South African church torn on gay issues

Ndungane and Akinola compete to be dominant voice
Life is often violent at the intersection of white and black in the scrappy Cape Town suburb of Mowbray. Wedged between the exclusive neighborhoods near the mountain and the vast squalor of the townships, Mowbray sits at the front lines of South African integration.

Anglican bishop David Russell, who lives here with his wife behind a large security fence, fought the apartheid regime that exploited and fanned these racial tensions. Now the retired bishop sees the nation dividing along new lines—this time over sexuality.

Some, Russell included, claim that the battle over gay marriage that has shaken the political and religious foundations of South African society is an extension of the freedom struggle. Conservatives call that notion a sin; some also say it is “un-African.”


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