disease was unleashed upon the world, in the form of HIV/AIDS, which was traced back to the prolific copulation of just a few homosexual men based in LA with a vast number of other partners. Drug abusers have of course played their part, and the disease has made its way into the heterosexual community, largely through the use of prostitutes. But because politics trumps public health, a formerly criminal activity now has the blessing of Presidents and Prime Ministers, and the number of people suffering and dying from HIV/AIDS continues to rise exponentially.

        • newfred

          You do not understand the word “exponentially”.

          Does Jesus blame lepers for their condition?

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

          You’ve never heard of monogamous mutual masturbation have you? Or lesbianism for that matter.

          • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

            ^ Both of which are sinful. Is there a homosexual sexual activity that is not sinful? I think the clue lies in the word Homosexual.

            I agree with Jill on the general point that, in effect, Nigeria is putting up sandbags (against cultural imperialism). But their method of defence contains two mistakes: firstly, they have created man-made law (which can be overturned at a later date) and secondly they have overcompensated (creating draconian law) – which will hasten the overturning of the law.

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

          Seriously, mistaking homosexuality for sodomy is just demonstrating your prejudice.

          • Sigfridii

            OK, let’s use some more graphical terminology if it is what you apparently prefer.

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

              Don’t push me.

    • newfred

      Have you heard of the word “stereotype”?

    • newfred

      Presumably the 12 years I have spent in a monogamous relationship with my partner, working in the service of church by running its music, is a case in point? Or perhaps you’re just talking rubbish.

      • Sigfridii

        I don’t care how you spend your time but I do care for the large numbers of people who have been and are taken in by the political propaganda, and have died and are dying of HIV/AIDS, including some of my friends who have died a horrific death, brought about by trusting in a partner who they thought was faithful.

        • newfred

          You say you don’t care how I spend my time, but you gave quite a different impression a moment ago when you said I should be thrown in prison. Maybe make your mind up?

  • jillfromharrow

    Perhaps 14 years is preferable to being stoned to death, the maximum punishment applicable in Shariah courts in Northern Nigeria. How about questioning a few Muslims about this? (Please don’t ask me again if I approve of these prison sentences!!)

    Wiki has some info about the law in Nigeria. I have no idea if this is up to date or not.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Nigeria

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

      Not being arrested for a consensual activity is preferable to 14 years in jail. And the Church of Nigeria should be saying so very clearly.

      • jillfromharrow

        They should, of course, and perhaps they will, but they will understand much better than we do how supporting homosexual practice will endanger the lives of Christians in shariah-run provinces where Christians are in a tiny minority. It must be very frightening for them to see Westerners trying to bully them into these perilous situations.

        Let us hope the Archbishop of Canterbury comes back from Africa a bit more clued-up about the situation there.

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

          You seem to think the only alternatives are “supporting homosexuality” (perhaps you could define that) and throwing people into jail for consensual sexual activity. That is a dichotomy I and many others don’t accept.

          • jillfromharrow

            Is it not just possible that, were it not for noisy gay activists and their demands, this situation wouldn’t have arisen, these draconian laws would not have been enacted, and people could have just got on with their lives quietly and without interference.
            None of this is my fault, Peter. There is no need to be so aggressive. I am just trying to make sense of the situation. I just do not believe that the African bishops want people thrown into jail, or stoned to death, for private consensual acts, any more than we do. In a deeply conservative society, especially with the threat of militant Islam, it is probably just best not to trumpet one’s sexual proclivities.

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

              When a Nigerian Bishop says that those who oppose this law are opposing God (check the link in my piece) one can safely presume they do want to throw people into jail.

              And what’s more Jill, this law doesn’t let people lead quiet lives. You can lead a quiet life but *still* get jailed for having consensual sex.

              Do you think that’s wrong Jill?

              • jillfromharrow

                There you go again, Peter, asking me questions to which you already know the answer. Why are you doing this? I think it’s insane to jail people for immoral acts – most of us would be banged up by now. But then I don’t live in a country where 70% of Christians murdered worldwide were killed by Boko Haram in 2012.

                If you nobody is going to engage with the wider points of my posts I am wasting my time here, and will say goodnight.

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

                  So why won’t you post a single piece on Mainstream condemning the Nigerian law if you’re so opposed to it?

                  • jillfromharrow

                    That is below the belt.

                    • newfred

                      Hilarious.

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

                      How is it below the belt to point out that Mainstream has not published a *single* piece critical of the Nigerian law? Not one piece? How is that below the belt?

                    • jillfromharrow

                      Could that be, do you think, because there is now no rational discourse allowable on this issue? Most articles come from the Guardian or other such Christian-hating newspapers who are happy to blame Christians for this draconian legislation. I have yet to see an objective article on it.
                      This blog has proved it – I have tried to explore the reasons myself but this has been shown to be impossible without my being branded as homophobic, hateful etc etc which anybody who knows me would know is far from the truth. I have tried to show that there could just be some extenuating circumstances behind it, such as fear of yet more Christians being killed, but hardly anybody is interested in that, they are too busy trying to paint me as some sort of person who supports the legislation (I do not) or who wants gays locked up for 14 years (I do not).
                      No wonder conservative journalists don’t touch it.

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

                      Then put a piece on Mainstream that condemns the legislation. Or give me a good explanation why not. This isn’t an explanation, it’s an excuse.

                      The silence from Mainstream on this issue (and AMW’s paedophilia comments) is deafening, drowning out even the cacophony of the usual “oh look, a gay person did something bad, let’s publicise it” nonsense and it just serves to isolate you even more.

                    • jillfromharrow

                      I resent that. I am totally uninterested – as you well know – in ‘gay person did something bad’ stories, except on the odd occasion that it has a major effect to the current culture, or moral cesspit.

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

                      Still waiting for the piece on Mainstream that clearly states you (collective) are opposed to the Nigerian Law.

                    • jillfromharrow

                      I am here in my own capacity, not as a representative of anybody else. I don’t propose to dance to anybody’s tune.

                      If you think my comments are offensive, you will have to ban me!

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

                      You willingly work for the Mainstream website. Part of the reason why I walked away from it a long time ago was that I didn’t want to be associated with the kind of homophobic nonsense that gets posted there. I suggest you might want to reflect as to exactly how you want to be able to post things on Mainstream and yet not be associated with it.

                    • jillfromharrow

                      Perhaps you would care to define for us what you regard as ‘homophobia’. Is it fear and hatred of gays, as people like Gugli would have us believe? Or is it fear of very different issues. I offer a few, which even if you don’t agree with them are very legitimate concerns and held my a huge number of people.

