Saturday, 13 February 2010
Here's some more odds & sods that ended up in my shopping
basket during the last few weeks. Again, something for
everyone, though Glyn should probably check out the Esther
Williams track if he hasn't already got it himself.
Daylight - Sweet Coffee
Fallen Feat. Saunders Sermons - London
Soul Survivor - Tashan
Sideswiped - Blue Lunch
Last Night Changed It All - Esther Williams
Bafftub Jim - Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme
Hit & Run Lover - Tommie Young
The World Pt. 1 - Sandi & Matues
James Soul - Five For Groove
Union leaders are balloting the national church’s lay workers over industrial action next month. About 100 members of Church staff are members of the Public & Commercial Services Union.
The PCS asked for a 3 per cent pay rise last summer but claims it was told by the National Church Institutions that no extra money was available. At the same time, it says staff are having to contribute an extra 1.6 per cent into their pension pots. The union then requested a 1 per cent rise for the lowest paid or a goodwill gesture of extra holiday between Christmas and New Year, but says that too was refused.
Now, “for the first time in history”, the Church staff are being balloted over industrial action. Local reps claim there is support for a half-day strike, which is pencilled in for the afternoon of March 12 depending on the result of the ballot.
A note sent to all PCS Church members states: “It is intended that there will be picket lines outside Lambeth Palace and Church House as well as other relevant sites and we hope to attract a strong media presence and interest in this historically unique dispute. We want to make senior figures within the Church aware of what is being done in its name. They may also wish to reflect on whether this constitutes Christian behaviour!”
Earlier this week Synod agreed that clergy must “work longer and retire later” in order to fill a £350million black hole in the Church’s pension fund.
COMMENT: "They may also wish to reflect on whether this constitutes Christian behaviour!"
Anyone want to have a wild guess at the chances of that happening?
In a leaflet issued to parishoners, the Rev Angus MacLeay used passages in the Bible to justify women playing a submissive role in local church life. He urged women to “submit to their husbands in everything”.
Mr MacLeay, a roundhead member of the General Synod, is opposed to the appointment of women bishops. He has campaigned vociferously for Reform.
The leaflet he issued It says at one point: “Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church. This is the way God has ordered their relationships with each other and Christian marriage cannot function well without it. It would seem that women should remain silent....if their questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands at home."
In a sermon days later, his curate, the Rev Mark Oden, stated that the behaviour of modern women was to blame for Britain’s high divorce rate.
He said: “We know marriage is not working. We only need to look at figures – one in four children have divorced parents. Wives, submit to your own husbands.”
The views of Mr MacLeay and his curate are understood to have prompted dozens of women parishioners to cancel their direct debit subscriptions to St Nicholas’s.
One disenchanted female parishioner said she was “disgusted” by the sermon.
“How can they talk that way in the 21st century?” she said. “No wonder the Church is losing touch if this is the kind of gobbledegook they want us to believe it."
Another woman, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: "We're supposed to let out husbands talk for us and remain silent? What kind of medieval sermon is that? We are not in the 15th Century. I have already cancelled by direct debit to the church."
Mr Oden said: “I did not set out to unnecessarily offend people, but I stand by what God has said in his word, The Bible. “I am passionate about helping people.
COMMENT: MadPriest says: BDSM is an enjoyable and harmless hobby if practiced safely and kept at home. However, it has no place in the modern Church Of England except on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
A parishioner who says he has been wrongly exiled has placed his faith in the Supreme Court.
The first sign of trouble for Bruce Haddon came at an impromptu meeting with his pastor, the Reverend Dominic Steele, the conservative rector of St Aidan's Anglican Church in Annandale. Mr Steele informed Mr Haddon that he had become aware, via members of Mr Haddon's home Bible study group, that he had questioned the accuracy of the Old Testament. As punishment, Mr Haddon says, he was banned from his ministry role within the church, where he had been appointed to greet parishioners arriving at Sunday evening services.
But it was just a hint of what was to come for Mr Haddon largely sparked by a single email sent two years later in February 2008, containing allegations that Mr Haddon believes implied he was guilty of sexual misconduct towards women in the church. He claims it is all part of a vicious campaign to force him out of the church because of his liberal beliefs.
However a spokesman for the diocese said: ''Both Mr Steele as minister and Mr Batten (a parishioner) as parish councillor had a duty of care to the young women of the congregation which compelled them to act in the face of complaints. This legal action against them for upholding that duty will be actively and strenuously defended.''
Damaging rumours began to spread shortly after he was banned from duties, Mr Haddon believes, because the congregation was not given an explanation. He asked Mr Steele to clear the air by explaining to the congregation that the ban was on theological grounds, but that was not done. Shortly after, Mr Haddon was formally expelled, he says, without the opportunity to appeal.
Among Mr Haddon's beliefs are that the Bible contains factual errors, that women should enjoy equality in worship and marriage and that Jesus was not born of a virgin.
The case is set down for hearing in the Supreme Court from March 22.
COMMENT: The Head of the Family Firm's lackie sounds like a right cult to me.
