Sunday, 17 September 2006

Nigeria

Updated

Mark Harris has drawn attention to the latest pronouncements of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The original documents are: PASTORAL LETTER TO THE CHURCH which includes:

…We also took considerable time to reflect on the context and application of the theme. We came under the conviction that whatever we do to replace the supremacy of God, He would destroy. We also discerned afresh that the voice of the people is not always the voice of God since, as in the case of the Israelites and the golden calf, the voice of the people can actually be rebellion. The serious implication for us is that when our culture, tradition and disposition go against the Word of God, we must choose to be on the Lord’s side. The time-tested and inerrant rule of life must remain the written Word of God. To toy with these in the name of cultural accommodation or contextualization can only lead to worship of pseudo gods and the inevitable attendant confusion and disharmony, as in the case in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

… As part of our growing mission emphasis, we have also sought to understand better ways of understanding and evangelizing our neighbors in other faiths, particularly the Islam in the context of growing worldwide concerns. It is apparent that there is a worldwide Islamic agenda which has the political domination of every nation in view. Considering the negative consequences of this development, it is therefore imperative for Christians to be properly informed about what Islam stands for and dialogue with Muslims only when it is done on equal terms…

and MESSAGE TO THE NATION which includes:

Human Sexuality
The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity and encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.

Mark Harris’s comments are at The Church of Nigeria Standing Committee Speaks. Who speaks back? and also at Pearls of Great Price from The Church of Nigeria (Anglican)

In case you forgot what “Bill” they are talking about, Political Spaghetti has a full explanation here. Or ask CANA. The latest letter from their Missionary Bishop can be found here.

Update Monday
Jim Naughton has chimed in about this too.

Update Tuesday
Matt Thompson has another go in What kind of black eye are Minns and the ACN hoping for?

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Comments

I'd really love to know where 'listening' could ever be part of this approach!

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 7:54pm BST

Lord help us. Reliance on the scriptures would be wonderful - let's see them restore the missing books e.g. Susanna. On the Muslims, God help us, these people want a holy war, and by George, they'll provoke one if they have to. I just pray the Muslims have seen enough to recognise their provocations and not allow themselves to be drawn into it. (It so reminds me of two neighbouring villages with a few testosterone youth in each village wanting to spar off. Hopefully both villages' leaders have enough wisdom to recognise excessive testosterone and not allow the whole villages to become embroiled in immature fighting so the boys can posture to their mates).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 9:19pm BST

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has clearly separated itself from Lambeth 1.10, the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communiqué and in failing to support both the “letter and spirit” of these must now be seen to have “walked apart” from the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 9:36pm BST

++ Abuja says:
The time-tested and inerrant rule of life must remain the written Word of God. To toy with these in the name of cultural accommodation or contextualization can only lead to worship of pseudo gods and the inevitable attendant confusion and disharmony

Well, I never thought that the move towards a Christian version of Sharia law would come from within Anglicanism. Terrifying stuff, don't you think? But it's nice to know that the Nigerian Church is prepared to learn from other faith traditions.

Posted by: David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 10:12pm BST

Wrote David Rowett: "I never thought that the move towards a Christian version of Sharia law would come from within Anglicanism."

Too bad ++Peter Abuja didn't attend Pope Benedict XVI's recent lecture at the University of Regensburg, where Professor Ratzinger taught systematic theology from 1967-1977. Yes, Muslims are offended, but His Holiness was right on the mark, pointing out the difference between fundamentalism (whether Muslim or Christian) and Orthodox, Catholic biblical exegesis. Commenting on the Greek text of John 1:1, the scholarly Pope pointed out that in NT Greek LOGOS means both Word and Reason. In true Christian teaching the two are complementary and are to be held in tension. Anglicans since 1662 (until ++Abuja and his Neo-Puritan separatist ilk appeared on the scene) have followed Hooker, whose theology has held scripture, tradition and reason in tension, as the Church seeks to discern God's will.

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 11:19pm BST

'..the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.'
(Statement from Church of Nigeria)

I see that AFTERALL, the Bible is not the sole authority in these matters. This is a hugely important admission / concession.
Some of us make different choices of what books and tradtions we find useful, valid, inspiring and helpful, and put alongside the Bible.

Posted by: laurence roberts on Sunday, 17 September 2006 at 11:39pm BST

laurence roberts observed
"I see that AFTER ALL, the Bible is not the sole authority in these matters. This is a hugely important admission / concession."

