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August 26th, 2010
02:38 PM ET

African bishops chide Anglican leader on homosexuality

Conservative Anglican bishops pressed the head of the worldwide church over homosexuality at a conference this week in Uganda, demanding he "sort out" the crisis facing the world's third-largest Christian denomination.

Bishops from Singapore, Southeast Asia and Africa told Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in closed-door sessions Tuesday and Wednesday that there should be no more diplomacy on homosexuality, an issue that has split the Anglican communion.

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, head of Uganda's Anglican church and the host of the week-long All Africa Bishops Conference, said the Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured administering communion at the conference) faces a complicated task in trying to reunite the church.

"He (Williams) spoke what was on his mind and we also spoke. We impressed it on him that he had totally gone in a different direction and he has to sort it out," Orombi told journalists after their closed-door meeting on Wednesday.

"We sympathize with his position as head of the Anglican communion suffering disunity on moral grounds and teaching of the scripture. It's like having unruly kids in his house and he can't sit down to eat food."

"We have told him and he understood us, that (there's) no more diplomacy on that matter, homosexuality. We made our minds very clear and he is going back knowing there is no gray area on our part," Orombi said.

Journalists who tried to question Williams on the subject at the conference were rebuffed by aides who surrounded him. The archbishop returned to England Thursday, but CNN calls to his office were not immediately returned.

However, Williams preached tolerance in a sermon after the meetings, reminding African bishops that a good leader does not abandon his flock. He did not bring up the issue of homosexuality.

"Every human being is precious to God," the Archbishop of Canterbury said. "We need to be seen as church leaders who address the real issue affecting our people. ... We need to be there with people who need amnesty."

Williams has condemned the consecration of openly gay bishops in the United States' Episcopal Church, which is part of the larger Anglican communion, saying the move deepened the rift within the church and calling for a diminished role for the Episcopalian faction.

Ian Ernest, archbishop of the Indian Ocean and chairman of the Coalition of African Prelates Association, described the meeting with Williams at the bishops' conference as a session that was "done courteously, and in an open spirit of brotherhood."

"There is consistent propaganda to make the lie appear the truth and we should counter it with truth that the God's primary intention was not for a man to marry a fellow man," Ernest said.

Overall Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Dikeriehi Okoh, agreed.

"We are discussing with others to give them pastoral counseling to overcome the difficulties in their sexual orientation," Okoh said. "We stand for family in the sense of man and woman having children. We don't believe that two men or two women can create a family."

Despite homosexuality being unacceptable, Orombi said, gays and lesbians should not be killed–as called for in the anti-homosexuality bill proposed in the Ugandan parliament–because they are people in need of help.

The Anglican Church counts 77 million members worldwide.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Too Sexy For Some

    God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and STEVE.

    God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and SUSAN, JANE, BECKY and AMY.

    Oh, wait, God made everybody. People are too sexy!

    August 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  2. Mundi

    Please do not bash the Anglican Communion, the english church was founded by St. Augustine the first archbishop of canterbury throught the gift of apostolic succession.

    August 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  3. Reality

    From anwsers.com

    Henry VIII ruled England from 1509-1547 and remains one of that country's most famous and cont-roversial kings. Henry's hearty appet-ites and fic-kle pas-sions are legendary, and his demand for a male heir led him to marry six different women. (Two of those wives, Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard, were executed on his order.) Henry's divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, led the king to split with the Catholic Church and found his own church, the Church of England, which in turn set the stage for the English Reformation and for religious battles which lasted for centuries. (It also led to his famous clash with Sir Thomas More, who was tried for treason and executed.) Henry is also known for his great girth; his obe-sity probably con-tributed to his death at age 56. He was succeeded by Edward VI, his short-lived son with Jane Seymour. Henry's daughter with Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, eventually took the throne and became one of England's most powerful and longest-reigning monarchs.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Jesse

