Wednesday, 9 December 2009

An e-mail to Rowan Williams

Dear Archbishop

I am contacting you to express my deep dismay and disappointment with regard to your public position on the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 currently under consideration in the Ugandan Parliament and the election of the Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles.

The former, one of the most vile and inhumane pieces of legislation to see the light of day since the happy demise of Adolf Hitler, has been in the public domain for several weeks if not months, was initially offered very slightly qualified support by the Anglican Church in Uganda and has been the subject only of an indirect comment by your office through the medium of Ruth Gledhill's column in the Times. The latter, an action which threatens no lives with judicial termination, was condemned with 12 hours by a Press release from Lambeth Palace. A combination of rectitude and alacrity that leaves me stunned and angry.

This, Your Grace, to me smacks either of the most remarkably twisted logic in establishing moral priorities or of ecclesiastical politics at their most craven and venal. Neither reflects well on either your person or your office. I wish to urge you to make some public statement condemning unequivocally the Ugandan legislation and pointing out to the Ugandan Church that their collusion with this murderous act is a far more serious threat to the Unity of the Communion than the offer of a mitre to a middle aged women in California, no matter who she lives with.

Prior to leaving parish ministry, I had close links with a parish in Uganda and value that relationship of Communion highly. However, no ecclesiatical unity is worth the sacrifice of thousands to a life lived under the shadow of terror and even death. I cannot in all conscience see how anyone would believe differently.

Archbishop, I am currently a serving member of the General Synod of the Scotish Episcopal Church. These events have changed my mind with regard to the proposed Anglican Covenant. No unity is worth the terrible cost that silent collusion with Uganda would require. You may take it that I will vote against the Covenant as a direct result of your action and inaction.

Yours is an uneviable and indeed impossible task Your Grace, so whilst I must express my views with regard to your position, I also assure you of my continuing prayers for God's guidance and wisdom. We are all human and all need that daily.

Yours sincerely,

John Penman
(Priest of the Diocese of Edinburgh)


  1. The only thing I would have wanted to add to this is to point out that no supposed diplomatic advantage is to be gained from silence, since the sponsors and supporters of this Bill won't pay any attention to other views in any case

  2. Well-said, frdougal. And I can only imagine how much heavier the burden must feel on that side of the pond. ++Rowan is more easily ignored over here. I continue to pray that he will back away from the cliff before he lands in the pit of obscurity. An intelligent man such as himself should know better!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I haven't deleted anything rude or nasty btw - the comment was in Chinese or Japanese, so I had no idea what it meant and felt it safer to delete it. If the comment were to reappear in English I'd happily post it.

  5. Probably blog comment spam, possibly aimed at gaming Google PageRank or another automated relevance system - you allow anonymous posting, so they only need to beat the captcha.

  6. We have some comment from His Beardiness - in the gossip section of the Torygraph rather than as an official statement.

    A mild expression of muted displeasure rather than the Wrath of the Lord, I feel. More smiting, less simpering required.

  7. Bleeding useless!