Perhaps - it's some 30 years since a sea change was noted in 'fundamentalism' which represented a significant change of tack.

Until the immediate post-war period, the Bible was 'true' because the Bible was true: ie a faith statement of non-negotiable sort.

An apologetic development which we can see in such things as 'The Bible as History' (Keller, ca 1960) was a radical departure from this dogmatic base to 'the Bible is true because it is confirmed by (archaeology/physics/ecology....). Kitchen the Egyptologist is a good example of such a school of thought.

Philosophically this undermines the pure fundamentalist message by opening the Bible to external verification/falsification, and so would appear to be a 'shooting of self in foot' manoeuvre, but it doesn't seem to have played out like that: the fundamentalist wing of the church seems to ignore the blatant incompatibility of holding a dogmatic position along with an evidential one, and attempts to draw attention to this (as is the case in much of the gay debate) are met with stonewalling.

Posted by: David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 12:55pm BST

Martin Reynolds is exactly right -- I have been saying for ages that the Windsor illusion of dialogue has never had a chance since the Akinolists have always said that there is nothing to talk about! The ABC's pretence that there is still a Communion that needs to sort through this question of gay & lesbian issues indicates that he is either wildly out of touch with reality (as a don, this is possible) or extremely Machiavellian (spinning things out as long as possible will likely keep the moderates with those aligned with Canterbury rather than the schismatics).

BTW -- laurence roberts makes an excellent point -- this might not be the first time that some source of authority besides the (Christian) Bible has been invoked, but citing cultural values is actually to concede that the other side has a valid point & invoking the Quran is downright hilarious (& revelatory!)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 2:47pm BST

What a perverse lot we have in the WWAC. Do we really wish to get behind the likes of a Peter Akinola by not speaking out forcefully against his vision and version of the truth. It will be a real shame if the Primates of the Communion don't come down on this and denounce it for what it is. Maybe this is what they feel they have to do to get along in Africa but what about the rest of the civilized world?

Posted by: Richard III on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 3:22pm BST

Lambeth 1998 1.10 gets cited as final, not because it helps make straight people any better than they ever were, but because it aids in defining LGBTQ folks as worse, far worse, than we actually know them to be. Besides, the pastoral care, listening, and putting the social-legal brakes on violence that this same Lambeth also highly commends is never, ever, ever cited as anything like an equally final doctrine.

That African bishops tilt against the factual news of queer folks’ human competence is sad news in itself, but denial and willful ignorance of controversial data cannot be disguised, let alone successfully disguised as core doctrine and essential faith. No matter if a majority of the African bishops sign a terbyte's worth of neocon covenants and strict confessions. If Canterbury acquiesces in this misguided effort to make queer folks bedrooms and parenting as eternal and important as baptism, creeds, and sacraments - then that fine, keen mind has dulled, indeed. And the legacy Anglican stool has one leg to stand on: A closed reading of scripture.

Is simply everybody ready to sign onto this new agenda for vigilante police power? Is this sort of thing like yelling fire in a crowded theater?

A hunch. These preachments are pushes at Canterbury as much an anything else. In effect telling Canterbury, sit down and shut up and give us all our way, or we will vote you out of the orthodox circle. Are the progressive believers in UK listening? New Zealand is. Scotland is. Canada is. South Africa is. Many are listening.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 3:37pm BST

Are people deliberately misunderstanding??

It seems pretty obvious that rather than any authority being given to books other than the Bible, the Church of Nigeria's statement was merely pointing out that nearly all Nigerians (including those of other faiths) would agree with their stance.

Very nice and respectful of them, right?!

Posted by: NP on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 4:36pm BST

NP asked:
Are people deliberately misunderstanding??

I think not — rather there are two issues (to my mind). One is the slightly abstruse one about the dogmatic appeal to biblical authority vs. the pragmatic 'everyone agrees' (which somewhat contradicts an earlier Nigerian line about truth not necessarily being a majority opinion).

The other is the implicit double think, that 'African Values' are given weight in the equation (while 'Western Values' are not — a clear example of cultural imperialism) and that the Quran — while being castigated most of the time by hardline Christians — is to be venerated when it agrees with one. This is not, I think, a principled position.

