Monday, January 13, 2014

equality for all

equality for all, cartoon by robg

If you haven't been keeping up with all the news, here are some disturbing items from the past few weeks:

In 1861, the British instated a law that made non-heterosexual sex illegal.
In 2009, a lower court determined that this law was unconstitutional and overturned it.
In December 2013, the Supreme Court reversed the 2009 judgement, saying that "only Parliament can change that law" and thus recriminalizing homosexuality. The fine for gay sex is once again 10 years in prison.

An anti-homosexuality bill was proposed which would make homosexuality a capital offense. There was much support for this bill both from Ugandan Christians and from evangelicals in the west. Due to protests, the death penalty has been removed from the bill, and it was passed with life imprisonment for "repeat offenders."

Along with legislation prohibiting "gay propaganda", there has been an increase in anti-gay violence. And then there's people like Ivan Okhlobystin, a popular actor who is also an Orthodox priest, who was applauded for recently saying (during a "Spiritual Talks" tour), "I myself would shove all live gays into furnaces. This is Sodom and Gomorrah, I as a believer in God can not treat this indifferently, this is a live threat to my kids!... I do not want my kids to think that faggots are normal. This is lavender fascism. If a person can not choose someone of an opposite sex for procreation - this is a overt sign of mental abnormality, so they should be denied of voting rights."

Seyoum Antonius, president of United for Life, a "western Evangelical Christian organization that receives funding from the west", "has made clear that he won't quit anti-gay advocacy until Ethiopia adopts the death penalty. One of his rallying cries is, 'Africa will become a graveyard for homosexuality!'" (source). The irony of such statements from an organization of such a name does not seem apparent to everyone. This is one small example of what is happening in Ethiopia (read the whole Newsweek article).

United States of America:
While things are getting better, there is still much legalized discrimination and injustice against sexual minorities in the U.S. For example, there are still 29 states in which a person can be fired from their job simply for being gay (source). This is slowly changing for the better, but there are still citizens who would be happy to see the laws become harsher as they are in other parts of the world.

Increasingly, Christians in North America are speaking out against such discrimination and injustice. We are tired of the dominant view of Christians being those who are bigoted and hateful. We are speaking up to say, being silent isn't good enough. We're raising our voices to say that standing by while lgbt people are put down is not good enough. We are proclaiming the good news that God loves everyone and his arms are open wide to all.

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