Akinola, Repudiate Anti-Gay Violence

January 29, 2008

Nzimbi Fiddles While Kenya Burns

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Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi leading an anti-Gay forum in Rochester, Minnesota one year ago this week. He claims the Kenyan Church is growing madly, but this talk attracted all of 40 souls.

It’s been a month now since the elections in Kenya, and so far the violence is unabated. This is a particular tragedy felt all over Africa and all over the Anglican Communion. Lives are being lost and hopes are being dashed all over the continent, because up to now Kenya has been a particularly bright spot. It is a large and prosperous country which successfully moved from one-party rule to democracy. Now it appears the government has stolen the election, leading at first to mass street protests, then a government crackdown, and finally violence, which has degenerated into tribal hatred. And somewhere near the middle of it all stands the Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, heretofore best known as a Gay-hating wedge-driver splitting the Episcopal Church in America.

He should have stuck to his own knitting. He should have concentrated on his own country instead of conducting border raids in the United States.

But the same can be said of many Anglican Archbishops in Africa. They’ve been so busy conducting anti-Gay campaigns in the West they’ve neglected their own countries and their own churches.

But wait, it gets worse. Several weeks before the late December elections, Nzimbi was appointed the head of a special religious peace commission to hold the country together through the electoral process—to bless it, if you will. Here’s how the Anglican Church of Kenya’s website described it:

Religious organizations in Kenya have launched a peace campaign to ensure a peaceful and secure process as the December 2007 general elections approach.

The campaign whose slogan is “Chagua Amani Zuia Noma” (Choose Peace Avoid Chaos) was launched recently by President Mwai Kibaki at a colorful ceremony at the Kenyatta Conference Centre grounds.

The Chairman of the inter-religious forum, The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi had this to say during the launch:

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of us to this grand occasion. Today, we join hands with the rest of the world to celebrate peace and remind ourselves of the immense negative effects of conflict and violence.

Your Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen, peace is so important in our lives that we should not allow the transient activity of holding elections leave us beholding each other as enemies. We are one nation: Our differences in language, race, religion and economic power are just a flavour that makes living together interesting and worthwhile.

The “Excellency” he refers to is, of course, President Mwai Kibaki, the one who stole the election from opposition leader Raila Odinga.

So there was Nzimbi in September, receiving his “peace coronation” from the current President in the absence of the opposition leader. They must have all felt pretty good about what they were doing that day, ensuring peace and all.

Here’s what Kenya looked like yesterday.

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Of course, since the riots broke out, Archbishop Nzimbi and his peace commission are nowhere to be found. They sided with the status quo back in September and now have no credibility at all with the average Kenyan.

So the Anglican Church is ducking undercover to save its skin. Other international friends have had to go to Kenya to faciliate negotiations, including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. As the violence gets worse, the peace prospects dim.

Interestingly, the next news story on the Kenyan Anglican website carries these two worthies: schismatic American priests Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch, who were recently ordained Bishops of Anti-Gayville by Nzimbi:

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Don’t these White guys just look precious in their lace and finery? This stuff would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

The one thing they all have in common—Nzimbi, Kibaki, Atwood, Murdoch and their American enablers—is that they really don’t care who gets hurt, as long as they get their way.

As we’ve seen over and over in nation and after nation, fake religious leaders define morality in personal, sexual terms to enable governments to act immorally, thus enriching those in power. We see it in America, in Nigeria, in Kenya, in Europe, in Central and South America, in Russia, in the Middle East; we see it everywhere.

How long, oh Lord, how long?

Pray for Kenya. Pray for the Church.++

November 24, 2007

Schismatics Hail Support from Malango, Orombi

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Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda

I continue to be amazed, as schism unfolds in Anglican Land, that any sensible American or Canadian would be caught in the same room with such unsavory characters as Archbishop Bernard Malango and Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, much less to consider them spiritual leaders. They’re crooks.

But anti-Gay Anglicans in Canada and the U.S. are falling all over themselves to trumpet Malango’s latest support for schism. He and Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda signed a letter praising the breakaway Canadians who are aligning with the Southern Cone in South America.

