The Episcopal activists lobbying bishops at Lambeth have made a little video they are showing to the media (Ruth Gledhill has it) where they are seen exploiting Christian men and women whom they say are gay Africans. Last month the activists were raising money for this effort since they had fallen short of funds. Tragically, the funding must have come through. And it is tragic.
What these activists fail to understand – or perhaps they just don’t bloody care (we did try to warn them) – is that these actions are morally and politically irresponsible. In fact, it’s shameful. This illustrates to us on a global scale just how ignorant these privileged Episcopal activists are about African culture and society, the Islamic surge in Africa, and African politics on the ground. The recent unrest in Kenya seems to escape their notice. Or perhaps it is that they just don’t care.
These activists appear to view everything through the prism of their own personal and political experience. Having exhausted telling their own stories ad nauseum, they now strategically look for new victims abroad to do the dirty work for them, not comprehending or not caring about the cost to these sisters and brothers and their families or their bishops who are still in countries like Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda and many others. Actions have consequences beyond the scope of a single western political issue. Did they think the genocide in Rwanda was no big deal? Or the war in Northern Uganda? Or the fighting in Nigeria? Or the recent unrest in Kenya? Who do these Episcopal activists think they are?
If you openly oppose them then they brand you as a stereotyped black African tyrant who can’t write his own sermons.
Did Integrity get their victims to sign waivers so that they would not be held responsible if something happened to them? We have Anglican bishops and their families in Africa being attacked in their homes by Islamic extremists and Integrity goes over there to push their own political agenda for their own personal gain? Where were they when Bishop Benjamin Kwashi and his family were attacked? Where were they when Bishop Ali Buba Lamido and his family were attacked? Where were they when Bishop Benjamin Ojwang was attacked? Where were they?
This is exploitation at its worse. It is not the Christians but the Islamic extremists who want to kill those they whom they view as a threat to their own social order – that is the “context” in which they are living. Remember when the president of Iran said with a straight face that they have no homosexuals in Iran? And why is that, pray tell? Why would he get away with saying something so preposterous is either because they are threatened into silence with death or – more likely – they are all dead. For the American Episcopalians to exploit Africans from countries where there are similar efforts underway by Islamic extremists is simply beyond belief.
LATER: Greg Griffith now has an outstanding essay up called Witness a Study in Manipulation where he sets out a “through analysis and commentary [to] strip away whatever mystique or power their makers would claim they have.” His analysis is compelling not only for this political video, but also to reflect on how easy it is to manipulate audiences through video to achieve a political end.