Celebrations are taking place across England and Wales for newly-married same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples. Soon equal marriage will be in place in Scotland too. This is cause for rejoicing not only for the newly-weds, their families and friends but also the wider community.
A powerful documentary on Channel 4, ‘Hunted’, shows the level of homophobic hatred and violence in Russia. As the Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, the United Nations Secretary-General and writers from many countries have condemned the human rights abuses taking place. Churches should consider their stance.
Nigerian bishops have abandoned Catholic social teaching by backing a new law which severely violates human rights. By supporting the misleadingly-named Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, they have also distanced themselves from Pope Francis, who has called for a more pastoral approach to gays.
Church leaders who have encouraged mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) have defended their behaviour, after the archbishops of Canterbury and York reminded fellow-Anglicans of a pledge to offer pastoral care and support regardless of sexual orientation. Church of England senior clergy Justin Welby and John Sentamu wrote after harsh new laws were passed in Uganda and Nigeria.
Some Nigerian Christian leaders have tried to defend a new law that violates human rights and is contrary to Jesus’ call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. All too often, churches are captive to the prejudices and power-games that dominate their society and era.