So the United Methodist Church was in the news recently. Perhaps you saw it? If not, I’ll condense it for you: they had a special General Conference involving representatives from the globe (their denomination truly is global) who voted on several options regarding the future of the UMC and their position on human sexuality.
The eventual outcome was for the UMC to not make any change on their position on human sexuality. This came largely as a result of votes from members who were not in the United States.
What is of note however, is the remarks by Dr. Jerry Kulah, who is dean of a seminary in Africa and the General Coordinator for the Africa Initiative and as such, represented all Africans at the General Conference. I want to highlight a few of his remarks:
“Friends, please hear me, we Africans are not afraid of our sisters and brothers who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, questioning, or queer. We love them and we hope the best for them. But we know of no compelling arguments for forsaking our church’s understanding of Scripture and the teachings of the church universal.
And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”
Let me assure you, we Africans, whether we have liked it or not, have had to engage in this debate for many years now. We stand with the global church, not a culturally liberal, church elite, in the U.S.”
Perhaps you missed it? There was a very strong reference to the old Colonial Mindset of the White Man’s Burden.
Remember back to US History in High School? The idea that us Western powers (i.e. white people) just had to colonize the poor third world countries because we needed to share civilization with them. They were so uncivilized and we had no choice but to carry them into a better future. Look at poor old Uncle Sam! Look how bedraggled and tired he is! It is a burden! But somebody has to civilize them. It might as well be us!
Please note: everything I just said justifying colonization, while a driving reason for it at the time, is complete crap. And we know that. Colonialism was wrong. Again, just as a reminder: And then please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”
So here is the question the good Dr. Jerry makes the western progressives answer: how is their agenda and attitudes towards their brethren in Majority World countries different from the mindset of the White Man’s Burden?
Do they, or do the progressives not see their task as one of advancing civilization? They are spreading peace, love, equality and tolerance for all! And the Africans need to see that this is what is good for them.
Such is the progressive cisgender’s burden.