This Synod has proved that the centre still holds and is still being supported on many issues by the open evangelical faction. Bearing in mind the Grand Tufti's one way love affair with the haters and his charismatic influence over the clergy in Synod, I am delighted with the way the voting went this week.
ACNA has been firmly told that although it is accepted that they want to have power in the Anglican Communion, the C. of E. doesn't want them to until they learn how to behave like Englishmen.
It looks like one of my greatest hopes, that the English Methodists will be back in the Anglican fold where they have always belonged, and within my lifetime is a lot closer,
And then we have this giant step as reported at THE GUARDIAN:
(Thanks to Paul (A) for sending
Baltic, the Polish dog rescued from the frigid Baltic Sea after a long journey on an ice floe, is again braving those waters - this time safely onboard the ship that saved him.
Wearing a bright orange lifejacket, Baltic embarked Wednesday on a three day mission alongside his new owner Adam Buczynski, a seaman who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last month.
Ewa Baradziej-Krzyzankowska, spokeswoman for the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia, co-owner of the ship, said the crew had anti-nausea pills for Baltic in case he gets seasick. She said the crew is also taking other precautions to keep the dog safe and comfortable during the voyage, whose purpose is to collect samples of fish and sea plants for an aquarium in Gdynia. As for answering the call of nature while at sea, Baltic quickly learned that he was to only use one spot on an outdoor deck that gets hosed down regularly.
Buczynski and other crew members spotted the dog Jan. 25 floating 15 miles (25 kilometers) from land. The rescue was difficult because the frightened, shivering dog kept falling into the icy water. Baltic was first seen two days earlier on the Vistula River, 60 miles (100 kilometers) inland, drifting on ice past the city of Grudziadz, where firefighters tried but failed to save him. It remains unclear where or when the dog's odyssey started.
Baradziej-Krzyzankowska said since his rescue, Baltic has shown a fear of water. Several days ago he resisted getting a bath that he badly needed to remove crusted salt from his thick fur. So Buczynski took him in his arms and carried him into the shower.
''They showered together,'' she said. ''This lifted the dog's confidence.''
In December, you were kind enough to link to my blog after I posted about people sleeping outside in the cold in my town and my own feelings of despair and powerlessness. I wrote that I didn't know what to do about this awful fact, and you added me to the prayer list. I suppose the prayer was for the people out in the cold and also that I would figure out how to be helpful in some way, and I know that God did give me a nudge in the right direction. I went to a meeting of the group that is trying to help the folks in the tent city, and discovered that they had decided to stop distributing propane for the portable heaters that the campers use, because their budget was so tight that they needed the money for other things.
I suggested that there could be a separate fund for propane that we could ask people to contribute to seasonally, and I gave them a very small donation to start off with. I've since been putting a small donation in that fund each month, and so, far, I've discovered that this has apparently been enough to keep the campers in propane through the cold nights. Such a small thing, and barely a sacrifice for me. I am certain that the prayers of your readers helped to keep some people warm here in Michigan. So your small act of reading my blog and linking to it, and the small acts of all the other people along the way are multiplied, and the reign of God --where we are all warm enough and have the basic necessities--gets a tiny bit closer. The people are still in tents, and this is still an abomination, but God wants to show us the way out of this mess, if we keep our hearts open and if we show to try to help, I think. Thank you again for the prayers and for your ministry, which is making a difference in tangible ways to people who have not even heard of you.
Here is the website for the tent city, by the way: http://sites.google.com/site/camptakenoticea2/Homeless
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thanks for that, Suzanne and thanks for actually doing something about something. You're a brick!
Friday, 12 February 2010
2 CORINTHIAN 3: 12 - 4:2
Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.
The written version of this sermon can be read at FOOTNOTES.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
01. Chillout - JD Daniel
02. Bite the Apple - Rainbow Team
03. Close Your Eyes - Deborah Bell
04. In A Week, In A Day
(Ashley Beedles Streetsoul Edit) - Kylie Auldist
05. Fun Town - Nate Calhoun
06. It's You Girl - Universal Love
07. Keep On Walking
- Al Supersonic & The Teenagers
08. Gone With The Wind Is My Love
(Instrumental) - The Dore Strings
09. Medicine Woman - Mocha Blue Blaze
10. The Church Is Within Us, Oh Lord
- Kent Schneider
At least, this story that has just come in on my newsreader has nothing to do with me this time. Unfortunately, it seems to be about our good friend, Sam at ELIZAPHANIAN.
It's a load of journalistic, holier than thou tosh from a newspaper where no doubt many of the staff screw and get drunk and take recreational drugs. Jesus was right about scribes - they can be such a bunch of hypocrites.
I'm not posting their nonsense on my 100% nonsense free blog. But do go read it by clicking HERE.
I will be posting posting this on Chin Wag for those of you who may feel constrained in your response by the high standard of political correctness and sober language I demand from you on this blog.
