January 21, 2014

Speaking Up

As you can see, blogging has been light for a bit. However, the lack of reaction from certain church leaders to the dangerous legislation in Nigeria, and actual support from some others, calls for comment. Please consider signing the petition urging the Archbishop of Canterbury to follow up on his earlier protestations against "homophobia." If anything fits the bill, the Nigerian legislation does.

I urge signing this petition fully cognizant of the fact that both England and the US are themselves only recently emerged from a time in which same-sexuality was criminalized. But I don't think either state criminalized mere advocacy for gay rights, as the Nigerian legislation does. This is a violation of the fundamental rights of free speech and association. Even those opposed to normalization of same-sex relations should see the prohibition of advocacy as a human rights issue. And the Archbishop should feel quite comfortable saying so, and speaking out against both the legislation and the bishops who have supported it.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

UPDATE: Pleased to see that the Archbishop of Canterbury has found his voice.

5 comments:

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

I signed the petition. I have no clue what the ABC is up to, but his recent recognition of an ACNA presbyter is troubling.

I'm beginning to wonder why we should even care what any foreign prelate does or says.

Tobias Haller said...

Deacon Charlie, I'm not sure we need to be too concerned about foreign prelates; but it is the ABC's job in particular to articulate the positions of the Anglican Communion -- whether we like them or not. His predecessors were not shy in chastizing TEC when it appeared to go against Lambeth 1.10, so it is only consistent to expect the ABC will speak out when folks in Nigeria violate other portions of that resolution, such as sections (c) and (d):

(c)... We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
(d)... calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals...

In this case, peoples' lives are at stake, so a clear distancing, if nothing else, would be welcome, including clarifying the simple fact that calling for criminalization is not supported by the Anglican "instruments."

I also acknowledge there is likely a good deal of post-colonial guilt at work, and awareness that comments from the West can sometimes exacerbate situations in the South -- particularly in this area as it has been painted in geographical terms. But surely the criminalization of advocacy is a step far too far under any understanding of human rights.

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

You are correct Tobias. It is important that the ABC (and all Anglicans as well) to speak against this.

The leaders of Nigeria and Uganda, both secular and ecclesiastic, are prisoners of their fear and willfully ignorant. Just because a Brit feels guilty for the sins of the Empire does not absolve him of the imperative to stand up for the Gospel.

Such reticence is not a characteristic of the American "Evangelicals" (false prophets if there ever were any) who use the fear and willful ignorance of African leadership to their own ends.

Erika Baker said...

I don't understand this silence at all.
Yes, there are those who say that criticism from the West will make the situation in Nigeria worse. But how much worse can it possibly get? The stories coming out of Nigeria are harrowing.

There are those who say that the Archbishops are probably very active behind the scenes. In which case one has to conceded that they are not having any effect at all and might try another tack.

I cannot imagine that they could condone what is happening there, even remotely. Or that they do not understand the concepts of taking up your cross and doing what is right, however costly.

So why this silence?

Tobias Haller said...

Thanks Charlie. Erika, I suspect the silence comes from a demonic confluence of causes -- the systemic evil that so often plagues the church and immobilizes it. My guess is that in the present situation it is most likely the post-colonial and reactive issues that are at the forefront -- on both sides. Nigerian leadership is unlikely to respond favorably to input from England, which the church leaders have already written off as deaf to their appeals to stamp out the plague of homosexuality.

My point in this is not about effecting change, but witnessing to a moral value even if that witness has no effect on others. At the very least, the leaders in the West and North need to name the wrongness, even if their acts have no more effect on the Nigerian situation than a conscientious objector has on the war.