A Letter to the Active and Retired United Methodist Bishops of Africa
February 24, 2014
Grace and peace to you in the name of Christ Jesus. In 2012 you and I began a conversation about homosexuality. This morning as I prayed I felt convicted to write to you and continue that conversation. With a heavy heart I have been tracking what is happening in Uganda. This nation state has legalized discrimination against homosexuals; a severe discrimination that gives wings to hatred and violence against these who are also children of God. What is happening in Uganda will spread throughout the continent of Africa and beyond if it is left unchallenged.
I have heard some of you say that homosexuality is a U.S. issue and not an African issue. I disagree, for as I have traveled to some of the places in Africa where you lead our United Methodist work, I have met your homosexual children and your homosexual brothers and sisters and mine. They have shared with me how they live in constant fear because of their sexual orientation. These are not strangers. They are members of our United Methodist family, devoted to Christ Jesus with the same heart and passion that you and I share. Church membership, however, should not be a requirement for our concern and care. Men and women and young people and their families are suffering and being forced into repressive webs of deadly coercion against each other because of sexual identity. We must not stand by without denouncing this evil and injustice.
You and I disagree about homosexuality but I beseech you to consider that discrimination and violence against persons because of their sexual orientation cannot be justified under our Christian faith. Jesus consistently went to the margins of society to minister to and redeem those whom society considered unclean and unworthy of God’s grace. As servants of Christ Jesus we can do no less.
I beg you to act in behalf of those whom Jesus also considers his beloved. I do not ask you to stand in support of homosexuality. I ask you to raise your voices against hatred and violence. At my end I pledge to do all I can to challenge U.S. forces that contribute to the fomenting of this hatred and violence in Africa.
I write to you not as one who has any authority over you, for I do not. I pray that you will receive these words as those of a sister in the faith who strives with you to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Please know that you are in my prayers as you lead God’s people.