Anglicans Appease Homophobes
Archbishop of Canterbury puts church unity before gay equality.
Canterbury, UK - 1 August 2008
The Lambeth Conference seems more interested in appeasing homophobes within the church than in defending the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, said queer human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
"The Archbishop of Canterbury is putting church unity before gay equality. There should be no collusion with anti-gay bishops who support the imprisonment of gay people and the banning of gay churches.
"Dr Rowan Williams would never appease racists or anti-Semites. Why, then, is he seeking to accommodate within the Anglican Communion boastful homophobes like the Archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda?"
Mr Tatchell was speaking yesterday (31 July) to reporters at the Lambeth Conference - the once in ten years gathering of the Anglican and Episcopal churches from around the world - which is currently being held at the University of Kent in south-east England.
Members of OutRage! and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement picketed yesterday's conference session on homosexuality. On a grassy bank outside the conference entrance they laid out a giant 40-foot by 20-foot banner emblazoned with the words "Stop Crucifying Queers."
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They also displayed placards with the words: "Anglicans! Repent your homophobia," "Defend gays, fight Christian bigots" and "Anglicans preach sexual apartheid."
"In order to avoid having to look us in the eye, many of the cowardly bishops scuttled out a side entrance and made an ignominious retreat past a smelly alley piled high with garbage," reported Mr Tatchell.
His fellow protester and OutRage! colleague, Brett Lock, added:
"The Lambeth Conference has failed to defend lesbian and gay human rights. Its fence-sitting attempts to reconcile the opponents and defenders of homosexual human rights are doomed to failure. There can be no reconciliation with bishops who want to deny gay people dignity, respect and human rights.
"Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria has backed legislation to outlaw gay churches, gay organisations, gay HIV prevention programmes and gay human rights advocacy.
"Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, excommunicated heterosexual bishop, Christopher Senyonjo, after he spoke out against the persecution of lesbian and gay Ugandans.
"The anti-gay diatribes of both men help fuel of the atmosphere of homophobic hatred, discrimination and violence that exists in their countries.
"Archbishop Rowan Williams and the Lambeth Conference have not shown moral leadership. Their unwillingness to challenge homophobes within their own church is a major moral shortcoming and a tragic betrayal of the LGBT community," said Mr Lock.
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