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26 Apr 2010

Singapore Archbishop John Chew to lead anti-gay bloc

Anglican Primate of South East Asia and Singapore Archbishop John Chew elected chairman of the Global South network which represents about 75 per cent of Anglicans globally. 

Archbishop John Chew, the Bishop of Singapore and Primate of the Province of Anglican Church in South East Asia has been appointed head of the Global South Anglican network at a conference that was held last week in Singapore. He succeeds retired Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria who was in 2006 described by The New York Times as "a man whose international reputation has largely been built on his tough stance against homosexuality." Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda succeeds Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda as the Vice-Chairman of the Communion.

John Chew

The Global South Anglican network is a grouping of 20 Anglican provinces (in Africa, West Indies, Asia and South America) of 38 provinces worldwide and represents about 75 per cent of the 75 million Anglicans globally.

Several provinces of the Anglican Communion severed ties with the American Anglican Church after a gay bishop, Gene Robinson, was consecrated in 2003, an act that caused widespread uproar among conservative and traditional Anglicans, particularly in Africa, a home to more than half of the world’s Anglicans.

In 2008, Anglican leaders from the provinces of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Southern Cone (South America) and Singapore as well as the Archbishop of Sydney boycotted the once-a-decade world Anglican summit to protest the US Episcopal Church's gay-affirmative stance.

A statement issued on April 23 at the end of the Fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter in Singapore specifically opposed the election and intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles. 

Her election has "demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world." The statement read.

The network called on Anglican Communion provinces to "reconsider their communion relationships" with the Anglican Church of Canada and the US Episcopal Church. It said the two provinces must show "genuine repentance" for actions that it said show they "continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved.

While the Anglican Global South grouping might have been in existence for a longer period, the term is said to have come into more prominent use in 2003 as a result of the dispute caused by the ordination of Rev Gene Robinson – an openly gay non-celibate priest – as a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States. This, according to Michael Nai, director and Asian Christianity coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological College who cited several other publications in his 2008 paper titled 'The Global South Anglican: its origins and development'.

Aside from protesting their US and Canadian counterparts' role in electing and consecrating gay and lesbian clergy, many of the African Anglican leaders active in the Communion have strongly advocated the continued criminalisation of gay sex in Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, who had once called the enthronement of a gay bishop a “satanic attack on the church of God,” while Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, the outgoing Vice-Chairman of the grouping, called the "act of homosexuality a form of moral genocide." Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda has been widely criticised for supporting his country's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill and additionally calling for sexual orientation to be excluded as a protected human right.

In 2007 during the debate on Section 377A, the National Council of Churches of Singapore which then and continues to be under the leadership of Archbishop Chew called on the government to criminalise lesbian sex as it is as "sinful, abhorrent and deviant" as homosexual acts. The statement was carried in the March 2007 edition of the Methodist Message, the official publication of the Methodist Church in Singapore.

Reader's Comments

1. 2010-04-26 17:10  
well isn't he the lucky boy but why legitimise him by refering to him as if he's important he's just Mr Chew who happens to be a archbishop in a sect of christianity that is well how would you say not actually legitimate just a break away from catholicism with their own interpretation of Jewish Scripture and holding on to writing by so called apostles that really have no emperical evidence to back up their warbling, Jesus was a Jew not a christian christianity is illegitimate and a corruption of Judaism even further these break away church's are even less valid and we waste too much time and energy cowtowing to christianity. Judaism from which Christianity and Islam is based is largely fraud and fantasy...all the middle eastern religions are not valid or with real credibility, we need to return to the pagan roots of our ancestors and return all the lands of the great Pagan Empires back to their former beliefs and Historical glories
2. 2010-04-26 19:19  
I agree John Chew is not important - and I would like to ask him WHY people in the Global South network feel the need to spruik agendas of hate, contempt and intolerance ...
3. 2010-04-26 19:57  
Let me repeat an earlier comment: Those who commit to a spiritual life by taking vows ought to resist distractions, temptations and acts of a sexual nature and concentrate on nurturing the spirit rather than the satisfying the desires of the flesh regardless of sexual inclination.

Let me also explain to a certain reader here that “taking vows” (plural) means “making certain commitments” (plural) by those who have chosen to lead a spiritual life which may or may not include the vow of celibacy.

I think it is best for a spiritual leader to resist distractions, temptations and acts of a sexual nature. If that is done, then the dialog can focus on spiritual development rather than on the trivialities of sexual orientation and deviant, immoral or illegal sexual practices.

