[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

[Fwd: Re: [HoB/D] Swaziland's Unique AIDS Solution]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [HoB/D] Swaziland's Unique AIDS Solution
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 14:26:40 -0700
From: Louie Crew <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
Organization: Rutgers University
To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
References: <005101bff263$a8a78c20$eb330cd8@patricka>

Gentle Patrick,

Thank you for your compassionate letter.  I share your concern for the
grave economic jeopardy of our sisters and brothers in Africa as well as
your concern for the devastating progress of AIDS there.  Indeed, I served
as secretary of The Standing Commission on Anglican and International
Peace with Justice Concerns, the body that presented the largest number of
resolutions addressing the needs of Africa and others in the two-thirds
world, and I am enormously grateful that General Convention responded
positively to all our resolutions.  I also submitted the resolution
regarding the Dalits (Untouchables) in India, and my Indian colleagues
rejoice with me in the support GC gave, calling on us to urge the UN to
add protections for the Dalits.

You wrote:

> I disagree that same value system informed the hisses at  Lambeth.  We must
> acknowledge that discussing sex was not on the priority list of bishops from
> the two third world countries. The issues of the churches in Africa, Asia
> and the Southern Cone are not who sleeps with whom but the pressing  issues
> of poverty, persecution and economic justice.

I wish you were right, but numerous junkets of African bishops to this
country, as well as to Singapore and Porto suggest that they are much
pre-occupied with the sexual practices and policies of the Episcopal
Church.  On September 28, 1999 I met in NYC with bishops who responded to
the invitation of our Presiding Bishop to 'come and see' what is going on
with lesbigays in the Episcopal Church-- Bishop Maurice Sinclair from
Argentina, Primate of the Southern Cone of South America, Archbishop Harry
Goodhew from Sydney, Australia, Bishop John Rucyahana representing
Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Bishop Simon Makundi representing
Archbishop Donald Mtetemela of Tanzania, and Bishop Peter Njenga
representing Archbishop David Gitari of Kenya.  Five lesbigay priests and
I shared details of our ministry with our visitors.  When we were done,
our guests, by my watch, talked longer than we had, and addressed almost
nothing of what they had heard, but instead scolded the Episcopal Church
for allowing folks like us to serve, suggesting that we had the power to
destroy the whole Communion.

I took no pleasure in pointing out to the three bishops present from
Africa on that occasion that if heterosexual Christians in Africa were
living in the patterns which they had come half way round the world to
promote there would be no AIDS crisis in Africa.

In the spring of 1989 the Archbishop Okoth of Uganda told me at a dinner
in Newark that there was no AIDS crisis in Africa.  Already whole villages
in Uganda had been wiped out, but he was living in denial.  He repented of
his ignorance only months before he retired shortly thereafter.

A couple of years later I received from ECUSA a request for money to help
with the AIDS crisis in Africa.  Along with my check I sent along a note
explaining that the amount I could afford to give personally could be
magnified much if they would make use of my offer to help them raise money
by putting me on their board, and I offered to give the assignment a high
priority.  They refused my offer.  As a gay Christian I would bring too
much stigma to their effort!

Last August, I had the privilege of staying in the home of an African
bishop and asked him whether he had ever heard the story of a gay
Christian.  He had not and agreed to hear mine.  My friend Bishop Shimpfky
was present at the same occasion.  I was grateful for that holy time.  
What lingers for me as a great sadness, however, is the fact that my host
had voted with the majority at Lambeth without ever having taken the time
to hear such testimony.  Yet in his own church Bishop Shimpfky and I were
able to connect with gay Christians.

At the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare in December
1998, there were more discussion groups on issues of human sexuality than
there were on economic issues, and the 50+ groups discussing homosexuality
were the best attended of discussions on any other subject there.  I went
expecting the hostility of Lambeth, but was pleasantly surprised by the
kindness with which hundreds from all over Africa and the rest of the
world received our witness. (See my extensive diary of the WCC at

If bishops in Africa have little priority to give to issues of human
sexuality they were wrong to give it so much of their time at Lambeth.  I
agree that we all should give much higher priority to economic injustice
and AIDS .

There was absolutely no need to vote on homosexuality at Lambeth,
especially since Lambeth has no binding authority on the provinces of the
Communion and since the issue is one about which there are fierce
divisions.  But vote they did, and hiss many did.  They also disinvited
lesbigays summoned to meet with them during the Conference.

Bishops at Lambeth voted to commit themselves to hear from lesbian and gay
Christians.  I have made sure that hundreds of Anglican bishops online
know that we are willing to accept their invitations.  Yet now, two years
later, no invitations have been issued!  Dishonesty is no more acceptable
in a bishop than in any other person.

Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria recently took advantage of the occasion of
his visit to a parish in my diocese to give an interview to a conservative
to whom he blasted the Episcopal Church for our alleged sinfulness in
welcoming lesbigays. He bragged that he had never met a homosexual person,
and his host parish made no effort to assure that he did.  I
whole-heartedly support that parish's right to invite ANYONE it chooses; I
consider this particular choice about as evangelically sensitive as it
would be had they invited David Duke to speak on 'white spirituality.'

St. Paul said that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with
principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places.

May God find us ever faithful to the wondrous love which God has bestowed
generously on the very least of us.  God wants us to spread that love to
absolutely everybody.


cc Online bishops of the Anglican Communion

Louie Crew, Chair, Diocese of Newark Deputation to GC2000
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Pages

> Dear Luie,
> Swaziland is a tabooed society.  It is my guess that it is considered in the
> ancient understanding of that society that exposed legs of a women is an
> invitation to sex.  It is sad that sacredness and beauty of a female's body
> created in the image of God is seen in our and Swaziland's culture as sex
> symbol. It is a total desecration of God's creation.  It is shame on a male
> dominate society which has exploited now and in the past female image. Let
> us look how in our own western world we project female image.   Please look
> at the adds on TV and numerous magazines.  In most cases it is a sex symbol.
> Swaziland is desperate in the face of the spread of AIDS in the their
> country to blame someone and very conveniently again male dominated society
> puts  blame on the females. God have mercy!
> I disagree that same value system informed the hisses at  Lambeth.  We must
> acknowledge that discussing sex was not on the priority list of bishops from
> the two third world countries.  The issues of the churches in Africa, Asia
> and the Southern Cone are not who sleeps with whom but the pressing  issues
> of poverty, persecution and economic justice.   I agree all matters relating
> to sexuality should be on the agenda of the whole Anglican communion.
> Unfortunately at present those churches have different priorities on their
> agenda.  We need not to force them to sort out our issues in the West.
> Human sexuality at this point of their lives is not  on their priority list.
> In some regions of Africa and Asia there is a movement of the Spirit where
> the church is having such dynamic and powerful experience of conversion form
> other faiths to the living faith of the Gospel.  The Church in Nigeria has
> grown two-fold in the last decade.  The Church of Sudan is the fastest
> growing church in the Anglican Communion.  In other places church is on
> trail for their faith.
> Have we not heard in the west that in Sudan two million Christians have been
> killed by the Islamic fundamentalists and four million of them are refugees
> today? This week there have been 95,000 Indonesian Christians who are forced
> by Islamic Fundamentalists to become refugees.  In Pakistan blasphemy Law is
> a sword hanging over the head of our brothers and sisters in the Anglican
> communion.  I invite you to listen to the voice of the church in Pakistan
> where they are harassed and tortured  for their faith in Christ by the
> implementation of the Islamic Law.
> We must rejoice that the churches where our missionaries took the Gospel are
> now proclaiming  the Gospel to the world.  The living faith of the
> persecuted and poor church has grown from the cross of Christ.  The question
> that needs to be asked about the two third churches should be, 'What is the
> nature of their understanding of the Gospel that is so powerful that people
> are embracing it even at the cost of losing their lives?
> I repeat we must sort out our human sexuality issues on our home turf first.
> I am committed and open about seeking God's discernment asa fellow
> sojourner, as our church wrestles with the difficult issues of sexuality.
> My heart goes to those who are discriminated and tortured because of their
> orientation.  I pray for justice and reconciliation between all God's
> children in our Episcopal Church.
> Patrick P. Augustine
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Louie Crew
> To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
> Date: Thursday, July 20, 2000 9:20 AM
> Subject: Re: [HoB/D] Swaziland's Unique AIDS Solution
> >Judy Fleener wrote:
> >
> >> From: "Louie Crew"
> >> >
> >> > Swaziland will ban mini-skirts in schools to try to halt the
> >> spread of  AIDS, a government official said today.
> >>
> >> You have got to be kidding!!!  But then I know you aren't.
> >> Judy Fleener
> >>
> >
> >I wish I were kidding, but I am not.
> >
> >Disregarding the references to AIDS altogether, imagine the reaction
> >if teachers in America banned mini-skirts claiming that they caused
> >male teachers to have sex with their students.  Such male arrogance
> >rivals that in Proverbs, where much male sexual conduct is blamed on
> >females for enticing them.
> >
> >The same value system informed the hisses at Lambeth.  At General
> >Convention Episcopalians United provided the fancy enamel buttons
> >sporting the Episcopal Church seal together with the Lambeth vote on
> >human sexuality.
> >
> >Lutibelle/Louie
> >Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
> >http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew   973-395-1068
> >
> >
> >

Please sign my guestbook and view it.

My site has been accessed times since February 14, 1996.

Statistics courtesy of WebCounter.