PRETTY STRONG STUFF
Like many of you, I suspect, I have been wondering who Jesus Christ would have liked least, Africans or homosexuals. Most of the available evidence suggests He would have found it a pretty close call, all things considered. By “available evidence”, I mean the most eminently flexible of texts, the Bible.
I had intended to take advice and guidance from the 2008 Lambeth Conference, that convocation of extravagantly bearded men in purple dresses, but it was like soliciting advice from a tub of margarine. When an issue of principle hove into view, the prelates ducked and pretended it hadn’t been raised at all. I don’t know what our Lord would have made of that. I suspect He would have sniggered and then maybe headed off to the wilderness once again.
Certainly, bits of the Bible seem pretty clear on the issue of homosexuality – smite, smite and smite again until there are no buggers left standing, seems to be the general gist. I refer you to Corinthians and Romans, for starters. This is the view of that upstanding Christian Henry Luke Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, who boycotted the conference in case he had to take communion somewhere near a poof, or somewhere near someone who didn’t mind poofs. “I do not think there is a debate,” said Orombi. “When God gives His word, you either take it or leave it.”
Well, quite, a good point well made. The trouble is, God also made his position pretty clear about black people in the curse-of-Ham passage in Genesis. Or, at least, that is what a very large number of Christian church leaders thought back in the 19th century, to the extent that in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, for example, black people were not allowed to be ordained as bishops for many years.
Today the supposed message of the curse of Ham has about as much relevance to the wider world as a meeting of the General Synod and is cleaved to only by a few wacko evangelical bigots storing up their cans of weedkiller in an Oklahoma basement. This, however, is the problem when you follow Orombi’s somewhat literal interpretation of what God likes and doesn’t like. Orombi has extended his attack from homosexuals to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and indeed the entire edifice of the Anglican church, which he has called a “remnant of British colonialism”. A remnant of British civility and decency, might be more to the point.