|Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009
Blatant hate speech against homosexuals in Zondervan's Africa Bible
Commentary cited at Society of Biblical Literature 2009 Annual
By Rev. Stephen Parelli
Monday, November 23, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
The African Biblical Hermeneutics Section of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) featured a
paper today at the SBL annual meeting centered around the "Lot and Abraham Story" from the
Africa Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 2006). The respondent to the paper, Gerald O. West of
Kwa-Zulu Natal University, in his remarks, made a brief reference to the Africa Bible
Commentary's featured article entitled "Homosexuality," found in the Romans section of the single
volume commentary, to illustrate how the "Lot and Abraham Story" of the Africa Bible
Commentary is predisposed to the evangelical anti-position on homosexuality.
During the open discussion that followed the papers, Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of
Other Sheep, said the publisher, Zondervan, was guilty of "hate speech" against homosexuals.
Parelli said the Zondervan article quotes uncritically a so-called common-enough view in Africa
that "homosexuals are worse than beasts." The Africa Bible Commentary article further states,
said Parelli, that "the Anglican Church in Africa has rejected Bishop Tutu's call for tolerance and
acceptance of homosexuals." Parelli said, because the Africa Bible Commentary article links,
uncritically, the two statements that "homosexuals are worse than beasts" and that "the Anglican
Church rejected Tutu's call for tolerance" that the article is hate speech against homosexuals,
that the evangelical Nigerian author of the article, uncritical of the quotes he uses, owns the
quotes as his own viewpoint.
Parelli said Rick Warren of the United States, John Stott of England, and Douglas Carew of
Nairobi, Kenya, have all endorsed the Africa Bible Commentary.
Parelli, citing Uganda as an evangelical country, tied the evangelical view of homosexuality to the
current criminal Anti-Homosexuality Bill of Uganda that calls for the death sentence and life
imprisonment of homosexuals who meet certain conditions.
Another attendant of the SBL session who did not identify himself when he spoke and who left
early, thanked the audience for their comments on the Africa Bible Commentary and said that the
"insensitivities" of the Africa Bible Commentary as noted in this meeting would be taken into
consideration. Apparently, from his remarks, the gentleman is somehow associated with
West, in his final reply to the audience as the respondent, thanked Parelli for his comments on
the Africa Bible Commentary and gave an account of how religious groups within South Africa are
forming meetings around the study of the issue of homosexuality and the church in Africa to
discuss seriously the Biblical texts traditionally associated with homosexuality. West said South
Africans "are hungry" to really know, and not assume, what the Bible does and does not say
about homosexuality especially in light of the very really present situation that their South African
constitution provides for the right of same-sex marriage.
Robert Wafula, Drew University, and Robert Wafawanaka, Virginia Union University, each gave a
paper with West the respondent to both papers. Elelwani Farisani, University of South Africa,
In 2008, Parelli and his same-sex partner, Jose Ortiz, conducted Other Sheep seminars on the
Bible and homosexuality in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
This webpage was created and published November 22, 2009, SBL, New Orleans.
Visits to this webpage since November 22, 2009.
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