Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Least of These - Voices of Witness Africa

Cynthia Black has posted the first draft of the video we produced following our trip to Africa, where we interviewed LGBT Nigerians, Kenyans, and Ugandans. You can watch the whole slightly-more-than-18-minute video at Walking With Integrity here.

I hope you will take the time to look at it, see the faces, and listen to the stories. The courage, deep Christian faith, and joy in God's love will leap out of the screen at you.

[As you watch it, please keep in mind that we are still tweaking it. When we have finished that process, we will put that version up.]

Photo by Cynthia Black

We -- Integrity USA and Claiming the Blessing -- will be showing the video Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in Keynes Hall at the University of Kent as part of the Fringe events at Lambeth. We hope lots of bishops will come see it.

But as much as I think bishops need to see this -- and particularly they need to see it while they are all at Lambeth, if only to help them remember 'the least of these" in their sessions -- my personal hope is that lots of "ordinary" Anglicans will come see it.

I say that because we all need to be reminded of a couple of realities -- there are LGBT people all over the world, indeed every place there are human beings; and most of them are forced to hide their sexuality or else risk terrible danger from their cultures and/or their churches or other religious authorities.

The reality is that LGBT Episcopalians, and I daresay, LGBT Anglicans in the Church of England -- and yes, Virginia, there are quite a few -- are for the most part, very economically privileged folk, as are the majority of their straight brother and sister churchgoers. This is not the case for LGBT fok in the rest of the world, and certainly not in Second and Third World countries.

In these countries they don't just risk losing a job, or their place on the vestry or parish council if they are outed. They risk losing their freedom, or even their lives. Below are examples of some of the headlines they see on a regular basis.

That is why the more privileged LGBT Episcopalians and Anglicans and their straight allies must continue not only to push our respective civil and religious authorities toward fairness and equality, we must use our positions of privilege to also work without ceasing to improve the lot of our less fortunate sisters and brothers.

We must do the former because by doing so we are providing a model, a prophetic vision that offers hope to more people than we can possibly imagine.

And we must do the latter because we are commanded to do so by Jesus Christ.

Matthew 25:34-40

34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?
38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?
39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”
40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

1 comment:

Cany said...

Only a person with no heart or soul would not shed a tear when watching this. It is very powerful. Thank you so much.