07 December 2009


In the dramatization of St. Thomas Moore's trial in "A Man For All Seasons" the prosecutor talks about what silence "betokens." I suppose in our time the word we might choose instead would be "imply"

Last week Louisiana elected a new bishop. A diocese ravaged by hurricane Katrina and a difficult recovery Louisiana is seeking new paths forward. Their bishop-elect is a moderate to progressive sort. His path for the diocese is inclusive, expansive and Episcopal. Louisiana chose recovery and progress.

In California two women were elected bishop. Not so long ago, no woman could be a bishop. This is still the case in much of the world including allegedly modern England. One of the women is a lesbian whose 'relationship' has outlasted many 'marriages' including those of some self-anointed 'orthodox' AC-NA bishops. California chose progress and a way forward.

In Uganda, a prominent man died. The cleric who preached at his funeral chose that moment to endorse a bill pending before that country's parliament. The law would make being a lesbian or gay man a capital offense, and make failing to turn them in to the State a felony. In his 'sermon' he compared lesbians and gays with cockroaches. Somehow Jesus never suggested any human was comparable to a bug to be killed on sight. That sermon provides coverage for judicial murder (and rape the common fate for women identified in Africa as lesbians.)

12 hours after the American episcopal elections, silence was broken by Dr. Williams. He completely ignored two of the three elections and attacked the election of Rev. Glasspool, who is a 'partnered lesbian.' A partnered straight, Dr. Williams does not approve of the election. In an amazingly inappropriate attempt to intervene in a partner's business he attempted to influence the consent process.

One can only guess how he would react if our presiding bishop tried to influence the selection of a CoE bishop. We wait in vain for the presiding bishop's defense of her people in California.

What does silence betoken? When the archbishop declines to speak on the proposed genocide in Uganda, but leaps forward to pander to homophobia by denouncing California; when the presiding bishop of TEC speaks only to avoid having her failed leadership shown to all by the executive council, what does silence imply? With apologies to Ben Franklin: those who willingly sacrifice their leadership and moral authority for unity shall have none.



Christal said...

I didn't know lesbians and gays are cockroaches! Maybe I should see if they are hiding behind my fridge.

RonF said...

I'm not big on the word "homophobia". A phobia is an unreasoning or irrational fear of something, and the word "homophobia" is often used to try to paint all opposition to granting specific privileges or rights to homosexual behavior as being a) irrational and b) based on fear, when they are in fact no such thing.

Having read the proposed Ugandan legislation it appears to me that the word may in this case be accurately applied, however. Some of the behaviors in it are appropriate to criminalize - sexual contact with someone under 18 and using drugs to achieve sexual contact are examples. But I'm an opponent of the death penalty. And there are other things in there that while they should not receive the blessing of the State should not result in punishment from it either. This is bad legislation and should be condemned.

JimB said...


Our lesbian and gay friends are way too fabulous to ever be under the fridge!

The idiot Ugandan actually suggested the cockroaches were more acceptable. He strikes me as being a bigot at the KKK level.


JimB said...


Well we half agree, maybe more. Yes 'homophobia' does suggest a prejudice based on irrational fear. While I will grant that a (weak) case against some conduct might be made based on a reading of some portions of Leviticus, and not be based on fear of any kind, frankly that is a sliver of what I see as the problem. And there is fear and fear.

I know many who will say they are not afraid of lesbians or gays and I suppose some are right. What they are afraid of is God. What they are afraid of is that if they are not good enough, if their worship is not perfect enough, if they pray with those who are not holy enough, then God wont forgive their sins. That is frankly terrible theological thinking.

In any case, yes some folks oppose some aspects of the progressive view for non-phobic reasons. Or so I would expect.

On the rest, even those sections of the law that decline otherwise reprehensible conduct stike me as a problem. Let's agree that taking advantage of a child using drugs is wrong -- it is not more wrong depending on the gender of the perp and victim. So, I think, even those sections of the law are deeply flawed.

At the end of the day we agree. It is bad law. It should be condemned.

The silence of alleged shepherds (Dr. Williams inter alia)is to me appalling.


DREW said...

I have the same problem with "homophobia" and Ron you explained it better then I ever have.
I wish the silence was about homosexuality and chritian sexual ethics, really. But Africa just doent matter in world politics in the USA or in the Anglican Communion.Who is put in american positions matter to lambath, Africans murdering Africans really only affects Africans. Why else no big comment from the see of Canterbury or congress?
Anyone who clamis we all matter eqully just because God loves all equally ought to be naild to tree....O nevermind.

JimB said...

I am sure some of the North American / European centric view is present in this mess. But I think it is also a bit more complex.

First let's face it. Not every conservative is a homophobe, but about the time we have a bishop claiming Christianity in Africa is being attacked by white homosexuality, we have some reason to think the condition exists!

Second, other bloggers have been tracking the genesis of the law that is proposed. It turns out that Americans who definitely come under the homophobe umbrella have been preaching this attack crap in Uganda and they carry funding.

Third it is relevant to remember if you want to attack someone in the Anglican communion's councils that all provinces have the same vote regardless of size or wealth. So if one subverts say Uganda, then you have one vote.


Leonard said...

Sometimes Heterosexuals drive their fear and hatedriven beliefs, like stakes, into the hearts of innocent LGBT people...there is a interesting documentary on the fact that GOD is used as the perp of vicious/murderous crimes of hate by the murderers...it´s quite amazing really that most LGBT people love heterosexuals and most have them for parents, brothers and sisters and friends...afterall, just when is the not-so-secret ORDER from God going to instruct our loves ones to ¨kill the cockroaches?¨ Most probably at Churches that preach the homilies of lies, greed and deceit. I´m posting a story to some factual data collected on thos who HAVE killed LGBT people in the name of God...there often is a direct connection to those who spew out ¨cockroach sermons¨ and such.


Jim, hope it´s ok to post this link, Len

JimB said...

Of course it is OK. Anytime!


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