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Sudanese Anglicans say Gay Marriage in CofE will result in Christian Violence

Sudanese Anglicans Say Gay Marriage in CofE will result in violence against Christians
People of South Sudan would go back to their traditional religions which oppose same-sex practice
Sudanese Church would ultimately break with Church of England

By David W. Virtue DD
www.virtueonline.org
May 12, 2014

A Sudanese Anglican Archbishop and a Bishop warn that gay relationships in the Church of England would mean continued violence against South Sudanese Christians with many going back to their traditional religions that oppose same-sex practice. Furthermore, the continued violence against Christians would spread in the fear that it would bring bad and shameful behavior in their communities, the Rt. Rev. Justin Badi Arama, Bishop of Maridi [South Sudan], said.

Any change would lead to a risk, the Bishop of Wau, the Most Rev. Moses Deng Bol, also warned. “The Church of England blessing gay marriages will be dangerous for the Church in South Sudan, because people here, like many African countries, strongly oppose gay marriages,” the orthodox cleric in the Church of England blogged.

Archbishop Bol issued a stern warning saying the [Sudanese] Church would break relationships with the Church of England if it continued its present trend. “As a Church, we need to remain united as a body of Christ. We must be mindful of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world when taking decisions, because what affects one part of the body affects the whole body as well.”

Bishop Arama concurred, “As South Sudanese, we very much value the partnership, and all the efforts of the Church of England to support the Church in Sudan during all the difficult moments in our history. Same-sex practice would distort this long history, because light and darkness cannot stay together. It is our prayer that the Church of England should not follow the world into darkness, but lead the world into light.”

Earlier the Church Times reported that bishops in South Sudan had confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s warning that Christians in the country face a violent reaction if the Church of England should permit same-sex marriage and blessings. Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio recently. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he responded, “The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places would be absolutely catastrophic.” He spoke of a visit to South Sudan in January: “The church leaders there were saying, please don't change what you’re doing because then we couldn't accept your help, and we need your help desperately.”

The LBC presenter, James O'Brien suggested that gay Christians might interpret the Archbishop’s words as a ban on marrying “because of ... some, dare we say, less enlightened people in Africa.”

“I don't think we can say ‘less enlightened’, actually,” replied the Archbishop. “That's nothing to do with it. It's about the fact that I stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who'd been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America.”

Returning to the subject later, he added, “What was said [by their opponents] was that ‘if we leave the Christian community in this area’ - I am quoting them – ‘we will all be made to become homosexuals; so we are going to kill the Christians.’ The mass grave had 369 bodies in it, and I was standing with the relatives. That burns itself into your soul - as does the suffering of gay people in this country.”

During the phone-in, the Archbishop Welby reiterated a traditional position on same-sex relationships: “My position is the historic position of the Church, which is in our canons, which says that sexual relations should be within marriage, and marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Asked whether he could imagine a day when two people of the same sex married in the Church of England, he answered, “I look at the Scriptures, I look at the teaching of the Church, I listen to Christians round the world, and I have real hesitations about that. I am incredibly uncomfortable about saying that. I really don't want to say, ‘No,’ to people who love each other, but you have to have a sense of following what the teaching of the Church is. We can't just make sudden changes.”

Fresh reports say the situation in the South Sudan is still unstable. John Inglis-Jones, Executive Officer of AID (Anglican International Development), is visiting the country and the AID staff working there. He will report back at the beginning of May.

This week the heads The Episcopal Church, The Anglican Church of Canada, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada sent a message of solidarity with the Church in South Sudan

They said; “The situation in South Sudan continues to be extremely difficult, and news of it in North American media is minimal. Violence has been fomented and stirred by political leaders for their own ends. Although the mainstream media portrays the conflict as ethnic, its roots, as with any conflict, are varied and complicated. Regardless, there can never be a rationale for the suffering that has been wrought.

“Our partners in South Sudan have suffered massive casualties. Their people have been murdered, raped, tortured, and burned out of their homes. Churches and entire villages have been destroyed. In spite of extensive displacement, Anglicans/Episcopalians and Lutherans continue to be active in relief and peace-making efforts through our partners in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Lutheran World Federation.

END

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