Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: church comments on the proposed law

The Living Church has published a report on what Bishop Chane said, Washington Bishop Condemns Proposed Nigerian Law, Primate’s Role. The article contains two separate further pieces of information:

What Rowan Williams said about this in Brazil:

…Speaking to delegates at the World Council of Churches on Feb. 17, the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to defend or condemn the proposed Nigerian legislation, saying “there is a difference between what might be said theologically about patterns [of behavior] and what is said about human and civil rights.”

It is a “real challenge” to “give effect to the listening process in situations where gay people are actively persecuted,” the Most Rev. Williams said. However, “the primates have said, more than once, that they deplore such activities, corporately.”

The “question is whether their churches” can find “ways of acting on that recognition on the wrongness of persecution,” he said…

What Canon Popoola said about this to TLC:

…A spokesman for the Church of Nigeria, Canon Akintunde Popoola, disputed this characterization, arguing Bishop Chane misconstrued the text of the bill and Archbishop Akinola’s role in the legislative process. “Archbishop Peter to my knowledge is yet to comment [publicly] on the bill. I have said we welcome it because we view homosexuality as ‘against the norm’.”

While banning ‘gay clubs’ in “institutions from secondary to the tertiary level or other institutions in particular” and “generally, by government agencies,” the proposed law is silent as to the status of private gay clubs.

The proposed law should also be seen in light of the wider conflict between civil law and Shariah law in Nigeria, Canon Popoola said. Under existing “Islamic law” in effect in “some parts of the country,” the acts covered by the proposed law currently “stipulate the death penalty,” he said.

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Tolani WilliamsTobias S Haller BSGAlan MarshCheryl CloughTunde Recent comment authors
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Tobias S Haller BSG
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Tobias S Haller BSG

While I am not 100% sure about what it might mean, paragraph 7.3 of the Nigerian Bill does seem to address private activities: == 7.(3) Any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment. == My concern is about the vagueness the phrase “involved in,” as well as “indirectly” and “in private.” This may well, it seems to… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Oh, this is all *just awful*. All of it. 🙁 “the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to defend or condemn the proposed Nigerian legislation” What about “let your yes be ‘Yes’ and your no be ‘No'”, +++Rowan? Like John to the Church in Laodicea, “I spit you out, because you are neither cold nor hot!” [One more quote (Edmund Burke, I think?): “All it takes for the triumph of evil, is for men of goodwill to DO NOTHING”! >:-(] ***** “the proposed law is silent as to the status of private gay clubs . . . The proposed law should also… Read more »

Jimmy Culp
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Jimmy Culp

Amen, J.C. I’m afraid the Archbishop of Canterbury is going to hurt himself sitting on the fence!

k1eranc
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k1eranc

Anyone care to stipulate whether it’s a paling, stone, picket or ornate Victorian spear fence that the ABC is balancing himself upon?

John Henry
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John Henry

I had great hopes for the ministry of ++Rowan Cantuar, welcoming his elevation to the See of St. Augustine. Of late, I have become very disenchanted, having watched him having become the ‘pawn’ of the Global South Primates and ‘God’s storm troopers’, obsessed with their call to judge their fellow sinful Christians, while judgment, in the end, belongs to God only. As a theologian Dr. Williams is brilliant, as is Joseph Ratzinger. Alas, ++Rowan Cantuar doesn’t rise to the stature of Pope Benedict XVI, who stands up for what he believes in. Today’s Anglican Communion needs leadership from its Primate.… Read more »

George Conger
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George Conger

No Tobias, Section 7.3 does not address private gay clubs.

Those gay clubs that are banned are those enumerated in Section 7.1 of the proposed bill which reads: “Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations by whatever name they are called in institutions from Secondary to the tertiary level or other institutions in particular and, in Nigeria generally, by government agencies is hereby prohibited”.

The bill’s scope as currently written does not extend to gay clubs outside of schools and government affiliated institutions.

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

While ABC is sitting on the fence, there are other forces coming out in force against homosexuality. I’ve recently seen the Archbishop of one diocese refer the matter of homosexuality as a matter of “life and death”. Those interested might want to do google news searches using “anglican” “homosexuality” “february 2006”. There’s at least half a dozen references. Also, I recall seeing some interesting references to guest speakers from the African continent attending conservative US evangelical conferences recently. Conferences are a wonderful time to meet behind the scenes and come up with new game plan strategies (e.g. notorious players get… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

“appoint a leader like Michael Ramsey, Donald Coggan and/or George Carey”

John Henry, “You can’t be serious”?