Posted by: David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) on Monday, 18 September 2006 at 7:21pm BST

looks like people are looking for excuses to get upset by the nasty conservatives

in our society, atheists, religious people, all faiths would agree that wife-beating is a bad thing.....I find no problem in saying that I agree as a Christian and that nearly everybody else in society agrees too (faith and reason at work??)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 9:30am BST

NP commented:
'looks like people are looking for excuses to get upset by the nasty conservatives

in our society, atheists, religious people, all faiths would agree that wife-beating is a bad thing.....I find no problem in saying that I agree as a Christian and that nearly everybody else in society agrees too (faith and reason at work??)'

DR contends
But once we admit the validity of African values, it is illogical/disingenuous to disallow consideration of Western values; similarly, granting authority to the Quran necessitates granting authority to other non-Christian texts, including those on psychology and the like.

Nigeria has chosen to appeal to authorities beyond the Bible to back up its line: that's fine, but it means it's entirely legitimate for me to cite such authorities as support my contentions as well.

For me, the problem with the Nigerian statement is that it is a smokescreen appeal to carefully selected authorities which will run well in Nigeria, but which has little in common with NP's contention that 'all decent people' is a legitimate line to take, because of the arbitrary disregarding of sources of equal validity to those the statement quotes in support of its Biblical reading.

Posted by: David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 11:05am BST

Amazing that there is so much hatred of the man Akinola, reminds one of John 7:7?

Why would a Christian get annoyed with a Priest who demands dialogue on EQUAL TERMS with Muslims. Should we prefer the inequality? While we are busy inviting their leaders to our Cathedrals how many of ours have ever been allowed to speak in the smallest mosque? While they flood foreign lands and build their mosques, how many of those commenting here have ever succeeded in building a church in a Muslim dominated area. Islam rewards anyone that converts from it with death. Even in the most liberal setting such a person is ostracised. I am yet to see the great human rights crusaders here kick against that. But let Akinola speak and condemnations pour in. It is a pity but no one can deny that the west is being overrun by secularism and Islam.

When the Son of man shall come, will he find faith on the earth?

Posted by: Tunde on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 12:14pm BST

NP

In principle what you are saying is true, but in practice the church has been known to keep women in abusive relationships. I have personally been told by church leaders that I must submit to my husband - even if that meant he lost all my superannuation and redundancy monies - and that I had no right to say no. If the ship went down, I was to go down with it. And I've had ministers tell me that I must want secretly want to be abused by my father, or else my prayers for it to stop would have been answered. Actual experiences - but if you were to point fingers at any particular individual they would deny they would support such a position. Dr Phil has had a minister on his show recently to reassure a divorcee that it was not her fault that her husband had abused her and left her for another woman - but the minister only did it after being painted into a corner on national US television.

What people say they condone to the public and what they do condone in private are not always the same thing. One thing I will give the Nigerians is honesty. At least you can then discuss whether you agree with their positions and why. Plus as the fruits of their paradigms are made manifest, you can discuss how their theology shaped the outcomes.

For example, if you believe you are in a holy war against infidels, don't be surprised if there is violence and conflict. But a psychologist couch would counsel that we often dislike in others what we don't want to acknowledge in ourselves - so their fears of suppression and domination by others amuse me because they in turn advocate and practice the very thing they fear against GLBTs. If they don't want it done to them, then why are they doing it to others? And if they want others to stop doing it to them, maybe they should stop doing it to others.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 12:21pm BST

NP: wife-beating is not morally equivalent to a consensual, non-violent, same-sex relationship; furthermore, making violence between spouses illegal is in no way equivalent to silencing the voice of a minority. You're splitting hairs for trivial rhetorical advantage.

Posted by: Matt on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 2:44pm BST

Tunde is back!

I, for one, bear no hatred for Akinola. None at all. As you know, I have been arguing on the facts since the beginning. If you, Tunde, and your Church, wish to call for legislation that removes the civil rights of a minority, so be it. But don't expect support for this endorsement to last long outside of Nigeria. The bill represents horrific malpractice of the law: gay marriage is not recognized in Nigeria, and sodomy is already illegal; why bar your own people from participating in civil discourse on their own behalf? Are you scared of something?

I'm not calling you a coward, Tunde, but this bill is cowardice of the highest order, and it's mob rule against an already powerless minority.

Posted by: Matt on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 4:33pm BST

"Amazing that there is so much hatred of the man Akinola, reminds one of John 7:7?"

Tunde,

Are you really trying to equate Akinola with Christ? Is this the "official" line of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)?

