Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: Time changes its mind

Updated Saturday morning

Some months ago, Time called Archbishop Akinola one of the 100 most influential people in the world. See this piece by Rick Warren.

More recently, there was an opinion article At the Center of a Schism.

In another opinion piece yesterday David Van Biema Crunch Time on Gays for Anglican Archbishop now says this:

Awkward as it may be for an outsider to intrude in the doings of a country or a church that is not his own, I nonetheless believe that the Most Rev. Archbishop Peter Akinola has some explaining to do. The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, one of the most powerful churchmen in Africa, needs to clarify his stance on a Nigerian anti-homosexuality bill he initially supported, which assigns a five-year prison term not only for practicing gays, but also for those who support them. Akinola either needs to publicly renounce, in strong terms, his early support of the bill’s punitive clauses and to amplify the rather tepid concern he later expressed about them, or else he needs to explain why he’s not doing so to the dozen or so churches in Virginia whose congregants were largely ignorant of the legislation when they voted to join Akinola’s archdiocese in December.

As Jim Naughton points out, Time’s reasoning on this topic does sound odd.

Saturday Updates
Voice of America has Nigerian Activist Slams Anti-Gay Bill
Ruth Gledhill has Akinola must speak out to save gays

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Raspberry Rabbit
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Having witnessed a recent exchange here on TA where a conservative American blogger claimed that he’d had no access to the legislation and therefore could not comment, I’d be inclined to let the Virginia congregations off the hook. Moderates and progressives have been hiding the relevant URLs to make the conservatives look bad.

RR

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

So RR – It’s the responsibility of the moderates and the progressives to inform and educate the Virginians regarding Akinola’s stance on the Nigerian legislation. They have no responsibility to know this for themselves? What else didn’t they know? That CANA was not a province of the AC or a dioceses of Nigeria, but just a mission. Perhaps, they didn’t know that TEC is a mainstream chrisitan church either. There’s lots that the Virginians were mislead about. But I guess it was the fault of those moderates and progressives for not keeping them informed.

C.B.

Matt
Guest

Late last year I received an email from a confused member of a Virginian parish’s vestry wondering if what I was saying was true.

If all he had read was +Minns’ letters on the subject, and had been told not to trust what +Chane had written in the Washington Post back in Feb 06, then he would have had every reason to be confused.

A commenter named C.B. on Jim’s blog has the right idea. This Time piece was aimed at the Virginian parishes — not at us.

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

Just a small point, RR: moderates are the new conservatives, and so cannot be grouped with progressives. Liberals are the new regressives and conservatives are the new digressives. Colanders are the new sieves.

BobinWashPA
Guest
BobinWashPA

I have to agree, this legislation has been in the foreground for some time. Ignorance is no excuse (as the old saying goes). I can understand conservative but what the Virginia churches are saying is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” except in Nigeria!

Historic Colonial parishes espousing very un-American ideas, certainly not in keeping with the ideals of which this country was founded on.

lapinbizarre
Guest
lapinbizarre

RR – irony is little understood in N. America and frequently passes unrecognized.

Weiwen
Guest

Well, now that this has come to light, I hope that the seceding Virginia parishes shall call their new archbishop to account. They’ve got a better shot at changing his mind than we do. I wish this had come to light in the mainstream press much earlier, but oh well. It’s out in the open now, and Anglicans all over the world will need to respond.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Do we really need to keep rabbit running round just these same irrational Anglican realignment tracks by spin doctoring up some false sympathy for the poor antigay folks in Virginia who accidentally let themselves get publicly snookered into being (allegedly) Apostolically Biblical in ways which obviously, to the rest of the world, are violations of human rights? Not all that long ago, these same folks and their leaders were self-righteously instructing us in every forum, just why their antigay preachments were the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the God-given truth. Now they find those same preachments being used… Read more »

Annie
Guest
Annie

What? RR, are you serious? How, pray tell, can somebody hide something on the worldwide web? And why would we want to? I attribute it to willful ignorance. The people who didn’t want to know, who didn’t want to examine ++Akinola’s beliefs or policies and discern his fruits because they wanted more than anything to dissassociate themselves with another group whatever the cost. When hatred becomes a cornerstone of action then truth no longer reigns.

paigeb
Guest
paigeb

People, Raspberry Rabbit is being facetious. He’s one of the good guys…

The people in those parishes are some of the most highly educated people in America. They are NOT stupid or ignorant.

But they are complicit in what is about to happen in Nigeria.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Un-American ideas? Drinking Bud Lite, watching NASCAR, rooting for the surge in Iraq and smearing queers-you’d be surprised at what is going on in this country. Wouldn’t surprise me if somebody just south of the beltway is wishing that what is going on in Nigeria could happen here.