BUT, as they are offended party, it must be left to TEC to decide when that moment has arrived and it must be left to TEC to decide on the terms and conditions of such recognition. Personally, I trust TEC to one day face such a challenge with the same amount of Christian charity that they have shown to gay Christians in their own church and those who call for the destruction of TEC, both at home and abroad.
"None of this is news in the gay community, but few will speak publicly about it," author Scott James wrote in The Times.
Glenn T. Stanton, director of Focus on the Family, states, "The study demonstrates clearly what we've been arguing: That gays bring a different definition to marriage. And it's not just a different definition that male and female become optional, but that monogamy becomes optional as well. They are coming into marriage with a wholly different view of marriage than anybody has - left, right, conservative, liberal - They come in with that understanding of openness. These are people who come into marriage with a wholly different and really radical definition of what marriage is about."
A pink version of the popular Ouija board game has some critics seeing red.
The children's sleepover staple — sold by Hasbro since 1967 — now comes in hot pink, an edition released two years ago that gets tweens to call on "spirits" to spell out answers to life's pressing questions.
It's designed for young girls ages 8 and older, but some say the mysterious product is a "dangerous spiritual game" that opens up anyone, particularly Christians, to attacks on their soul.
The game continues to be sold at Toys R Us locations in the U.S. and Canada for $19.99.
COMMENT: I am not one to get overly excited about alleged occult activities. But messing with Ouija boards can have very scarey consequences. I am 100% certain that things happen that shouldn't happen and my certainty is based on 100% trustworthy evidence. MadPriest says DON'T DO IT! And, for goodness sake don't encourage your kids to play with fire. They could end up getting burned.
Palestinian and international human rights activists on Wednesday petitioned the United Nations to stop the construction of a museum on the site of a medieval Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem, saying it would disturb centuries-old graves.
"We have nowhere else to go," Rania Madi of the Palestinian rights group BADIL told reporters in Geneva, where the petition was filed.
The group said construction of the museum would violate Muslim religious and cultural rights, and such a project would never have been undertaken if the site was home to Jewish graves. At a news conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday to coincide with the filing of the petition, local resident Jamal Nusseibeh said his extensive family is buried at the site. "We have been fighting for this for years to preserve these graves. Its a chain that goes back to 1432 when my ancestor was buried there and it is part of the rich fabric of Jerusalem that is a symbol of tolerance," he said. "So why destroy this to build a museum?"
The name of the proposed museum will be The Museum of Tolerance. Exhibits will focus on the twin themes of mutual respect and social responsibility and impress on visitors the need for tolerance toward all religions and nationalities.
Yael Lerer, an Israeli activist who opposes the project, said it was a "very strange joke" to build a museum of tolerance on top of a cemetery.
An elderly Hindu man on Wednesday won the right to be cremated on a traditional funeral pyre in Britain, after a ruling by the Court of Appeal in London. Davender Ghai, who moved to Britain from Kenya in 1958 and is the founder of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society, was refused a permit for an open-air cremation site in Northumberland, northeast England, in 2006.
The 71-year-old lost a challenge to the decision at the High Court in London last May, but on Wednesday the Appeal Court said Ghai's wishes could be accommodated within existing legislation. Ghai welcomed the ruling, although he said his court battle had drained him "physically, mentally and financially."
"Now if I go tomorrow I will go peacefully, because I know that I will have a good send-off. Everyone should live and die according to their own religion," he told reporters outside the court.
The government, named as an interested party in the case, argued during the case that "others in the community would be upset and offended... and would find it abhorrent that human remains were being burned in this way."
But Ghai's lawyers argued that denying him the right to an open-air pyre conflicts with human rights legislation which protects, among other rights, the right to freedom of religious belief.
Judge David Neuberger asked Ghai's lawyer what his client wanted and was told the funeral pyre should be made of wood and be open to the sky -- but it could be surrounded by walls and the pyre covered with a roof with an opening.
"It seems to us that Mr. Ghai's religious and personal beliefs as to how his remains should be cremated once he dies can be accommodated within current cremation legislation," said Neuberger, who led a three-judge panel.
COMMENT: I have always fully backed Davender's campaign on the OCICBW... blog. It has always seemed to me to be a reasonable request, easily accommodated with the benefit to race relations in my country far outweighing any offence it might cause. Furthermore, I hope we shall all be able soon to take advantage of this ruling. Having seen the ovens in crematoria and having peered into many cold, dank graves in municipal burial grounds, I quite fancy the idea of being burned al freso - after I've gone to meet my maker, of course.
So, good on yer, old man.
For getting the
High profile Centre Party member of parliament Fredrick Federley passed the buck to Ursula, his transvestite alter ego, when put on the spot for accepting an all expenses paid trip to Gran Canaria.
The politician told newspaper Aftonbladet that his trip in early January was sponsored by around ten different companies, including budget airline Norwegian. Pressed by the newspaper on why he had accepted the paid trip, despite claims that he generally refused offers from the airline industry, Federley replied: "Well, this was pretty much tied to my drag personality, Ursula. It's not me as a member of parliament doing this; it's more a case of me travelling as my drag personality. Sometimes I get asked if I want to do something extra that has nothing at all to do with my parliamentary work. If it doesn't clash with the job, I'll take on a commission. And like anybody else I'll ask to be paid for it."