      That's really a very simplistic view of a complicated issue in history. Henry Tudor (VIII) wanted a male heir it's true..but that's related to the fact that England at the time was not the big player in Europe. A female ruler would not have the same 'strength' he felt as a female (boy did Elizabeth I prove that wrong) OK for starters as stated else where here in this thread The C of E was established at the direction of Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome by Augustine of Canterbury. Henry had nothing to do with the establishment or creation of the C of E Augustine did. And indeed it was Parliement that declared Henry not the bishop of Rome was the head of the church in England. Of course they did because Henry ordered it. The bishop of Rome it cannot be assumed, declined the annulment of Henry's marriage out of some moral high ground but rather out of fear. As I said England was not a big player in Europe yet BUT the Holy Roman Emperor and the monarchy of Spain were. So it can be also a wise move politically on that pope's part not to offend them by separating their daughter Catherine from the husband she loved. Henry's move was purely a political one he cared not for the reformist tastes some of his country men indeed the full effect of the reformation wasn't felt in England until Cromwell ..save that for another day. Henry's move was political..he simply changed the government of the C of E to him running it not the bishop of Rome. Apostolic sucession was maintained in the C of E. And to disparage the faith of so many based on your own particular simplistic view of complicated events is neither fair to history or helpful in this discussion.

      August 29, 2010 at 2:19 am |
  4. Jimmy

    The African Bishops have far, far more pressing problems in Africa to worry about than gays. They need to be fixing the violence, killings, genocide, poverty and crippled minds of the continent. Once they turn their actions to real problems, then maybe the rest of their words would matter.

    August 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  5. Jessie

    I hear they want to build an Anglican church near Ground Zero...scary. I don't want these freaks in my backyard

    August 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  6. Ben

    If a family is a man and a woman with children, what do these people think about single parent households? Well at least they are against killing someone just because they're homosexual.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  7. brad

    "Despite homosexuality being unacceptable, Orombi said, gays and lesbians should not be killed–as called for in the anti-homosexuality bill proposed in the Ugandan parliament–because they are people in need of help."
    We're told the church is irrelevant. Is it still irrelevant when it opposes killing gays and lesbians?

    August 27, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  8. Todd

    Glad to see the Africans standing on principle. Hopefully the West turns it's act around and recognizes the consequences, certainly earthly, perhaps beyond.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  9. EmilyH

    We are talking here about two very different presuppositions about homosexuality and theology resulting from those suppositions. In the case of the Africans, the supposition is that homosexuality is a choice, and/or an illness. It is a perversion of what has in tended. In the case of choice. It is to be punished. In the case of illness, cured. The Church is to either punish the sinner or offer support to the afflicted who repents of his sin and chooses wellness. The West does not see homosexuality as a choice or a perversion of God's choice for his people. Nor does it seek in Leviticus a singular biblical imperative for homosexuality. Lines have been drawn in the sand, primarily by an African church unwilling to tolerate the presence among it of those who practice or suborn a practice they perceive as anathema and culturally abhorrent. A practice Bishop Orombi has called "un-African". By contrast, the draconian measures proposed by Uganda and practiced by other African countries against homosexuals, the western Christians may perceive as opposed to the most basic of Gospel values and unjust,- in the injustice "un-American" In this, Reverend Williams is truly stuck between a rock and a hard place. The war, ironically, may ultimately be fought in his own territory as The Church of England grapples with this issue.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  10. Derek North

    Who cares what these pedophiles in drag think.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:39 am |
    • Carlo

      Do you know the meaning of the word "slander"?

      August 27, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • Jimmy

      Yes. Slander is speech which can cause damage to a reputation of one while based on untrue grounds. Calling homosexuals sick or in need of help, while clear psychological science says otherwise, is slander.

      August 27, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Kate

      I think you're trying to insult Roman Catholics, not Anglicans. Big difference. One's a global authoritarian institution with pretensions to infallibility, which only ordains celibate men and doesn't like to admit fault. The other's a fading English post-colonial network of parish priests trying to keep their communities together, who stereotypically have devoted, exhausted wives and children. Guess which Church has the pedophile scandal.

      September 7, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  11. Ed

    Read Romans 1: 24 – 32

    August 27, 2010 at 5:35 am |
  12. JJ

    Girl on girl action is ok? Isn't it?

    August 27, 2010 at 4:04 am |
  13. Keith

    Looks like Africa hasn't gone politically correct. Nor Singapore nor S.E. Asia, good for them. PC is a disease.

    August 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  14. Tim

    I forsee more schisms ...

    August 26, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  15. Liz

    I really hate organized religion sometimes. Actually, most of the time.

