Anglican priests sacked for being gay must be reinstated, Kenya court rules
Three Anglican clergy sacked for allegedly being gay must be reinstated, a court in Kenya has ruled, after the Church failed to produce any evidence they were homosexuals.
The country’s Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling forcing the Anglican Church of Kenya to pay 6.8million Kenyan shillings (£50,000) in damages and reinstall the three men.
Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui will be paid their salaries in full from when they were dismissed in July 2015 and given new jobs.
Archdeacon Gachau was awarded Sh2,437,780 (£18,000) Rev Maigua Sh2,224,996 (£16,700) and Rev Warui Sh2,219,814 (£16,300).
Justice Philip Waki, Justice Roselyne Nambuye and Justice Patrick Kiage threw out an application by the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya which argued the payments were excessive and without legal basis.
Representing the Anglican Church lawyer Syphurine Nyongesa Mayende argued the court was failing to consider the circumstances when the priests were dismissed.
He said all three held sensitive posts within the church and accusations of homosexuality were read out to their congregations.
‘Church ministers ought to have faith, credit and trust and these have been lost,’ he argued.
But the court rejected their appeal, saying there was no evidence of alleged homosexuality and the Church had many dioceses across the country where they could be reinstated.
If ever this news were needed it is right now. At a time when the GAFCON Leader, Archbishop Ngatali of Uganda, has pledged his refusal to attend the next A.C. Primates’ Meeting on account of the non-Gafcon Provinces repudiation of sanctions againt LGBTI people in the Church; here is news of the Kenya Government’s rejection of the local Kenyan Anglican Church’s suspension of 3 of its clergy on account of their suspected homosexuality. It should be noted that there was no proof of their suspected sexuality at the time the hierarchy of the Ugandan Anglican Church enforced their abrupt dismissal.
Witch hunts are a dangerous precedent – especially in the Christian Church.
The culture of homophobia in the Churches of the GAFCON sodality – mostly in Africa – is now being challenged – even by their local governmental authorities, whose own attitude towards homosexuals has traditionally been repressive. Witch-hunts against suspected homosexuals by the Anglican Church in Africa are a serious injustice -of which the Anglican Communion Churches world-wide now have to take serious note: whether, or not, the membership of the Communion can continue to host the cult of homophobia and sexism – on the basis of a conservative understanding of sexuality and gender in its traditions.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand (at present in Amsterdam)