The GAFCON Eight

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Updated with transcript of Archbishops Akinola, Orombi and Jensen speaking about (but not unanimously against) violence against homosexuals at their press conference. And this, from Ekklesia.

The GAFCON leadership has a list of eight people who are not welcome to observe the proceedings under any circumstances. The list includes Colorado Bishop Robert O’Neill, Nigerian gay activist Davis MacIyalla, Louie Crew, Rev Colin Coward, Susan Russell, Scott Gunn and Deborah and Robert Edmunds.

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London reports:

The eight men and women pictured here are on the official list of those to be denied entry to Gafcon should they try to show up. They are Colorado Bishop Robert O’Neill, Nigerian gay activist Davis MacIyalla being embraced by the Church of England’s Rev Colin Coward, Louie Crew, Susan Russell, Scott Gunn and Deborah and Robert Edmunds. Bishop O’Neill has been asked to serve as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the US church’s Presiding Bishop and is staying with Jerusalem primate, Bishop Suheil Dawani, who never wanted the conference here in the first place. Should these or any other activists attempt to breach the security around the conference at the Renaissance Hotel in west Jerusalem the 1,000-plus delegates have been instructed to start singing the hymn: ‘All hail the power of Jesus’ name.’

HT to Thinking Anglicans, where the first commenter asks “How do I get on the banned list?”

Banning inconvenient people is not surprising considering the Riazat Butt report on the “unheavenly silence” on violence against homosexuals in the conference.

A question from Iain Baxter, a media representative from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, aroused expressions of disbelief and outright denial from the primates. The name of his organisation raised a discomfiting titter. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya and is punishable by a fine, imprisonment or death.

Archbishops from these countries were on the panel. They said they could not influence government policy on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) legislation, nor could they condone homosexual behaviour because their churches would be shut down. They added one could not break the taboos of African society without suffering the consequences.

Presumably, these cultural constraints justify the punishment meted out to Prossy Kakooza, Baxter’s example of someone tortured because of her sexual orientation. She was arrested, marched naked for two miles to a police station, raped and beaten.

Akinola did not condemn these acts. Neither did the other African archbishops. Orombi said he had never heard of people being tortured because of their homosexuality, that when he learned about incidents – from the western media – he was at a loss to understand why he had not heard of them. He refused to accept that persecuting and torturing gay people was done openly in Uganda.

It was clear they failed to grasp how homophobic rhetoric from the pulpit led to violence and intimidation, as described by Colin Coward from Changing Attitudes. Still no condemnation was forthcoming. As a follow-up I asked whether the lack of condemnation meant they condoned torture of homosexuals. It took the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to articulate opposition to all acts of violence towards all people. The Africans didn’t even nod in agreement.

Read: Thinking Anglicans GAFCON: The banned.

Ruth Gledhill: GAFCON: ‘The Banned’

Riazat Butt: An unheavenly silence on homophobia

Updated Monday morning, 6/23/08

Scott Gunn wonders how one should act when one is banned.

Wow. I just read Ruth Gledhill’s blog, only to learn that I have been banned from GAFCON. Apparently, I am such a threat to “orthodox” Anglicans that immediately upon my appearance, people should break into singing “All hail the power of Jesus’ name” — should I manage to breach security. I guess one could do worse in a theme song.

Here is a profile of the The Rev. Robert D. Edmunds and his wife Deborah. He is leaving parish ministry at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church of Edgartown, Massachusetts to minister in the Diocese of Jerusalem. Beginning later in June, Robert will be the chaplain to the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, the Right Rev. Suheil Dawani, a Palestinian who oversees the Episcopal Christian faithful in five countries and Deborah will become the Bishop’s executive personal assistant.

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5 Responses to "The GAFCON Eight"
  1. Just so people understand how really, really bizarre this banning is, the Rev. Robert Edmunds is the chaplain to Bishop Dawani of Jerusalem. So the GAFCON leadership is restricting the movement of Bishop Dawani's chaplain in Bishop Dawani's diocese.

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  2. I guess I should start my acceptance speech for this high honor ...

    Will there be a red carpet?

    Susan Russell

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  3. Well, I'm not important enough to be banned, but I wish I were. Reminds me of the days of Nixon's Enemies List. If you subscribed to certain magazines, you were on the list. We were thrilled that we were subscribed to THREE of them!

    Gracecan-- PLEASE sign your name. ~ed

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  4. Why doesn't the Archbishop of Canterbury do anything about the rude and encroaching behavior exhibited by Akinola and company toward Bishop Dawani?

    --Sarah Turnbull

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