Thomas Renz
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Thomas Renz

Those of us who agree that our socio-cultural context matters, when we seek to apply Scripture, should not scorn those who point out that sharia law stipulates the death penalty on homosexual activities in the north of the country (Nigeria). The prohibition of government-sponsored gay organisations and of gay clubs in educational settings has a different meaning in “Christian” Nigeria than it would have in the UK. As an academic theologian, as far as I am aware, Rowan Williams has never argued that such legislation as proposed in (southern) Nigeria is intrinsically, i.e. in all contexts, evil. We should therefore… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

And these two were just published in Nigeria in the last few hours: http://www.thetidenews.com/article.aspx?qrDate=03/01/2006&qrTitle=Cleric%20tasks%20Christian%20communicants&qrColumn=NIGER%20DELTA Which includes: The cleric urged them to shun evil company and secret societies and not to hate or betray any person or the church of Christ, pointing out that Christians are one body. “You should treat one another equally as Jesus Christ treated his disciples” he charged, warning that any Christian who betrays the other or the church, will suffer as Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus did. and http://www.thetidenews.com/article.aspx?qrDate=03/01/2006&qrTitle=Holy%20Spirit:%20The%20falsified%20doctrine&qrColumn=RELIGION To which my only comment is that Spirit did not start with Jesus’ incarnation but is redolent… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

If I were in Canon Popoola’s position, I am not sure that I could keep a straight face while making the argument he is putting forth here.

“Why sure, I am Bishop Chane’s spokesman, and sure I gave an interview to Voice of America saying that the Diocese of Washington supports (fill in the blank.) And sure those remarks were circulated internationally for a full month before a vote was actually taken on the bill. But that doesn’t mean Bishop Chane actually supported the bill. What it actually means is, um, something else.”

Tobias S Haller BSG
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Tobias S Haller BSG

Dear George, I wish I could trust your reading on this, but I remain concerned that the law as written could well be applied outside of clubs in “schools and government institutions.” (How many gay clubs would be covered by this?) Section seven goes far beyond the clubs referred to in section 1: The title of the section is “Prohibition of Registration of Gay Clubs and Societies *and* Publicity of same sex sexual relationship.” (Emphasis mine) Section 7.2 reads: == (2) Publicity, procession and public show of same sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly… Read more »

Marshall
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Cheryl:

I don’t believe those quotations are from Anglican clergy, are they? I believe the Church of Christ Healing is a separate denomination.

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

The civil authority has made rules about marriage law in Nigeria, Merseymike. Do you stand by your assertion that the church should keep its nose out of what the state does? Or is it free to criticise?

Prior Aelred
Guest

Like John Henry, I was extremely excited about Rowan’s move from Monmouth to Canterbury – now, not so much 🙁

Goodness knows that when Michael Ramsey thought something was wrong, he was not afraid to say so.

A “real challenge” to “give effect to the listening process in situations where gay people are actively persecuted,” indeed!

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

Marshall Good point. While the articles might not diretly relate to Anglican Clergy (?), the cultural dynamics is not isolated. I spent several hours today trying to track down one gem and kicking myself for failing to note the link at the time – typical the one you want you can’t find. However I found this link which purports to be quoting Akinola: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/citysun/2006/feb/01/citysun-1-02-2006-002.htm He (Akinola) drew references from the lives of the believers of old, such as Abraham, Isaac, Joseph who had plenty at a time of famine… He noted that the promises of the Lord was a divine… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

From what I remember, Michael Ramsey condemned John Robinson’s “Honest to God” without doing him the courtesy of reading it first.

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Jim, I can hold my head up and keep a straight face when I say it is very wrong for anyone to say “Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria and leader of the conservative wing of the communion, recently threw his prestige and resources behind a new law…” when he had not done that. Do you have reference to such? I am still wondering which kind of ‘resources’ the article means. Very soon, Abp. Akinola may make out time to address the issue. Everyone knows where he stands but it is still wrong to make the… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Cheryl,

Bishop Taiwo Akinola who is the General Overseer, Rhema Christian Church and Towers, Sango Ota is not the same as Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of Nigeria. Also, they are in no way related except through the blood of the Lord Jesus.

Jim Naughton
Guest

Speaking of holding your head up, Tunde, how is the whole Davis Mac Ayala thing going for you?

Prior Aelred
Guest

Alan Marsh —

Your recollection coincides with my own, but hardly refutes my point that Ramsey was quick & clear to speak out when he believed that something was wrong. He also regretted his words & apologized to the Bishop of Woolwich (curiously, the evangelical icon, C. S. Lewis, was not perturbed by the book at all — perhaps knowing that one is soon to know mellows one).

Christopher Calderhead
Guest
Christopher Calderhead

Tunde,

I’m frankly confused by your post. If you say, “Everyone knows where he [Akinola] stands,” how can you say “but it is still wrong to make the assumption into a fact”?

If we know where he stands, then what are we debating here?

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

“Honest to God” is the only occasion when I can recall Michael Ramsey speaking out. John Robinson told me many years later that he still found it hurtful to be dismissed in such a fashion by someone he so much respected. Ramsey may have been more of an Anglo-Catholic than Coggan and Carey, but he was equally as conservative. I am therefore surprised to hear someone suggesting that they would have taken a more prophetic stance than Dr Williams, who has published some pretty radical work. I thought Rupert Shortt’s little book, “Rowan Williams: An Introduction” was a helpful guide… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Jim, My head is still very high on that issue and with a smile. You cannot force the truth. It will one day be known and that realisation puts the smile on my face. If you doubt the truthfulness of the disclaimer, simply refuse to heed it.

