Reading this snippet about a meeting that otherwise seems to have merely enabled some prominent churchmen to issue an ultimatum to their U.S. branch to stop infecting them with gay cooties, I was moved to look for a picture of the Cathedral in question and found this:
This stamp pictures, from left to right: The Cathedral of Saint Joseph (Roman Catholic), The Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican), The Malindi Mosque, The Hujjatul Islam Mosque, A Hindu Temple. Link.
Hmm. Nice idea, though probably always more vision than practice.
Zanzibar then was an independent sultanate, one of the world's historic trading centers, where, for generations, seafarers from the Arab Gulf ports and the Indian sub-continent met African merchants. Yes, for far too long, the merchandise was human, as well as spices and saris. One year after that stamp was issued, Zanzibar was "married," not entirely voluntarily, with the mainland nation of Tanganika, forming the modern state of Tanzania.
The president of that new Tanzania was the leader of its anti-colonial liberation struggle, Mwalimu (Teacher) Julius K. Nyerere. After Nelson Mandela, President Nyerere (1922-1999) was one of the most widely respected theorists and practitioners of liberation in emerging post-colonial Africa. He was an enormously thoughtful man who did something almost unique (apart from Mandela) among that set of African leaders: in 1985 he voluntarily relinquished office and saw his political and development initiatives peacefully overthrown. He went on to work to broker peace among African nations struggling with poverty and arbitrary boundaries drawn by the European imperial powers.
While I feel certain that Nyerere would have shared the cultural disdain the princes of the church so evidently feel for gay people, it is hard to imagine this teacher of the Tanzanian people as one who would work for the oppression and imprisonment of some who did their country no harm. He had very strong words of wisdom about leadership to offer to poor peasant Tanzanians:
Unfortunately Nyerere was all too prophetic; African socialism was no match for the rapacity of the world market and for the greed of most of the functionaries of a one party state. He understood the operation of human frailty all too well.
Rather surprisingly, Nyerere was a devout Christian of the Roman Catholic sort. Some Tanzanians, especially Muslims, distrusted him for his faith, but in his time, his leadership was not much contested. Nyerere's faith idiom may have accounted for the particular messianic cast he gave to the struggle for liberation.
Now that's the stuff that matters; the work Christians are called to. The source of those poetic sentiments is a column by the U.S. Catholic Dorothy Day in which she waxes enthusiastic about her 1970 visit to the emerging Tanzania.
This Tanzanian teacher, a failed socialist and defeated democrat, is a lot more inspiring and a lot more true to Truth than a pride of peevish primates.