Anti-homophobia activists query Jensen's silence

February 9, 2007

The queer rights activists of Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) believe that Peter Jensen, the Anglican archbishop of Sydney, should condemn a highly oppressive anti-gay law being introduced in Nigeria that is being backed by the Anglican Church in that country. reported on January 19 that the law "levies a five-year automatic prison sentence not only on almost every expression of gay identity and sexuality but also on giving advice or support to lesbians or gay men".

Desmond Tutu, former head of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and retired archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, has spoken out against the law, reported. "To penalise somebody for their sexual orientation is the same as what used to happen to black South Africans for something about which we could do nothing", Tutu said.

CAAH's Karl Hand said: "Many of us who are respectfully aware of Archbishop Jensen's moral and spiritual critique of homosexuality where hoping that he would nonetheless be opposed to this clear human rights violation. We remember the bold stance he took in 2002 over the refugee crisis, calling the Australian government to [repent], and demanding that the grace of God be shown to refugees. For this reason, we are deeply concerned that Archbishop Jenson has declined to comment on this issue, and wonder why a seeming double standard is being employed."

CAAH's Blue Mountains branch sent a letter of concern to Jensen's office. The archbishop's media officer replied that Jensen "has no comment to make on this matter at this time".

In response, CAAH will be holding a prayer vigil on February 4 from 10.30am outside St Andrews Cathedral.

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