As many will be aware Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni yesterday (February 24) signed into law an anti-gay law. It was done with a flourish in front of a battery of media cameras. The new law gathers lesbians into the ‘criminal category’ for the first time.
There seems little doubt that this shift in law is about hatred. It is designed to increase the persecution of people and destroy the love they feel for one another.
Making homosexuality illegal will make the vital HIV/AIDS education, and the honesty and openness about sexual behavior that work requires, extraordinarily difficult.
Policing and prosecuting the law will be corrosive to private life and loves and will demean those who do the policing.
Archbishop Tutu compared the law – which could see gay people facing lifetime prison sentences – to Nazism and Apartheid.
Our own Archbishops have (so far) been unable to come up with anything to say publically. They had press releases ready to go for a number of events recently like the death of Nelson Mandela. This event has been no less predictable.
Of course, it would be hypocritical for them to say anything. Difficult for me to say anything, for that matter. Our own church law is no different in its discrimination. Moreover, some nations in Polynesia, part of our Province, have similar laws – although without the same excessive punishment. From both angles we are could be accused of not setting our own house in order.
It is time for us to recognize what we have become and with whom we are now aligned. Lord have mercy upon us.
At the 2013 LSM Conference I shared a TED talk by Amanda Bennet. The motivation for sharing this talk was to prompt thinking and exploration of aspects of a vexed kind of discernment: when it is that we should work heroically for ongoing life in church communities that appear to be dying, and when we accept that the process of saying ‘Goodbye’ is the work to be done. Both pieces of work require the deepest levels of faith and hope from us in ministry.
It is my view that this discernment work requires wisdom and skills that we do not currently have easily to hand. The acquisition of this wisdom and skill will likely emerge through the wisest kinds of prayer, study, and conversation – sometimes from unlikely sources.
Here is the link to the talk:
2014 has us heading to Oihi Bay and Rangihoa where we will celebrate the formal welcome by Ruatara of Samuel Marsden on Christmas Day. Typically we think of Marsden’s sermon as the first tobe preached in Aotearoa. Of course, Ruatara’s hospitality – in response to the friendship he had made with Marsden in Australia – was the really the first sermon. Who knows what words were spoken by Ruatara or other Tangata Whenua before Marsden offered his words, but the act of intentional hospitality was the first preaching of Christianity on that day.
Come Christmas Day I expect to be there in the Bay, beside the cross. No doubt it will be very moving.
Leading up to that day many will be making pilgrimage up to the same area. The journeys will be opportunities for prayer and thanksgiving in what is sometimes called ‘the cradle of christianity’ for this country.
Scripture warns us against making a show of our praying ( Matt 6:5 -15), but, because I am deeply grateful for the hospitality of the people of the Parish of Waimate North for making it possible, my plan is to spend at least a couple of days a month praying the daily offices at Te Waimate. I get to stay right beside the Mission House and pray in the Church of St John the Baptist. It won’t be a big walk from one place to another, but it will be time in a deeply evocative space, time to reflect on who has gone before and what lies ahead