At Grace we are continuing to reflect on ways of making our congregation more open and welcoming of all people in spite of our struggles with the diocesan ban on offering same-sex blessings and Wisconsin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A recent article by Doug Erickson told the story of the suicide last fall of Mindy Fabian, a transgender teenager who struggled to find acceptance at her school and a place in the world. It’s a reminder that even in a progressive city like Madison, LGBT persons face adversity, prejudice, and bullying.
But it’s much worse in other places in America and across the world. After lengthy silence, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to all Anglican primates to remind them of their public “commitment to the pastoral support and care of everyone worldwide, regardless of sexual orientation.” This came while Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is traveling in Africa and after considerable criticism for his silence on the recent laws passed in Uganda and Nigeria that increase criminal penalties on LGBT individuals.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori has also recently reiterated the Episcopal Church’s commitment to LGBT rights:
The Episcopal Church has been clear about our expectation that every member of the LGBT community is entitled to the same respect and dignity as any other member of the human family. Our advocacy for oppressed minorities has been vocal and sustained. The current attempts to criminalize LBGT persons and their supporters are the latest in a series, each stage of which has been condemned by this Church, as well as many other religious communities and nations.
Stanley Ntagali, Anglican Archbishop of Uganda has responded to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Uganda bill:
We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.
There is supposed to be a screening in February at UW of the documentary God loves Uganda that details the role of colonialism and western missionaries in creating homophobia in Uganda.
Thank you for sharing your insights, and I am pleased that there is pressure being placed on the archbishops. I attended a Church of Uganda service recently and was quite shocked by the content of the sermon (regarding the bill).