A certain reader here mentioned Paul's alleged claim that Bishops should marry rather burn with lust, as if marriage is a cure for lust. Just ask those who are married to see if they still burn with lust when someone hot or seductive goes by. Furthermore, it is better to burn with lust than to be burned by infidelity or be infected by a sexually transmitted disease.

Finally, if spiritual enlightenment can be attained by indulgences in carnal and other earthly pleasures, then by all means drink, dance, eat, smoke, take drugs and fuck constantly to reach nirvanic oblivion. There is only one catch: make sure you reach your nirvana before you get way too obese when sexual intercourse could be a problem.
Comment edited on 2010-04-27 14:39:27
4. 2010-04-26 21:16  
How easily do they, the Anglican Church, forget that their tradition and lineage was first born out of Henry VIII's lust and politics.
And here, they want to speak of "...the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world...".
At least Martin Luther had more capital on that and even so disputable..
Another example of myopic ecclesiastical responses to realities...
5. 2010-04-27 00:52  
Look whose the one wearing Purple and such an ugly shade too! He's like so GAY without any style. What's his problem with gay people? Did the gay people in his school refuse to play with him cos... well, just look at him!
6. 2010-04-27 02:32  
I think before the Church wants to make negative overtures on gays and lesbians, it is wise if they could solve the growing problem of paedophile and sex abuse cases within the Church itself.

I believe religion is good and it inculcates good values in a person. But a person who teaches or guides a flock should lead by examples.
7. 2010-04-27 23:08  
@3, ripped, Maybe I was unclear; I didn't necessarily disagree with your views on worldly distractions and spirituality, I was simply pointing out that there are other equally valid spiritual views and paths which embrace sexuality, and those paths have just as much right to respect for those that choose them.

There's also an increasing debate in the press on whether the possibly unhealthy celibacy requirement of the Catholic priesthood is what may be contributing to the widespread sexual abuse of those under the power of some of those priests, i.e. of nuns in Africa, and of children of both sexes globally. And of a girl I know who was raped by her priest in Singapore.

Back to GAFCON - I hope Chew will be more moderate than Akinola and more open to dialogue with the more gay-accepting half of the church, which would be good news for all concerned.
Comment edited on 2010-04-27 23:16:34
8. 2010-04-27 23:17  
In civilized societies, there is a seperation of religion and politics, for the purposes so apparent as this one is now happening. A homophobic leader of a religious movement hell-bent on procescuting a certain minority. What is so appalling and disturbing is the way they supposedly have such a large audience in which to spill their discrimination and hatred, yet be immuned from prosecution from the laws of the land. Hello Singapore Goverment....are you part and parcel of this conspiracy of hate and discrimination? Shame on you.! Aren't they breaking any laws with their disturbed thinking, not to mention having such a platform to display it in?
This has nothing to do with a spiritual life. If the idea of anybody's else's sexual orientation is such a great mental hurdle for these people of 'faith ' to get over with, then I suggest they go back to basics, and that is, learn TOLERANCE & RESPECT for the diversity of the human sexual behavior.
9. 2010-04-28 06:34  
"I was simply pointing out that there are other equally valid spiritual views and paths which embrace sexuality, and those paths have just as much right to respect for those that choose them," wrote steveuk.

Disagree. By implication, you are lecturing me that those people whose whose paths embrace sexuality should get my respect. I neither respect nor disrespect them. I extend to them my full courtesy since they are fellow human beings. I merely added a cautionary note after telling them to go ahead with their indulgences to achieve their nirvana.

You ought to read carefully the words I have chosen to use: They are intended to address precisely the kinds of "misunderstandings" that you have.

There will always be debates over one issue or another. An exchange of ideas is a natural part of the human intellect. What is unintelligible is a statement of random of facts that does not lead to a logical or arguable conclusion. An example of this is your second paragraph in your posting above.

Should I wish to continue this exchange, I would ask, "So what?" However, I do not and will not ask the question. My communication with you ends here.

Best regards.
Comment edited on 2010-04-28 06:44:18
10. 2010-04-28 09:15  
I sometimes wonder about anti Homosexual stances by leaders of a religion whose founder was a single man who never married (but got along well with women) and wandered round the countryside with twelve young men. Hmmm.
11. 2010-05-01 15:23  
I am a Christian not a big believer in churches.

Jesus taught: Love your neighbor, not some of them, but all of them.

LOVE is the main lesson of Christiany. So why are these "heretics" like this Archbishop allowed to be around? He should find another line of work where he can promote hate and not love.
Comment #12 was deleted by an administrator on 2010-05-04 16:58

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