Federley explained that the purpose of the trip was to prepare travel tips for people intending to travel to the Spanish island's annual drag queen carnival.
Though apparently baffled by media interest in his extra-curricular activities, the MP was sure to maintain his keen business instinct.
"Maybe this will mean more publicity for Ursula, which in turn will lead to more work," he said.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
I've been encouraged.
Here's some more soul music.
Clarence Reid is the soul singer and songwriter who hides
behind the Blowfly personna when he wants to say puerile
things about the ladies. Other than being vile, Blowfly's claim
to fame is that he might have been the first rapper back in
65 with "Rap Dirty." However, forget about Blowfly and listen
to this because as a straight soul singer Reid was a major
talent, though rarely heard or recorded. The tracks on the
jukebox tonight are from a Tay-ster album from 1969.
But, in an infinite universe where anything possible will happen those same monkeys will not type the complete works of Shakespeare but will just type the letter "a" an infinite number of times because that too is possible.
But even within an infinite universe those two outcomes cannot exist at the same time because that would be an impossibility.
So, an infinite universe where everything that can possibly happen will occur cannot exist because certain possibilities cannot exist in the same space. Therefore the universe is finite.
Alternatively, of course, the universe could be infinite but not everything that can possibly happens occur. For example, mathematicians will state that in an infinite universe the earth will be duplicated an infinite number of times, because eventually a finite number of particles have to form themselves into repeating patterns as there is a limit to the number of different patterns they can form (see billiard balls). But, even in an infinite universe it could be the case that complex forms stop at a certain point and the rest of infinity is full of dust particles, bananas or nothing.
Fortunately for me, Grandmère Mimi was paying attention:
Which, of course, she usually is. But every clock has to be right at least once a day (or twice a day, in Mimi's case, as she's one of those old fashioned clocks that need winding up regularly).
However, I was right about one thing. I am still the most embarrassed person in the world at this moment in time. But it's because of my own stupidity rather than somebody else's.
Do not let this fact make you proud, my friends. But let your knowledge of it bring you the comfort and support of the only truly righteous one, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Frank Giuliano Has Saxy Nite In Manhattan
- Underlounge Experience
Never - With Compliments
La plage - Art of Soul
Acid Rain (feat. Julia Clay) - Dariush
Pie makers entering a competition at Gloucester Cathedral could find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The ancient venue has asked local cooks to submit a recipe for a pie – with the best one being put into production for sale in the Cathedral’s cafe.
However, according to research, making a Pilgrim’s Pie in Gloucestershire could break a law dating back to the Doomsday Book.
The book records pagans making Pilgrim’s Pies to sell to monks in the Gloucester area, an idea which enraged local ruler Egbert of Wessex so much that he outlawed the practice.
He also banned the sale of shepherds’ pies in the area at the same time.
COMMENT: You may think this is a bit silly. But just remember the fuss Dicky Dorkins made when the ladies of Saint Drucie The Incontinent's Mothers Union started selling Atheist Strudel at their weekly bring and buy.
A visionary from the Philippines, Duke Puntalangit, warns that the Fatima chastisements will begin this year 2010. According to the visionary, the Middle East crisis will eventually result into an all out war, though limited in that region, afterwhich, a revolution originating from Russia, will engulf Europe. These series of events will cause chaos and bloodshed in all major cities in Europe, the Pope will be murdered in exile, the global economy will plunge deeper, consequently giving the window of opportunity for Russia and China to execute militarily against Europe and the US.
The visionary further elaborates the chastisement as a series of events which he divides into two, namely, the eruption or reawakening of Marxism (Communism) through a revolution in Europe and then the nuclear confrontation of US versus Russia. The US, he says, will be severely affected, economically and politically by the Middle East War and the revolution in Europe. The US will also suffer internal civil disorder which will greatly affect its government's capability to function.
Puntalangit warns that mankind has entered a point of no return and that the chastisements are now non-conditional. He did not elaborate why mankind must suffer the chastisements but instead pointed to the Vatican with the claim that all the while the Pope had the key to world peace but didn't use it. He however emphasizes that the Virgin Mary's prophesied victory will definitely happen but will be realized only after the annihilation of several nations and the election of a new pope who will accomplished the request of the Virgin Mary for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
COMMENT: I feel a bit cheated. I wasn't expecting the end of the world until December 2012.
NewsChannel 3 has uncovered an arrest warrant accusing a church deacon of raising a knife against a fellow church member.
Deacon Hurley Jones of Wesley Grove United Church of Christ is accused of pulling a knife out and threatening another deacon.
Deacon Isaiah Smith, Jr. says a disagreement over the church parking lot escalated into an attempted assault at a church meeting.
"Oh no, you don't mess with Hurley Jones and pulled his knife out and he raised it above the head."