                      (1) Fear of the redefinition of marriage and the slippery slope which yawns in front of it

                      (2) Fear of the indoctrination of children in the belief that gay ‘marriage’ is equivalent to real marriage, and by extension gay sex must be similarly safe (Read Terrence Higgins Trust, Schools Out, Rainbow Alliance, etc, to see what plans they have for children)

                      (3) Fear of the erosion of religious and civil liberty where people can be arrested for merely reading the Bible in public, or publicly expressing concerns about homosexual activity

                      (4) Fear of the creation of sexual confusion among small children by being told that they can choose their gender, as happens in some US schools now

                      (5) Fear of imposition in schools and colleges of ‘gay straight alliances’ which bully children into public acceptance of gay lifestyles, as already happens in the US

                      (6) Fear of parental authority being usurped by the state with enforced sexualisation (they have narrowly been defeated this time around,
                      but they will get there in the end)

                      (7) Unease about enforcing our morally bankrupt mores on other cultures which view them with horror

                      This is just a small segment of the issues which concern me. Yet still I repeatedly have to fend off accusations of homophobia. All the more surprising coming from you, Peter.

                    • newfred

                      “what plans they have for children”. Oh dear, Jill. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear. Let me tell you – it would have been jolly nice to have some information at school that wasn’t of the playground “you’re a poofter” type. If you really have such contempt for education, perhaps you yourself should stay away from it.

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      If by education, you mean this sort of relentless pan-curricular propanganda: http://www.tht.org.uk/sexual-health/Resources/Publications/General/Out-In-School Perhaps, you should look up the definition of indoctrination.

                    • newfred

                      I think I understand. When Christians do it, it’s “education”; when gay people do it, it’s “indoctrination”. How convenient. On your understanding, presumably it would also be “indoctrination” any time a heterosexual couple appeared in a dramatic production.

                      Can we please be more grown up about this? Many in the comments on this very thread have lamented the supposed recklessness of gay people when it comes to, for instance, HIV. And yet when the THT produces practical educational materials for schools to help young people understand risks and how to protect themselves and others, people like your good self cry “indoctrination”. I find it hard to reach any conclusion but that you want to back gay people into a corner from which they can do no right. So much for Christian compassion.

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      I assume that you already know my position on Christian proselytisation in schools. Perhaps, you know ‘people like my good self’.
                      A wiser man once asked ‘Have you heard of the word ‘stereotype’?’

                    • newfred

                      Oh yes, because someone describing gay people as those “who wilfully spread disease and undermine society”, and calling for them to be imprisoned, is just the same as me quoting your own words, and suggesting that there are other people who bewail indoctrination by the dreadful gayers.

                      Get a grip.

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      Oh, the irony. Hilarious!

                    • newfred

                      So, tell me: how *should* LGBT people be supported in schools?

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      I spent the best part of today thinking about an answer to your question and researching relevant data. The honest truth is that like anyone else I can follow the evidence, but I can only add my ideas to a wide range of strategies that others, including those more qualified, can come up with.

                      I would admit that my closest reference point is what I think that I needed to flourish (can’t believe I’m using that word) as a minority.

                      1, No ‘one-size-fits-all’minority: I am aware that I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my difference in order to flourish within the educational system. I don’t need to be assumed good at sports any more than gay men need be assumed fashion-savvy.

                      My secondary school didn’t have to run a ‘token’ Black History month, nor did it have to ask Diane Abbott MP to deliver an address at the annual prize-giving highlighting black issues in order to make me feel welcome.

                      My differences may have some alignment with my race, but I’m as much a fan of Hall and Oates and Andrew Gold as I am of Parliament Funkadelic.

                      You may disagree, but I believe that we are all far more complex than any (even positive) stereotypes of racial, gender and sexual orientation identity. Yet, Peter is bullied with contemptible spite because his public stance does not fit the mould: http://www.peter-ould.net/2013/12/13/fan-mail-friday/

                      Identity stereotypes: Let’s begin by setting an example of tolerating not only diversity of identity, but divergence from identity stereotypes in school.

                      2. Monitoring: It was disheartening to discover that schools are only required to record and report on racial discrimination. Considering the life-threatening implications, we cannot excuse the lack of monitoring of LGBT discrimination in schools on the basis that our beleaguered teachers have enough form-filling to do already.

                      3. Freedom to disagree agreeably: In religious matters, Christians can publicly dispute that the Hindu depictions of the divine are idolatrously unworthy of God. Muslims and Jews can challenge the Christian view of God as Trinity without attracting accusations of bigotry. Atheists can deplore the idea of God and from a Christian standpoint, His capacity for retribution.

                      If anything, suppressing all but positive views of homosexuality is unrealistic. The answer to derogatory contempt is not positive idealism, but objective realism. It is because Christians come in all shapes and sizes that we can accept that we can be exemplary in some areas and disreputable in others.

                      Our kids need a safe space where difference can be expressed, discussed and even disputed rationally with previously agreed limits on how far we can exchange our views before they becomes an imposition.

                      LGBT support in school should provide, as with race and religion, a classroom forum for rational discussion on all sides. Contrary to the Schools Out! policy that needn’t involve comparing all conservative attitudes towards homosexuality as the modern equivalent of slave-owner oppression. If there is a united future, the remedy to end vilification is not counter-vilification, but information. Dispute my facts with unadorned truth, not with demeaning slurs about my ulterior motives or God-given intelligence.

                      School can be a place where rational debate, informed personal choice and care for the impact of our public behaviour on others, however diverse, are treated as sacred inviolable gifts to humanity.

                    • newfred

                      Thank you, David, for taking the time to respond in this way. I appreciate it and will think carefully about your points.

                      I think the analogy of racial difference in schools is instructive. First, there are important ways in which debate about race actually *is* circumscribed in a not-too-dissimilar way from that being advocated by gay rights groups. For instance (although it might have happened in The History Boys), I don’t think we’d find many schools willing to invite segregationists to speak, or even to allow misguided pupils to air segregationist views in class. Being something of a libertarian, I’m in favour of such prejudices being aired and, as you suggest, debated about rationally. But my point is that I don’t think schools generally do that in respect of racial difference at present, and that it is unfair to say that gay rights groups are guilty of any more indoctrination than is currently present in the education system in the way that other issues are taught.

                      Second, there is an obvious way in which racial issues unavoidably permeate the curriculum. For a start, the presence of black and minority ethnic pupils and teachers in classrooms itself stands for a lot. However, when I was at school at least, there was not a single “out” LGBT person in a school of 1000 people. There is an invisibility to LGBT people’s existence which has only very recently, in historical terms, begun to change. Also, issues of racial difference and racial prejudice are standard fare in History, English, Drama, PSHE lessons and more. This is because the resources available changed (e.g. works of literature and drama dealing with racial issues proliferated in the twentieth century), and because our pedagogy changed. I’m sure there were many schools which until a few decades ago would rather have been teaching a version of history a la Enid Blyton.

