Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anglican Communion turns lesbians & gays into "21st Century scapegoats"

By Diane Silver

I don’t know whether to be sad, angry, or simply perplexed by the turmoil in the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church.

The conservative dominated worldwide communion this week handed the Episcopal Church in the United States an ultimatum: Bar lesbians and gays from becoming bishops and stop official blessings of same-sex unions by Sept. 30, or else.

I’m saddened for my sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Church who are being turned into what the Rev. John Kirkley of San Francisco calls "21st Century scapegoats."

I’m infuriated by the conservative-dominated Anglican Communion, which seems to be more concerned with stoning people than loving them.

And I have to admit to being perplexed by the actions of some Episcopal officials, including Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new presiding bishop of the church. Jefferts Schori actually signed the document that condemns lesbians and gays in her church to second-class status.

What in the world is she thinking?

Folks like her seem more concerned with appeasing the ultra-conservatives who have got the worldwide communion by the throat, than with ministering to LGBT Episcopalians who have done nothing more threatening than exist. And that, apparently, is a terrible crime in the eyes of some people in the Anglican Communion.

Actually being lesbian, gay or bisexual is a horrible crime in the home country of the archbishop who has led the charge to ostracize the Episcopal Church. Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, of Nigeria is the same bishop some conservative Episcopal leaders have even said they want to take over their churches.

In a bill reminiscent of Nazi legislation limiting the activities of Jews, the Nigerian National Assembly is considering a proposal that would make it a crime for gays to, well, be alive.

The bill makes anyone who engages in a same-sex marriage, or a same-sex relationship a criminal. A person could be thrown in jail for doing nothing more than saying that lesbians and gays should have rights. Simply attending a lesbian or gay club or support group could send a person to jail. Heterosexuals who speak positively of fairness or equality, or even sell a gay person a house, could be penalized.

The bill is moving through the legislative process in Nigeria and could come up for a vote as early as next month. A copy of the bill and a report on the grim life of lesbians and gays in Nigeria is available online.

According to Wikipedia, Akinola supports the bill and has issued this statement.
"The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality."
I ask again: What is going on with the Anglican Communion? Have you lost all sense of balance? Have you lost all sense of decency? Have you forgotten Jesus’ most basic teachings?

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