African Bishops Fear Girl Cooties
Several African bishops in the Anglican Communion have said that they won’t have anything to do with Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., when she attends the Primates Summit in Tanzania this February. The Archbishop of Canterbury, nominal head of the Communion, has been less than supportive of her, which is in line with his stance of placating the reactionaries at all costs.
The African bishops have their panties in a wad for two reasons: Bishop Jefferts Schori is a woman, and she supports full inclusion of GLBT people at all levels of the church. Apparently sitting next to her at a meeting could lead to them catching the gay, or possible even the dreaded girl cooties.
Seriously, are these guys five? Have they missed the part where in Nigeria alone, 25% of women are HIV-positive? Did they somehow forget about the poverty and wars that are killing thousands daily in Africa? Apparently so, if their biggest concern is the fact that a bunch of white folks in New Hampshire have a gay bishop.
I was baptized two months after I was born in the church that my grandparents founded, where my father was one of the organists. I was confirmed at eight, served on the altar, and occasionally read the lessons for the week. I was sitting at the piano with my father, watching him choose hymns for Sunday’s mass on the night he died.
I haven’t been to church in years, because I’m a) lazy and can’t get up before noon on a Sunday; and b) have serious philosophical objections to the deity of a group of patriarchal guys from the Middle East some 2,000 years ago. I still find myself missing the structure and ritual of High Church Anglicanism, and as I read about the pressure on the Episcopal Church to knuckle under to the demands of the African homobigots, I’m tempted to start going back, if only to show my solidarity with a church that I happen to think is truly following Christ’s teachings.
Jesus ate with tax collectors and Samaritans; these African bishops can’t even bring themselves to sit with a woman and treat her as a peer. Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria told the New York Times how he recoiled in horror after he once accidently shook a gay man’s hand. Something tells me that for all that these guys insist Anglicans in the West have abandoned Christ’s teachings, Jesus would have been looking at them when he said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”