Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: Voice of America reports

Updated again Monday afternoon

Voice of America has this: US, Nigerian Anglicans Seek New Solutions for Same Sex Unions and Gay Ordination.

It includes an interview with Kendall Harmon (audio just under 5 minutes).

…As for this week’s indications that Nigerian legislators plan to criminalize same sex relationships and all promotion of a homosexual lifestyle, Canon Harmon says he hopes the Nigerian diocese and its leaders will strike a balance that respects the region’s cultural history and the personal rights and freedoms of Nigerian citizens.

“Nigeria is closely divided between Islam and Christianity. So you have Sharia law in the minds of a lot of legislatures. From an American perspective, it looks very, very punitive relative to American legislation. So I think the hard part is the degree to which the Church can push back in a compassionate way and still try to uphold the teaching of the Church in a society where Islam and Christianity are competing strongly,” he said…

Matt Thompson has responded with Canon Harmon drops the “Shar’iya” bomb and Kendall Harmon has written Matt Thompson Criticizes Kendall Harmon about an Interview.

Update
Matt Thompson has posted further: Clarification on the “Shar’iya” bomb and also republished the text of the draft legislation.

Monday morning
Matt Thompson has published a further item Apologies. See also in the Comments below.

Monday afternoon
Matt Thompson has posted From the comments: Ephraim Radner and highlighted what Ephraim Radner wrote only last night.

55
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
55 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
30 Comment authors
PriscillaCheryl CloughMattJerry HannonChris Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Gerry Lynch
Guest

“So I think the hard part is the degree to which the Church can push back in a compassionate way and still try to uphold the teaching of the Church in a society where Islam and Christianity are competing strongly” A truly vomit-inducing attempt to defend the indefensible. It reminds me of the fellow travellers who travelled to the Soviet Union during the Great Purge and reported on how wonderful everything was, and sure even if it wasn’t, then it was all for the sake of the perfect Socialist future. Similarly, I doubt whether people like Kendall Martin and Martin… Read more »

Tim
Guest

“the degree to which the Church can push back in a compassionate way”

That would be the bit in the confession where we say “and we have not done the things that we should have”, would it?

The issue is not that Islam would do worse, but that Nigerians are not doing what is right.

The Rev Frank Durkee
Guest
The Rev Frank Durkee

From the perspective of a liberal American Episcopal priest these statements are simply cowardly and morally repugnant.

Jay
Guest
Jay

When it comes to TEC and radical inclusion, Canon Harmon and all the Network voices spare nothing when pontificating and accusing progressives of apostasy and having a theology built only on political correctness.

But suddenly Canon Harmon and Bishop Minns are “culturally sensitive”! Eureka! We can set aside foundation Biblical teaching to “love thy neighbor (even gay ones)”, so as to not give fundamentalists in other religions a leg up in the cultural power struggle in Nigeria.

Bill Carroll
Guest
Bill Carroll

I too like how relativist sounding and context sensitive Kendall can get when apologizing for his friends.

These violations of human rights are morally repugnant and may well lead to physical violence. A Christian bishop should face martyrdom rather than reconcile himself or herself to the kinds of violation of human dignity and liberty that the new Nigerian law will lead to. So much for the right wing’s attempt to coopt Janani Luwum.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

There is a room in les Archives de France called l’Enfer. It houses political pamphlets from the French Revolution, including the ones attacking the sexual mores and person of the French Queen.

You will get the feel of it if you go to Titusonenine and have a look at the thread referred to above, but it is nothing for a weak stomach.

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=18090

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“From an American perspective, it looks very, very punitive relative to American legislation.”

No, sir. From a Christian perspective it is clear that it IS very punitive relative to Jesus’ teaching.

How anyone can follow such morally bankrupt and shamelessly opportunistic creatures is beyond me.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Oh Gee, Canon Harmon and Bishop Minns are both straight and ordained. That must make them right on this, don’t you think? I suggest either man take up residence in Nigerian prison ministry to the impending near future inmates of dubious sexual orientation, along with any friends or family members who dared to speak honestly and/or positively of them for any reason. Or would that prison ministry, itself, be prohibited by these draconian and extreme Nigerian laws, unless the prison chaplain restricted himself to giving the last rites?