It's behavior that seems to be out of line with the scripture on the church marquee which reads, 'on the pathway to pleasing God'.
Monk said: "He is a lovely guy and we're still really good friends so there is nothing crazy about the split. Sometimes it just doesn't work out - especially with me."
That's understandable. Sometimes the job gets in the way.
And I'm looking forward to the challenge.
"God Collar" in THE INDEPENDENT:
Meanwhile, atheists are very much in his line of fire too, and perhaps more creatively so. "You're not cleverer than everyone else" he reminds those in the audience who have identified themselves as such (the vast majority of the room). The perceived monopoly of truth and intelligence by atheists seems to have been fuel to the fire of Brigstocke's personal spiritual meanderings and he reserves one of his most savage satires for Richard Dawkins. Brigstocke portrays him as prissy, preening and smug, and sums up one of the chapters of The God Delusion as saying: "Occasionally people have things called feelings. These are best avoided."
Bishop John Paterson said Glynn Cardy's position was always going to come up for renewal in April and his departure had nothing to do with the billboard.
Please pray for all our friends who are still suffering from isolation, power cuts and shortages following the recent storms and extreme wintry weather in the United States and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere.
Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti and those helping them. The "official" death toll has now reached 230000. This will be an underestimate.
Posted (9th. February 2010) by Mibi52 at REVMIBI:
Please pray for the repose of the soul of PH's uncle Rueben. He died this morning at the age of 70. He is the first of that generation to pass - hardy Swedes from the U.P. - and this will be very difficult for the family.
He was a faithful Christian, a devoted husband and father, and a funny, hardworking guy. Please pray, too, for his family, as they bid him farewell.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
February 9, 2010
CHURCH OF UGANDA’S POSITION ON THE ANTI HOMOSEXUALITY BILL 2009
The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular:
* protecting the vulnerabilities of the boy child;
* proportionality in sentencing;
* and, ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right.
Further, we recommend involvement of all stakeholders in the preparation of such a Bill in order to uphold Uganda’s values as they relate to human sexuality.
The full statement follows:
Church of Uganda’s position on Homosexuality
The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith, given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary from salvation.
Her mission is to “fulfill Christ’s mission through holistic teaching, evangelism, discipleship and healing for healthy and godly nations.”
The Church’s position on human sexuality is consistent with its basis of faith and doctrine, and has been stated very clearly over the years as reflected in various documents.
(see footnotes: i, ii, iii)
From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption.
Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other”. The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference).
At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.
The Objective of the Bill
The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.
We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:
a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;
b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;
c) prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act;
d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.
The need for a Bill that amends existing legislation
We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145-148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which do not explicitly address the other issues associated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature.
That notwithstanding, the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offenses such as lesbianism and bestiality. This would not require a fresh bill on homosexuality per se but rather an amendment to the existing provisions which would also change the title to something like “The Penal Code Unnatural Offenses Amendment Bill.”
As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following issues be taken into consideration:
1. Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.
2. Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.
3. Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right.
4. Existing and future Educational materials and programs on gender identity and sex education are in compliance with the values and the laws of Uganda.
5. The involvement of additional stakeholders in the evaluation of the gaps in the existing legislation, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its Department of Immigration and other relevant departments.
6. The undertaking of a comprehensive legislative and literature review of all the laws and literature related to the subject at hand in order to identify the actual gaps in the existing legislation.
As a Church, we affirm the necessity of appropriate amendments within the existing legislation and corresponding Penal Code sections. The Church of Uganda, being a part of the Anglican Communion, reiterates her position on human sexuality and her desire to uphold the pastoral position of providing love and care for all God’s people caught up in any sin and remaining consistent with Holy Scriptures of the Christian Church.
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala Diocese
i Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops [Anglican Communion] held in 1998
ii The Church of Uganda’s Position Paper on Scripture, Authority and Human Sexuality May 2005
iii Press Statement of February 21, 2007 by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi on the Primates’ Meeting held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
In the last few weeks we’ve seen a number of topics coming up in public discussion, all centring on one set of questions – a set of questions which I think reflects painfully accurately some of the problems we face in our church, locally and internationally. The heated debates around the Equality Bill brought this out in one way, some of the renewed flurries of pressure and anxiety about euthanasia and assisted dying in other ways. And as we look forward to our own debates later in the year on women bishops and on the Anglican Covenant, we may see the parallels. And in the middle of all the frustration that many feel about deferring the debate on women bishops, perhaps we can at least ask how we can spend the intervening time constructively, looking again at whether we might learn anything from the way our culture is moving that will help us maintain some level of health or maturity in our church. That is the task I’m going to attempt, with some trepidation, today.