Posted by: David Chillman on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 4:50pm BST

Matt - are you sure I am splitting hairs???

Going back to the original story....I am merely saying that just because a "conservative" church makes a statement which is not really offensive to anyone (ie they pointed out that muslim and traditional religion Nigerians agree with their position) it is absurd that people who oppose them on certain issues jump on it and make out their is some great significance or flaw in what they say.

Anyway, if people enjoy demonising "opponents" and being demonised by them, carry on....but it is a sad waste of time.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 5:03pm BST

Tunde,

I'm not sure the primary objections here are about Akinola's approach to Christian-Muslim relations.

I think the anger (I don't think it usually rises to 'hatred' on these pages) has more to do with other things. Those of us who disapprove of his actions have noted that he's called some of us 'lower than animals'; that he denies our Christian faith (we're not just fallible or mistaken--we follow a 'different religion'); and he is working for the expulsion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. In the meantime, he and his allies are actively disrupting the governing structures of the Episcopal Church.

Given that he and the Nigerian Church have engaged in a systematic attack on their co-religionists, I shouldn't be surprised that some stand up and push back.

Posted by: Christopher Calderhead on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 7:11pm BST

NP: The Nigerian Constitution itself spells out the very rights that this bill would violate. There is no room for nuance here -- it's simple and clear that the bill would take away the speech rights of a vocal minority.

Fighting this bill (since it has nothing to do with gay marriage at all) is hardly a waste of time.

Posted by: Matt on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 7:36pm BST

Difficulties for gay people today don't come from God or Jesus, but from human beings who are repelled by homosexuality for a host of reasons. Because there is no historical basis for viewing Jesus as a vilifier of people sexually attracted to others of their own sex, his life and teachings are good news for gays. He cannot be added to the list of shrill denouncers a la ++Abuja. On sexual relations between males and between females, Jesus - as recorded in the Bible - is entirely silent, BUT with one possible exception (Mt. 5:22). The very word used for "fool" (Aram. rhaca) in the warning not to say "You fool" to a brother or sister, might have been a term of abuse for an effeminate male (Lat. mollisl Gk. malakos)in Jesus' Aramaic speaking environment. [Cf. Philip Kennedy, "God's Good News for Gays," GAYS AND THE FUTURE OF ANGLICANISM: RESPONSES TO THE WINDSOR REPORT, ed. Andrew Linzey & Richard Kirker (2005), pp.299-314]

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 8:08pm BST

NP wrote (again) "is not really offensive to anyone..."

So there must be a lot of no bodies - that is no body would be really offended. This is apartheid culture - of being blind to the humanity of "the other". One of the shames of the Nigerian legislation is that it enforces silence of "the other", so that officially "the other" does not exist. Therefore the officials can publicly state that they have no homosexuality in Nigeria, and there is no public record to the contrary, because any documentation leads to a criminal indicement. I feel like shouting from the rooftop "The emperor is wearing no clothes!" Sorry "Nigeria has gays!"

We might not be able to do it in Nigeria, but Nigeria does not yet control the world's media, so we will shout it from the rest of the world, which humour and joy that God has given refuge and hope elsewhere.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 at 10:19pm BST

This all, thanks to Cheryl's last comment, reminds me of a town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where my husband once served on a board dedicated to getting a homeless shelter built. When my husband became part of the board, the board was several years old, and had gotten nowhere. The reason? The town council said "We don't have any homeless; we don't need a shelter!"

Now if a person drove around the area at the right time of night or morning, they could see all sorts of people living under bridges and in parks. But that town had no homeless people. When confronted with the evidence, the town officials said, "WE have no homeless because we give them a ticket out of town. They're not ours."

The board did eventually get a homeless shelter built, but only after it was pointed out that most were male war veterans. Everyone else remained invisible.

Allow me to refer y'all to the late Verna Dozier's book The Dream of God: A Call to Return (Cowley, 1991). In it she writes, "When we waste our time talking about sin as individual acts - usually individual acts someone else is doing - we miss the power of the biblical idea of sin. Jesus was very incisive in his judgment on this response to individual acts: paying attention to the splinter in someone else's eye while ignoring the log in our own. Sin is a misuse of human freedom that separates us from God, from other people, even from ourselves. In fact, our very concern about other people's sins is a manifestation of sin." (pg. 57ff, Cowley Publications, (c) 1991).