Steve Lusk
Guest
Steve Lusk

From the NY Times, “A Divorce the Church Should Smile Upon” March 1, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/opinion/01miles.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

JPM
Guest
JPM

Yes, it’s amazing how multiculti Harmon and the others can get when it furthers their plan to take over the church.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I note that Canon Harmon had the honesty to admit that he had not read the proposed legislation in Nigeria. Brave indeed to enter a debate – yet alone answer the questions of an interviewer armed only with his understanding of what some other commentators had to say about the subject.

For those who avidly await his contributions to the (TEC) House of Bishops and Deputies listserv – we now expect a new declaration from Kendall to his posts, perhaps it will run thus:
“Posted but not written (or read) by Kendall Harmon”

Maduka
Guest
Maduka

I know it looks as if the Nigerian Church is trying to out shari’a the muslims. This is not the case. I want to bring up another issue. Most of the world’s anglicans live in areas where radical islam is a living and present danger. We are not talking of people like Omar Brookes or the “hook hand”, we are talking about people who can and are actualising their threats. The question is; before those of you in the West criticise us for being too radically “islamic” – have done as much as to lift a finger in support of… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

That’s nonsense Maduka. Many of us have multiple interests and give our time and resources to support a wide variety of organisations. My family has strong ties to the Sudan and we are more than aware of the tensions and difficulties there.

I have great admiration for the witness of Lady Cox despite her support for the Wale Babatunde book. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,792649,00.html

mynsterpreost
Guest
mynsterpreost

Maduka; Although any persecuted Church must have the prayers, support and understanding of the rest of the Christian family, there is a fatal flaw in your argument, which seems to be that the Church in Nigeria will only survive if it adopts beliefs and practices which the violent Islamists will respect. Now where are you going to draw the line to accommodate their demands, eh? Some cultural areas may be easy, eg homosexual rights and female subservience. But your reference to Abu Hamza as ‘Hook Hand’ calls to mind JM Barrie’s Peter Pan story, where the crocodile eats Captain Hooks… Read more »

Matt
Guest

Please, folks, be kind to Canon Harmon right now. We all have significant disagreements with him on the theology, but he has shown himself to be more than willing to email me privately and engage with me on his blog. It seemed odd to me, too, that he had not yet read the legislation, but he has now — I emailed him a copy. Let’s encourage him to speak out, not bludgeon him into silence. My belief is that the tide is changing. Check out the difference in tone at the end of the comments on the link Simon provided… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Now, what I would like to ask Canon Kendall is not whether he has read the Nigerian legislation to be, but whether he has read Titusonenine?

I refer to the comments.

Garth
Guest
Garth

Maduka does make a good point that many of us in the liberal west need to take to heart. Persecution is very real, and we have done little to respond to it. But how does that justify persecuted Christians becoming persecutors of others? Scapegoating homosexuals will surely do little to endear Islamic extremists to Christianity. Surely it only shows the willingness of Christians to turn away from Jesus’ Gospel of grace and mercy when it is expeient to do so. This failure is certainly not unique to Nigerians, or those in Islamic countries. I suspect most of us are guilty… Read more »

kendall Harmon
Guest
kendall Harmon

The lack of understanding, charity and compassion in these responses is truly sad. I was unable to speak to the wording of the current legislation because I did not have it. I tried to get it from Nigeria and was unable to

The interview was to be about the Tanzania Communique.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Matt, I would be glad to think that “the tide is changing” and Canon Harmon and others might be persuaded to voice their opposition to the pending Nigerian legislation on same-sex marriages. However, it is also true that Canon Harmon at this moment is working very hard to get Fr. Mark Lawrence, Bishop-Elect of South Carolina, confirmed by the Bishops and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church. If they do not confirm his election, Fr. Lawrence will not be able to assume his duties as Bishop. It has been touch and go, and although a majority of Bishops have now… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

