Akinola, Repudiate Anti-Gay Violence

January 10, 2010

Douglas Foster: Black, Gay and Indisputably African

Filed under: Africa,Christianity,Uganda — Josh Thomas @ 9:57 am
Tags: , , ,

Anti-Gay demonstration last month in Kampala, Uganda. (Marc Hofer/The New York Times)

UPDATE: Chilling videos here of Scott Lively’s violence-inciting lies from Box Turtle Bulletin.

Check out this op-ed piece in the LA Times by Douglas Foster, the Medill Professor of Journalism at Northwestern University.

He describes the incredible liberation felt by African Gay men over something simple: dancing together at a Gay bar, Simply Blue in Johannesburg.

And he effectively indicts the three American fundamentalists—Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer—who inspired the notorious “kill the Gays” bill in the Ugandan parliament, and now want to run away from it:

They participated in the March conference that sparked the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009, though they insist they had no intention of inspiring legislation that calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. But by posing as experts who offered testimony about how gay men rape teenage boys and how homosexuals are plotting to destroy marriage and the family, they helped build an explosive device and light a fuse.

One of them, at the time of the conference, announced that these sorts of revelations were like a “nuclear bomb” that would eliminate the entire country of homosexuals. They can’t now disclaim responsibility for the bomb having been detonated.

Self-proclaimed Christians want Gay people dead. It’s that simple.

But what Lively, Brundidge and Schmierer will find—what Sarah Palin will find, and Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, “tea-partiers” and James Dobson will find—is that they are the cursed, despicable, tiny minority. And Jesus will have the last laugh.++

Scott Lively making money in Uganda. (Courtesy Box Turtle Bulletin)

December 27, 2007

Ugandan Bishop Pops Off—on Christmas!

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There is no end to Gay bashing in Africa, but now an Anglican bishop has sunk to a new low: using his Christmas sermon as the occasion.

The New Vision, “Uganda’s Leading Website,” reports this:

THE Government should not yield to pressure and legalise homosexuality and lesbianism, the Bishop of Bukedi Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nicodemus Okille, has appealed.

The bishop, who was delivering his Christmas sermon at St. Peter’s Church of Uganda Tororo on Tuesday, said the acts violate both the biblical teachings on marriage and African culture.

Okille criticised the advocates of gay rights, saying they had no place in the Kingdom of God.

Some Bible preaching, huh?

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “God hates fags. Gay sex is unafrican. Give lots of money to the Anglican Church.”

Using Christmas Day to deliver this hateful sermon is beneath the Christian religion—but it helps fill Archbishop Henry Orombi’s coffers.

November 26, 2007

Kleptocracy: Government by Thieves

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Episcopal Café has a wonderful tribute today to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, written by Dr. Howard Anderson, warden of the Cathedral College at the National Cathedral in Washington, which recently presented him with a prize. Tutu stayed for a week and Anderson got to spend a lot of time with him. The article brings some good insight into Tutu’s spirituality and manner of life.

Anderson goes on to compare the Little Giant of South Africa with another African Archbishop, Peter Akinola:

When I read Archbishop Akinola, and for that matter, people like Bishop Duncan, I see a model of a God I do not recognize. A God who would ask God’s people not to emulate compassion, or combat injustice, oppression and evil, but rather, to judge those who fall outside of what can only be called a modern version of purity codes. It is an Old Testament God of wrath, of judgment, of tribe and clan that emerges.

Anderson also tells the truth about something most secessionist Episcopalians don’t know or try to deny: that Akinola’s claims of massive, exponential growth in the Nigerian Church are dubious at best.

While the intimidating presence of men of power like Archbishop Akinola thunder, Anglicans by the thousand in Nigeria leave the Church to find the “Good News” being lived out and preached in Pentecostal and other churches. Nigerian friends of mine tell of visits home in formerly Anglican areas that are now predominantly Pentecostal, for those churches are trying to meet the needs of the people, not to find new ways to condemn others.

But then Anderson goes off track, in my opinion. He makes a prediction about the future:

I think the Akinolas will soon give way to a less power hungry, more egalitarian leader, and with that, a polity which is more democratic, where clergy and laity, not just primates and bishops, discern God’s will for the Church. We must be patient. And even as men like Archbishop Akinola castigate us, reject our way of being Anglican Christian, we must pray for them. I must be patient like Archbishop Tutu told me to be.

