Yesterday I came across this striking article
In a video for the United Nations Free and Equal campaign, its “global campaign against homophobia and transphobia”, Tutu said: “I have to tell you, I cannot keep quiet when people are penalised for something about which they can do nothing.
“First, gender. When women are excluded, just simply and solely because they are women.
“I oppose such injustice with the same passion that I opposed apartheid.”
While gay sex is already illegal in Ghana, the bill would go even further, targeting LGBT+ identity itself. It would specifically criminalise anyone is “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, an ally, non-binary, or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female”.
The bill would not only criminalise being LGBT+, but also every aspect of queer life, from affirming medical care to public displays of affection like holding hands.
It reminds me of film that I watched the other night while Rayne was at work called ‘Harriet’ and available on Netflix.
Based on a true story it was about a black slave who was very prayerful and in visions God led her our of slavery and into freedom.
Yet when free she couldn’t rest unless she freed others and God used her for the rest of her life to save others.
And last night I watched another such film called ‘Suffragettes’ on Netflix which again had similar themes, the appalling treatment of women and their relentless fight to vote…
I guess in a way I should be thankful that I’m a white gay man because however difficult or challenging that is, if I was a black gay women it could be a whole lot worse!
So what is the solution to all this only massive amounts of education.
Traditionally religious systems have fed into these systems of abuse either directly when gay people were condemned or indirectly by remaining silent while gay people were excluded and bullied.
Sadly our catholic church is still like this at an institutional level.
If you are openly gay and by that I mean open about your attraction to the same sex, everyone will bless you and say something sweet like “God loves you and you are his child” and yet nobody will offer you a job or a ministry in a catholic organisation.
Same sex attraction is at best tolerated but if you want to be a priest or a teacher or a nun then it’s a question of shutting up or getting out.
This means that
1. There are vast volumes of gay priests and nuns suffering in fear and silence as they learnt to ‘play the game’ to the expense of their freedom and identity and
2. There are probably even more God loving LGBT people with a calling to religious or consecrated life that will never make it because they refused to be silenced by the hypocrisy of the church.
At times it seems that God is fighting with the church and indeed He is!
The church is the bride of christ but often this bride is a bit of a runaway bride that tries to go off and do her own thing and build a “nice comfortable” home for her spouse (Jesus) which excludes the poor and yes, the LGBT!
Time and time again Jesus has to call his bride back and say “hey darling, are you forgetting who’s the boss? Are you forgetting what this is all about? It’s not about us being comfortable, it’s about loving and saving everyone including the gays, the blacks, the women…..”
Jesus is constantly calling his bride to be more holy, more humble, more loving, more inclusive, more wise, note charitable and more courageous so that her actions and attitudes reflect His.
And with this in mind I really admire Archbishop Tutu and all the other bishops and priests in our catholic church that are speaking out about these LGBT issues and are risking their own lives and reputations for the sakes of all those future generations of LGBT people who will face the same discrimination and abuse unless our systems of education and understanding around God’s plan for LGBT people change dramatically.
Don’t be silent, don’t be afraid, Jesus needs you, the church needs you and we gay people need you to help us to break the cycle of abuse and discrimination that has already cost so many lives.
“Jesus, may you church not be like a runaway bride, running from the difficulties of the family of God but may she be like Our Lady, having an open heart to love and accept everyone”.