Kendall Harmon wrote: “The lack of understanding, charity and compassion in these responses is truly sad. I was unable to speak to the wording of the current legislation because I did not have it. I tried to get it from Nigeria and was unable to” I find a certain amount of disingenuousness in this posting, because so much has been written about the proposed Nigerian legislation — in so many places — that the good Canon could easily have said something to the effect of: “I would need to read the proposed Nigerian legislation to thoroughly comment, but it is… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“I was unable to speak to the wording of the current legislation because I did not have it. I tried to get it from Nigeria and was unable to”

I believe that it can be found on this site if you scroll down – perhaps it would be good for the site stewards to repost it?

It is not a secret. It makes for very grim reading. That is why so many human rights organizations have denounced it. That is why Archbishop Akinola’s support for it is so disturbing.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

In response to Kendall and Matt: Matt Thompson has written on his blog: While the negative comments were not my own, I want to personally apologize to Canon Harmon for making him the target of vitriol from the left (such comments on Thinking Anglicans as “it’s amazing how multiculti Harmon and the others can get when it furthers their plan to take over the church” were beyond the pale). He has been very gracious to me on his blog. I hope to return the favor continuously. I find Kendall’s own comment here rather surprising. The TA comments on this item… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Cynthia
The text of the legislation has been linked to so many times from so many places that I have lost count. The most recent is at
http://politicalspaghetti.blogspot.com/2007/03/legislation-under-debate.html

It is also at
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/news/2006/20061121radner.cfm?doc=167#appendix

which is a site that is widely read by English evangelicals.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I am sad Kendall feels there is a lack of charity for him here. A little gentle chiding – even some tongue in cheek remarks hardly qualify for such a comment. If he wants to read comments that are genuinely lacking in charity I have a blog or two I could suggest. We have always argued that allies of the Global South in the west had a particular duty of care for their lesbian and gay brothers and sisters throughout the world. In this letter http://www.lgcm.org.uk/html/importantNews.html and in subsequent correspondence with the “orthodox” leadership we have argued that a consequence… Read more »

Matt
Guest

This is a single issue that should and can draw us all together with one voice. Instead, for many here and on T19, there is a tendency to turn it into a polemic. No thanks. When there is the opportunity for unanimity — and there is here regardless of past disagreements, current grumpiness, or the chasm that separates us all on the theology of homosexuality — then I feel very much responsible if my very explicit efforts to draw some out into a debate on which everyone should agree leads to their being ridiculed. That said, the majority of the… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘*it’s amazing how multiculti Harmon and the others can get when it furthers their plan to take over the church”* were beyond the pale). He has been very gracious to me on his blog.’ I don’t see the *contested words* (*above) as being remotely vitriolic, let alone ‘beyond the pale’. However, it may be that my sensibility has been blunted over time through reading the shocking stuff to be found there. This stuff is puported to be from the pens of born-again, bible believeing Christians. I still find them shocking–when I can bear to read them. I think that I… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The idea that Canon Harmon was not able to find a copy of what the EU, Human Rights organizations and the US State Department have been discussing for over a year is peculiar.

In old Vestrogothia Pietism we used to call it Den obotfärdiges förhinder, which translates:

The Obstacles of The Unready.

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest

And, moreover, the tone of comments on this particular site before, during and after the Dar Es Salaam meeting were some of the most even-keel comments to be found anywhere on the Anglican web.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘As for this week’s indications that Nigerian legislators plan to criminalize same sex relationships and all promotion of a homosexual lifestyle, Canon Harmon says he hopes the Nigerian diocese and its leaders will strike a balance that respects the region’s cultural history and the personal rights and freedoms of Nigerian citizens…’ K. Harmon This statement is inadequate. However the words quoted above are totally unacceptable to me. Harmon just isn’t listening. To speak of ‘a homosexual lifestyle’ is demeaning and trivialising of gay people.’ If ‘even-keel’ comments means balanced I must disagree with RR — even though I make a… Read more »