                      Third, I think there’s more to inclusion and support for LGBT people in schools than the measures you describe. If schools are to be neutral with regard to conceptions of the good (including religion, politics, and sexuality) then schools should not be part of any judgements about whose liberty and dignity is worth more than others. There is a sense in which opening up differences of race, sex, and sexuality to debate, while majority white heterosexual “identity” is left unchallenged, simply is prejudice tout court. For there to be a truly rational debate, even these “majority” assumptions need to be challenged, and I think that the THT material is an attempt to do that. I agree, though, with you and Gugli, that there may be more pragmatic ways of broaching such debates.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      The objectives, viz. “to ensure that LGB students will be as confident and successful as their heterosexual peers” and to combat anti-gay bullying, are unexceptionable. That LGB people are just people and have exactly the same right as everyone else to be treated decently and fairly and to live their lives with dignity and self-respect, and that any bullying or harassment on grounds of actual or imagined sexuality is just as unacceptable as on any other grounds – these are things that it is absolutely right and proper for a school to be teaching its pupils. Indeed, the school is falling down badly on its duty if it does otherwise.

                      Whether the THT way of doing things is the best one is certainly open to discussion, but that is a separate issue.

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

                      I agree. The problem is that when someone is always criticising the sex education and never affirming the basic principle of anti-bullying, one wonders whether the issue is actually that the person in question simply doesn’t want *anything* to do with homosexuality in public.

                      And hence, the inability to criticise the Nigerian Law.

                    • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

                      When the content of the sex education determines the content of the anti-bullying education, all is well. But when the content of the anti-bullying education determines the content of the sex education, something has gone quite badly wrong. Sex education ceases to be sex education (scientific/factual) and becomes instead merely an enunciation of the current legal/social/political atmosphere.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      Bullying on the grounds of sexual orientation (actual or supposed) is as unacceptable as any other kind of bullying and must be stamped on just as firmly. What the content of the Sex Education curriculum (or the Physics curriculum or the French curriculum etc.) happens to be is neither here nor there.

                    • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

                      And.Or…”.

                    • jillfromharrow

                      Oh, and I should add to the above myriad other issues such as divorce, abortion, euthanasia, medical ethics, etc, which occur in societies which have turned their back on God.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      To be truthful, Jill, I understand some of those concerns, although I think that others are misconceived. But however that may be, they are largely irrelevant to the present discussion, since NONE of them either require, or provide any valid justification for, the abuse of gays by legislative or any other means. Such abuse is both hateful and wicked, and for any professedly Christian organization to defend or condone it is an absolute disgrace.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      Jill, I don’t think that Peter bans people for having offensive views. I think that you are possibly confusing his website with e.g. LifeSiteNews or Bill Muehlenberg.

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

                      I ban people for being rude or for using pejoratives as a matter of course. I allow people to hold all sorts of views and comment, just as long as they do so in a well mannered way.

                      Occasionally I should be banned…

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      So, consensual activity should be free from criminalisation?

                      Well, while she’s at it, why not another piece decrying the criminalisation of drug possession? Our poor brothers across the world are incarcerated for the consensual activity of sharing a joint.

                      Of course, marijuana and same-sex activity have known risks, but to paraphrase you: ‘Because if I was a marijuana smoker, or whatever you want to call me, the last people I want to go to for help are the ones who call me “pot-head”, agitate to have me thrown into jail for possession of cannabis and who say that “my kind” are just trying to move on the Class A drugs.’
                      And compare with the vilification of gay people, consider the vitriol levelled against anyone who takes drugs. No, I don’t take drugs, but I also don’t accept the idea that you can rail against the Nigerian law, while excusing our own draconian laws that target others with hefty fines and sentences.
                      Underlying this difference in attitude must be the belief that, while homosexual activity is assumed to be private and non-predatory, even Class B drug possession is public menace to all society. Those convicted face up to five years in prison. They will lose their jobs.
                      Why not take a stance against the criminalisation of all private, consensual activity. Why only homosexuality?

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

                      But most Class A to C drugs are banned because they cause harm. The problem with the argument against homosexuality is that some forms don’t cause any harm.

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      Where is the public harm in personal consumption? Alcohol and cigarettes cause harm and are decriminalised. The attitude of Washington and Colorado to cannabis would suggest that consuming cannabis in moderation and manufactured under strict standards is not harmful.

                      In contrast, the MSM surveys reveal an ethos showing scant regard for the health-care implications of unprotected anal intercourse. We have no real answer to this preventable imposition on our medical resources.

                      So, by comparison, I don’t see how the supposed ‘self-harm’ of, say, a Class B drug should qualify for outright ban. In any case, people who self-harm generally warrant treatment, not punishment.

                      The fact is that the decrinminalisation of consensual acts are part and parcel of the Western view of progressive society. The criticism of Nigeria is simply because we now view their standards that we once espousedas primitive by comparison.
                      We don’t decriminalise specific consensual acts because they are no longer considered harmful. We decriminalise them because they no longer cause public outrage.

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

                      “In contrast, the MSM surveys reveal an ethos showing scant regard for the health-care implications of unprotected anal intercourse.”

                      What is this obsession with anal intercourse? Do you realise most gay men don’t do it, and as for lesbians…

                    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

                      Respectfully, mention does not equal obsession. However, since you ask, I’d blame statistical researchers: http://www.hiveurope.eu/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=dYxkyfN0FNQ%3D&tabid=149

                      I mean the table, goes through Age, City Size, New Steady Partner, No. of Sex Partners in last 12 months, Being ‘out’ to most or all significant others, Non-gay identity, etc. and then there it is: ‘UAI’. They can’t help themselves. You’d think they’d know better.
                      Strange pre-occupation…even if it doesn’t deal with the decriminalisation disparity any more than this thread does.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      Mr Shepherd, irrespective of anyone’s opinion of legislation regarding drugs, do you support imprisoning adults for private, consensual homosexual activity? Yes or no?

                    • newfred

                      Driving a car poses a greater risk to human life and health than any of these things. Go figure. It’s almost as if we shouldn’t be talking about harm, but about moral philosophy.