    August 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm |
    • john

      Think twice before bashing organized religion. Christianity gave you the printing press, public education, public health care, and public charity, not to mention a large percent of the greatest art, music and architecture. It was the monasteries that kept the light of learning alive during the Dark Ages. The odds are that you would not exist today had it not been for the Church.

      A religion that has had so much to do with building up a civilization has a right to speak out when it believes that civilization is at risk.

      August 27, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • GrungeFactor

      @john

      Christianity did NOT give us things like the printing press or any of those other things. Those things were developed SEPARATE from Christianity's oppressive teachings. Many of them were developed before Christianity even came on the scene. Get your facts straight.

      Religion has always held back civilization and civilizing influences. Civility is a secular activity while "Holy war" is a religious activity. Your propaganda is invalid.

      It is religion that destroys civilizations. A deluded way of thinking has no body and no self. And it sure doesn't have any dam rights.

      Your "speaking out" is nothing more than an attempt to destroy truth with insinuations and falsehoods. Your post is a pompous pr!ck of a post and should be blasted from the Internet.

      August 28, 2010 at 4:55 am |
    • padremambo

      chances are, wherever you see organization, there will be some religious impulse. @grungefactor – are you saying that any religion, by necessity, is defined only by its oppressive teachings? And secularism is ONLY defined by its liberating teachings? In your worldview, do secular states engage in war?

      I know it's not a convenient narrative, but by and large the church was involved in scientific research throughout most of its history.

      August 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • GrungeFactor

      @padremambo

      You seem to equate "organization" with "religious impulses". They are two very different things. You also seem to be convinced that one always gives rise to the other. They do not always do so.

      Your statement that the "church" was involved in scientific research throughout most of its history is patently false if you mean the Catholic Church and mostly false if Protestant / Jewish / Muslim.
      To state otherwise is nothing more than exaggeration and distortion. I do not know if this is deliberate or a result of heavy indoctrination but I do not trust anyone who likes to hide behind religious reasons for doing evil, so I will assume the worst.

      Religion is not defined by it's oppression or lack of it. Patterns of function and method define whether something is a religious activity or a secular activity in my opinion.

      A belief system that does not include scientific evidence to prove its tenets is likely to be a religion. That religions like to grab at straws in trying to prove the patently unprovable is typical of religions in general. Religious apologists like to have it both ways and so tend to invalidate their arguments with same.

      There is very little in religion that truly gains by trying to use scientific rules of evidence to explain it. To say that religion is "behind" all these scientific endeavors is to be deliberately misleading and conveniently vague.

      Building up a civilization is to build up a secular form of organization whether the main theme is religious or not. Civilization is a human-based societal construct. The personal motives of those involved are *personal* motives. Religion is a belief system with certain properties, whereas a civilization can be of ANY sort.

      And your post is, indeed, almost as pompous as the other one. Thank you for trying to hold it back.

      August 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • GrungeFactor

      @padremambo

      You seem to equate "organization" with "religious impulses". They are two very different things. You also seem to be convinced that one always gives rise to the other. They do not always do so.

      Your statement that the "church" was involved in scientific research throughout most of its history is nothing more than exaggeration and dist0rtion. I do not know if this is deliberate or a result of heavy ind0ctrination but I do not trust anyone who likes to hide behind religious reasons for doing evil, so I will assume the w0rst.

      Religion is not defined by it's oppres-sion or lack of it. Patterns of fun-ction and method define whether something is a religious activity or a secular activity in my opinion.

      A belief system that does not include scientific evidence to prove its tenets is likely to be a religion. That religions like to grab at straws in trying to prove the patently unprovable is typical of religions in general. Religious apologists like to have it both ways and so tend to inv-alidate their arguments with same.

      There is very little in religion that truly gains by trying to use scientific rules of evidence to explain it. To say that religion is "behind" all of these scientific endeavors is to be deliberately va-gue and misleading.

      Building up a civilization is to build up a secular form of organization whether the main theme is religious or not. Civilization is a human-based societal construct. The personal motives of those involved are *personal* motives. Religion is a belief system with certain properties, whereas a civilization can be of ANY sort.

      And your post is, indeed, almost as pomp0us as the other one. Thank you for trying to hold it back.

      August 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • john

      Oh my! It appears that I have hit a nerve. Very good. The Christ was an expert at that. It is my honour to carry on the Christian tradition of goading the toads.