So what are the questions that link these apparently diverse issues? I’d say that the main thing is something to do with the nature of freedom in society – and thus also with how we talk about our ‘rights’. Of course, this was most in evidence in the Equality Bill debates, though it was obscured by fantastic overstatements from zealots on both sides. The basic conflict was not between a systematic assault on Christian values by a godless government on the one side and a demand for licensed bigotry on the other. It was over the question of how society identifies the point at which one set of freedoms and claims so undermines another that injustice results. As in fact the bishops’ speeches in the Lords made quite clear, (despite the highly-coloured versions of the debate that were manufactured by some) very few Christians were contesting the civil liberties of gay and lesbian people in general; nor should they have been. What they were contesting was a relatively small but extremely significant point of detail, which was whether government had the right to tell religious bodies which of the tasks for which they might employ people required and which did not require some level of compliance with the public teaching of the Church about behaviour. Government had difficulty seeing that this was not just about clergy and official teachers of the faith; the Church had difficulty explaining that there might be positions, not covered by the neat definitions offered by the government, which had some kind of semi-official standing such that it would be very strange for someone to hold such a position when they were manifestly in dispute with some aspects of the Church’s teaching. But – as our own ongoing discussions about office-holders in the Church and membership of the BNP and similar organisations demonstrates, it is by no means easy to define at what point you want to identify the posts that have such a public and symbolic character that you need to require some kind of compliance.
That underlines a number of important things about the equality debates. One is that we all in fact recognise that communities and organisations have a certain liberty to define what belonging to them might entail; those who belong have to some extent chosen to live with the limits that a community has settled upon, even if they want to argue with those limits or seek to shift them. The limits may thus be a bit fluid; but whether and when they change is not to be decided from outside. The second point, arising from the first, is that if we concede the right to government to settle matters for religious bodies in some areas, how do we resist it in others? The rights and dignities of gay and lesbian people are a matter of proper concern for all of us, and we assume with good reason, even, I should say, with good Christian reason, that the securing of these rights is obviously a mark of civilised and humane society. When those rights are threatened – as in the infamous legislation that was being discussed in Uganda – we quite rightly express repugnance. But not all governments are benign and rational. And it is a short-sighted government that creates powers for itself which could be used by a later government for exactly opposite purposes. Not the least irony in the recent controversy is in the echoes of debate twenty years ago about another government’s attempts to regulate teaching about sexuality in schools – but in a quite opposite direction to what we now see prevailing. The freedom of government to settle debated moral questions for the diverse communities of civil society is not something we should endorse too rapidly: governments and political cultures change, and it is a mistake to grant to governments authority that could impact on us in other and even weightier areas, whatever authority we grant government to define fundamental and universal legal entitlements in society at large.
It cuts both ways. The diverse communities of civil society cannot and should not try to determine for the whole of society what legal freedoms should be granted to any particular category of people; but they will argue stubbornly for the freedom on their side to settle for themselves – not at the government’s command – how they define the jobs people do publicly on their behalf as specific communities of belief or interest. It is blindingly obvious that there are grey areas here, and that this formulation does not absolve us from argument; it is equally obvious that civil society communities, even religious ones, may change their expectations and conventions. But looking at it strictly from the rather abstract viewpoint I have been taking here, what matters is that government acknowledges that there is a boundary that it is risky to cross without creating ideological powers for the state that could be deeply dangerous for liberty in general.
In this case, the balance of liberties seems to come out in favour of the liberties of the religious community. Granting such communities freedom to define their own position does not negate the general legal freedoms of anyone; attempting to bind such communities by legal definition arguably does negate the liberties of the community to be what it says it is. But what about the second major ethical matter that has again been in the public eye lately? You will hear many saying that the Church’s opposition to legalised assisted dying is precisely an attempt to ‘determine for the whole of society what legal freedoms should be granted’; which would imply that the balance of liberties here comes out against the Church. I think this is wrong. The Church does not assume that it has the right to impose any solution; but it will argue fiercely, so long as legal argument continues, that granting a ‘right to die’ is not only a moral mistake, as I believe myself, but the upsetting of a balance of freedoms. The question isn’t about disadvantage to the Church (no-one – yet – denies the Church’s freedom to have a view and even a discipline about this), but about the liberties of some of the more vulnerable of the general population. The freedom of one person to utilise in full consciousness a legal provision for assisted suicide brings with it a risk to the freedom of others not to be manipulated or harassed or simply demoralised when in a weakened condition. Once the possibility is there, it will not only be utilised by the smallish number of high-profile hard cases but will also create an ethical framework in which the worthwhileness of some lives is undermined by the legal expression of what feels like public impatience with protracted dying and ‘unproductive’ lives.
I don’t think anyone in this hall would be unmoved by some of the agonising cases that have been in the public eye lately. And, as Andrew Brown shrewdly noted in the Church Times last week, the anxieties are also about our own future and our own capacity to bear prolonged pain and disability. But most of us here, I suspect, would say that the balance of liberties still comes out against a new legal framework, and in favour of holding to the principle – not that life should be prolonged at all costs, but that the legal initiating of a process whose sole or main purpose is to end life is again to cross a moral boundary, and to enter some very dangerous territory in practical terms. Most of us would still hold that the current state of the law, with all its discretionary powers and nuances about degrees of culpability in extreme cases, serves us better than an opening of the door into provision for the legal ending of lives.
