The Lambeth Conference, that diennial display of purple that purportedly defines who is Anglican and who is not, made a promise at its 1988 gathering: to “listen pastorally to the experience of homosexual persons and … to assure them that they are loved by God…” and to “minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn the irrational fear of homosexuals…” (Lambeth 1988 1:10)
Testing whether that commitment is worth anything at all, the Anglican Communion has maintained an embarrassing silence in the face of Uganda’s impending legislation to imprison and execute homosexuals. That silence is even more stunning when you realize that the majority faith in Uganda is Anglicanism. Even though Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu (a native Ugandan) have been implored by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to take some action, none has been forthcoming.
I’m pretty much used to the Church (Anglican and otherwise) failing “to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with….God” (Micah 6:8), so I can’t say I’m surprised. But the Diocese of Upper South Carolina has an opportunity here. We have six candidates for Bishop, all of who have proclaimed their devotion to Lambeth’s promise and their acceptance of gay and lesbian people as full members of the Body of Christ. Will they issue an unambiguous statement, either jointly or individually, condemning the bill and calling for repentance from Ugandan church officials who support it?