It’s the “soon give way” that caught my eye. I posted this reply:

I wish I could share Dr. Anderson’s unabashed optimism about the post-Akinola generation of Church leaders. Nigeria is a kleptocracy. Corruption is rampant and institutionalized. Akinola serves this system, as do certain other very vocal African bishops. Gay-bashing also serves this system by providing scapegoats.

South Africa is a special case. Many people there, especially Mandela and Tutu, heard God’s call to serve justice and the people. God calls in Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe too, but fewer people seem to be listening, except for the Gay people.

The good news is there are LGBT voices being heard in Uganda, thanks in part to Integrity; and in Nigeria, in large part due to Changing Attitude (Davis Mac-Iyalla and Colin Coward). I have talked by phone with two or three other young Gay men in Francophone Africa, though I’m unaware of any LGBT voices raised in Zimbabwe, which is so far down the tubes it’s entirely lawless.

What seems important to me as a Gay American Episcopalian is that we take a few steps on behalf of our African sisters and brothers. First, pray for them, knowing that God hears their cries and weeps with them. Second, do what we can to publicize the voices of LGBT Africans and help to tell their stories about actual conditions in their countries. Third, we should continue to press government and Church officials to respond to abuses of power directed at LGBT Africans to further the kleptocracy. There is no excuse for the worldwide Anglican Communion to participate in demonizing our people.

Fourth, LGBT Americans need to take a much more international view of LGBT issues. People are being murdered all over the world for being Gay. Skinhead thugs beat LGBT people in Russia with the cooperation of Putin’s police. Saudi Arabia and Iran cheerfully execute our people.

In short we need our own foreign policy, independent of Washington, London and Brussels. We need our own diplomats, as well as armies of organizers. As human rights are slowly won here in the West, our focus must shift to organizations such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

We are citizens of the world, skeptics of our own rulers; it’s not like we don’t have kleptocrats here. When U.S. Rep. William Jefferson (D-New Orleans) wanted to make some cold hard cash (discovered in his freezer), where did he go? To Nigeria, the capital of kleptocracy.

So we know what’s happening here and elsewhere. As we extend our gains in the U.S. and Western Europe, it’s time to expand our movement to the whole world.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Matthew 25:40

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 16, 2007

Ugandan Muslim: Put Gays on an Island, Let Them Die

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That’s Mubajje up there on the left, dedicating a mosque paid for by Muammar Gaddhafi.

Here is a report from Pink News, a Gay British website. (I hate the name Pink News and I’m ambivalent about their journalism, but this report appears authentic to me.) It was also quoted on the Episcopal Church website epiScope. If they hadn’t circulated it, this horrible news would have gone unnoticed in the West. I am very concerned for our sisters and brothers in Uganda. And I cannot believe American ex-Episcopalians would affiliate with the phony Christians there — but they do:

The leading Muslim cleric in Uganda, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, has come up with a novel solution to deal with gay and lesbians speaking up in the country.

He told journalists at a press conference on Friday that he had recommended to the country’s President at a meeting last week that all gay people should be sent into exile on an island in Lake Victoria.

“If they die there then we shall have no more homosexuals in the country,” he added.

There has been rising tension in the country over gay and lesbian rights.

Ugandan law outlaws homosexuality as “against the order of nature.” Trans people are also targeted by police and regularly subject to abuse and harassment.

In August activists in spoke out about the prejudice LGBT people face in the country.

30 people gave a press conference drawing attention to the state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia they face every day.

They called themselves the “homosexual children of God” and demanded that attacks on LGBT people stop.

The following week churches in the country showed their disapproval with a demonstration organised by the Uganda Joint Christian Council.

UJCC member churches include the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.

The Muslim community, who make up 12% of the country’s population of 27 million, were quick to add their voices of disapproval.

In response to the gay rights press conference Muslim youth belonging to the Tabliq movement announced they plan to set up ‘Anti-Gay Squads’ to fight homosexuality.

Sheikh Multah Bukenya, a senior cleric in the sect, announced the squads at the Noor Mosque in the capital, Kampala.

He said: “We are ready to act swiftly and form this squad that will wipe out all abnormal practices like homosexuality in our society.

“It is the work of the community to put an end to bad practices like homosexuality.”

The Tabliqs are well known for their militant – and sometimes violent – measures.

In 1991 they accused the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) of not serving the interests of Islam and promptly stormed their headquarters to forcibly remove the administration. A few policemen and Tabliqs were killed.

Conservative forces in Uganda have painted homosexuality as a kind of foreign import, but anthropologists point to the well-documented traditions of Bugunda royalty before European colonisation, where gay relationships were openly practised at the court.

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