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Malawi’s prayers for rain turn into homophobic diatribes

Malawi’s prayers for rain turn into homophobic diatribes

While more than 100 senior Anglicans were urging the Church of England to repent for “discriminating” against homosexuals, religious leaders in Malawi yesterday blamed the gays for the country’s drought.

According to this report, messages against homosexuality dominated inter-denominational prayers for the rains that took place at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) yesterday.

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During the prayers attended by delegates, including President Peter Mutharika, above, sermons given by Reverend Flackson Kuyama of the Seventh Day Adventist and Reverend Alex Maulana of Malawi Council of Churches dripped venom. Their messages labelled homosexuality as an “evil” that could lead God to punish the country.

Reporting here on this idiocy, human rights activist Leo Igwe wrote:

The presidential advisor on religious affairs, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa says that Mutharika believes firmly that divine intervention is critical to governing a country. So, he believes that God could command the rain to fall and ensure good harvest for Malawians? Right? How does he expect god to do this?

Khoviwa said:

President Mutharika believes that as a God fearing nation we need to come to pray together from time to time. We are coming from a year of many challenges such as lack of donor aids and flood which had a bearing on the economy.

The silly carry-on in Malawi underscores a growing gulf over homosexuality that divides religious leaders in the West and reactionary leaders in Africa.

The Guardian reports that the Church of England is braced for a de facto split in the worldwide Anglican communion in the coming week over the issues of gay rights and same-sex marriage. Church leaders from six African countries are expected to walk out of a pivotal summit called by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bitter divisions among Anglicans on the issue of sexuality are expected to intensify at the week-long meeting of the 38 leaders of national churches at Canterbury cathedral. Archbishops from conservative churches in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Rwanda and Congo are likely to walk out of the summit within a day or two of its opening on Monday.

Said a senior C of E source:

There’s going to be a lot of drama. It’s 90% likely that the six will walk out. If we get past Tuesday, we’ll be doing well.”

The meeting of Anglican primates was called by Justin Welby in a last-ditch effort to move the global church – which claims 85 million followers – beyond the issue of homosexuality in order to focus on other pressing matters such as religious violence and climate change.

Welby is proposing that, in the face of intractable differences, the communion reshapes itself as a loose confederation of churches rather than adherents to a common doctrine.

The six African churches are insisting on sanctions against the US Episcopal Church, which tipped the simmering conflict over gay rights into open hostility when it consecrated gay priest Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

This week, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali – leader of the Anglican church in Uganda, which has backed the criminalisation of homosexuality in the east African country – warned that he would walk out of the primates’ meeting if :

Discipline and godly order is not restored.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya said:

The truth [of the Gospel] continues to be called into question in the Anglican communion.

And he warned against:

The global ambitions of a secular culture.

C of E leaders acknowledge that the issue of homosexuality has fractured the communion, but believe that a looser relationship of churches linked to Canterbury yet not to each other is the only way to overcome institutional dysfunctionality.

The call for the C or E to “repent” was made in a letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York ahead of the meeting of the 38 primates.

Signatories say the Church must acknowledge that LGBT members around the world have been treated as “second-class citizens”.

The letter asks the two archbishops “to take an unequivocal message” to the meeting. It urges them to tell the other leaders that the Anglican Church needs to acknowledge it “failed in our duty of care” to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians and:

Apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs.

The letter was organised by Jayne Ozanne, former director of the Accepting Evangelicals group which campaigns for the rights of gay, bisexual and transgender Christians. She told BBC News a “line” had been reached.

It was time to stand tall and actually call the Church back to its roots to reminding them about the fact that we are there to welcome and serve all. We have not treated the gay community as equal members. We’ve actually vilified them.

But Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, said he does not agree with the argument that there can be “different interpretations of scripture” on the issue.

The Bible is clear on many things, including its teaching on human sexuality and the Church has upheld that teaching for 2,000 years.

Hat tip: Leo Igwe (Malawi report) and BarrieJohn

24 responses to “Malawi’s prayers for rain turn into homophobic diatribes”

  1. CharlyO says:

    The Christian God must be tearing ‘his’ hair out, not knowing which way to deal with this problem in ‘his’ spirit-led-church.