You may disagree with the conclusions I have sketched on these two issues, but I hope you may also see that there is indeed a fundamental complex of concerns here about the balance of liberties in society. The questions are not best addressed in the megaphone tones we are all too used to hearing. In terms that I want to come back to later, they require a three-dimensional approach. The debate over the status and vocational possibilities of LGBT people in the Church is not helped by ignoring the existing facts, which include many regular worshippers of gay or lesbian orientation and many sacrificial and exemplary priests who share this orientation. There are ways of speaking about the question that seem to ignore these human realities or to undervalue them; I have been criticised for doing just this, and I am profoundly sorry for the carelessness that could give such an impression. Equally, there are ways of speaking about the assisted suicide debate that treat its proponents as universally enthusiasts for eugenics and forced euthanasia, and its opponents as heartless sadists, sacrificing ordinary human pity to ideological purity. All the way through this, we need to recover that sense of a balance of liberties and thus a conflict of what may be seen as real goods – something of the tragic recognition that not all goods are compatible in a fallen world And if this is true, our job is not to secure purity but to find ways of deciding such contested issues that do not simply write off the others in the debate as negligible, morally or spiritually unserious or without moral claims.
Something of that ‘tragic’ awareness is hard to avoid when we look at the decisions that face us in our Church. Most hold that the ordination of women as bishops is a good, something that will enhance our faithfulness to Christ and our integrity in mission. But that good is at the moment jeopardised in two ways – by the potential loss of those who in conscience cannot see it as a good, and by the equally conscience-driven concern that there are ways of securing the desired good that will corrupt it or compromise it fatally (and so would rather not see it at all than see it happening under such circumstances). And for both many women in the debate and most if not all traditionalists, there is a strong feeling that the Church overall is not listening to how they are defining for themselves the position they occupy, the standards to which they hold themselves accountable. What they hear is the rest of the Church saying, ‘Of course we want you – but exclusively on our terms, not yours’; which translates in the ears of many as ‘We don’t actually want you at all’.
And in the Communion? There is an undoubted good in the independence of local provinces, and there is an undoubted good in the fact that some provinces are increasingly patient, compassionate and thankful in respect of the experience and ministry of gay and lesbian people – entirely in accord with what the Lambeth Conferences and Primates’ statements have said. But when the affirmation of that good takes the form of pre-empting the discernment of the wider Anglican (and a lot of the non-Anglican) fellowship, and of acting in ways that negate the general understanding of the limits set by Bible and tradition, there is a conflict with another undoubted good, which is the capacity of the Anglican family to affirm and support one another in diverse contexts. The freedom claimed, for example, by the Episcopal Church to ordain a partnered homosexual bishop is, simply as a matter of fact, something that has a devastating impact on the freedom of, say, the Malaysian Christian to proclaim the faith without being cast as an enemy of public morality and risking both credibility and personal safety. It hardly needs to be added that the freedom that might be claimed by an African Anglican to support anti-gay legislation likewise has a serious impact on the credibility of the gospel in our setting.
And in the Communion we have no supreme executive to make the decisions that might settle how the balance of freedom might be worked out. The Anglican Covenant has been attacked in some quarters for trying to create an executive power and for seeking to create means of exclusion. This is wholly mistaken. There is no supreme court envisaged, and the constitutional liberties of each province are explicitly safeguarded. But the difficult issue that we cannot simply ignore is this. Certain decisions made by some provinces impact so heavily on the conscience and mission of others that fellowship is strained or shattered and trust destroyed. The present effect of this is chaos – local schisms, outside interventions, all the unedifying stuff you will be hearing about (from both sides) in the debate on Lorna Ashworth’s motion. So what are the vehicles for sharing perspectives, communicating protest, yes, even, negotiating distance or separation, that might spare us a worsening of the situation and the further reduction of Christian relationship to vicious polemic and stony-faced litigation? As I have said before, it may be that the Covenant creates a situation in which there are different levels of relationship between those claiming the name of Anglican. I don’t at all want or relish this, but suspect that, without a major change of heart all round, it may be an unavoidable aspect of limiting the damage we are already doing to ourselves. I make no apology, though, for pleading that we try, through the Covenant, to discover an ecclesial fellowship in which we trust each other to act for our good – an essential feature of anything that might be called a theology of the Body of Christ.
This, you see, is where the Christian understanding of freedom has a distinctive contribution to make to the broader discussion of liberties in society. Christian freedom as St Paul spells it out is always freedom from isolation – from the isolation of sin, separating us from God, and the isolation of competing self-interest that divides us from each other. To be free is to be free for relation; free to contribute what is given to us into the life of the neighbour, for the sake of their formation in Christ’s likeness, with the Holy Spirit carrying that gift from heart to heart and life to life. Fullness of freedom for each of us is in contributing to the sanctification of the neighbour. It is never simply a matter of balancing liberties, but of going to another level of thinking about liberty. And the ‘purity’ of the body of Christ is not to be thought of apart from this work. It is not to put unity above integrity, but to see that unity in this active and sometimes critical sense is how we attain to Christian integrity. The challenges of our local and global Anglican crises have to do with how this shapes our councils and decision-making. It is not a simple plea for the sacrifice of the minority to the majority. But it does mean repeatedly asking how the liberty secured for me or for those like me will actively serve the sanctification of the rest.
