Tag Archives: South Africa

African Church Moves Towards LGBT Inclusion!

That’s the Anglican church, South Africa.

To put this into some sort of context, we should note that on the one hand,South Africa ordained the first ever openly gay bishop some years before Gene Robinson in New Hampshire (that was Mervynn Castle, an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Cape Town). Much more recently,the same diocese appointed the first woman bishop.South Africa was also the first country, anywhere, to write LGBT protection into its constitution, the only African country to legislate for full marriage and family equality, and one of the first worldwide to do so. Institutional respect for LGBT inclusion and opposition to discrimination is now hard-wired into public discourse.

On the other hand, note that this resolution is moving “towards” inclusion, for lay Anglicans only, and does not address church weddings or even blessings for same-sex couples. This is also not surprising – respect for diversity is strong in law and in the political, business and professional classes – but there remains powerful currents of homophobia among the grass roots.

Still – progress is progress.

Religion News Service reports:

South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion

South Africa’s Anglican bishops have taken an initial step toward including LGBT people as full members of their congregations with the passage of a resolution at a meeting in the Grahamstown Diocese.The resolution now goes to the Provincial Synod, the church’s top decision-making body, which meets later this year, said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town. Show captionAnglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba leaves a Pretoria hospital where Nelson Mandela was being treated on June 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko *Editors: This photo may only be republished wtih RNS-SAFRICA-ANGLICAN, originally transmitted on Feb. 23, 2016. This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.“I believe its adoption by Provincial Synod would be an important first step signaling to the LGBT community that we … see them as welcome members,” Makgoba said in a pastoral letter dated Monday (Feb. 22).

Source: South Africa’s Anglican bishops move toward gay inclusion – Religion News Service

Gay Marriage, in Church – in Africa?

When the Episcopal Church of the USA agreed to provide for same – sex church weddings, few would have been surprised. This was the United States, where the modern gay liberation movement began, and the Episcopal Church, long known for its progressive stance on so many issues. But the Dutch Reformed Church, South Africa?

For the first 50 years of my life, I knew the DRC as a bastion of conservatism in (White) South African politics. Not only was it the National Party at prayer, providing spurious theological justification for apartheid and racial discrimination, it was also responsible for a wide range of other forms of socially conservative policies, forcing their puritanical view of Christianity on all others in the country. Not only was there no Sunday shopping, when I was growing up, there was also no Sunday entertainment of any kind (no cinemas, no paying spectator sports), and a harshly enforced system of censorship, to stamp out anything offensive to the moralists, or the governing politicians. We did not even get television until 1976 – well after the rest of the Western world.

Since then of course, the country has changed dramatically – and so has the Dutch Reformed Church.  It has allowed its racial / political theology to catch up with the modern world (and other Reformed churches elsewhere), and has gradually begun to bring its sexual theology up to date, too. It has accepted openly gay and lesbian clergy since 2007.

Now, the Moderator of the Church has made a personal plea for full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians, including access to gay marriage, in Church. Continue reading Gay Marriage, in Church – in Africa?