Primus, I agree that heading towards areas of conflict can be justified – but only by the right words and right actions you intend to employ there. Can you be specific about what you said or did, or at least intended to, to disassociate the SEC from the active encouragement by Ugandan and US Christian pastors of the intimidation, imprisonment, torture and murder of LGBT people? I lived in Brazil for years. I know the inside story is always different. But African religous homophobia stems historically from the poisonous mindset of European missionaries. My last boyfriend’s partner was burned in the streets of Dakar by a homophobic Religous mob. That was 7 years ago, in Senegal, and the mob was Muslim, but that scene is repeated in Uganda today and the mob is Christian. I doubt that subtlety has much effect on mobs stirred up by rabid preaching from the pulpit. So what, Primus, did you intend to say and to do – on that very human spectrum of words and action between denouncing the powers of hate and washing your hands?
I don’t think I’ve heard a single person express the view that a Primus should not go to parts of the world where people think differently.
I have heard concern expressed about the people whom David was with and the things that some of them have been widely reported as saying. It may be that David is hoping to address some of those issues in a future blog post.
I do believe that church leaders should be cautious about being associated with those who would appear to be advocating harm for others in the body of Christ.
It seems to me, Hugh that there are fairly obvious channels of communication and encouragement between church folk in the UK and those in Uganda who might think differently to the leadership of the Church of Uganda. It is difficult to see how the acceptance of this invitation could possibly fall into that category.
As a first time reader of the blog, it seems to me that direct communication with other parts of the church should usually be encouraged. The position of the church in Uganda is quite likely not shared by all individual members and hopefully the visit gave the opportunity for general or individual discussions on the range of views that exist on difficult topics. Could give power to the elbows of Ugandan church members who think differently but whose voices are not heard, or who may be afraid to voice their views.
Seems to be a deafening silence on this. Are we Scottish Episcopalians a bunch of scaredy custards (remember the old rhyme?) or too busy with Christmas preparations? Scrupulous honesty usually seems to work in the medium to long run. Will look forward to hearing your insights from the ground. Happy Christmas to you and Alison.
Others, or at least one other, admires both your decision to go and your comments on difference and conflict, and on context.
David – I don’t think you should underestimate the surprise that some of us in Scotland also feel at your accepting this invitation.
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As Well as Joy
600 years of University of St Andrews