  2. Alan Crowe says:

    The fragmentation will just add a few more sects of christianity to the
    2,000 + already squabbling among themselves, bring it on.
    With a bit (a lot?) Of luck it might be the cause of the disestablishment of the
    c of e.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    The laws of God are not subject to change or questioning. Except when they are. Christianity was entirely in favor of slavery until it was against it, and now it can’t stop crowing about how it led the abolition and civil rights movement. As much chest-beating is going on today about homosexuality among Christians, when the matter is settled and religion has bowed to secularism (again), just you watch how they boast and brag that it was all part of the divine plan.

  4. Colin Davidson says:

    Well Bishop Nazir-Ali, the bible is, in fact, so clear on so many things that your ridiculous cult of death has managed to splinter into 41,000 different versions according to Pew Forum figures. And if I’m not mistaken that’s the extant number. Your imaginary deity only knows how many have existed in the 20 centuries since it all kicked off.

    At the end of this week it’ll be a few more judging by the events unfolding in Canterbury.

    That’s what happens when people make shit up.

  5. John the Drunkard says:

    Since Christianity in Africa is a colonialist import (except in Ethiopia) there’s a kind of double horror in the way the homophobia flows BOTH from ‘old line’ versions inflicted on the locals two or three centuries ago, AND from the influx of rabid fundies from the U.S.

  6. L.Long says:

    If he really believed what he said he would be scared shitless!!
    Think about it! The gays can STOP the rain! What awesome powers. And if true then when you come for the gays they can also make the rains come very hard flooding the area. If gays power or witch power were real these bigoted aholes would be on their knees asking for protection & help, not condemning them.
    So we know that this piece o’shit is a raving bigoted conman trying to blame anyone other then their incompetent government fot bad planning.

  7. Gerald says:

    I love all this … The fact that they cannot agree is all the proof required to show that the word of god is no such thing. It’s just man made mumbo jumbo. Mumbo jumbo that is calculated to invest the clerics with authority based upon prejudicial repression of their victims. “I know what god wants and so you must do as I say (so I can Lord it over you and have a wonderful time at your expense)”. These people are no better than bone rattling witch doctors. Soon there will be more bickering factions that followers.

  8. Stonyground says:

    ” perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs.”

    When has the CofE ever done anything else?

    Still, it certainly is time to get the popcorn out and sit back and enjoy the show. Gays may not be able to affect the weather but it looks as though they can do serious damage to the CofE just by existing.

  9. Gerald says:

    OT but did anyone hear the awful smug self indulgent wallowing in the misfortune of others on BBC R4 PM last Friday at about 34 minutes in. The story about a ‘carpenter’ who carved crosses from the wood of an ill fated (and now ill feted) refugee boat. Now one of the crosses has found its way into a museum here and the faithful are grovelling in front of it and having a wonderful time being terribly humble and very fulfillingly and happily oh so touched and sad. Why is it christians love to be ostentatiously moved and touched. Why do they put so much energy into useless distraught public hand wringing. Here we have very comfortably off people wallowing in the misfortune of others thinking that they are doing good by parading their piety. These people are not happy unless they have someone else’s grief to use as fodder for ther own humility. Makes me sick.

  10. Lucy1 says:

    I always think of the great apes when they go on about 38 primates meeting. But gorillas would have more sense, and bonobos would have other things to do,…

  11. Broga says:

    I think the Primates are going to be OK. I heard one of them saying, “I am praying hard for Archbishop Justin.” That should get a result.

    Meanwhile the said Justin says if he doesn’t get a result, “Jesus is bigger than the Church.” A gnomic reference in what I’m sure he thinks is a dire situation. I think the Archbishop is on a loser with the Africans who are determined to follow “biblical truth.” But then so are all the others.

