U.S. rights advocates reject African-style quest for rights

6 Sep



The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga (Photo courtesy of Anglican Communion Office)

The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga (Photo courtesy of Anglican Communion Office)

American human rights advocates have undercut the work of their African counterparts by insisting on Western-style advocacy of gay rights from African supporters of human rights for all, says a group of prominent religious leaders and human-rights activists, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

The issue arose this summer when Dartmouth College in New Hampshire chose, then rejected, an African bishop as the new leader of its Tucker Foundation, which “educates Dartmouth students for lives of purpose and ethical leadership, rooted in service, spirituality, and social justice.”

After he was announced as the new dean of the Tucker Foundation on July 14, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga resigned from his position as bishop of Southern Malawi.

In  a message to the Dartmouth community on July 18, Tengatenga said, “I support marriage equality and equal rights for everyone.” He added:

I have risked my life by advocating good and just government. As I told the search committee when I visited Dartmouth this spring, I have expected to die for the past decade because I have dared to speak out against official corruption and in defense of those Jesus called “the least of these.” I joke to my friends that I don’t leave the house after seven o’clock at night because I want to see who kills me.

As the chair of a commission seeking to keep the Anglican Communion from splitting apart of the issue of homosexuality, he said,  “I have tried very hard to represent Africa to the West, especially to the Episcopal Church, and the West to my African colleagues.”

He noted, “Mediators, however, often find themselves in the crossfire.”

The Dartmouth College chapter of the NAACP opposed his appointment in a July 22 lettersigned by many student groups and faculty, citing his 2003 opposition to the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, as the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire.  At the time, Robinson was the Anglican Communion’s first openly gay bishop.  The NAACP also objected to a statement in 2011 that Malawi’s Anglican provinces remained “totally against homosexuality.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s