Here is how Stephen Bates described Kunonga last year in a column for the Church of England newspaper:

“The list of 38 charges against the good bishop, who is a crony of Robert Mugabe, brought against him by his own black parishioners, include little matters such as incitement to murder, intimidation, ignoring church law, mishandling funds and proselytising for Zanu PF from the pulpit. He has also occupied a farm and evicted 40 families from a local village. A couple of months ago he even licensed the acting vice-president of Zimbabwe Joseph Msika, a man on record as saying that whites are not human beings, to act as a deacon of the church.”

Mugabe is the president of Zimbabwe, and he’s an out-and-out thug. Zanu PF is his political party. He has all but destroyed Zimbabwe’s once-prosperous economy; inflation is estimated at 2000% a year. And Kunonga is thick as thieves with him.

It’s all about that farm, you see; to stay in power, Mugabe pays off his friends and has his enemies beaten or killed.

This is how much of Africa is run, but Zimbabwe’s the worst case. It’s a nightmare.

The State Department has barred Kunonga from entering the United States. He’s not allowed in the European Union either. But he has a protector in Archbishop Malango, who has thwarted every effort by Kunonga’s own parishioners to make him stand trial in a Church court.

Obviously the North American schismatics don’t care what goes on in Zimbabwe. Their only interest is getting support from every Primate they can find.

And there are more waiting in the wings; Peter Akinola, the Primate of All Nigeria, is coming to Maryland next month to ordain more anti-Gay clergy for CANA.

Man, this is some crazy stuff: getting in bed with thugs so you can keep heterosexual supremacy as an article of Christian faith.

It’s bound to backfire sooner or later.

The Africans don’t really care about Gay people; they use Gay people as domestic political scapegoats. That’s why Mugabe says such outrageous things; he blames all of Zimbabwe’s problems on homosexuals.

You can see right through him; this has been going on for years. Here’s the BBC reporting in 1998:

Politicians call them the “festering finger” endangering the body of the nation: churchmen say God wants them dead: and the courts send them to jail. Zimbabwe has declared that it will not tolerate homosexuality – and the country’s tiny community of gays and lesbians says that means they are now the target of a state-sanctioned hate campaign.

Let the schism happen. I don’t want to be in the same room with the friends of Robert Mugabe, Nolbert Kunonga and Bernard Malango—including all the anti-Gay bloggers and commenters.

You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness *
against the godly all day long?
You plot ruin;
your tongue is like a sharpened razor, *
O worker of deception.
You love evil more than good *
and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that hurt, *
O you deceitful tongue.
Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, *
topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling,
and root you out of the land of the living!
The righteous shall see and tremble, *
and they shall laugh at him, saying,
“This is the one who did not take God for a refuge, *
but trusted in great wealth
and relied upon wickedness.”
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; *
I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
I will give you thanks for what you have done *
and declare the goodness of your Name in the presence
of the godly.

It’s Psalm 52. God figured out these people a long time ago.++

November 18, 2007

African Bishops Afraid of Protests?

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Peter Tatchell in the pulpit at Canterbury Cathedral, 1998

This from “Anglican Mainstream,” which claims to be “Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, Charismatic and Mainstream,” but which is at most two of those, including “Charismatic”:

It has been affirmed that the Lambeth Conference is definitely going ahead and that prior to the Lambeth Conference there will be a mini-Lambeth in each diocese, where hospitality will be offered throughout the UK dioceses to the arriving bishops from overseas. Many bishops of course from overseas have indicated that for many reasons they cannot currently accept the invitation to Lambeth. This has to do with the impossibility for them to have fellowship with those who have blatantly defied the counsels of the Lambeth Conference and the wishes of the Communion over the last 10 years. Some have mentioned their concern at the possibility of being subject to protests over their orthodox stances.

There are at least three ways to interpret this mealy-mouthed, passively-voiced report (“It has been affirmed that…”); one is that the protest I organized against Peter Akinola in Wheaton, Illinois in September has resounded throughout the Anglican Communion. I’m not at all sure this is true, though I might like it to be.