To say "We have no homeless" is sin. Creating an environment where people become invisible and voiceless is sin. To say that some are more unrepentantly sinful than others is sin. And for me to say, then, that I will not sit down at table with you because you have silenced someone, or made another invisible, is also sin.

This so called liberal, revisionist, pansexualist (actually panensexualist) has not excluded, nor will exclude, one single person from the table that belongs to Jesus because they are orthodox, or because they are opposed to this woman being in holy orders, or because they are a sinner. So Archbishop Peter, Bp. Robert, please come home. You are welcome. You are heard, even if we don't agree with you or do what you want. And you are not invisible just because we choose to share our table with LGBT persons as well as you. Here there is no male and female, Jew and Greek, slave and free. Here there are only the guests at the wedding feast. Here you have a home. Your placecard is right next to mine. I'll save your seat for you.

Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 1:52am BST

Cheryl - pls read my comment in context.

What I said is that the statement was not offensive to anybody in saying that most of Nigerian society would not disagree with the CoN....that is just a fact.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 7:30am BST

NP

The context is what is written. The inference that no one is offended parallels the debate the world is watching over the Pope's faux pas and Muslims. This article came out the recent Kyoto Assembly of World Religions for peace http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=21060

It talks about reconciliation, it talks about the need for healing to begin with the victim, it points out that reconciliation needs to begin with the victim, and not the oppressor. And that to simply ask for forgiveness is to ask them to perpetuate being a victim.

Many Muslims have been victims of wasteful shepherds and machevellian global economics that preferred corrupt regimes as that kept the cost of fuel down (e.g. they were not paying for infrastructure such as hospitals or education for the bulk of the Arab peoples).

Similarly, it served machevellian priests to ignore the needs of ~2% of their communities, plus their parents and extended kin and friends.

It is easy to tell us that we read things out of context, to tell us to not use the biblical word eunuch with the intent that it was written, to tell us that we have psychological disorders if we think there is a dissonance between the idea of a forgiving God yet rejecting someone as the Potter made them. Especially when the same wasteful shepherds indulge male domination fantasies, including ignoring abuse by husbands or priests. For example, last September one of the ministers muttered to me that "no one is an island unto themself" and proceeded to orchestrate a campaign to challenge my sanity. Not one official from the diocese has ever apologised, and the court cases show that was done to me was not unique. I have been called a Baal prophetess or an agent for the "evil one", and no one has ever apologised for those slanders either.

At least my enemies acknowledge that something more than human is moving. If they had any brains they would realise that God doesn't need to prove his case with unlimited numbers of souls, all they have to do is attack the wrong one and there is the evidence God needs to enter into a new covenant. One thing that should come out of this period is that the fear of God will reduce the amount of abuse, because the wise will recognise that they can not tell who God has annointed and will try to avoid abuse lest they hurt the wrong one. And those who don't stop abusing will be so discredited that everyone will know they are a deceiver's minion in camoflauge, which will reduce their ability to create mischief.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 12:48pm BST

Tunde,

For once I somewhat agree with you! Western liberals seem to downplay the kinds of things you are talking about in Islam, and to ignore these things as factors Nigerian Christians must face. I have said for some time that it is not us who will lay down our lives for the blessing of gay unions, and if we are to do it, we should be ready to cross the ocean and defend your churches. Trouble is, if I were to do that, you'd have me thrown in jail, me being gay and all.

That said, it does not take away from the fact that your Church has been involved in some behaviour that seems to go against the spirit of the Gospel, and should be confronted with that. For you to point out the hypocrisy of the West does not excuse the sins of the Nigerian Church.

I pray not to hate ++Akinola, and not to fear him since hate comes from fear. It's hard though, given the things he says about me, given that he would jail me, and, I get the impression, approve of whoever would kill me.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 2:05pm BST

NP
NParralels / 'only connect' ( EM Forster)

Most did not lift a finger to help European Jewry. Doesn't make it right. It was theculmination of centuries of Christian / Church lies, deceit, ghettoes and Pogroms.
Oh ! those jews !....

Questions

Why were there thousands & thousands of Quakers & Welsh speakers throughout Wales in the seventeenth century ?
Oh, those Quakers...

Why are there under a thousand Quakers in Wales today, most of whom now speak a different tongue ?
Oh! those welsh....

Destruction of a people & their culture takes many forms. Marginalisation, displacement, banishment and murder stand out in my mind.

Posted by: laurence roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 2:36pm BST

I thought you all were into "listening"

Did I say the majority is right?