But oh, as RR said, it’s probably just a vast left-winged conspiracy.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

And don’t hold your breath for Rick Warren to chime in against Akinola’s embrace of the awful legislation. He does not forefront his homophobia, but I understand it is there.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dear C.B. and R.R. There are a lot of souls who might think I am a bit “whacked”, but the reason for my vehemence is that this censorship is rife. Unfortunately, the moderates, the majority middle and the liberals do have to take responsibility for making sure the information gets out there. There is a strategy that came up in a court case last year where one parishioner in one diocese felt she had been badly mistreated, and that it was collusive across the levels of the church. A favourite strategy is to “starve the fire” of fuel. When I… Read more »

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

RR – If you were being dryly ironic – I apologize for not getting it. Clearly, I am way to earnest for my own good, and need additional bells and whistles maybe even incense to be adequately cued. But if you go over to T19 and read their response to the article, your comment doesn’t sound so tongue and cheek at all. Peace.

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

“I hope that the seceding Virginia parishes shall call their new archbishop to account. They’ve got a better shot at changing his mind than we do.” (Weiwen)
…or, the Virginians may find out what it’s like to live with an autocratic archbishop. Peter Akinola is not about to be told what to do by U.S. Americans.
Lois Keen

Weiwen
Guest

drdanfee,

when I said that I hoped the VA congregations would speak to Akinola, I was trying to be nice. If they fail to do so, I will have much harsher words for them, words that will likely include “fire” and “judgment”.

Cynthia,

I read Warren’s laudation of Akinola on Time. I am absolutely amazed that he describes Akinola as a man of peace. I’m quite glad that I didn’t read his Purpose Driven Life – I would now have to burn the book.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Apologies to all if I sounded in writing too short tempered. I am short tempered, in fact.

After three successive Lambeths called for worldwide Anglicans to study what was changing in our views of sexuality, and why, we are still being told that unfortunately, nobody who matters on the Anglican right was paying attention.

Then, when somebody on the Anglican right does get their coattails caught temporarily in some public elevator door, the excuse is likely to be: This untoward event is a leftwing pagan plot to discredit scripture and God.

Are you dizzy yet? Believe me, I am. Spinning.

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

Here is a reminder of what conservative Anglicans in Nigeria (and all conservative Anglicans around the world who support it by their continued silence) would like Nigerian LGBT people to be faced with just for, say, meeting up as a group for mutual support over coffee because they already live in a violently homophobic society. (BBC News 9th March 2007) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6435787.stm This is what they want. This is what Akinola would like to happen to LGBT people, for simply advocating for themselves. Is it what you want? If it isn’t you need to speak urgently to the appropriate people to… Read more »

Ephraim Radner
Guest
Ephraim Radner

The proposed Nigerian legislation is wrong, and I state that unequivocally for my part. I hope that the Nigerian Anglican Church will change its mind and oppose it openly. But I am surprised at the viciousness with which commentators here attack conservatives in America (and elsewhere) who are are not climbing the barricades in opposition to this legislation. Of course people prefer to be ignorant of the things that unsettle their hopes and comforts! It is as often unconscious as anything, and afflicts all of us, myself included. It must the said that the stories coming from Nigeria regarding imprisonment… Read more »

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

‘Viciousness’ ? ‘Motes and logs’ ? This is about Christian churches and organisations, most notably for us – *Anglicans* and Anglican Primates – who have been vocally PUSHING for this legislation . The same Nigerian Anglicans are actively working in close partnership, in other ways, with conservatives in the USA, Asia and elsewhere. *Those* conservatives who are otherwise cozying-up with Nigerian Anglicans need to communicate their objection to the Nigerian Anglicans or it will be assumed by all that they are either not bothered about the suffering and injustice it will cause many thousands of innocent people or, because those… Read more »

Weiwen
Guest

“It must the said that the stories coming from Nigeria regarding imprisonment of gay people and violence against them are not numerous or well-documented, and they are not well-publicized…” a) Gay people aren’t that numerous, so of course incidents of violence won’t be numerous in absolute terms. b) Given the stigma against being gay, incidents of violence would be underreported. Do you know how many transgendered people were murdered in the US last year? Probably not, because such cases aren’t widely reported. Given the above, the fact that Davis Mac-Iyalla has received death threats and has been driven into hiding… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

Dear Ephraim, You are of course entirely right in your comments about human rights abuses perpetrated on (let’s say) Christians. However what is proposed here is a legislated for human rights abuse (which is quite unusual) and also a law that is inspired by us – by Christians, by believers in the gospel, people who claim to have met with the Lord. This isn’t something happening out there that we may or may not deplore, it is of our doing, flows from the debates within our communion. So my answer to concerns about human rights abuses on whatever ground is… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Dear Dr. Radner and other believers of conservative or evangelical persuasions, May I take it that, once again, you would like to claim or assert a special comprehensive high ethical and religious ground innate to conservative or evangelical religious views as your views? Are we being urged to agree with you that nothing in your legacy negative preachments has now – or ever could have? – any depth or surface connects with things like the impending draconian Nigerian legislation which criminalizes even the public mention of queer life? Really? Would you believe a similar claim by progressive believers that nothing… Read more »

bls
Guest

I am so furious I can’t even express myself. FYI, Ephraim Radner: people who loftily declaim far and wide on the topic of their own moral superiority really cannot use as an excuse that they “do not have a strong sense of the concrete dangers of the proposed legislation.” The and obvious inference to be drawn is that most so-called “conservatives” just don’t give a damn. Believe me, it’s not news to gay people – who, BTW, are historically among the very first to speak out against persecution because we experience it first-hand at the hands of so-called Christians. And… Read more »

Matt
Guest

I’m watching an implosion here. Radner is reaching out. Meet him mid-way.

bls, for example, is completely misreading Radner’s final couple of sentences. ++Akinola has signed documents pledging to protect the dignity of homosexual person; Radner is saying that this legislation represents a violation of the Archbishop’s word.

Everyone in this debate is going to see their position as having the moral high ground. But on this issue — that the legislation is wrong and should be stopped — we are all in agreement. Please, don’t scare off those acting in good faith!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

C.B. My comment was not tongue in cheek. Any priestly caste that has control over communication and is actively excluding and bullying any voices of conscience is an anathema to God. God once said “the poor you will always have with you”. To that should be added “the prophets you will always have with you”. I have heard (on several occassions, from several leaders at various levels (including Bishop)) announcements given with authority and force that God no longer handed out the gift of prophecy. Specifically, God no longer handed out the gift of prophecy for the rebuking and refining… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

Matt, what do you mean by an implosion in your earlier comment?

Also, what, in practical terms do we need to do to meet Radner half way?

Matt
Guest

Craig, Patience, calm nerves, and forgiveness — all are needed if we’re going to find common ground on this issue. We have already found common ground with Radner, but he feels compelled to voice what I think is a valid concern, that conservative Americans who are trying to find the right path on this issue are being rather harshly treated. There has been, in my opinion, a “concerted reluctance” to be completely open about the truth over here among conservative American Anglicans, and there are also a great many people who are still ignorant of what the legislation actually says.… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I have greatly admired Matt’s energy and sensitivity as he tackled the commentators on a Titus 1:9 thread about this article. It was a marathon and he struggled valiantly there. Ephraim Radner’s contribution here is something different however. Slowly, Dr Radner is unpacking his thinking for us. Let us discount, for the purpose of this comment, his references to other commentators and the lack of reliable information from Nigeria. This sandwich has the meat either side of that frothy bread. Firstly Radner reaffirms his unequivocal opposition to this Nigerian Bill. But Radner goes much further in his last paragraph. Here… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

Many thanks to both Martin’s last post, which was helpful, and to Matt’s, though I’m not 100% clear on the meaning of ‘implosion’ in this context or what (other than being nice – which I’ll endeavour to do) we have to do to meet Radner half way (though as I do believe very strongly that we need to work in larger coalitions which include people we have disagreements with – an that means that we need some discernment and generosity to try to help the process along). I would like to see some flesh on the bones of what that… Read more »

bls
Guest

Bringing down “the fragile new order being created for the nascent world wide Anglican Church”? Don’t make me laugh. The Anglican Communion doesn’t care what Nigeria does to gay people; the Primates had their chance three weeks ago to say or do something publicly, and they took that time to let TEC know, instead, what loathsome creatures we were for blessing lifelong love. The Church is a moral dead zone. The only hope we have of stopping Nigeria is the secular world – boycotts via the U.N. and through decent people outside the church who will speak out against the… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

If Dr. Radner finds this place “vicious,” then he will probably need for Aunt Pittypat to fetch him the smelling salts if he should ever pay a visit to VenomOnline, T19, or Stand Firm.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

It is because of this : “the Primates had their chance three weeks ago to say or do something publicly, and they took that time to let TEC know, instead, what loathsome creatures we were for blessing lifelong love.” Expressed to Rowan Williams by us here: http://www.lgcm.org.uk/html/AngText04.html that this enterprise is coming apart, bls. There was a window of opportunity open to the Primates in the case of the Nigerian legislation, the opportunity passed without a single mention in any of the plenaries. The focus of this meeting was so heavily distorted that perhaps the most significant breach of Lambeth… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

If Dr. Radner finds this place “vicious,” then he will probably need for Aunt Pittypat to fetch him the smelling salts if he should ever pay a visit to VenomOnline, T19, or Stand Firm.
JPW

Yes, indeed . They are appalling.

What a witness.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Martin I loved your last posting. Again to paraphrase the bible. “The poor you will always have with. And so too the afflicted and GLBTs”. No amount of legislation will change that GLBTs exist. The fact that they are mentioned so far back in the bible proves it is not a modern phenomenom. If we can’t stop them existing, let’s give them the protection of citizenship and the responsibilities that come with that. It’s a bit like saying women should go away. If God was so happy with Adam, then why did God create Eve? If God was so happy… Read more »