Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Voices of Witness: Africa

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Voices of Witness: Africa

Article excerpt

Voices of Witness: Africa. Produced by Cynthia Black, Katie Sherrod, Joe Norman, Paul Lee, John Clinton Bradley, Susan Russell, and Louise Brooks, Integrity USA, for Claiming the Blessings, 2009. DVD, 30 min.

"Ask me how I live! Talk to me and I'll tell you! How do I relate to my God, the God that you talk about so much; how do I relate to him?" This ringing indictment is spoken by Viktor Juliet Mukasa, the head of the group Sexual Minorities of Uganda. Viktor is a transgender activist, a Christian, and an African. He is one of the many African Christians finally allowed to tell the church their story through the documentary project Voices of Witness: Africa.

Every Lambeth Conference since 1978 has enjoined bishops in the Anglican Communion to engage in a listening process with the LGBT members of their dioceses. Each decade they have returned with the promise unfulfilled. Other priorities have superseded that pledge. It has been far easier to talk about LGBT Christians than to listen to them. For many African bishops it has been easy to describe sexual minorities as western aberrations unknown on the African continent, or as foreign imports: Africans tainted with evil western ideas. It has been easy because the bishops and the church have reneged on the promise to listen.

Granted, it has not been easy to hear. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people have been criminalized for their sexual identities in many countries in Africa. Prison, beatings, "curative" rape, torture, and even death have resulted for people who have claimed or proclaimed the truth of their sexuality or who have been named as anything other than so-called heterosexual. …

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