Another is that Akinola now wants to attribute to LGBT people the same violence he incites against us—and has incited against Muslims in the past, resulting in over a hundred deaths at the hand of rioting Anglicans. Accusing Gay people of this won’t stand up to scrutiny, however, as we are some of the most peaceful folks on the planet, despite constant hetero provocations. Why, you’d almost think we were Quakers.

A third is that the Africans are looking for any excuse not to go to Lambeth, since they’ve set themselves up for “the impossibility for them to have fellowship with those who have blatantly defied the counsels of the Lambeth Conference.” Clearly these folks aren’t Anglicans at all; Anglicans don’t cluster around doctrine, but about worship in the Book of Common Prayer.

Whatever excuse they come up with, I really don’t care. Lambeth Conferences have NO power to legislate for the Anglican Communion. Neither do Primates’ pronouncements.

But I do note that Peter Tatchell, the British Gay Christian activist, has already been accused by Akinola of “violence” for interrupting the Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey’s Easter sermon in 1998—with an entirely peaceful protest that lasted all of three minutes, for which he was convicted by an English court of the mildest possible misdemeanor, the court noting that nothing approaching violence occurred. Tatchell didn’t touch Lord Carey.

That didn’t stop Akinola, though, who has since exclaimed repeatedly about Gay thugs.

I have previously noted (in my novel “Murder at Willow Slough”) these dueling stereotypes of Gay men as passive sissies (“It has been affirmed that the Lambeth Conference is going ahead”) and marauding thugs. These opposites can’t both be true, and in fact neither one is. We’re not passive, but we don’t commit violence. If you’re looking for thugs, go to Akinola’s Nigeria.

Akinola’s remarks go beyond spin to utter falsehood. The man’s a liar, and by their fruits ye shall know them.

I don’t approve of what Tatchell did necessarily, interrupting a church service (on Easter no less), but Carey is a homophobic bigot and sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Meanwhile I note that Davis Mac-Iyalla’s protest that Abuja, Nigeria ought not to be awarded the British Commonwealth Games, backed up by Tatchell, has been successful; the 2012 Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Fewer thugs there, I take it.++

October 27, 2007

Prison Terms (or Death) for Gay People in Africa & Elsewhere

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The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., jailed in Birmingham, Alabama for protesting injustice.

Since this blog is concerned with anti-Gay violence (and Anglican support for it), let’s compare the record of various African countries and others around the world. In those places where LGBT sex is criminalized, what’s the legal punishment?

Do bear in mind that in many cases actual genital sex doesn’t have to take place for the charge to be made; visiting a website or attending a party with Gay people present will suffice. And for God’s sake don’t dress differently!

(That was sarcasm. Read the list, recently circulated on the Integrity list-serv.)

The Cost of Being LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and/or Trans) in Today’s World:

Algeria – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Angola – Labor Camps
Antigua and Barbuda – 15 Years in Prison
Bahrain – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Bangladesh – 10 Years to Life in Prison
Barbados – Life in Prison
Belize – 10 Years in Prison
Benin – 3 Years in Prison
Bhutan – 1 Month to 1 Year in Prison
Botswana – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Brunei – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Cameroon – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Cook Islands – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Djibouti – 10 to 12 Years in Prison
Dominica – 10 Years in Prison
Egypt – 5 Years in Prison
Eritrea – 3 to 10 Years in Prison
Ethiopia – 10 Days to 3 Years in Prison
Gambia – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Ghana – Not Known
Grenada – 10 Years in Prison
Guinea – 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison
Guinea Bissau – Labor Camps
India – A Fine to Life in Prison
Iran – Death
Jamaica – 10 Years Hard Labor
Kenya – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Kiribati – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Kuwait – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Lebanon – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison
Lesotho – Not Known
Liberia – A Fine
Libya – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Malawi – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Malaysia – A Fine to 20 Years in Prison
Mauritania – Death
Mauritius – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Morocco – 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison
Mozambique – Labor Camps
Myanmar/Burma – 10 Years to Life in Prison
Namibia – Not Known
Nauru – 14 Years Hard Labor
Nepal – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison
Nicaragua – 1 to 3 Years in Prison
Nigeria – 14 Years in Prison to Death
Niue – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Oman – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Pakistan – 2 Years to Life in Prison
Palau – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Palestine – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Papua New Guinea – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Qatar – A Fine to 5 Years in Prison
Saint Kitts and Nevis – 10 Years in Prison
Saint Lucia – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Saint Vincent and Grenadines – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Samoa – A Fine to 7 Years in Prison
Sao Tome and Principe – Labor Camps
Saudi Arabia – Death
Senegal – 1 Month to 5 Years in Prison
Seychelles – A Fine to 2 Years in Prison
Sierra Leone – Life in Prison
Singapore – 2 Years in Prison
Solomon Islands – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Somalia – 3 Months in Prison to Death
Sri Lanka – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Sudan – 5 Years in Prison to Death
Swaziland – A Fine
Syria – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Tanzania – A Fine to 25 Years in Prison
Togo – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Tokelau – A Fine to 10 Years in Prison
Trinidad and Tobago – 25 Years in Prison
Tunisia – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Turkmenistan – A Fine to 2 Years in Prison
Tuvalu – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Uganda – A Fine to Life in Prison
United Arab Emirates – Death
Uzbekistan – A Fine to 3 Years in Prison
Yemen – Flogging to Death
Zambia – A Fine to 14 Years in Prison
Zimbabwe – A Fine to 1 Year in Prison

Never underestimate the violence of the patriarchy.

October 2, 2007

Kenyan Human Rights Chair Slams Anglican Bishops

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L. Muthoni Wanyeki, the executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, is one African leader fearlessly doing her job. In an opinion column in The East African newspaper, she says this:

On July 7 this year, two black South African lesbians were executed in Soweto. It is believed that they were followed home after a party. They were removed from their car, taken to a field and gang-raped before being executed.

Their deaths were not isolated. Another woman, also known to be a lesbian, was killed in Cape Town around the same time. And, in line with the ignorant idea that lesbians can be “fixed,” over 10 women known to be lesbians were raped. An atmosphere of fear has been created.

That is South Africa. Closer to home, the Tanzanian Lesbian Association has had to help relocate two lesbians following the publication of a picture of them kissing under the banner: “Uchafu.”

Lawrence Mute, formerly a commissioner with the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, remarked last week, “Being blind, I know what being disadvantaged, being vulnerable, being discriminated against, is all about.” He was, on behalf of the KNHRC, one of the drafters of the so-called Yogyakarta Principles — an attempt to being together, in one document, the range of already agreed upon international and regional human rights standards that apply (or should apply) to ensure the equal treatment of the gay community (or communities).

Noting that the history of human rights is one of claim, contestation and confirmation, sexual rights are human rights — but remain abstract until those oppressed begin that arduous and long process of first staking claim.

That no less than one of the most powerful mainstream churches on the continent does not seem to understand this — or to even be willing to try to do so — is a cause for deep concern. Prejudice and stereotypes both cause and enable systemic discrimination. When they are “sanctioned” by those considered to be authorities, the logical outcome is the kind of hate crimes now being witnessed in South Africa.

LET US BE CLEAR ABOUT THIS. WE all reacted with horror to the kind of human-rights violations seen during the genocide in Rwanda. We all asked ourselves: How could family, friends, neighbours turn on each other in such a devastatingly vicious manner. What we all should remember is that all it takes is sanction from authorities of any kind — the state, religious organisations and so on. We are all capable of being genocidal. We just need to believe that we are “right” in being so.

What the African Anglican bishops have essentially said is that African citizens are “right” in their prejudices and stereotypes about African gay communities. It is thus the African Anglican hierarchy that should “repent.” If we do not stop and check ourselves, we can rest assured that the damage ultimately caused will not just be to the Anglican family worldwide. The damage will be to our own.

Kenyan Anglicans are some of the leaders in the current anti-Gay schism.

You can read the whole thing here.

It is nice to hear an African woman’s voice for a change in all this. Who better knows about rape as a weapon?

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