      GrungeFactor, I suggest that you get your history straight. Since you evidently need it spelled out in words of one syllable, I am not, I repeat, NOT, arguing that the influence of Christianity has been positive in every aspect. Neither has secularism, nor any other human approach to the world's problems. Individual Christians can be and have been just as wrong and you and me.

      The fact that you demand that my views be blasted from the Internet speaks volumes for your cause. I will pray for you, brother.

      August 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  16. AFD

    "Despite homosexuality being unacceptable, Orombi said, gays and lesbians should not be killed–as called for in the anti-homosexuality bill proposed in the Ugandan parliament–because they are people in need of help."

    Nice afterthought by the Ugandan archbishop. Let's see, the pressing issue is how to remove homosexuals as bona fide members of their church, but not killing them is a mere addendum.

    August 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Reality

    It is also unbelievable that a Christian sect founded by the murdering, womanizing Henry VIII still exists in the 21st century!!!

    August 26, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • Ghenghis Khan

      @Reality -> Really! Remember that the Church of England, the Episcopalians, were founded so Henry VIII could divorce. Now that the same church endorses homosexuality, why should we be surprised? Episcopal priests can marry, so we hear little of the Episcopalian Child Molesters. Maybe the Holy See should convert to Episcopal. We still celebrate the Mass and take Communion, believe in one Catholic and Apostolic Church.....hell, scratch an Episcopalian and you find a Catholic.
      And we _never_ touch brown liquor. Martinis, please..very dry, with an olive.....Praise Jesus!

      August 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • Jeff

      Well sorry to disappoint you but it does exist! And thank God for the African bishops. Thank God the Anglican Communion is passing through a trying period. Thank God She is passing through fire because she will come out as refined and pure gold. So if you are anti-Anglican that's your business! IN YOUR VERY PRESENCE GOD WILL GLORIFY HIMSELF IN HER and you will NEVER benefit!

      August 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jeff

      Secondly, it is not a Christian sect! And actually it was not founded by Henry VIII.

      August 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Henry VIII ruled England from 1509-1547 and remains one of that country's most famous and cont-ro-ver-sial kings. Henry's hearty ap-p-etites and fi-c-kle pas-sions are legen-dary, and his demand for a ma-le he-ir led him to marry six different women. (Two of those wives, Anne Boleyn and Katha-rine Howard, were exe-cuted on his order.) Henry's divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, led the king to split with the Catholic Church and found his own church, the Church of England.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Reality

      Two of Henry VIII's wives, Anne Boleyn and Katha-rine Howard, were exe-cuted on his order. Henry's div-orce from his first wife, Cathe-rine of Ara-gon, led the king to split with the Catholic Church and found his own church, the Church of England.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Reality

      Henry VIII king of England remains one of that country's most famous and cont-ro-versial kings. Henry's hearty appetites and fic-kle pas-sions are legendary, and his demand for a ma-le heir led him to marry six different women. (Two of those wives, Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard, were exe-cuted on his order.) Henry's divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, led the king to split with the Catholic Church and found his own church, the Church of England.

      August 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • courtney

      Ever heard of the Spanish Inquisition? Lets be real, history is full of murders commited due to religious differences. I am very proud of the Episcopal Church and it's stance on this matter. We are all children of God.

      August 31, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  18. TammyB

    I cannot believe that in the 21st century, an actual country (Uganda) would propose anti-gay legislation that would mandate they be KILLED! Yikes! Crazy! But then there are crazy things all over this world that are hard to believe sometimes!

    August 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  19. Skeeg

    Family is people living together. Period.
    The gall of some people is amazing. They will spout the most fantastic nonsense and call it truth.
    The Bishop is just doing his job, which is a retarded one. I don't know why anyone needs his permission to do anything.
    If these people have a problem with him, why the truck don't they just make their own church?

    Oh, wait. It's probably about MONEY. Why else would they go to all that trouble?

    August 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  20. Chris Vogel

    Many Africans are, as it turns out, good little colonials, adopting western Christianity–and especially the uglier parts of it–over their native religions, most of which had no objection to homosexuality. Perhaps they will continue to revive the traditional response of the Christian church to difference: murder for the masses, torture and brutal execution for individuals, happily no longer permitted by western secular governments. However, the African bishops' determination "to sever all ties" is a good idea. We can stop sending them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, which is largely wasted anyway.

    August 26, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.