Sometimes that may entail restraint – as I believe it does and should in the context of the Communion – though that restraint is empty and even oppressive if it then refuses to engage with those who have accepted restraint for the sake of fellowship. The Covenant specifically encourages and envisages protracted engagement and scrutiny and listening in situations of tension, and that is one of the things that makes it, in my view, worth supporting. If one party accepts restraint, it must be in the hope that they and the rest of the fellowship are then prepared to engage and to look critically at their own assumptions as well as those of the others. For Christians, the ‘balance of liberties’ is not static.
Here in the Synod, we face not only the question of how we are to frame legislation that, as I think I’ve said before in this context, has something of good news in it for everyone, not only for one group, but also the longer-haul question of how we go on learning from each other beyond the point of decision. Whatever we decide, we need to look for a resolution that allows some measure of continuing dignity and indeed liberty to all – in something like their own terms. It isn’t enough to brush aside the problems some find with codes of practice or others find with the need for women bishops to transfer authority automatically. People have a claim to be heard in their own terms, just as we have been arguing in Parliament. And we have to make difficult judgements about whether granting this freedom to this group is more likely to undermine someone else’s freedom than if the position were reversed. Only – as Christians we somehow have to add to that the question of how granting any freedom anywhere is going to set free the possibility of contributing to each other’s holiness.
Earlier I mentioned ‘three-dimensionality’. Seeing something in three dimensions is seeing that I can’t see everything at once: what’s in front of me is not just the surface I see in this particular moment. So seeing in three dimensions requires us to take time with what we see. It may help us look more critically at solutions that seek to do much all at once; and perhaps to search for structures that will keep open the ability to learn from each other. Sometimes those structures may embody what seems to some an unwelcome degree of distance: that would be true of some possible consequences of the Covenant and some proposals for the minority in the women bishops debate. What matters, though, is what they would make possible if used creatively over time; we cannot predict what future reconciliations may be helped to happen by imaginative and empathetic policies now.
But there is the simpler sense of three-dimensionality which just reminds us that the other we meet is the person he or she is, not the person we have created in our fantasies. The priest from Forward in Faith finds himself going to a woman priest for spiritual counsel because he has recognised an authenticity in her ministry from which he can be enriched. The Christian feminist recognises that the Resolution C parish down the road has a better programme for community regeneration than any other in the deanery. The week before last, I spent a morning in the parish of St Ann’s, South Bronx, in New York, one of the most violent and impoverished communities in the city. I watched them feeding several hundred people, I was taken to the after-school club where local children learn the literacy and other skills they don’t get in their public schools. I spoke with an astonishing Hispanic woman who has single-handedly created a campaign against gun crime in the Bronx that seeks to bring a million women on to the streets, and I saw how prayer unobtrusively shaped every aspect of this work and how people were introduced to Jesus Christ. And I was reminded of another parish in New Orleans that I visited a couple of years ago – a local church planted as a result of the relief work of the Diocese, when local people begged for a church to be opened because they had seen the love of Christ in the work done with and for them. Three-dimensionality in the Episcopal Church which some are tempted to dismiss as no more than a liberal talking shop. I’ve no doubt similar stories could be told of parishes in the ACNA. And then I think of a telephone conversation in December with the Archbishop of Uganda, discussing what was being done by Ugandan Anglicans in the devastated north of the country – in the rehabilitation of child soldiers and the continuing, intensely demanding work with all victims of trauma in that appalling situation, work that no-one else is doing or is trusted to do; and the ongoing work of care for those with HIV, where the Uganda Church was in the forefront of African responses to that crisis. Three-dimensionality in a church that has been caricatured as passionately homophobic and obsessed with narrow Biblicism.
It is only a three-dimensional vision that can save us from real betrayal of what God has given us. It will oblige us to ask not how we can win this or that conflict but what we have to give to our neighbour for sanctification in Christ’s name and power. It will oblige us to think hard about freedom and mutuality and the genuine difficulty of balancing costs or restraints in order to keep life moving around the Body. It will deepen our desire to be fed and instructed by each other, so that we are all the more alarmed at the prospect of being separated in the zero-sum, self-congratulating mode that some seem to be content with. If, as Our Lord says, the blessed are those who are hungry for God’s justice, perhaps we shall discover our blessedness as we hunger for what the neighbour, the stranger and the opponent has to give – and find the time for them to give it and us to receive it: ‘doing justice’ to them in their three-dimensional reality. And we may be able to show to the world a face rather different from that anxious, self-protective image that is so much in danger of entrenching itself in the popular mind as the typical Christian position. I deeply believe that this Church and this Synod is still capable of showing that face and pray that God will reveal such a vision in us and for us.