                    • James Byron

                      Personally, I do believe that the criminal law should stay out of private & consensual activity, including recreational drug use. Even conservatives like justices William Rehnquist & Clarence Thomas have taken this line on occasion.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      For heaven’s sake, Jill, why don’t you just put a sock in this foolish wail of “no rational discourse allowable on this issue”? It’s not the first time that you’ve uttered it (if not in precisely those words) and it’s not even true. Whether or not your own views can be described as rational discourse – and I would say that they frequently can’t – you have rightly been allowed to express them without let or hindrance on this and on plenty of other websites. You have the right to freedom of speech, and you have made ample use of that right. But the right to freedom of speech is not yours alone: other people have it too, and it includes the right to criticize other people’s views, even yours, just as you have the right to criticize theirs. And they’re not obliged to do it with kid gloves either, any more than you are.

                      So why don’t you just stop whining and answer questions straightforwardly and candidly? (You’re not obliged to, of course, but if you either can’t or won’t, others will have the right to draw their own conclusions.) What I get from your last post is that you don’t positively WANT people locked up for 14 years for having gay sex, but it must perforce be done in the hope that it may reduce the number of Christians getting killed. Is that about right?

                    • jillfromharrow

                      Oh for heaven’s sake, Gugli! What I object to is not your right to free speech but to your constant attempts to shift attention from what I am actually saying to what you think my views on gay people are. Instead of constantly badgering me to repeat what I have said hundreds of times already, why not try taking up some of the issues?

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      There you go again, Jill. The question at the end of my last post was perfectly simple and, far from being an attempt to shift attention from what you are actually saying, it was a request either to confirm that my understanding of what you are actually saying is correct or to set me straight if it isn’t. Yet you evade it. Why?

            • newfred

              So the people responsible for gay people being thrown in prison are those campaigning for their freedom? That is a quite beautiful piece of doublethink, Jill.

              This thread is really filling me with deep and unpleasant despair.

        • David Beadle

          “They should, of course, and perhaps they will…” I’m struggling to see how this statement matches the link in this blog post about Archbishop Nicholas Okoh actually speaking up in favour of this legislation. We’re not talking about “mere” passive acceptance, we’re talking about active support.

          I wouldn’t like to say that being thrown into sub-human conditions in a Nigerian prison, where torture and even murder are endemic, is necessarily better than being sentenced by a Shariah court in the north of Nigeria, until I’d experienced both myself. Have you ever thought what it might be like to be in one of those prisons. Have a look at this for starters:

          http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/nigerias-prison-system-fails-its-people-20080226

          Life must be unimaginably horrendous for many Christians in northern Nigeria, and they deserve our prayers, and any support we could give them. But if you’re right, and if the church is campaigning for – and supporting – this law for the sake of their own (heterosexual members), then that is deplorable. What’s happening to LGBTQ people in Nigeria now in Nigeria is akin in many ways to the treatment of minorities in Nazi Germany before the final solution. Would you say of those churches which supported the Nazi regime, “Ah well, they were in fear of their lives”?

    • newfred

      Comments like this really make traditionalists look morally bankrupt.

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

        This is exactly my point.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Jill, we have heard quite a lot recently about the persecution of Christians in some overseas countries, and of Christians dying for their faith. Let’s suppose that the persecutors decide to let up a bit, and instead of Christians being killed, they are sent to prison for a mere 14 years or so. Will you feel that, since that’s at least preferable to them being stoned to death or otherwise murdered, that will make it O.K.?

      Have you ever been in prison, Jill? I doubt it. Neither have I. But I do remember a Roman Catholic priest who was formerly chaplain of one of the London prisons saying that anyone who thinks that it’s probably not too bad in prison should just spend a weekend there and then come back and tell him whether they still think so. It may be, of course, that doing a stretch in an African slammer is a more agreeable experience, perhaps a bit like staying at the Ritz, but I would need to be convinced of this.

      • newfred

        Absolutely. And in many places for gay people a prison sentence simply is a death sentence, because the prisons are not safe.

        The attitudes expressed in this thread by Sigfridii and jillfromharrow are reprehensible, and I see nothing of the Gospel in them. I hope that one day you will open your eyes to reality, and the reality of gay people’s rights to liberty and respect, regardless of our different beliefs about sexual mores.

  • jamesmbmclaren

    I’m looking for a conservative who can justify to me how locking someone up for 14 years
    for engaging in an act of fornication is loving and kind and Gospel
    focussed

    Try Jersey…

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

      I’m afraid you’ll need to be a little less obtuse.

  • James Byron

    Full credit to Peter for opposing the Nigerian law.

    Why is it a “loony left” argument that a “traditional view of sexual relations” is, in itself, homophobic? It is. It discriminates against gay people, and for the best part of two millennia, underpinned laws that led to their criminalization and execution.

    Would it be equally “loony” to call an advocate of the Curse of Ham, who held to a “traditional view” of “relations between the races” a racist? If not, why not?

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

      Because it is possible to not hate gay people and still believe that sex outside of marriage is sinful. Saying such a position is homophobic is actually a political act intended to intimidate.

      • James Byron

        It’s equally possible to advocate segregation without hating the “sons of Ham.” Is a segregationist without hate in their heart not a racist? Because that’s where the logic of your position leads.

        A loving person can advocate a homophobic position. That’s homophobia at its most insidious.

        As for intimidation, yes, I suppose it is in a way. As is calling someone a racist, or a heretical apostate. Doesn’t make it wrong.

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

          Problem with your argument is, there’s no warrant for a segregationist view in the Bible. The reverse actually.

          • newfred

            With respect, Peter, what the bible says is not relevant to James’s point. He asked whether a segregationist would be racist even if he did not have hate in his heart. Regardless of what thr bible says, the answer is “yes”.

            I do take your point, and agree that there is an important difference between hatred of gay people (which we have seen to be a reality in these comments) and considered moral objection to homosexual sexual activity. But the fact of language use is that “homophobic” refers to both attitudes, just as “racist” refers both to racial hatred and segregationism. There is no way to get around this other than to use different terms. Any appeal to etymology is fallacious.

            • James Byron

              Exactly, newfred.

              Conservatives have defined “homophobia” too narrowly, to refer only to hatred. As you say, there is a difference between the hatemongers Peter so rightly condemns, and a more considered position. Despite that (and trying to stay within this blog’s comment policy) I don’t consider the more considered position to be less damaging.

              If “bunch of heretical apostates” is meant in earnest, Peter feels equally strongly about affirming Christians. If it is in earnest, it appears that he thinks people who affirm homosexual relationships are no longer Christians at all.

              • Martin Reynolds

                Is this true?
                Peter is usually quick to tell people who announce what HE believes to …… well, shove it!

                I find it almost impossible to believe that he has joined with those who have created this new shibboleth.

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

                  No, I reject James’ definition of homophobia. It amounts to “unless you approve if everything I want to do you obviously hate me”.

                  • Martin Reynolds

                    And this bit:
                    Peter feels equally strongly about affirming Christians. If it is in earnest, it appears that he thinks people who affirm homosexual relationships are no longer Christians at all.

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

                      Oh right. Yes. Actually, let’s get James to explain that.

                  • James Byron

                    I never mentioned hate!

                    It amounts to “discriminating unfairly against LGB people.” I’m not so interested in what people feel as what they do (of course, the two aren’t unconnected).

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

                “it appears that [Peter] thinks people who affirm homosexual relationships are no longer Christians at all”

                Really? Does he? And should I have a go at deciding what you believe James?

                • James Byron

                  No need, I can tell you. :-)

                  You called TEC “heretical apostates,” I looked at the implications (with a lot of qualifiers like “if,” & “appears”).

                  Is “heretical apostates” meant in earnest? If so, d’you apply it to all Christians who affirm gay relationships, or has TEC (with whom your church is in communion) done something else to merit the description?

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

                    The leadership of TEC are a bunch of heretical apostates. That’s to do with denying (or not being willing to affirm) basic creedal truths.

                    • James Byron

                      OK, so as I asked, does that go beyond affirming homosexual relationships, or is affirming homosexual relationships apostasy in and of itself?

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

                      I’m sorry, are you now asking me what I think?

                    • James Byron

                      Yup, and I implicitly asked before, by writing my comment in uncertain & subjective language.

                      I at no point said, “Peter believes this …” I said how it appeared to me. I did all I could to make it clear that it was just my interpretation of “heretical apostate.”

                      Returning to my question: is affirming homosexual relationships apostasy in and of itself?

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

                      By homosexual relationships you mean sexual? It can’t be apostasy because that is basic creedal matters. Heretical? Possibly (very possibly), but I suspect most of us have a smidgeon of heresy lurking somewhere.

                      But you asked whether a Christian could believe the wrong thing about sex outside of marriage. Yes, very possibly.

                    • James Byron

                      Thanks for the clarification. :-)

                      If it’s not their acceptance of homosexuality that’s the issue, why d’you believe TEC leadership are heretical apostates?

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

                      The leadership as a whole are singularly incapable of affirming basic Christian doctrine. Look at how the PB has an utterly inept Christology, complains when Paul in the Scripture casts out demons and preaches pelagianism at almost every step.

                    • James Byron

                      Once again, thanks for the clarification.

                      I don’t see how rejecting 1st century misconceptions about mental illness (in the casting out demons case, if that’s what it was) is apostasy, nor do I see how ancient views about original/ancestral sin, which presupposed a literal Adam, square with our evolutionary heritage.

                      Then again, I find the concepts of “heresy” and “apostasy” unhelpful, since they have little substantive meaning but “we won, you lost.”

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

                      You don’t believe in revelation do you? It’s like we’re talking two different languages.

                    • James Byron

                      I’m agnostic about revelation. If it exists (and it’s a big if) we can only know it in part, thanks to our flawed human senses.

                      You’re absolutely right, it is like we’re talking two different languages, and this is the root of much frustration between liberals and conservatives.

                      Liberals want to know why X thing is wrong: many can’t comprehend “because Y source of revelation says so,” nor how someone gets so certain to begin with.

                      SFAICS, it’s psychological as much as anything. Some folk need certainty, some are OK with uncertainty.

                    • Martin Reynolds

                      That’s clear enough for me.

                    • Martin Reynolds

                      There are a lot of posts ………

  • Martin Reynolds

    I think these points are well made.

    What is more, I would argue that they give succour to those who would imprison, torture and even murder those who would practice Christian faith or be actively proselytising.

  • Richard

    Have any leaders of GAFCON condemned these Ugandan and Nigerian statutes?

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      I don’t know, but if an eminently unhateful organization like Anglican Mainstream declines to condemn them, I’d be surprised to find any leaders of GAFCON doing so.

  • James Byron

    As with Martin Reynolds, well said about the double-standard vis a vis condemning liberals & conservatives.

    I disagree about liberals being “captive to culture,” and the Gospel standing outside culture. The Gospel was shaped by 1st century Jewish & Hellenistic culture, & liberals don’t condemn homophobia because it’s fashionable to do so, but because they believe it’s wrong.

  • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

    So, to be clear, here’s a good reason for opposing the Ugandan criminalisation of homosexuality: it’s arbitrary cowardice. If a country is going to criminalise certain forms of sexual expression, it must be even-handed.

    There’s a sad history of double standards in African morality laws. For instance, in Uganda, until the Constitutional Court struck down the Adultery Law in 2007, women were unfairly targeted for prosecution. Before its repeal, under 154 (2) of the penal code, a married man who had sex with an unmarried women was not considered to have committed adultery.

    Again, under Islamic law as practised in northern Nigeria, pregnancy outside marriage is sufficient evidence to convict a woman of adultery. In contrast, four eye-witnesses are required for a man to be found guilty.

    While we hear numerous rants about the draconian nature of the law itself, most writers here show no discernment of these laws as an overture towards Islamic sensibilities. Hisbah, the vighilantism sanctioned by the Northern States of Nigeria, carries the very real threat of expanding the reach of their fundamentalism.

    It is political pressure, a desire for Northern allies, that has prompted Nigerian leaders to demonise a powerless scapegoat sexual minority as sacrifice to hostile Muslim sensibilities.
    So, let’s re-phrase the condemnation, taking a clear aim at the expanding influence of draconian Sharia law, in Africa, in the wider world and especially in the UK.

    Alternatively, the Anglican Church can maintain a self-preserving naivete. That’s also arbitrary cowardice!

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

      But when the Nigerian Anglican Church is actually advocating for this law?

      • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

        It means that they’re probably in bed with local politicians! ;-)

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

          It’s a distinct possibility.

    • jillfromharrow

      ‘…demonise a powerless scapegoat sexual minority as sacrifice to hostile Muslim sensibilities.’

      This is undoubtedly how many Westerners see things. The African bishops, though, you can be sure see things completely the other way around. They will wonder why they are being pressured to throw their Christian brothers and sisters to the wolves to support the open promotion of a pattern of behaviour which they – along with most Africans – regard as deeply immoral and forbidden by God. They take their pastoral role very seriously, and would regard the leading of their people into accepting behaviour prohibited in scripture in the gravest possible light.

      I think they see these draconian laws as a deterrent to open flouting of homosexual behaviour, rather than wishing to see gay people locked up for 14 years, as some people here have implied. After all, one does read stories about gay bars operating quite openly in some of the bigger cities, (some funded by gay advocacy groups in the US, I understand) so not every gay person is cringing in fear.

