Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cables reveal officials met with Bahati at Church of Uganda HQ

Jump straight to Box Turtle Bulletin for coverage that cannot be improved -- including links to The Guardian's today.

But here are some stomach turning excerpts from the cables via Wiki-Leaks:
2. (C) PolOffs met with Bahati on December 15 to provide recent statements by Rick Warren and others against the anti-homosexuality bill. At Bahati’s request, the meeting occurred at the Anglican Church of Uganda’s headquarters where Bahati said he was reviewing the legislation with Anglican Church leaders. XXXXXXXXXXXX Bahati entered our meeting with a document entitled “The 10 Deadly Sins of Homosexuality”, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the current bill, saying it renders existing law more specific by defining homosexuality and attaching penalties for homosexual “recruitment”. He criticized international donors for short circuiting Uganda’s democratic procedures when it is in their interest, said demands to withdraw the legislation outright are unacceptable, and ridiculed recent threats by Sweden to cut its assistance (ref. A). Bahati attributed international criticism to a misreading of the text and a misunderstanding of the “situation on the ground” in Uganda.
8. (C) [David] Kato delivered a well-written speech defending the rights of gay and lesbians in Uganda. However, his words were nearly indecipherable due to his evident nervousness. Throughout Kato’s speech, XXXXXXXXXXXX UHRCXXXXXXXXXXXX openly joked and snickered with Bahati and Ssempa XXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXX representatives left shortly after Kato’s speech, fearing that Bahati had instructed the Inspector General of Police to arrest Kato. After a break, Ssempa showed graphic x-rated photos of what he described as gay sex, and several audience members rose to ask why authorities did not arrest Ugandan homosexuals when they had the chance. XXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXX said Members of Parliament who privately oppose the bill fear losing their seats if they speak out against the legislation, and therefore support the bill in public and will vote for it should it ever reach the parliamentary floor. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Bahati is blaming homosexuals for the spread HIV/AIDS, pornography, and increasing incidents of rape and defilement, and that the legislation is a diversionary ploy intended to steer attention away from real issues like corruption and the 2011 elections.

ACO issues study guide for Covenant

You too can own The Anglican Communion Covenant Study Guide and ancillaries.

Who needs our analysis when we have the Pluralist's fisking (more here)?

He notes it's a "study guide" that takes only one side. That's a category mistake - it's not a study guide, it's a marketing campaign. Buyer beware.

RevdLesley hears doublespeak.

Assorted links on religion - behavioral edition

1. While fervent believers benefit from their involvement, those with weaker beliefs are actually less happy than those who do not ascribe to any religion. These results may help explain why an increasing number of people are abandoning their faith.

2. A theory of liberal churches -- liberal in the sense of requiring moderate views and sacrifice.

3. This paper tries to explain the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility as a rational choice that virtually forecloses future doctrinal change and thereby triggers the adoption of more loyal behavior by church members.

4. Does higher income make you more altruistic? Evidence from the Holocaust. (But is it enough for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle?)

5. Thou wilt regret reminding thy significant other of the 10th Commandment.

6. The Bible for Straight Men

Asylum seekers' hope rests in David Kato, in death as in life

From The Guardian:
A lot happened to me in Uganda before I came to seek refuge here. I was imprisoned for being gay. I was also gang-raped, badly burned and beaten in a police station.
When I arrived here I was in a bad way. Aside from the internal pain I sustained from the rape, the burns were at that stage where they become boils filled with fluids – when they burst it is the most excruciating pain. They were all over my legs and thighs. I went to an NHS walk-in centre and they were so shocked they refused to touch me. They called the police who, after hearing how I got my injuries, took me to a rape referral centre. I was not prepared for what happened next. After you have been badly violated, the last thing you want is prying hands, bright lights and people checking you over, even if I now know it had to be done.