Matt
Guest

Look, it is my opinion that the level of debate here is higher than what is generally found at T19, but we all have the tendency to drift into polemics. The worst that is found there in terms of illogic and anger and impatience can sometimes be found here, though not at the same level as at T19. The best that is found here can also be found there. But this is not the point. What you may not realize is that there are a great many conservative Anglicans in US who are on the fence with regard to the… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>such comments on Thinking Anglicans as “it’s amazing how multiculti Harmon and the others can get when it furthers their plan to take over the church” were beyond the pale

I would say that rationalizing monstrous human rights violations by appealing to cultural sensitivity is beyond the pale.

lapinbizarre
Guest
lapinbizarre

Seems that no-one dips into the writings of Luther, Calvin or Cranmer nowadays.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Are Shar’iya laws and how they can be applied a concern? Yes. Is there scope for compassion in Shar’iya interpretation and implementation? Yes. Are there dynamics that make it hard to reform Shar’iya precedent and interpretations? Yes. Are there souls who would see attempts to advocate such reforms as heretical and sacriligious? Yes. Would those people advocate that anyone who advocated a more compassionate interpretation was from the “evil one” and unholy because they had not fully appreciated the divine scriptural decrees? Would they advocate that such souls should be ignored, discredited, imprisoned or attacked for daring to question their… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

If it be that Conservative Christians (if you allow me to abuse the label) are finally (well at least a handful of them amongst the many) are coming round to wanting to take a position of commonality with regard to human rights abuses that is to be welcomed with an open heart. Let’s get to it right away and let’s make sure our differing understandings are not a barrier to that. If we agree on this one thing let’s work together. Though we may not agree on a lot of things it will do much for healing of the present… Read more »

Matt
Guest

Craig — there are many more than you think. Some have emailed me privately to express their concern but have asked that their names not be used. Cowardly? Perhaps. But there is a great deal of pressure to tow the conservative line.

If, however, the voices of those like Ephraim Radner (and, eventually, Canon Harmon) grow strong enough, people will gain the courage to speak out. But not if we deride them for being daily-come-latelies. We have to be completely accepting of any budging, even if it comes with the most dreadful comments about homosexuality.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Matt, if your presence can raise the tone and level of discussion on the issues that divide Anglicans, I, for one, will be quite glad. Polemics are tempting, and some blogers seem to want to provoke them, in the way that certain television and talk radio program hosts, here in the US, want and intend to shock, anger, and frighten their audiences. They know what they are doing; they make a point of pushing buttons because it builds ratings and sells advertising. Faced with this stuff, I fall as often as any into a merely reactive stance. However, building opposition… Read more »

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

“But there is a great deal of pressure to tow the conservative line.” I’d be interested to know what this pressure is – and how it balances up with the pressure Nigerian LGBT folk will be under soon (or are under now even). But then, look what they said about Schori for associating with Spong. Still, doesn’t quite balance. I agree it’s best to encourage when others make steps toward vocal resistance to injustice, but we can’t take any responsibility for the moral negligence of those who seek to persecute us mildly while they tacitly consent to others persecuting our… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“We have to be completely accepting of any budging, even if it comes with the most dreadful comments about homosexuality.” Matt

Holy moley,

Elocution lessons.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Re Nigeria: I’m reminded of the bit

1. Boss fires worker

2. Worker gets drunk, goes home, beats his wife

3. Wife, distraught, beats her child

4. Child, traumatized, kicks dog

Much to weep about here—but NOWHERE does that *justify* kicking the dog. :-/

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Matt Thompson wrote: “Canon Harmon has already said that he adheres to Ephraim Radner and Andrew Goddard’s position on this legislation — let’s take him at his word, but work to get him and others to be more publicly explicit.” Excuse me Matt, I much admire the work you have put into making this perverted legislation, promoted if not actually proposed by AB Akinola and his Office, known by American opinion but it seems to me that you now deny your effort trying to appease the bullies. I am a European, I have a family background, I know that appeasement… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

What’s more Matt, what Canon Harmon objects to is not the church promoted Nigerian legislation, but the w o r d i n g:

“… there is no way I could support it based on the way it sounds like it will be worded.”