      I don’t claim to be any sort of expert in all things African, but I have visited various African countries occasionally in my lifetime, and listened to numerous talks from organisations such as Crosslinks and others which have ministries in Africa. One Englishwoman, who worked in an African orphanage and was here on a fundraising visit, was totally distraught by these attempts to export further AIDS problems, where seeing children dying was an everyday occurrence. It is easy to sit in a comfortable home in front of a computer and pontificate, but the people who work at the sharp end should be listened to.

      Their culture is different to ours. The churches there have huge problems with corruption, poverty, terrorism and general lawlessness which they need all their energy to fight. Let’s face it, our culture isn’t too great. The Anglican Churches in the Gobal South have over 40 million members working to improve the lot of the African people. It seems a tad arrogant for a tiny and shrinking church in the West to be telling them what to do.

      • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

        1. Even-handed decriminalisation is not ‘open promotion’. Adultery and fornication are also deeply immoral and forbidden by God, so can we presume that you would agree to their criminalisation.

        By Christ’s own lights, absent the cause of sexual dereliction and unfaithfulness, those who re-marry are adulterers. On what basis does your thesis exempt them from anti-adultery laws.

        2. ‘think they see these draconian laws as a deterrent to open flouting of homosexual behaviour,’ No doubt in much the same way as amputation is seen as a deterrent to theft.

        Guess what? In a country so normatively hostile towards homosexuals, the way to shut down metropolitan gay bars is to shut down metropolitan gay bars. Very few patrons will consider imprisonment to be the preferred option. The just remedy is not, on the one hand, to threaten gays and women with heavy penalties for homosexual behaviour and adultery respectively, while demanding four corroborating witnesses to support a charge of male adultery.

        3. ‘High-risk behavioral patterns have been cited as being largely responsible for the significantly greater spread of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa than in other parts of the world. Chief among these are the traditionally liberal attitudes espoused by many communities inhabiting the subcontinent toward multiple sexual partners and pre-marital and outside marriage sexual activity.’ (Source: UNAID) Well, these NGOs would say that wouldn’t they! Yet, according to the punitive deterrent theory it would make the case for criminalising extra-marital sex.

        4. Of course, while I sit in my comfortable home and pontificate. I remember my 18 years growing up in a ‘macho’ Caribbean culture an institutionalised contempt for women. I also remember my sister’s 20 year stint as UNICEF Head of Communications in Kenya.

        We both know there’s a need for cultural change in Africa. No, it won’t be achieved by imperious claims of superior Western morality. Neither will it do any good to excuse draconian double-standards and exonerate the connivance of Anglican Church leaders in Nigeria.

        • jillfromharrow

          David, I wasn’t accusing YOU of pontificating! I blush to think that I have given that impression! Your posts are always measured and informative – I am so sorry if I have given offence. I was really referring to a collective ‘we’.

          • Martin Reynolds

            I remember similar justifications accompanied by even more vulgar stories of “what black people did”, in support of draconian race laws in South Africa from members of my own family who lived there. It’s interesting to see how those horror stories have been recast, some are exactly the same …..

            They were very sincere……… They were “good Christian folk ……..

            I’m really surprised that anyone who has experienced any form of discrimination could advocate for these laws. It is really something that I feel sincerely Christians, in particular, will look back on with deep sorrow and a sense of dread as they realise how similar legislation has and will be used to outlaw our belief.

          • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

            Understood. I think that the CofE needs to tread carefully where Christianity is not in the ascendancy, instead of drafting eccesiastical communiques that don’t speak to the added Islamic political pressures influencing Nigerian legislative priorities.

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

        I’m certainly not asking for “open promotion of a pattern of behaviour”. Far from it. What I am asking for is for the Church in Nigeria to not push for those who engage in homosexual acts to be thrown into jail for a decade. That is the antithesis of the Gospel.

        • jillfromharrow

          No, you will not be asking for ‘open promotion’, but that is how they will see it. For them not to condemn is to condone, and condoning in Islamic countries is virtually signing their own death warrant. I don’t agree with it any more than you do, but I am a white Westerner living in a relatively safe country. I might see it in a different light if I were a minority in a country where the majority of inhabitants were looking for any excuse to burn down my churches and kill me.

          There is also the point, often missed, that if Christians are driven out in these circumstances, gay people are sadly delusioned if they think they will fare better under Shariah law.

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

            So your response to an aggressive Islamic culture is to give in?

            • jillfromharrow

              Well, call me a wimp, but I don’t consider getting myself and the rest of the Christians in these places wiped out is going to be much use in the fight against Islam.

              Really, in spite of their faults, I think their approach of making more Christians as a bulwark against Islamic aggression is perhaps more useful – and they certainly won’t manage this by alienating deeply conservative people. (Most Africans vehemently oppose homosexuality.)

              I don’t know the answer, Peter, any more than you do. I am merely trying to put forward some possible reasons for why they do as they do.

              I have always been interested in how societies – both ancient and modern – order themselves, and am a sucker for museums and exhibitions on social history. (Those Aztecs were a rum lot, weren’t they?) Ideas and ideologies come and go. I wonder how our society will be viewed in 100 years’ time. Will there be any Christians left in the UK, or will it be an Islamic country? Will there even be any white people left here in a few hundred years, given our prediliction for the culture of death? (This is only half-jesting!)

              We see events through the prism of our own time and space – a tiny speck in the overall scheme of things.

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

                Sorry, how will the Christians in southern Nigeria be wiped out if the law is changed? How will they wiped out in the north for that matter?

                This is just hyperbole to avoid the difficult but valid point that the new law is utterly unjust and unChristian and we have an obligation to point it out in the name of Jesus.

                • jillfromharrow

                  Peter, even being part of the Anglican Communion and associated with the heretical TEC is enough to stoke the fires of violence! I think Rowan Williams grasped this point, which may be one of the reasons he pulled back from full steam ahead on his pro-gay stance. I certainly wouldn’t like to contribute to anything which put the lives of other Christians at risk.

                  Really, I think you should write to the people actually involved in the making of these laws and ask them to explain themselves.

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

                    Well let me give you an example – I wrote to Andrea Minichiello Williams asking her to clarify what she did or didn’t say in Jamaica and what the research was that she was basing her claims on if she stood by the reports.
                    What do you think her response was?

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      Well, what was her response?