Did I defend any persecution...of anybody...ever?

Just trying to get some balance in your criticism of Nigeria....pointing out that making storms in teacups (eg trying to claim the CoN is giving similar authority to traditional relgions etc) might amuse some readers but it does not persuade anybody outside your circle....those you say you want to listen need stronger arguments

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 3:08pm BST

"People outside our circles are not being persuaded..." Don't let jihadists or pax imperalists fool you. Things are changing at the deep level and the world will be a more balanced place. The puritans, religious right and pro-violence people will still exist - but they will be balanced by a pluralistic inclusive left and peace makers.

The wind is starting to blow the sails of the flotilla. For example:
the swinging steel magnolias http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/erbeblog/archive/060918/irs_and_religious_left_tread_o.htm
and
http://news.google.com/news?ie=utf8&oe=utf8&persist=1&hl=en&client=google&ncl=http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060918-105756-8448r.htm

As an aside, we squeal when a woman has acid thrown in her face for not wearing suitable clothing, but do we squeal when the acid of words or ostracisation are done by arch-conservative Christians? Let's work on removing the logs from our own eyes before we worry about the splinters in our neighbors.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 20 September 2006 at 10:38pm BST

Cheryl says, "As an aside, we squeal when a woman has acid thrown in her face for not wearing suitable clothing, but do we squeal when the acid of words or ostracisation are done by arch-conservative Christians? "

That is because not the whole world has fallen for the post-modern, politically-correct silliness which would equate throwing acid in someone's face and saying, "Sorry, I disagree with you and I am not prepared to believe that two opposing views are both right."

I hate violence but I love free speech - we all need to protect that right and not shut others down.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 6:59am BST

NP wrote: “What I said is that the statement was not offensive to anybody is saying that most of Nigerian society would not disagree with the CoN....that is just a fact.”

The point dear NP, is not whether Politicians, Muslims and Pagans, if be, would wholeheartedly agree with the proposed Nigerian legislation, but that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) along with its North American partners, to stay in the Anglican Communion, that is to adhere to resolution 10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference (not to mention the other 14 resolutions), the Windsor Report and the Dromantine communiqué, must speak up a g a i n s t this proposed legislation, against its political supporters, and against its religious counterparts.

And yes, you said that the majority is right.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 8:36am BST

Goran - show me where I said the majority is right??

Also, note that I did not say I support the Nigerian legislation....

Anyway, I am bored with all this now. If people want to hate and jump on "nasty conservative" clergy and their statements, that is your right....even if it is getting you nowehere

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 11:30am BST

Matt, Yes I am back but not for long, seems most of my kind have been chased off this site. Call me a coward because I encourage people to flee from what I believe is SIN. It is okay.

David, Can any human be equated to the LORD of LORDS? I won’t dare it.

Christopher, For the umpteen time, Abp. Akinola never referred to you as ‘lower than animals.’ Your friends twisted his words to imply so, maybe drawing inspiration from Mugabe who used the words ‘dogs and cats’. Your anger is therefore misdirected.

Ford, YES! If you’d cross the ocean to come and lead people I love so much in what I believe is SIN, I’d try to discourage you, but if you insist, I will pray you end up in jail. Luke 17: 1-2. While I will not lay my own hands on you, I won’t stop anyone from doing so.

GKS, As long as we are convinced homosexuality is SIN, we cannot and will not speak against any law aimed at discouraging the practice. I have been told (truth unverified) the law makers were so infuriated by the many petitions received from abroad, that they are looking for ways of ‘strengthening the law and safeguarding the lives of future generations’.

Posted by: Tunde on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 1:03pm BST

NP said: That is because not the whole world has fallen for the post-modern, politically-correct silliness which would equate throwing acid in someone's face and saying, "Sorry, I disagree with you and I am not prepared to believe that two opposing views are both right."

Also, NP, not the whole world has bought into the postmodern, Conservative view that "I disagree with you" is no different from "You are subhuman and ought at least to be in jail, but preferrably dead." I have no problem with those who disagree with me. We are not talking about disagreement here, but about people being condemned based on stereotypes rather than facts. You merely have to scan old posts here to see "the liberals" (or "the conservatives") maligned in this fashion, as if there were two homogenous groups at one another's throats. You will also read anti-gay stereotypes reported, most times I think sincerely by those who don't know any better, as fact.

