Saturday, April 02, 2005

Unbelievable Pharisees

Two items in the papers lately that reveal how pharisaical and, well, stupid, conservative Episcopalians can be.

First is this article in the Mail & Guardian:

An African bishop has announced that he will not accept more than $350 000 of funding to help Aids victims in his area because it comes from an American diocese that supported the election of a gay bishop two years ago.

Jackson Nzerebende Tembo, the Bishop of South Rwenzori in Uganda, has rejected the money from the US diocese of Central Pennsylvania, saying its clergy and bishop, Michael Creighton, endorsed the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

In a statement released to an American conservative Episcopalian website but not to the United States diocese, Bishop Nzerebende announced: "South Rwenzori diocese upholds the Holy Scriptures as true word of God ... Of course this will affect some of our programmes. This includes our Aids programme and [the money] they have been sending for ... orphans' education.

"We pray and believe that our God who created and controls silver and gold in the world will provide for the needs of His people. Halleluiah! Amen."


Although several African primates have declared themselves out of communion with the North Americans, they have mostly continued quietly to accept cash for church projects.

The US Episcopal church has insisted that it does not attach strings to its donations.

So Bishop Nzerebende would rather penalize poor victims under his care than accept tainted money. If this isn't upside-down theology, I don't know what is. It just shows the lengths the conservatives will go to hold on to their bigotry.

The other piece from Columbus, Ga., isn't on the same level, but shows the blind and silly hatred, or fear, many so-called Christians have toward gays--to the point of punishing anyone associated with them:

A choir invited to Columbus from St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, which is led by an openly gay rector, will not perform for a June 15 Morning Prayer service at Trinity Episcopal as some had wanted.

"I felt like it would not be an appropriate space, given their history and Trinity's history," the Rev. Jim Yeary, Trinity's interim rector, said Thursday.

Brad Hughley, the director of the audition-only group from St. Bartholomew's, received an e-mail inquiry March 20 from Joseph Golden, a professor at Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music and a former organist-choirmaster at Trinity. Golden is also the coordinator for the American Guild of Organists Region IV convention June 13-15 in Columbus. In that role, he sought out the St. Bartholomew's choir for one of many events planned that week.

Golden then had a conversation with Yeary, who suggested the choir not perform.

About three years ago, St. Bartholomew's called an openly gay priest as its rector, the Rev. William "Mac" Thigpen. He and his partner moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles.


Hughley of St. Bartholomew's said he welcomed the invitation from Golden but is angry about what he called a "disinvitation."

"He obviously had confidence we would do a good job musically," Hughley said of Golden, "and to be dismissed for political reasons is unconscionable. I think it's hateful."

Me too.


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