By Kanyesigye James
From the 22nd through the 29th of June 2008, a significant fraction of Anglican bishops met for a conference to rival the Lambeth conference for all Anglican bishops and their spouses worldwide. They called it the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON for short. Reason being that the organisers of the usual Lambeth conference had failed to take a bold enough stand against The Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada who, contrary to precursor church tradition, had ordained an openly gay bishop and consecrated same-sex unions.
It is in the same spirit that the Rev. Dr Foley Beach, Bishop of the Anglican Church in North America, lauded the [Anglican] Church of Uganda for its faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “…many wish their leaders would be like you… thank you for your boldness and your example,” he said. Why though, I wonder, is the Anglican church so concerned about the LGBTQ+ community?
I, from the cheap seats, think that there are probably many more pressing moral issues to worry about than what brings fulfillment and happiness to a few people and does not cause society writ large any harm.
Even worse, the same said moral issues are prevalent within their ranks and they have not taken a bold enough stand against them. They, for example, have reverends that are openly having extramarital sex that they have not reprimanded, reverends who abuse their spouses, and bishops who bribed their way to their current positions.
If the Church of Uganda can not police the morals of their leaders, how then can they be our country’s moral police? Granted, every group has a few bad apples. And the Church of Uganda has not come out to endorse corruption, domestic violence and infidelity quite like The Episcopal Church did when it ordained an openly gay bishop in 2003. So what is to be said when a politician infamous for stealing from the public is given one of the most expensive seats during the “enthronement” of their archbishop earlier this year?
I dare them to extend that much sympathy to an LGBTQ+ rights activist. Interestingly, I do not care so much that the same vices which you (the Church of Uganda) pretend to fight in general society are also prevalent in your leadership. I am, however, concerned for the immense human suffering your hypocrisy causes both within and without your church. I, for example, are not a member of your church.
I left on accounts of so much hypocrisy. And that is fine; I have no complaints. I was happy to leave. Yet you still follow me around while I strive to carve out a place for myself in the world outside your concert halls. If a small group of Ugandans wants to exercise their freedom of free speech to fight for equal human rights, who are you to tell them that they can’t?
If they want to offer society a more balanced perspective on people in the LGBTQ+ community, who are you to lobby for legislation to muzzle them ? I think you should trust that Ugandans are smart enough to choose love over hate. And I think that given the same basic dignity as is given to other Ugandans not part of the LGBTQ+ community, they pose no significant harm to society. As Ugandans join the world to celebrate this year’s #IDAHOBITUG2020 Let’s all break the silence & embrace gender diversity.
Yours Kanyesigye James