Lutherans in Tanzania shun those in the West

Timothy Kincaid

May 7th, 2010

There are a lot of Lutherans in Tanzania. With 5.3 million Lutherans, there are more there than in any nation other than Sweden (and Swedes take their religion a bit laxly).

And while the Lutherans in Scandinavia and, increasingly, the United States are welcoming of gay people and supporting of gay rights and relationships, the Tanzanians are not at all happy. They are so very pissed off at their fellow believers that they want nothing to do with them. Or their money.

From the Ecumenical News International

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania says it will not accept money or help from groups that allow or support the legalization of same-sex marriages.

“Those in same-sex marriages, and those who support the legitimacy of such marriage, shall not be invited to work in the ELCT,” says a statement posted to the church’s Web site on April 29. “We further reject their influence in any form, as well as their money and their support.”

It’s very sad. African remains largely hostile to gay people; so much so that at times it tears at the fabric of their shared faith.

Pomo

May 7th, 2010

As a continent, they are culturally decades behind the west. Which is fine. They are where they are. I won’t be going there to visit. And there are plenty of other struggling people around the world that would be happy to have my Lutheran money.

----

May 7th, 2010

If it took a few white men to give that mentality to Africa, what would it take to change it?

Désirée

May 8th, 2010

“a bit laxly” wins the understatement of the year award. When I read this to my Swedish wife, her response was “We’re Lutheran? Um…OK, good to know”

I know, nothing to do with the article, but I just thought it was funny and I’d throw it out there.

Andreas

May 8th, 2010

The reason that Sweden have so many Lutherans was that every swede as soon as we where born was considered part of the Swedish church (Lutheran church) and while that has changed now a lot of people simply doesn’t bother with sending in the papers to leave the church even though they aren’t Lutheran or even Christian at all.

Norris

May 8th, 2010

Thank you, Pomo, for your words. I agree whole-heartedly. My contributions will continue to reach people in need through Lutheran World Relief and the LWF. It has taken centuries for our church in Europe and North America to grasp the acceptance of the outcast modeled by Jesus. Lutherans in Tanzania are a few centuries behind.

Bruno

May 8th, 2010

Where did this religious homophobia begin though? Not in the Tanzanian Lutheran church, but in the “western” churches. It’s kind of like the role someone like Engle or Lively plays, except the mentors have disassociated themselves with the homophobia, while the students continue on in that vein.

Piper

May 8th, 2010

Not all African Lutheran Churches are this way. My Church’s sister congregation is in Sierra Leonne, and despite the problems still going on there, the Lutheran Church is an active humanitarian force there, and this month we hosted their Bishop here in Amarillo, and our ties are stronger than ever.

Fred

May 9th, 2010

It shows clearly there is a realtationship between development and the acceptance of minorities;)

Timothy Kincaid

May 9th, 2010

Piper,

that is a delight to hear.

toujoursdan

May 10th, 2010

It was the West that turned Africans homophobic. Before that attitudes towards homosexuality varied greatly between ethnic groups. We caused this.

Piper

May 10th, 2010

Yeah Timothy, the Lutheran Church in SL actually doesn’t even have a headquarters building, they spend almost all their money and effort helping to rebuild the community. They are a true example of what I wish all Christians were like.

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