For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Car un enfant nous est né, un fils nous est donné, Et la domination reposera sur son épaule; On l'appellera Admirable, Conseiller, Dieu puissant, Père éternel, Prince de la paix.
I am very pleased that the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York has issued the following statement regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Laws being proposed in Uganda.
Rowan, we are still waiting.
The "Anti-Homosexuality Laws" proposed in Uganda
A Statement from The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk
December 22, 2009
The Ugandan government's proposal to intensify the sanctions provided in its contemptible laws criminalizing homosexuality has rightly drawn condemnation from those who love justice and respect human dignity.
I write now, very briefly, simply to join my voice with those that have been raised in opposition to this affront. To put the matter bluntly: for a Christian, no matter how many carefully culled Bible passages might be cited, no matter how lofty the spokesperson, there are no circumstances whatsoever that justify such oppression. Such tyranny is an offense to God. Happily the Anglican Communion is clearly on record supporting this view. Among others, I make reference to the actions of several Lambeth Conferences as well as to statements from the Primates Meetings, most recently their Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.
I do understand that in some places, Uganda being one of them, homosexuality is considered either a sin or a sickness (it could not be both); never-the-less neither understanding remotely justifies these terrible laws. I urge all Christian communities in Uganda to join together with a single voice in opposition to this outrage.
Further I urge that each and all of us examine and reexamine our own lives and repent of those injustices of which we are witting and unwitting participants.
Asks Archbishop to Reconsider Statement and Silence
CHICAGO, IL, December 7, 2009—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:
“For weeks the Archbishop of Canterbury has been silent as the Ugandan legislature considers making homosexuality a crime punishable by death. Lambeth Palace has let it be known that it was working behind the scenes to influence the situation because public confrontation would be counterproductive and disrespectful. Yet the election of the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a remarkably qualified gay woman as a suffragan bishop of Los Angeles, incited the Archbishop’s immediate statement of alarm, implying there would be grave consequences unless bishops and standing committees in the Episcopal Church refused to consent to her election.
“Canon Glasspool is a qualified, respected and beloved servant of God whom the Diocese of Los Angeles has discerned has the gifts of the Spirit to help lead their ministry. She is no threat to the work of God or to Jesus’ commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves. On the other hand, executing gay people and creating a state system of oppression is a gross violation of the spirit of the one who welcomed the outcast to his table. We are as perplexed by the Archbishop’s speedy condemnation of the former as we are by his prolonged silence of the latter.
“We believe that honoring the relationships and ministries of gay and lesbian Christians, is, in the end, the only way in which the Anglican Communion can be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope that when the Archbishop realizes the damage he has done to the Communion’s ministry among gay and lesbian Christians and those who seek justice for them, he will reconsider both the words he has spoken and the words he has not.”
The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.
As people of faith, we are saddened and disappointed by the New York State Senate’s vote against marriage equality for same-sex couples. The failure to enact this legislation means that families headed by same-sex couples, including families with children, will continue to be denied the same economic security and legal protections that heterosexual married couples have. It is disheartening and is not in keeping with the resolutions of our own Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons “are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens” (GC Resolution A-71, 1976).
Nevertheless, we ask that the people of the Episcopal Diocese of New York diocese, both straight and gay, lay and clergy, continue to keep faith and put their energy into seeing that marriage equality happens in the future. You may want to contact your state senators about their votes. (A listing of the votes of all New York State Senators can be found below.) It is especially important to contact those senators who voted for the legislation. They are our allies, and many spoke eloquently and courageously on behalf of equal treatment for all New York families. They deserve our thanks and support.
In calling your senators and in continuing to advocate, be sure to let them know that the Episcopal Diocese of New York remains on the record as supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples, as per our resolution at the 2008 Diocesan Convention. Although the governor and the senate leaders were told of this, we should continually remind them as we go forward, so as to balance out the voices of other religious groups that fought against marriage equality.
We need to keep the faith and continue to honor our covenant to respect the dignity of every human being.
Stephen McFadden Chair, Diocesan Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns Episcopal Diocese of New York
The Reverend Mark Hummel Chair, Social Concerns Commission
Scroll Down: The vote of each state senator is below.