Chris, Knowing your mindset does not give me the liberty to accuse you of doing what you have not done.

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Tunde Thank you for your clarification about particular individuals. That does not change cultural dynamics nor that these kinds of comments are being made in Nigeria. As an aside, there are repressive regimes where the top leaders are publicly charming, whilst their regime is becoming more and more vicious away from the public eye. For example, people spent years in denial that Pol Pot was committing genocide against his own people. And no, I am not saying that Akinola is advocating genocide, but I am saying that just because someone is keeping a low public profile does not mean they… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Further, if perfection before God is required, then we all stand condemned. Homosexuality pales into insignificance compared to ministers who regularly organised and participated in public lynchings (e.g. black in southern USA). I would rather be guilty of being overprotective of the vulnerable, than being seen to support repression (Malachi 1:10). I would rather be an overzealous watch(wo)man than being seen to be complacent and tolerant towards repression (Ezekiel 3). Finally, I do not want to be found to be complacent to the destruction of God’s creation and pray that God would again openly display His love for Zion and… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Cheryl, “Why does God create mutations and divergences?” (I am not sure he does). “Why did God make me capable of being tempted to commit adultery” (not that I have done so)? Thanks to his Word, I know better! The Bible offers us standards, patterns of belief and behaviour, examples of godly living, a Law and a gospel of repentance. The problems start when people begin to question and to set aside biblical teaching, and instead to impose their own order on the world. Climate change is but the latest in a disastrous series of human challenges to divine wisdom,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Alan If God did not create mutations and divergences, we could not develop new forms of crops or different breeds of pet dogs. If creation was completely static then we would not see geological changes (e.g. shifting coastlines based on water damage). These are things that are. The question “why” does not change what is. To debate the question “why” is to be side tracked into a red herring debate (because then those who try to change reality to justify their paradigms can debate whether one has a true insight into God’s intentions or mind). As a result, the question… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Cheryl, You asked the question, “Why?” An alternative way of diverting attention from an argument is to put up straw targets to shoot at, as you have done. I have no idea who these American Evangelicals are or who would support them outside the Land of Bush. But if God made the world exactly as it is (as you seem to assert) why did he make psychopaths, paedophiles, adulterers, tyrants etc? Why should anyone exercise any self-restraint, if we are the way we are “because God made us that way”? But if God has instead given us a Law and… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

No Alan, My question was rhetorical (e.g. “Why is liquid water wet?” Liquid water is wet, that is not changed by the question. Technocrats might want a long exploration of the science and physics of water’s wetness; but at the end of the day liquid water is still wet.) God creates a huge variety of humanity. Sometimes that humanity is down right predatory and dangerous (e.g. psychopaths, serial rapists) At other times it is helpless without external assistance (e.g born with severe intellectual disability or blind). The bible reminds us that God sends both the good and the bad, both… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Cheryl, You have gone off again on several tangents, but the real question is: do you accept that there are any definable standards of morality within the Christian tradition and specifically in Anglicanism which the Church ought to promote as God’s will for human beings?

(And I am not just thinking of sexuality, although that preoccupies most of this web site).

Or is it all reduced now by Anglicanism to “Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By”?

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Jesus: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7). Maybe I should be a Jew? http://spectrum.buffalo.edu/article.php?id=25654 , which quotes one of their favourite Talmud stories of a man who approached a Rabbi about converting to Judaism. There was one condition, though — that he be taught everything standing on one foot. The Rabbi told him: “What is hateful for you, don’t do to others.” “That is the Torah, the rest is commentary,” And if keeping one’s Jewishness is irrelevant, then why was Joseph so concerned about still being recognised by his brothers and father as a… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

And on the subject of tangents, each reply has tried to cover the key points raised in your previous posting. So my “tangents” merely reflect my attempt to sincerely acknowledge and consider each issue that you have raised. But if I have not engaged in a particular path, to give you an explanation of why I am choosing not to engage in a particular path of discourse.

That is not tangents, that is dialogue, and it is an example of dialogue that acknowledges “the other”.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

So the answer is no?

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

The phrase “Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By” has the same intention as Jesus’ “Love thy God with all thy heart and soul. Love thy neighbour as thyself”. If Jesus felt this was sufficient, then so do I.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Jesus offered this as a summary of the law. But in Matt.5.17-18 he says: “”Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”

If Jesus taught his followers to respect the law and the prophets, ought we not to do the same, for our own sake?

Tobias S Haller BSG
Guest
Tobias S Haller BSG

Alan,
Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets when he rose victorious from the dead. He “accomplished” his work upon the cross. Christians are not bound by the law, but liberated from it by grace through faith. The prophets, as they bore witness to Christ (as he taught from Emmaus onward) have done their work, although we continue to read them for the wisdom they bring to issues of justice and fair-dealing.

Tolani Williams
Guest

Let nobody deceive yall. Gay folks are here to stay.This is not a matter of right or wrong.Its a matter of living with the realms of reality.What do we do to people that say they are gay?

The fact of the matter is that, they will always be gay, so why bother making laws to bar them from contributing , afterall, everybody is equal under the law… sexual preference shouldnt matter