Anglican Church Supports Celibate Gay Priests

Njongonkulu Ndungane, an Anglican Archbishop, has come out in support of the first gay elected bishop by the Episcopal church in the United States, saying the sexual orientation of an ordained person is not relevant. The archbishop was reacting to the controversy surrounding the election of Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual bishop of New Hampshire.
Ndungane says the position of the Anglican church in Southern Africa is that any person ordained as a priest in the church is eligible for election as a bishop. However, he says that the only condition is that a homosexual person must lead a celibate life.
In other news, Ndungane said South Africa's Aids pandemic had become a world disgrace as serious as apartheid. Ndungane was commenting on the Medicines Control Council's recent threat to withdraw registration of Nevirapine for use in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
He said: "The fact that 600 people are dying daily is a serious indictment on our elected government and leaves the impression that it does not care whether we live or die." He questioned the government's lack of acknowledgement of the fact that Nevirapine was recommended in dozens of countries around the world, including South Africa.
He said that when Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, continued to question the efficacy of ARV and talked about waiting for the right structures to be in place, she and those who supported her were equating the Aids virus with manageable diseases.
Ndungane said he wished that her department could act on HIV/Aids with the same admirable sense of urgency that had been applied to a meningitis scare in Gauteng.
"The minister is quite right when she says the Aids pandemic is the responsibility of every government department and I believe it is time her fellow ministers accepted responsibility for what has become a world disgrace as serious as apartheid," he said.