I am sure I am not alone in recognising parallels between the draconian legislation against gay and lesbian people being proposed in Nigeria and Uganda and that enacted against Jews in Nazi Germany. In both instances an identifiable segment of society is being systematically and increasingly persecuted because of who they are. It is not enough that they are 'different' from the majority of their fellow countrymen and women - their very existence is said to be the cause of so many of the ills besetting their countries. They are being supported by an international conspiracy; their power to influence 'innocent' children is a threat and the only way to create a 'pure' society is to exterminate them.
I am sure I am also not alone in feeling utterly repulsed by what is happening there and feeling helpless to know what to do. As in the 1930's, the churches in those countries are, at best, claiming they are not stirring up hatred and yet their apparant refusal to embrace a persecuted minority is reminiscent of the churches in Germany. And what is the Church of England doing? Seemingly also remaining silent, as so many of our bishops did in the 30's. To state that, because we were the colonial power and that we cannot be seen to be seeking to influence the working of another country is facile. It clearly did not stop the Church of England taking a stand, for example, against the apartheid regime in South Africa. Yet we seem to be standing on the sidelines quite prepared to allow the persecution of a minority in countries which have a large proportion of fellow-Anglicans in their population.
So I find myself incredulous at the apparant refusal of the Church of England to speak out against this evil being done in the name of religion. For there can be no mistaking the fact that supporting this movement is the power of religion in those countries. And I am left with the terrible sense that I am powerless: I cannot do anything. And those who speak in my name,a nd in the name of Christ, refuse to.