                      That she had no recollection of saying what she was reported to have said in Jamaica, and anyway, even if she did say it, it had been taken out of context, and whether she said it or not she still stood by it, and although she couldn’t precisely identify and couldn’t positively say that she’d read the research on which she based her claims – if she made them – she’d seen it referred to in an article in The Mail on Sunday or on Scott Lively’s website?

                      Crickets?

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

                      I want Jill to have a go at suggesting what her response was.

                    • jillfromharrow

                      What has this to do with the price of fish? I am not Andrea, and neither am I clairvoyant, so I have absolutely no idea, nor would I like to hazard a guess. It is plain that you are hoping I will either rubbish Andrea or agree with what may or may not have been mistaken remarks so you can pin further accusations of homophobia onto me.

                      I can only say that if you wrote such an email to me in that hectoring tone I would ignore it (having firmly resisted the temptation of telling you to get stuffed!) in the certain knowledge that you would use it on your blog to traduce her if it was in your interest to do so.

                      Whatever was or was not said by Andrea (I have no knowledge either way), and whether she was mistaken or not, I hold her in high esteem for the work she does, at huge personal cost, for those disadvantaged by current anti-Christian legislation.

                      Seriously, write to the Archbishop of Nigeria and the lawmakers. They, and not Andrea nor I, make these laws on behalf of the people of Nigeria, who seem to be quite content with them, otherwise there would be serious uprising from within, instead of from without.

                      How does one discontinue getting emails from this thread? My in-tray is stuffed up enough already, and as you don’t appear to be taking on board the substance of what I am saying (ad nauseam), and appear more intent on painting me as homophobic, I don’t intend answering any more questions. I must say, I don’t find this an easy website to navigate.

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

                      At the top of the comments you should find (if you are logged in) options to edit your settings.

                      Jill, let me tell you what the response from Andrea was (and my message to her wasn’t hectoring in the slightest) – nothing. Silence. Not even a “thank you for writing”. Nada. I’m afraid that despite the good work Andrea does (though at the same time I am concerned about some of the cases she takes on) that doesn’t mean she should have a free-ride on saying the kind of things that she is reported to have said in Jamaica (which appears to me to be what you are suggesting). And if she didn’t say them, then how hard would it be to say so?

                      Jill, if Andrea can’t even defend herself to people who are meant to be on her side, what then? Does she really think she can ignore all requests for information? What happens when she stands to speak at Synod? There are plenty of people there (including Evangelicals) who are not overly pleased with her lack of response on these issues.

                      I think you need to genuinely reflect on the original questions I asked in this post – what exactly is the Gospel focus of legislation like the Nigerian Bill or speeches like the one Andrea made in Jamaica? How does it help to bring people to Christ? And indeed, how does the constant barrage of culture war posts on Mainstream assist in helping people find Jesus?

                    • jillfromharrow

                      Aaargh! I tried to login but have forgotten my username and password, and after several attempts at various combinations I now find I have to wait 5 hours before trying again! And now I have forgotten which ones I have already tried ….! I never did really grasp the technie stuff.

                      As for the Mainstream site, culture wars is what we do! There are plenty of places which help people find Jesus – the authentic Jesus too, not the one modelled after themselves and their personal desires. Don’t forget it was set up in the wake of the Jeffrey John debacle, and probably wouldn’t have come into existence if it wasn’t for that.

                      I know there are plenty of people who don’t like bright lights being shone into dark corners, but I wouldn’t have thought you would be one of them. Never mind, though, you can always ignore the site and read Thinking Anglicans instead. :) Or even Ekklesia, which is very edifying.

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

                      Ekklesia is not in the slightest bit edifying. TA has its moments.

                    • Guglielmo Marinaro

                      “…it was set up in the wake of the Jeffrey John debacle, and probably wouldn’t have come into existence if it wasn’t for that.”

                      By Jove, what a tremendous deprivation that would have been. But I reckon that I could have steeled myself to endure it with fortitude. As the archdeacon of Barchester said, “There is much, of course, which it is our bounden duty to bear; it cannot be all roses for us here.”

                      “I know there are plenty of people who don’t like bright lights being shone into dark corners…”

                      That’s certainly true, but I thought that you were talking about Anglican Mainstream. Why the abrupt change of subject?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Oh well, Jill, if that is how they will see it, then that clinches the matter, doesn’t it? We must keep silent and not criticize such barbarous treatment of gays.

            Of course, you might see it in a different light if you were a gay person in a country where many of the inhabitants were looking for any excuse to harass and persecute you and to throw you in prison for a paltry 14 years, and if a white Westerner living in a relatively safe country told you that you should just be bloody thankful for it, since you would fare even worse under Shariah law.

      • SeekTruthFromFacts

        DJillfromharrow, you mention learning from Crosslinks. Have you read what Crosslinks mission partner Chris Howells has written about the Ugandan legislation?

        • jillfromharrow

          Indeed I have, Seeking Truth. (I assume this is the piece your refer to.)

          http://namugongolife.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/homophobia-in-uganda-is-christianity-the-problem-or-the-solution/?utm_source=StandFirm&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=link

          I thought it was well and sensitively written. I hope it will encourage some Westerners to understand that they have as much right to their cultural mores as we have.

          Westerners would not much appreciate Africans insisting on us adopting some of their other deeply embedded cultural mores such as witchcraft or ancestor worship, which are still prevelant in some rural areas, so why should they accept homosexual practice, which they find abhorrent? It’s not even as though that was a deeply embedded cultural ideal in our own society – many people still object, and the ‘gay identity’ is a very recent phenomenon, having formerly been regarded as a sexual behaviour.

          Interesting to note that Catholic Nigerian Bishops have written to the President praising him for this legislation.

          http://www.cbcn-ng.org/newsdetail.php?tab=287

  • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

    Just the knee-jerk reaction of another beleaguered minority: con-evos!

  • Unbelievable!

    I don’t think you will find any conservative evangelical around here who thinks it is justifiable to criminalise, never mind lock, two consenting adults who engage in homosexual sex with each other.

    However, don’t forget that the UK criminalises two consenting adults who engage in incestual sex with each other (ie they are siblings or parent/offspring). Even if they are of the same sex their love is criminalised and they can be jailed.

    Interesting isn’t it?! I think our thinking is confused!!

    Anyone here willing to try to argue that consenting adult incest should be decriminalised? Anyone willing to explain why, although it is wrong to criminalise adult homosexual sex, it is right to criminalise adult incest?

    • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

      Look at polygamy. While Africa is expected to kow-tow to Bwana on homosexual decriminalisation. A Nigerian, or Muslim is not allowed to marry additional wives in the UK, even though consent is a standard part of the ceremony.

      They could face the courts and be liable to up to seven years imprisonment, or six months for a summary conviction.