All my life I have known that, me being gay, my life is worth less than yours. Were I to kill you, I'd suffer the consequences. Were you to kill me, you could claim "gay panic" or some such and get away with it in a good many places. You are not likely to end up pistol whipped, tied in an alarmingly crucifixion-like pose to a fence in Wyoming. We can easily see ourselves in that image. There but for the grace of God go I, but not you though. So when "disagreement" is expressed in strong, often violent, terms, that means something different to me than it would to you. Try to understand that.

Now, we can spend from now till the last trump pointing out one another's hypocrisies, and equally feel smug in our rightness, but where would that get us? There's sinners, and thus sin, on both sides. You see more of it in the Left, I see more of it in the Right. So. What's to be gained in that, except each of us feeling terribly smug that we have managed to find another bit of two-facedness in our opponent? Each of us can point it out in our opponents, or try to fix it in ourselves. It's that simple.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 3:30pm BST

Tunde
What do you mean by "chased off" please?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 7:14pm BST

Hello Tunde,

The news about the burning of your Cathedral in Jigawa state has just come across the wires, and I wanted to offer my condolences. It is clear to me that you are ministering in a context that I can't really comprehend.

I was troubled by some things you said in responses to Ford Elms and Goren, and I was wondering if you would clarify something for me.

You said that love for God's people would lead you to pray for Ford's imprisonment should he come to Nigeria and spread what you believe to be an erroneous version of the Gospel. In your response to Goren you said you do not oppose using the power of the state to stop the practice of homosexuality.

Since I do not assume that your love of God's people depends upon their place of residence, I'd like to be clear about whether you think other governments should pass laws similar to the one now under consideration in Nigeria?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but your church has recently established a convocation in the United States, and I am keenly interested in knowing whether you think its members should be working to put me in jail.


Sincerely,
Jim Naughton

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 7:44pm BST

NP

I totally agree with you about not shutting each other down. But it is weird, for example this TA thread from Wed 20 Sept http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001928.html

Dialogue sometimes seems surreal. Who is attempting to shut down and exclude who? The puritans claim they are being shut down and therefore must cleanse the communion. Two of the key dioceses (Nigeria and Sydney) have demonstrated a desire for uniformity that has literally pushed ministers into other dioceses due to the pressure applied to them, and gloat on the internet about the common will of their diocese. Unstated in their glee are the excluded casualities who have literally been driven into other churches and/or dioceses. The vast majority of such souls are not GLBT, but the vast majority would refuse to tell her mother to hate their GLBT child or would provide refuge to a wife being beaten by her husband. They would listen to the stories of "the other" and try and share how their story is paralleled in the bible - rather than telling people they are going to go to hell unless they only quote from the bible consistently with their "approved" texts.

These people don't want dialogue, they want flattery and tithes. They condone dehumanisation and rejection, which makes it palatable to inflict violence or suffering on children - which is sacrificial thinking "for the glory of God".

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 8:16pm BST

Tunde, my deepest sympathies for the damage to your cathedral and diocesan properties. I pray that no one was seriously injured.

Those of us in comfortable, western cities don't always appreciate the level of civil strife in some other parts of the world.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 21 September 2006 at 9:35pm BST

Tunde wrote: "GKS, As long as we are convinced homosexuality is SIN, we cannot and will not speak against any law aimed at discouraging the practice. I have been told (truth unverified) the law makers were so infuriated by the many petitions received from abroad, that they are looking for ways of ‘strengthening the law and safeguarding the lives of future generations."

Now, dear Tunde, I would be very interested to hear what other SINs your Province would give equal special treatment?

Greed? The corruption of minors? Tax-evation? Wife-beating? Jungle-justice? Polygamy?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 7:53am BST

Ford - thanks for your reply but you really show what I mean about "listening" when you say,

"Also, NP, not the whole world has bought into the postmodern, Conservative view that "I disagree with you" is no different from "You are subhuman and ought at least to be in jail, but preferrably dead.""

