An Open Letter to Ms. Windsor
Just noticed that bit at the end of yer 2009 Christmas message, the bit that reads:
Christians are taught to love their neighbours, having compassion and concern, and being ready to undertake charity and voluntary work to ease the burden of deprivation and disadvantage. We may ourselves be confronted by a bewildering array of difficulties and challenges, but we must never cease to work for a better future for ourselves and for others.
The charity and voluntary work stuff is nice and all, but I was just wondering if maybe working for a better future might involve a wee bit more of a head-on tackling of those challenges. I'm thinking more along the lines of sentiments expressed by a fellow member of the Outer Alliance, Brandon Bell. See, on his latest blog entry, he has a message for "Christians" in the US, one with which I heartily agree:
The Ugandan anti-gay bill, the role that Christian anti-gay activism has played there, and the plight of those people... if these are not MAJOR talking points in your fellowship groups and your church.... if your minister has not taken a STRONG stance against the Christian leaders who created this situation, The Family, 'Reverend' Scott Lively, Rick Warren, and anyone else who helped this coming into being, then the most important evil for you to address ain't Obama or the Liberals or the Gay. It's right in your own household. So get to cleaning and stop effing with everyone else.
So, yeah, that got me thinking about whether you might like to sign this petition against that anti-gay legislation in Uganda.
Cause, yanno, you are Supreme Governer of the Church of England... and Head of the Commonwealth too, for that matter. You know, that organisation you describe as "a strong and practical force for good". The one that had the big summit thing in Trinidad and Tobago that you were at. The one that you made a point of referring to in your speech, remarking on "how important the Commonwealth is to young people." The one that apparently has all those nice programmes in terms of "new communication technologies." The one you characterise in terms of "practical assistance and networks" that "can give skills, lend advice and encourage enterprise."
The one that Uganda is a part of.
See, getting those kids... I dunno... cheap wifi-enabled laptops and MyFace accounts so they can "reach out to the wider world and share their experiences and viewpoints" or whatever, that's all very well, but it ain't gonna mean much if they're fricking dead.
I mean, I'm guessing you missed out on the meeting where the Commonwealth HIV and AIDS Action Group "called for the rejection of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality private members bill by the Ugandan government and for the Commonwealth suspension of Uganda if the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is passed." They're particularly worried about how that anti-gay legislation is going to encourage the spread of AIDS. Personally, I'm more concerned about how the anti-gay legislation is going to encourage the spread of exterminated gays, but... different strokes for different folks, as they say. Anyhoo, it sounds like a worthwhile meeting to me, and I'm guessing you'd agree. As you say, "It is important to keep discussing issues that concern us all – there can be no more valuable role for our family of nations." And, well, a Commonwealth nation bringing in a policy that amounts to "exterminate the homos" is an issue that concerns us all, right? I mean, in so far as we're all human beings with that empathy thing going for us.
So I'm thinking that since you didn't mention that aspect of the Commonwealth summit in yer wee speech thing, you were probably off elsewhere at the time, shaking hands with shiny-eyed teenagers or something. Actually, it would have been kind of awesome if you had been there, if you'd stomped into that meeting, cigar clenched between yer teeth, chucked yer hat onto a coatstand like James Bond himself, and said something along the lines of "Uganda can kiss my regal arse if they're gonna be bigoted cunts." Yeah, yeah, it's a symbolic role, and there's all that protocol malarky, but fuck it. You're at that age where you get to be irascible and opinionated. Trust me, you'd win a million million internets if you decided to go maverick on the fuckwits.
I know you say that "[t]he Commonwealth is not an organisation with a mission. It is rather an opportunity for its people to work together to achieve practical solutions to problems." But it does, as those CHAAG folks pointed out, have a "commitment to promote equality and non-discrimination as stated in the 1971 Singapore Declaration of Principles and the Harare Commonwealth Declaration." Granted, when the latter sets out that "we believe in the liberty of the individual under the law, in equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief," it doesn't actually include sexuality in there, but we're talking spirit of the law here rather than letter of the law, right? Misogyny, racism, homophobia... it's all discrimination. Just ask yourself, what if one of your own sons was... oh. Wait.
Look, the point is, we have a fairly clear problem in Uganda wanting to exterminate gays. Whether shouting "WHAT THE FUCK?!?!" at them counts as a practical solution or not, I'd say this is definitely a good opportunity for you to demonstrate some of that "compassion and concern," to lead the way in working for that "better future for ourselves and for others." And when it comes to a "bewildering array of difficulties and challenges," this one seems pretty low on the bewildering quotient to me. If you're a BBC executive you might think "Should gays be executed?" is a complex topic requiring thoughtful debate, but frankly for most folks who have even a scrap of "compassion and concern" I'd have thought that was a no-brainer. And I'm sure one of Charlie's boys will be internet-savvy enough to show you how to fill in the form on the web. Trust me, it's piss-easy.
Hell, I'll even put another link to the petition here, so you don't have to scroll back up to it. So go on. Be a good Christian, Liz. You are the Grand High Poobah of both the Commonwealth and the Church of England, right? And as a wise man once said, with great power comes great responsibility. If anyone gets all snitty about protocol, just wave yer stick and set the corgis on them.
Anyways, nuff said. I'll leave it at that, cause I don't want to be a nag or nothing. Too late to wish you Merry Christmas, but Happy New Year and all the best for 2010!
The Elders of Sodom