Eric Adams (D) — YES
Joseph Addabbo (D) — NO
James Alesi (R) — NO
Darrel Aubertine (D) — NO
John Bonacic (R) — NO
Neil Breslin (D) — YES
John DeFrancisco (R) — NO
Ruben Diaz (D) — NO
Martin Malave Dilan (D) — YES
Tom Duane (D) — YES
Pedro Espada (D) — YES
Hugh Farley (R) — NO
John Flanagan (R) — NO
Brian Foley (D) — YES
Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R) — NO
Martin Golden (R) — NO
Joseph Griffo (R) — NO
Kemp Hannon (R) — NO
Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) — YES
Shirley Huntley (D) — NO
Craig Johnson (D) — YES
Owen Johnson (R) — NO
Jeffrey Klein (D) — YES
Liz Krueger (D) — YES
Carl Kruger (D) — NO
Andrew Lanza (R) — NO
Bill Larkin (R) — NO
Kenneth LaValle (R) — NO
Vincent Leibell (R) — NO
Tom Libous (R) — NO
Elizabeth Little (R) — NO
Carl Marcellino (R) — NO
George Maziarz (R) — NO
Roy McDonald (R) — NO
Hiram Monserrate (D) — NO
Velmanette Montgomery (D) — YES
Thomas Morahan (R) — NO
Michael Nozzolio (R) — NO
George Onorato (D) — NO
Suzi Oppenheimer (D) — YES
Frank Padavan (R) — NO
Kevin Parker (D) — YES
Bill Perkins (D) — YES
Michael Ranzenhofer (R) — NO
Joseph Robach (R) — NO
Stephen Saland (R) — NO
John Sampson (D) — YES
Diane Savino (D) — YES
Eric Schneiderman (D) — YES
Jose Serrano (D) — YES
James Seward (R) — NO
Dean Skelos (R) — NO
Malcolm Smith (D) — YES
Daniel Squadron (D) — YES
William Stachowski (D) — NO
Toby Ann Stavisky (D) — YES
Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) — YES
Antoine Thompson (D) — YES
David Valesky (D) — YES
Dale Volker (R) — NO
George Winner (R) — NO
Catherine Young (R) — NO
[December 4, 2009] The following is the statement of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori concerning proposed private member’s bill on homosexuality in the Parliament of Uganda:
The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005).
This has been the repeated and vehement position of Anglican bodies, including several Lambeth Conferences. The Primates’ Meeting, in the midst of severe controversy over issues of homosexuality, nevertheless noted that, as Anglicans, “we assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, Dromantine, 2005).
The Episcopal Church represents multiple and varied cultural contexts (the United States and 15 other nations), and as a Church we affirm that the public scapegoating of any category of persons, in any context, is anathema. We are deeply concerned about the potential impingement on basic human rights represented by the private member’s bill in the Ugandan Parliament.
In the United States and elsewhere, we note that changed laws do help to shift public opinion and urge a more humane response to difference. The Hate Crimes Act recently passed in the United States is one example, as are the many pieces of civil rights legislation that have slowly changed American public behavior, especially in the area of race relations. We note the distance our own culture still needs to travel in removing discriminatory practice from social interactions, yet we have also seen how changed hearts and minds have followed legal sanctions on discriminatory behavior.
We give thanks for the clear position of the United States government on human rights, for the State Department’s annual human rights report on Uganda, which observes that the existing colonial-era law on same-sex relations is a societal abuse of human rights, and for the State Department’s publicly voiced opposition to the present bill. We urge the United States government to grant adequate access to the U.S. asylum system for those fleeing persecution on the basis of homosexuality or gender identity, to work with other governments, international organizations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide adequate protection for these asylum seekers, and to oppose any attempts at extradition under a law such as that proposed in Uganda.
Finally, we note that much of the current climate of fear, rejection, and antagonism toward gay and lesbian persons in African nations has been stirred by members and former members of our own Church. We note further that attempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin.
We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.
We urge continued prayer for those who live in fear of the implications of this kind of injustice and discrimination, and as a Church, commit ourselves anew to seek partnerships with the Church of Uganda, or any portion thereof, in serving the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Gospel is larger than any party or faction. It is only in mutual service and recognition that we will begin to mend our divisions.
We are grateful for the willingness of the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace to hear this plea on behalf of all God’s people, and urge their continued assistance in seeking greater justice. We note the impediments this legislation would pose to the ability to continue a Listening Process in which all of the Anglican Communion is currently engaged.
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
I was born in Manhattan, which makes me a native New Yorker, and have lived in the New York / New Jersey area for most of my life, save a six year séjour à Paris. I was raised Roman Catholic but left in my late teens. I wandered about Christianity for several years, including being chrismated into the Western Orthodox Eglise Catholique Orthodoxe de France. I found the Episcopal Church about 10 years ago. I attend a mid-sized, progressive / inclusive, Anglo-Catholic, Episcopal church in the West Village. Four years ago I was asked by our rector to chair the LGBT Committee and two years ago was named to the diocesen LGBT Concerns Commission. I continue to serve in both of these capacties and have recently been named the Diocesan Organizer for the Diocese of New York for Integrity USA. A friend joked that I was becoming an Ueber Gay, hence the name of the blog.
"We appreciate the welcome the pope extended to those in the Anglican Communion who are disaffected. We for our part continue to welcome our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, both lay and ordained, conservative and liberal, who wish to belong to a church that treasures diversity of thought." The Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of New York on Benedict XVI's invitation to disaffected Anglicans.