CHICAGO, IL, January 28, 2011—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:
“The Chicago Consultation applauds the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams for his statements condemning the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato. We hope the archbishop’s statement signals a willingness to speak out against the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people more directly and forcefully than he has in the past.
“It is essential that the other primates of the Anglican Communion join Dr. Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, in condemning the cultivation of hatred and violence against LGBT people. The primates who boycotted the current meeting in Dublin over theological differences with gay-friendly churches have a particular responsibility to affirm the dignity of every human being, and the right of LGBT people to live without fear of violence, degradation or criminal prosecution. We would welcome similar clarity from the Anglican Church in North America, which maintains close relationships with these primates.
“Heartened as we were by the archbishop’s statement, we believe that he is speaking aspirationally when he claims that the worldwide Anglican Communion has condemned violence against LGBT people. Occasional references to the dignity of gays and lesbians in voluminous communiqués cannot mask the fact that a number of Anglican provinces have been active or complicit in encouraging state-sponsored persecution of gays and lesbians, including the notorious anti-gay legislation still under consideration by the Ugandan parliament.
“Dr. Williams’ advocacy would be more credible were his handling of LGBT issues within the Anglican Communion more evenhanded. He has made it clear that the Episcopal Church may face consequences for consecrating gay and lesbian bishops. Yet primates such as Archbishop Henry Orombi in Kato’s own country of Uganda support laws that would imprison same-sex couples for simple acts of physical affection, but risk no such reprisals. The tortured ecclesiological rationale offered for this double standard makes little sense outside the cocoon of Communion bureaucracy, and it compromises the archbishop’s ability to be the forceful and effective advocate for human rights that this statement indicates he wants to be.”
The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit www.chicagoconsultation.org.