I got a doctor's letter confirming that I had been raped, and that my injuries corresponded with what I was saying. The police took forensic photos as well. Despite all this, I was refused asylum: I was told that the Home Office agreed that I was gay and could not deny I was attacked because of the medical report, but that I had to go back and relocate to another part of Uganda. I had to go to court a number of times and was asked to give details of my rape – despite having medical reports available. It was like experiencing the attack over and over again. It was only after conducting a public campaign, with the help of some very kindhearted British people and others around the world who signed my online petition, that I managed to get asylum.

So when I heard about BN at Yarl's Wood, my heart went out to her. The simple fact that her name appears in newspapers alongside the word "gay" is enough to put her in danger. If anyone saw the recent images of Kato in his coffin, then – I hate to say it – that is the same fate that awaits BN if she is sent back to Uganda.

Read it all.

Duncan issues godly directive to his diocese

Bob Duncan, The Archbishop of the one province ACNA, bishop of the ACNA Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a statement to his diocese concerning the settlement that the Somerset Anglican Fellowship negotiated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh without the input, fore-knowledge or approval of the Diocese.
In light of these very serious developments, I feel compelled to issue a godly directive to all of the clergy of the diocese not to engage in, conduct, or conclude negotiations without first discussing such actions with me, or with Canon Mary, and with our chancellor.

There have been rumblings of buyer's remorse in Duncan's diocese. Will tightening his grip improve matters, or widen the fissures?

About property, the ACNA Constitution states,

All church property, both real and personal, owned by each member congregation now and in the future is and shall be solely and exclusively owned by each member congregation and shall not be subject to any trust interest in favor of the Province or any other claim of ownership arising out of the canon law of this Province. Where property is held in a different manner by any diocese or grouping, such ownership shall be preserved.
ACNA's Canons state,
Concerning Property Ownership
All congregational property, real and personal, owned by a member congregation is and shall be solely and exclusively owned by the congregation and shall not be subject to any trust in favor of the Province or other claim of ownership arising out of the canon law of the Church; neither may any Diocese assert any such claim over the property of any of its congregations without the express written consent of the congregation. Where property is held in a different manner by any Diocese or grouping, such ownership shall be preserved.
The Constitution and Canons of Duncan's diocese says the same concerning property ownership. There is no requirement that a parish give the diocese advance notice of negotiations with the proper owners of the property (that is, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh).

The entire letter follows.

Letter from Robert Duncan to the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh (source)

Dear Friends,

Attached is a letter describing an agreement made by Somerset Anglican Fellowship with the TEC Diocese. Some of you have already read about this in the newspaper or received an email; many of you have communicated with me your concerns that there might be many “secret deals” being made which will leave many congregations “on their own.” Here is some information about the agreement, and our current situation, that we thought it would be helpful for you to know.

1) Somerset Anglican Fellowship negotiated this settlement without the input or approval of the Diocese. In fact, we have reason to believe that the lawyer representing SAF advised them not to inform the Anglican diocese. We are very concerned that a congregation thought itself to be so in jeopardy as to necessitate secret legal action.

2) St. Stephen’s, Sewickley and Church of the Savior, Ambridge have consulted legal counsel with regard to individual settlements with the TEC Diocese. Both parishes informed the Anglican Diocese at the time and both parishes have decided not to participate in any settlement without the involvement of the Diocese.

3) To the best of our knowledge, there are no other parishes which are unilaterally attempting to make a settlement with the TEC diocese.

4) The Anglican Diocese remains committed to finding the best solution for each of its parishes in light of the recent legal decisions. We also continue to hope for and look for some kind of settlement that would benefit all of our congregations.

5) Please do not hesitate to email or call Canon Mary, Geoff Chapman (Chair of the Standing Committee) or Jonathan Millard (Standing Committee member) or me if you have further questions or concerns.

In light of these very serious developments, I feel compelled to issue a godly directive to all of the clergy of the diocese not to engage in, conduct, or conclude negotiations without first discussing such actions with me, or with Canon Mary, and with our chancellor.


The Most Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan