Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth response to Bp Orama

Updated again Saturday morning

The following announcement has been issued from the Anglican Communion Office:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed deep shock at remarks said to have been made by the Bishop of Uyo, Nigeria, the Rt Revd Isaac Orama concerning gay and lesbian people.

The Archbishop will be contacting the Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, to seek clarification. Dr Williams said “The safety of people of gay and lesbian sexual orientation is a matter of concern for us all. The Anglican Primates, along with all other official bodies in the Anglican Communion, have consistently called for an end to homophobia, violence and hatred. If these reports are correct I would urge the bishop to apologise. Such comments are unacceptable and profoundly shocking on the lips of any Christian”.

To see the original remarks go here.

To see the latest press release from Changing Attitude about this, go here.

Update Friday evening

The Living Church reports that Reporter Apologizes for Misquoting Nigerian Bishop:

… A spokesman for the Church of Nigeria, Archdeacon Akintunde Popoola, told The Living Church the quote attributed to the bishop was false.

The Bishop of Uyo “denied making such a statement,” Canon Popoola said. While the bishop’s address to his diocesan synod did speak to the issue of human sexuality dividing the Communion, and the Church of Nigeria’s position on these issues, “he did not say that [gays and lesbians] are to be hated, nor that they are insane or unfit to live.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reporter has “apologized for the misrepresentation and promised a retraction,” Archdeacon Popoola told TLC.

Later
The original UPI report has now been removed from the UPI website.

Saturday
Stand Firm has published this email from UPI:

Thank you for your enquiry about the September 2 article that attributed some highly critical comments on homosexuals to Bishop Orama of Nigeria. This story was generated by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). UPI distributes stories from NAN and other African news agencies as a pass-through service. We cannot vouch for their accuracy. The UPI tag at the start of the story was added in error.

We do note, however, that there are reports of a statement from a spokesman for the Episcopal Church of Nigeria that Bishop Orama has denied making the statements attributed to him, and that the reporter concerned has offered a verbal apology and promised to publish a retraction. You would have to contact NAN as to whether the information about the retraction is true. In the meantime, UPI is taking down the story from our site and informing our customers of this action. If a retraction appears from NAN we will run it.

Sincerely,
Michael Marshall
Editor-in-chief
UPI

Note that this is not “United Press International reporter apologises” as claimed at present in a headline here.

64
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
64 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
35 Comment authors
Cheryl Cloughdave paisleyjnwallMalcolm+C.B. Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

If those comments prove to be true, an apology alone won’t do.

This one is a clear resigning matter.

NP
Guest
NP

Good to see a clear statement from the ABC – TEC (USA) better worry if the ABC’s long summer away from the day job has given him a new clarity!

Hope ++Akinola deals quickly and strongly with the horrible reported statements from +Isaac….and confounds all those who want to use this to discredit him and anyone else who does not agree with the “agenda” which has been tearing the AC apart for the last 4 years.

Christopher
Guest

Canterbury should be asking why it is so shocked and so many gay and lesbian persons are not. This type of outburst is par for the course, and it’s not the first time. It was only a matter of time from dehumanizing words to worse.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“If those comments prove to be true, an apology alone won’t do.This one is a clear resigning matter.”—Kelvin H.

Absolutely Right On, Kelvin! If a bishop of the Church said that Jews “are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose” we’d all know what he was suggesting!

NP
Guest
NP

I agree with Kelvin – a mere apology is not enough in this case

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I guess the ABC would not comment publically unless his office was pretty sure the original remarks were authentic. Of course, he has not deplored equally vile language from ++Akinola himself ….

dodgyvicar
Guest
dodgyvicar

Aha, so the Archbishop isn’t a jellyfish!

(he has a backbone you see, jellyfish don’t)

John Robison
Guest

Just to save time:

SPONG!

There, having now mentioned him, we are free to discuss the ACTUAL events.

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

I’m neither shocked nor surprised by Bishop Orama’s remarks. As far as I’m concerned, the figleaf just fell off.

What will be shocking is if ++Williams does anything, or says anything more about the bishop’s remarks beyond this press release. Maybe we should ask Jefferey John about what to expect from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

Why are the Bishop’s remarks shocking to anyone? The only difference between his remarks and the frequently quoted remarks of Akinola, or for that matter, Bob Duncan and Martyn Minns, is the clarity and directness of his vocabulary. The others traffic in innuendo and subtlety, but the message is the same.

BabyBlue
Guest

StandFirm has breaking news that UPI is going to print a retraction on the story. Here, from StandFirm:

In an email communication The Venerable Akintunde A. Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria has stated that Bishop Orama has denied making the statements attributed to him in a September 2, 2007, UPI report. Additionally, the journalist who issued the statement has given a verbal apology for the misrepresentation and has promised to print a retraction.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/5662/

bb

liddon
Guest
liddon

oh, i see. i suppose a big boy said it and then ran away.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Well, given that some were unable to find the story anywhere else, Tunde Popoola’s denial may well be true. Personally, I’d like more reliable proof, for reasons that should surprise no-one here, but I am willing, for now, to acknowledge that he may be right.

NP
Guest
NP

Anybody catching themselves hoping the story is true so they can (continue to) use it to attack ++Akinola????

If that is you, you should consider your motivations.

Going to try again to have a break from TA – have a good weekend!

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

There seems not to be anything on the Church of Nigeria website.

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

Ah yes. Tunde comes along and tells us it wasn’t so.

Tunde’s credibility has been badly tarnished, both by his repeated slanders against Davis Mac-Iyalla and by his incompetent attempt to spin the ghost-written letter of last week.

Pisco Sours
Guest

An email communication that conveniently hasn’t been reprinted (with full headers, if you please), and a verbal apology that can’t be independently confirmed. This is rumor, not news.

I think I’ll wait for UPI’s actual retraction, if one is forthcoming. Thanks ever so.

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

Well, I’m not really surprised. Once a respectable competitor to the Associated Press, UPI has been trending toward the Weekly World News ever since its purchase by Moon’s Unification Church.

George
Guest
George

It doesn’t matter BB, all Nigerians (and conservatives) are guilty in the eyes of the thought police, whether or not they actually said or did the things that the thought police attribute to them.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“StandFirm has breaking news that UPI is going to print a retraction…”

If so, Rowen still has to answer for his silence on Akinola’s well documented and almost equally vicious statements, aswell as his support of harsh anti-gay laws proposed laws in Nigeria that were condemned by every human rights watchdog outfit on the planet.

Also worht pondering, if this turns out to be inaccurate, that the anti-gay rhetoric that comes out of Africa routinely made these statements credible.

Go back and read them, and as someone has suggested, substitute the word Jew for gay.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Regardless of bb’s news, I’m not sure that’s enough. Tunde has become somewhat devalued currency in the transparency stakes these last few weeks, and one quotes Mandy Rice-Davies ‘well he would say that, wouldn’t he?’

Where did this story come from in the first place? Why has it taken so long to be dealt with? And I am suspicious of a story which is let loose in the public domain and belatedly spiked. Something is fishy.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The bishops of the AC and others, are sponsoring an anti-gay atmosphere around the world. This can lead to all kinds of terrible words and actions.

caritas
Guest
caritas

In re: the 4:58 post about the “denial” above, keep in mind that UPI is owned by the Washington Times (a very, very hard-right and anti-gay news organization in the U.S.).

The Times is in turn owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. IOW, there was no political-bias reason for printing the story in the first place; the only good reason for it to have been written was that it was true.

The “retraction” is another story….

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

This part of bishop Spong’s letter to Rowan shows how werious is episcopal homophobia in general, what ever the (contested) truth of this reported situation. ‘There is clearly an estrangement between that body and you in your role as the Archbishop of Canterbury. I want to share with you my understanding of the sources of that estrangement. First, I believe that most of our senior bishops, including me, were elated, at your appointment by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair. Most Americans are not aware that yours is an appointed, not an elected position. Those of us who… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Stand Firm is priviledged to receive an email from the Venerable Akintunde Popoola, indeed, to receive a developing response from the Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) I can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s taking some time, isn’t it? What will the printed retraction say? The news of the article, which was published on the 2nd September, broke on Wednesday. It was widely publicised on inclusive and conservative web sites and blogs, including condemnation on conservative blogs. It wasn’t until the Archbishop of Canterbury condemned the language in a statement issued earlier today that… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

Ok, so here we go. More spin. Step one, deny everything. Step two, perform a racist denigration of the quality of professionalism among journalists in Nigeria. Step three, pressure the journalist into a retraction. Meanwhile, continue to pay no attention to the man in purple behind the curtain.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The issue of retractions – of who mis-spoke what? Of who mis-heard what? – still skates elegantly on the wider smooth surfaces of expert con-evo Anglican realignment spin doctoring. Yes, the true details are partly key in sorting out this particular instance of alleged trash talk from a high church figure in real world Africa. By all means let us get to the bottom of the real world details. However. Even if it really turns out that the bishop did NOT say it, or did not say it just THAT WAY, don’t we all really KNOW already that the Anglican… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

If someone quoted *me*—or someone under my authority—as saying a group of people “weren’t fit to live”, I would be ALL OVER IT for retraction so fast your head would spin!

…and yet this denial by mouthpiece Tunde Popoola comes only AFTER a days-later condemnation by the ABC?

I don’t presume guilt by +Orama.

I DO charge gross negligence, of the festering, scandalous mess, by ++Akinola!

Pluralist
Guest

Yes, that is right. The person who was said to have said it would have got a retraction out in double quick time. He didn’t. Up pops Popoola as if it was never said. What was said then? Was it all made up?

Imagine a jounalist in the UK being told to retract a report. The journalist would say boo, sue. Has the journalist retracted the report then? If he has, what was he doing if he fabricated it? Or did he fabricate it at all?

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

So what DID the bishop say to have been “misrepresented”? Did the journalist pluck the words out of thin air? Perhaps the bishop thought he was merely stating Church policy: note the tone and content of the Church of Nigeria’s response to the Listening Process.

It feels as if we’ve reached a tipping point. The build up has taken a decade or so to manifest itself, from Lambeth 1:10 onwards, but the anti-gay rhetoric has now gone too far. The ABC senses this, and is starting to act.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

John Thanks for Spong. It made me laugh. There has been suggestions that the quote might be in error over the last week. It is possible. It’s one of those times we will never know the truth. However, there has been a victory. Firstly ABC’s office making it clear that the are boundaries on how far anti-GLBT can go. So souls might be vehement in their opposition to interpreting the scriptures in a GLBT tolerant or inclusive fashion, but they are then not to go into actual verbal or physical attacks against their very existence. Secondly, Nigeria’s leadership have demonstrated… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Re Caritas’s post above on the UPI/Washington Times/Moonie connection, by coincidence (I say this without irony) the daughter of a certain “canon doctor”, closely involved with Messrs. Akinola & Minns, was a Washington Times intern earlier this year. Odd how things may sometimes appear to interconnect, is it not?

Anthony W
Guest
Anthony W

According to UPI the report came from the News Agency of Nigeria, a government news feed. UPI has pulled the story and put up a caveat in its place. They take no responsibility for it, whether rightly or wrongly, and say the UPI tag on the front of it was an error. I haven’t seen anything from the News Agency of Nigeria. But the story has not been on their website and I started looking Tuesday night. Hopefully they will come out with something. It seems possible to me that Bishop Orama was unaware of the story. He doesn’t necessarily… Read more »

Terry Wong (Global South Web)
Guest
Terry Wong (Global South Web)

I find it rather amusing that the Abp of Canterbury should use his office respond to a unsubstantiated and widely blogged second-hand report from UPI. The work of the ACO, we suppose?

Terry Wong (Global South Web)
Guest
Terry Wong (Global South Web)

Pluralist:

Have you heard of this saying: “Lost in translation?”

It is often racial prejudice that causes misinterpretation. I cannot imagine any church leader of good standing saying something like what was reported. I doubted it the first time I read the report.

BabyBlue
Guest

Sometimes I wonder if we in the West completely grasp what the conditions are for internet communications in Africa. Here in the west we can sit on a train and read the internet with our Apple phones and Blackberries. We can stop in to Starbucks and open up our Powerbooks and check our e-mail. We can even ride through a city Metro and text message what time we’ll be home for dinner. But this is not the case in Africa – where even landline phone coverage can be challenging. We are a spoiled lot, aren’t we? bb

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Terry, those of us who live outside the GS mind-set are representing the Christian faith to an audience which rather dislikes hate-language. As soon as this story went public, any reputable organisation working in our cultural milieu has to do something if the faith is to retain any respect. The ‘If..then…’ language of +++ROwan is appropriate. With regard to the story itself, ‘creatio ex nihilo’ is an attribute of God alone. I would love to know what’s really going on.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

BabyBlue,
I’m not sure what you’re saying: that the Africans cannot have picked up the news item because of poor Internet access?
Davis Mac-Iyalla and Changing Attitude in Nigeria seem to be able to follow all news stories on time all the time.
Surely, the official church cannot be worse equipped than a man living in hiding?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Terry wrote “I cannot imagine any church leader of good standing saying something like what was reported.” Your sentiment is wonderful. However, religious leaders in the past formed the hub of the Klu Klux Klan; justified attempted genocide of Australian Aboriginals and their culture; designed, implemented and maintained Apartheid; participated in the the Nazi holocaust; turned a blind eye to child and spousal abuse within parishioners and/or within boarding schools. Don’t tell us that the Titanic can’t sink. It did. As have numerous theologies on numerous occasions in numerous cultures over numerous millennia. Telling us not to speak from conscience… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

I’ve visited The Gambia, Ghana, Togo and Tanzania, but not yet Nigeria. I have experienced parts of Africa at first hand. I know how difficult communication can be sometimes, and also how remarkably easy at others. Cybercafés and cell phones enable people living in towns and cities to communicate with ease, despite the fragility of the power supply – there are always generators. Inability to access the news can’t be the reason why it took 2 days for the Church of Nigeria to produce any response to the report of Bishop Orama’s comments which were being widely reported online. We… Read more »

Lee Tuck-Leong
Guest
Lee Tuck-Leong

Terry wrote “I cannot imagine any church leader of good standing saying something like what was reported.”

Terry, can I remind you that the Diocese of Singapore, under the NCCS, not only called on the continued criminalization of homosexuals, but also called on legislators to make lesbian acts criminal too. Furthermore, lets not ignore the rhetoric of your colleague the Rev’d Derek Hong in characterizing advocates for lesbian and gay rights as being used by the devil to destroy the church.

http://www.methodistmessage.com/mar2007/penalcode.html
http://www.yawningbread.org/arch_2007/son-788a.mp3

C.B.
Guest
C.B.

I doubt that we will hear anything more about this story from Tunde. I doubt that the reporter is going to step forward, identify himself and open himself up to questions. Same with Orama. In a matter of days we will be awash in news about the HoB meeting and all that follows. No need to give this story legs now. But the bottom line does not change. The position of the extremists means death to gays (spiritual and physical)the world over. It does not, can not provide a platform for pastoral care – it is an excuse for continued… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

BabyBlue has a point, of course. When Archbishop Akinola has to fly the Atlantic just to find a pc on which he can edit the draft of a communiqué, things have to be pretty desperate over there. And no Starbucks! The Horror!

caritas
Guest
caritas

It is true that we are projecting our own worldview on a part of the world that likely doesn’t have the communications infrastructure that we have, so the timing to me does not seem strange. There are indeed places in the world that do not have good and reliable phone service, internet access, and even mail delivery. My parish works with some parishes and individuals in India for which this is indeed the case; there are very poor and remote (either geographically or financially) places in the world. Five days’ response time does not surprise me. However: what would be… Read more »

Christopher
Guest

Colin,

It’s not simply conservatives who don’t undestand this extent, but many moderates who really don’t want to know the extent and are quick to look for any way to see this story go away.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

‘Charity and common sense rarely convince people whose prejudices are bolstered by dubious exegesis and a morbid interest in others’ sex lives. The Bill thus failed dozens and dozens of times. It was discussed in Parliament and in the pulpits. It features in numerous novels and plays, running from Felicia Skene’s marvellously prurient The Inheritance of Evil (1849) to George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara (1905).’

Food for thought …

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“……. though not Bishop Martyn Minns.” Have you some insight into Minns’ private opinions that the rest of us lack, Colin Coward? When you say that is “sadly revealing of his authority in the Church of Nigeria that he has been silent this week”, to what extent have his responses of this past week been in any was different to any earlier response to homophobic garbage spurting out of Nigeria? “Bad company is a disease”, Colin.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

The other thing that bemuses me is I wonder how some souls would react if the statements and suggested solutions were pointed at them? Souls pray that Christians not be persecuted nor apostates put to death nor their be forced conversions. Wonderful. How about taking on the behaviours within their own communion that they don’t like being imposed upon them. The phrase “physician heal thyself” comes to mind. I am trying to protect heterosexual/celibate Christians who attempt to live lives free from sin and suffering. But to protect them, I must also protect those who are more likely to be… Read more »

Terry Wong (Global South Web)
Guest
Terry Wong (Global South Web)

Lee Tuck-Leong

Many will disagree with the apparent remark reported in UPI. Me too.

However, the actions of NCCS and the Diocese of Singapore (forbidding those public offences need to be understood within the framework and concerns of S’pore society – esp to protect the young and families).

To debate it, this is not the forum.

And what my colleague Derek Hong said – isn’t that obvious that this perspective is shared by many conservatives in the Anglican Church?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Actually, it is good to see what is happening in other dioceses, it helps us to see the big picture and who endorses what kind of teachings and methods of enforcement. That in turn helps us understand who they have allied with, and why. That in turn enables us to contemplate where their theology will take us. Will it take us into a tranformative process that leads to fulfilling God’s promised everlasting covenant of peace; or will it take us into further tyranny and accusations? It worries me that souls are told not to share what is going on. My… Read more »