News for Week Ending 12/30/2013
Anti-gay bills await presidential approval in Uganda and NigeriaAs we have reported, legislatures in Uganda and Nigeria have passed harsh bills against homosexuality activity. The Nigeria bill was passed in May. (See Pittsburgh Update story here. BuzzFeed has covered this story, but there is some confusion about the bill’s history. Apparently, a new version of the bill was passed this month.) The Uganda bill was passed this month. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Each bill awaits presidential approval. Although the Ugandan measure is popular within the country, it has been widely denounced elsewhere. Concern has been expressed by the U.S. and U.K. governments, as well as the E.U. and U.N. Religion Dispatches offers a helpful review of anti-gay actions in Uganda, Nigeria, and elsewhere. Thinking Anglicans has a link to this roundup and to other related material.
Unfortunately, Anglican bishops in Uganda have been supportive of the proposed law. The Lead even offers video to this effect. On a more positive note, the papal nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Michael Blume, expressed concern about the Uganda bill.
More on Pilling ReportCommentary on the Pilling Report on homosexuality prepared for the Church of England continues to appear. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Readers who have not yet got their fill of it are directed to the latest compilation from Thinking Anglicans.
Otis Charles, pioneer gay bishop, diesOtis Charles, retired Bishop of Utah, died December 26, 2013, at the age of 87. After his retirement in 1993, a decade before the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson was elected bishop in New Hampshire, Charles declared himself to be a gay man. Charles had a long record of accomplishments. He participated in the creation of the 1979 prayer book as a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission and, after retirement, became dean of Episcopal Divinity School. He became a strong advocate for LGBT persons within the church. In 2008, he married Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris, who died earlier this year. Remembrances of Charles have been published by Integrity USA and by the Rev. Susan Russell, a former Integrity president.
Judge denies another Episcopal Church request in S.C. caseOn December 30, 2013, South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein again denied a request from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. The South Carolina Episcopalians had sought to add former bishop Mark Lawrence and three other diocesan officials to litigation between the continuing and breakaway South Carolina dioceses. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Goodstein found the additions unnecessary. She also denied requests to reconsider earlier rulings. The decisions were reported by the Episcopal Church in South Carolina here. (Anglican Ink also reported the story in the form of what appears to be a press release from the breakaway diocese.)
In the same statement reported above, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina noted that the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina was considering leaving The Episcopal Church when it was in the process of searching for a new bishop, which search lead to the consecration of Mark Lawrence. Retired Episcopal priest Thomas M. Rickenbaker has declared in an affidavit that he was asked by the South Carolina episcopal search committee, “What can you do to help us leave The Episcopal Church and take our property with us?” The Post and Courier covered the story here.