You are reading more into, "I disagree with you" from *most* conservatives than they mean by it.....the vast majority of conservatives do not mean it at all as you take it.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 9:23am BST

I would agree with NP's comment that "...the vast majority of conservatives do not mean it as you take it." The vast majority of souls did not participate in Klu Klux Klan lynchings either. The vast majority of souls go along with whatever society is doing. The problem is when the society's ethics become moribund and/or repressive. Complacency by the citizens and collusion by the priests allows regimes to distort nations' conduct. When we live in times such as this where we literally have sects who have both the capacity and the motivation to destroy the world if it is not made into their image, the vast majority can not afford complacency. We have at least two immoral nexuses who are using immoral weapons - cluster bombs, biological and/or chemical weapons. The only difference between the two worst elements is the cost and delivery method, but the cost does not change the nature of the Baal corruption.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 10:07am BST

JIM, Dear Jim,
Please do not twist my words. I said ‘… lead people…..in what I believe is SIN..’ not ‘spread erroneous Gospel’. Also, I did not say motivating factor is my love for the people, rather, I capitalised SIN. Also note my first action will be “I’d try to discourage you, but if you insist..”

Jim, please let us refuse to give room to the devil bent on emphasising our differences. Misquotations and misinterpretations can only widen the gulf.

Concerning opposition to State power, I’d ask what you’d do if I come to Washington to encourage paedophiles?

Concerning CANA, please refer questions to Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns.

Simon, go over what is happening to NP on this thread and do not be too surprised if he eventually disappears. That is what I mean.

ALL, Thanks for condolences. Nice to have concerned people all over the globe. Proud to be Christian and Anglican despite our differences. Will pass messages across. Please keep Bishop Lumu and people in prayers. The area is a predominantly Muslim one into which Christianity has recently been making inroads much to the chagrin of the Islamic teachers. Those that suffer most during such riots are converts and non-indigenes who have their sources of livelihood looted and destroyed.

Signing off,
AkinTunde

Posted by: Tunde on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 2:17pm BST

Tunde,

My condolences as well on the damage to your cathedral. This is the first I heard of it, I will need to find out more. This is truly horrible.

My statement about us who make the decisions defending those who will suffer because of them was sincere, though idealistic. I fail to see how that could be considered to be sin. How would I have committed a sin if I had stood in the gap and tried to prevent those who would damage your cathedral? I am appalled that you feel the State should punish what the Church says is wrong. St. John Chrysostom tells us Christians have no right to force others to our views. It is God who punishes, in His own time, and, while the Church has authority over us, we ought not to use the State to enforce our beliefs. Coerced Christianity is no Chrisianity at all. God is not mocked, Tunde. What's more, how is this position obedient to Windsor?

NP,

My point was, first of all, that there is a significant amount of fear associated with being gay. We grow up fearing that our families and friends will abandon us if they know the awful truth. We hear "God loves you" from the Church, but the very next breath contains none of that love. Some nasty things were said about conservatives, especially Africans, at the last Lambeth. But some nasty things were said about gay people too, don't forget that. We are used to empty words telling us of God's love, and it isn't hard to see the emptiness of them. "God loves you" followed by statements that I am to be equated with a pedophile aren't exactly loving, and show profound ignorance. Can you not see how a living amid a society which is hostile to us would make us a bit jumpy?

I am indifferent to SSB, honestly, and wouldn't avail of it if it were allowed. Opposing SSB is not, I believe, hatred, but some of the things said by some of those who oppose it certainly are.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 3:06pm BST

Tunde, one of our differences seems to be that you think the state is justified in putting people who believe what I believe into prison, whereas I don't believe the state is justified in putting people who believe what you believe into prison.

Forgive me if I find that difference rather difficult to overlook. And your unwillingness to reassure me on this point only heightens my unease.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 3:17pm BST

NP,
Sorry to carp, but scroll up to Tunde's post of Sept. 21, in which he says that I ought to be in jail for some unspecified sin. Consider his position in this debate. He certainly speaks for a significant number of conservatives, I would say. He has not had time to clarify what sin he is talking about. I doubt he considers defending people from violence to be sinful. Is he afraid I would attempt to convert godly straight Nigerians to homosexuality? If so, this displays deep ignorance of an issue on which he presumes to speak with authority. I don't know if that's the case, and to assume is not to listen, but I can't help but wonder. Not only would he have me put in jail, he states he would not stop anyone from laying hands on me. I'm not comparing myself to St. Stephen, but "and Saul approved of his murder" comes to mind.

How can I read this and not hear violence? He, a leading clergyman in the Church that is seen as the leader in the anti-gay movement within Anglicanism, practically repeats the example I gave, and that you deny is representative of conservative thought. What is it in this that I am not listening to? I have asked for clarification, and await his reply. It may be that a reply will take away my abovementioned doubts.

Posted by: Ford ELms on Friday, 22 September 2006 at 6:17pm BST
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