  12. Stonyground says:

    There is a discussion about this matter going on at Peter Hearty’s Platitude blog as well:

    http://www.platitudes.org.uk/platblog/comments.php?y=16&m=01&entry=entry160111-075323

  13. gedediah says:

    The longer the church resists adapting to the changing values of wider society the more irrelevant it becomes. So just carry on as you are, it’s all fine as far as I’m concerned.

  14. Brian Jordan says:

    ” in order to focus on other pressing matters such as religious violence and climate change.”
    Well, it looks as if they’re well on the way to dealing with climate change, if their prayers can determine where and when rain will fall. Shifting a bit of CO2 should be no problem at all.

  15. Cali Ron says:

    “@Lucy1: That’s pretty much what I thought when I read “The meeting of Anglican primates…” I pictured a velvet painting like those cheap ones in Mexican food restaurants or the ones with dogs playing poker only this one would be a bunch of monkeys dressed up in fancy robes with silly hats acting like a bunch of , well monkeys, getting drunk on communion wine and swinging from the crosses. A C of E barrel full of monkeys! Of course the only primates that would believe in god fairy tales are humans.

    As for another denomination being formed because a group disagreed and “went their own way” my response is a yawn and the thought “great, another version of god deluded christianity and counting”.

  16. Stuart H. says:

    I always find it interesting that the ultimate threat of UK ‘traditionalists’ is an economic one – being fogeys they only worship in older churches and threaten to defect to Rome or an Eastern Orthodox mafia taking their valuable building with them (complete with government restoration grants for years to come).
    From the ones I’ve followed, the loss of the building and public income (rather than the 2 men & a dog who might attend) is the only reason Anglican HQ has put up with such losers for so long.
    As for loss of African Anglican churches – what African Anglican churches? The punters left years back to pray for Ferraris in the money churches. Cut off African bishops’ salaries, stop the twinning arrangements with wealthy US & UK churches and they’d be shot of the whole problem.

  17. Peter Sykes says:

    Leo Igwe is a hero. So easy for me in Bristol UK to be a free-thinker, slagging off the religious nutters. He is in real danger. Good man.

  18. Stonyground says:

    I think that the problem that the CofE has with splitting from its African contingent is that of numbers. Presumably when quoting CofE membership the ‘World Wide Anglican Communion’ has some fairly impressive numbers. Jettisoning a whole continent full of members is likely to leave them with far fewer and an even bigger credibility problem than they have now.

  19. Broga says:

    @Stonyground: I heard Justin Welby being interviewed and he may have been indicating his tactics. He said something along the lines of it being possible to disagree but still to love each other as they are all part of the same family.

    I think the likelihood of fragmentation of the C. of E. looms ever larger and flexibility and acceptance may be all that is available. However, I think the Africans will not accept anything less that their interpretation of the bible.

    God, the omnipotent, is a surprisingly poor communicator when his flock cannot agree on what he wants. I also heard a bishop say, with the oleaginous tone we know so well, that he is “praying hard” for Archbishop Justin. What a shambolic going through the motions ! The problem is they cannot embrace reason because if they do their entire belief system is gone. So they are left with gobbledegook in the hope that the less discerning will think there is some meaning to it.

  20. Robster says:

    “The bible is clear on many things” says a silly godbot. Clear, like what exactly?

  21. Stonyground says:

    It is clear on not wearing mixed fabrics, not living in a semi and not doing a stick of work on a Saturday. I do all three.

  22. harrynutsak says:

    @Robster: They are talking about the imaginary bible they’ve got blowing out their arse.

    If they’d just burn their little nasty books, the world would be a better place. That is very clear to me.

  23. Nyami says:

    t to see how homophobia was imported to Africa by foreign religious just check our oral and documented or evidential history. We have no documented or oral history of persecuting and ostrasicing the bisexual/homosexuality people who have always been amongst us. These enslaving religions that have so darkened, captured and stalled development of the mind of Africans found us being tolerant and hospitable people and taught us how to be hateful bigots who bay for blood and spew hate speech. How sad that Africa continues to be the dark continent even long after the slave master has left. Brainwashing and indoctrination is a powerful weapon to destroy a generation and guarantees that they will carry on your destructive work long after you are gone.