(quoted from the Titusonline post referred to above)

Craig Nelson
Guest

I would like to respond to Matt’s earlier reply to mine above. I do welcome any budging and am very much in support of generous moves in that direction associated with those who we don’t fully agree with. BUT I do think we need to reflect on what’s happening here. Why so many? Why so few? Why so late in the day? Not to cast doubt on the motives of people who are moving in a positive position, though sending a private email really don’t cut it for me. If many people are sending private emails but no more then… Read more »

Matt
Guest

Matthew Hunt wrote: “I’d be interested to know what this pressure is …”

It’s adolescent. It’s borne out of a desire to fit in. It’s borne out of fear of even mild criticism.

The “pressure” isn’t organized; it’s emotional.

Craig wrote: “Ultimately comes down to this – will they speak out or hide in a corner? Will they email privately or will they say it out in the open?”

Bingo.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Radner is saying we all agree this law is (at least in part as far as he is concerned) a subversion of basic human rights. That is good. It seems however that this general agreement has had no effect on the position of the Anglican Church of Nigeria which redoubled its efforts in support of the legislation after his essay. So, it seems that all our work to date has been completely ineffective and the law may soon come into existence despite all our best efforts. I will be interested in how Radner and others respond to our combined failure… Read more »

Kendall Harmon
Guest

Lawrence Roberts comments above are a good example of the poor listening that occurs in too many parts of the blogosphere. He attributes words to me which are from the interviewer and not from me, as the quote marks make that clear. But of course I am the one criticized. I applaud Matthew Thompspn for seeing the lack of charity here and the overly strong desire to personalize even though some here do not see it This kind of “gotcha” politics is so unhelpful. If something upsets you, then “j’accuse!” I see this on all sides and in no many… Read more »

Matt
Guest

You’re of course completely right, Martin. This has always been treated as a separate issue by our end of the spectrum.

Ephraim Radner
Guest
Ephraim Radner

I believe that the support of the proposed legislation by the Anglican Church of Nigeria is wrong, because the legislation itself contradicts several important elements of the Christian Gospel, not to mention commitments that Anglicans themselves have made together. I gather that there are other Christian churches in Nigeria supporting this legislation. This too is wrong, I believe. I am not sure why there has been so little convergence of conservative and liberal commitment in opposing this. I have suggested that, in part, there is so little trust between these groups in our church today that common commitments are viewed… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

If progressive voices from within the Conservative tradition are now engaging in that debate then that is, however a good thing for all of us and will help to create some common space so that things become less polarised. I’d like to think that was starting to happen, I really would. But I’m also a realist and not a dreamer, which means you run the risk of becoming wary and cynical. On a more practical level, it’s only conservatives’ opposition that will stop the bill as only conservatives share the worldview of those promoting it and have any chance at… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

After a number of posts, most of them rather reasonable and calling upon Kendall Harmon to clearly state his opposition to the abominable proposed legislation in Nigeria, the good Canon instead comes back with a complaint about some comments by Laurence Roberts. How convenient it is to ignore the real issues challenging him, by simply dumping upon one of the posters with whom the Canon subjectively takes personal issue. It seems a convenient diversionary tactic. I would very much like to have an objective answer from Kendall Harmon, who seems capable of reading and responding, as to why he could… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I see this clear and unequivocal statement from Ephraim Radner as helpful. The more nuanced approach employed in his essay was not received as I believe it was intended. While we may honestly disagree about the illness within our Communion, its causes and cure – we are all agreed on the wrongness of this Nigerian legislation and the threat it represents to the lives and liberty of many and the credibility of our faith. We are not good at protecting each other, nor are many willing to engage in proper debate. Last Friday evening the leaders of our national (Welsh)… Read more »