      What people here don’t get is how the assumption that they can impose a patched-up tapestry of ‘superior’ Western morality plays out as offensive neo-colonialism elsewhere in the world. Especially when our own social framework is less than a marvel to behold. Let’s rationalise the incongruities in our laws before trying to export the bits of legislation that we think we’ve finally got right.

      • Martin Reynolds

        But advocating laws to imprison gay people was precisely the point of Christian Concern’s Andrea Williams trip to Jamaica. Where she shared a platform with other Christians who think criminalising gay people is precisely what should happen.
        It is a group of Cons Evos from America that have been pushing these laws along and who are working hard in other places to get fresh anti gay legislation on the ground.

        As to polygamy, the last time I visited one of my neighbours his second wife looked very much alive and healthy. None of them are in prison or likely to be arrested although the nikah took place at the mosque around the corner.

        Though it’s fair to point out that by far the greatest majority of Moslem leaders in the UK will not consent to or willingly take part in multiple marriages.

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

          “It is a group of Cons Evos from America that have been pushing these laws along and who are working hard in other places to get fresh anti gay legislation on the ground.”

          It’s a nice stick to beat people with, but sadly not true. This is a great blog on this particular allegation by someone on the ground.

          http://namugongolife.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/homophobia-in-uganda-is-christianity-the-problem-or-the-solution/

          That said, the point about AMW going to a conference in Jamaica which supports such laws is well made…

          • Martin Reynolds

            I have seen that blog piece, Peter.
            While I didn’t have Uganda specifically in mind, I would rather say that we will have to wait for the historians to judge on this, I agree that the violent hostility to gay people hardly needs any outside help but the “culture wars” mentioned above have seen some extraordinary activity and there is no doubt that anti-gay gets white money.

          • Unbelievable!

            Hmm, as discussed above, can countries that criminalise love that they disapprove of – such as consentual polygamy and adult incest – really condemn other cointries that criminalise love that they disapprove of – such as homosexuality

        • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

          Fair points made. Regarding polygamy, most of these marriages are solemnised abroad rather than in the UK. That’s why they do not incur prosecution.

      • Unbelievable!

        David, yes polygamy is another example where we disapprove of, and criminalise ,consenting adults who are in love. I note that none of our liberal friends has been unable to explain why adult incest and voluntary polygamy are still disapproved of and criminalised. That’s because they can’t!

        If countries such as Nigeria and Uganda had similar penalties to the UK’sUK’s (for loving relationships that they disapprove of) wouldnt it be rather straightforward to rebutt criticism from the UK Government and liberal campaigners.

    • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

      I am neither conservative nor evangelical, but I am happy to put forward the case for criminalizing “two consenting adults who engage in homosexual sex with each other”. I am also happy to put forward the opposite case. And I am also happy to explain how it is possible to support both positions – as I do.

      • Unbelievable!

        GM, I think you didn’t actually say anything? Please do..

        • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

          When something is not criminal, it can be either “legal because (it is right/good)” or “legal despite (it being wrong/bad)”. When homosexual sexual activity was decriminalised in England, much of the argument was about the relationship between public and private morality. We decriminalised “despite”. Fast forward a couple of decades: some people still think homosexual sexual activity is “legal despite” but some think it is “legal because.” One law, two attitudes. The difference in attitudes arises from man-made law’s attitude towards its own law! That then filters down through education.

          In a society where homosexual sexual activity is criminal and where the desire for that activity is widely understood to be a disordered desire, it could be successfully decriminalised: society would continue to regard it as wrong activity, but it would cease to be the concern of law per se, and instead become the concern of law, health and eduction. Nigeria is not that society. Nor is England. But because it is legal in England, the case is this: re-criminalise, then educate, then re-decriminalise! In Nigeria the case is educate, then de-criminalise.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Some people do indeed think that homosexual activity is good/right, and others do indeed think that it is wrong/bad. But it is legal in the UK (as it is in most other civilized countries) neither “because it is right/good” nor “despite its being wrong/bad”. It is legal because there is no good reason for criminalizing it and because it would in fact be wrong (and was wrong) to criminalize it.

            Those who continue to believe that homosexual activity is “wrong/bad/sinful” are at complete liberty to go on believing it, just as others are at liberty to believe the same about contraception (Roman Catholics, although in practice only a minority nowadays), blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), drinking wine (Muslims), or drinking tea and coffee (Mormons). But in a civilized society they are not free to impose their views about any of those things on others, either by using the criminal law or by any other means.

            • http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/ gentlemind

              If the law were to declare a mere opinion (like it does on, say, a minimum age for driving a car) then society can be made up of people who agree or disagree with that opinion. But where the law declares something to be right, those who understand that something to be wrong must by definition also understand the law to be wrong. The law would then be hypocritical to tolerate such dissent. That’s how “tolerance” shifts to “acceptance”.

              • Guglielmo Marinaro

                Yes, certainly those who regard something as wrong which the law declares to be right must by definition understand the law to be wrong. To say that the law would be hypocritical to tolerate such dissent, however, is sheer nonsense. The law both does and should tolerate such dissent. What is does not do is to allow those who dissent to break the law. But it is perfectly legal to campaign for a law which we regard as wrong to be changed – which is how many laws (e.g. the barbarous laws against consensual gay sex up until 1967 in England & Wales and even until several years later in Scotland and N. Ireland) do in fact get changed.

                The law does not, however, declare that consensual homosexual activity is right, any more than it declares that e.g. masturbation is right; it simply (and quite rightly) does not treat it as a criminal offence.

            • http://u-church.blogspot.com/ David Shepherd

              ‘as it is in most other civilised countries’.

              Oh, dear. I wonder by whose lights you measure civilisation.

              Given your expressed views, no surprise that it divides along a North-South faultline. The same civilisation that sells its barbarity in chemical weapons that most ‘uncivilised’ nations cannot make; that depletes the cattle farmer’s water table with bottling factories by bribing desperate political allies to look the other way. OF course, the factories create jobs, so we should call that international aid (with cultural imperatives attached).

              So, that highly selective definition of civilisation is no more than maintaining a host of intermediaries between a rich nation and those weaker countries that they push around and exploit on the rigged global chess board.

              Such an admirable legacy, eh? They even force-fed a distortion of religion and expect us to swallow their revisions to it in much the same way again. ‘Yes. Bwana. Very good. Bwana.’

              • Guglielmo Marinaro

                OK, I’ll re-word it. My view is that any country that treats consensual gay sex as a criminal offence is, IN THAT RESPECT, uncivilized. Even if some other countries are uncivilized in OTHER respects, that makes no difference.

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