Saturday, 24 February 2007

Homophobia in Nigeria

Updated

Matt Thompson has comprehensive coverage of the pending Nigerian legislation at Political Spaghetti.

See his four five (so far) recent posts, One, Two, Three and Four; and now Five.

Passage Imminent III contains a detailed analysis of the Nigerian church’s position on all this, and notes that more than one Muslim legislator is reluctant to proceed.

According to the BBC:

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, called for speedy passage of the law, describing same sex unions as “barbaric and shameful”.

And I saw no mention at all of this matter in the recent Communiqué from the Primates, or in any of the ensuing primatial statements so far.

Here is the most recent United Nations report:UN independent experts oppose proposed Nigerian ban on same-sex relationships.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 6:08pm GMT | TrackBack
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Whatever else the TEC HoB will say, I do hope it minimally takes a stand on three things:

(1)a clear call for all Anglicans worldwide to speak out, against the violations of human rights going on in Nigeria and elsewhere against LGBTQ citizens and maybe adding in some notice of Nigeria's role as a world center of the underground sex trade, and

(2)requesting equal pastoral care and oversight attention to progressive or non-realignment believers in network or realignment dioceses and parishes, and

(3)announcing that it encourages the PB and dioceses and councils and meetings to stand firm against all efforts by priests or bishops or lay folks to remove property from TEC's perpetual trustholding for all future TEC generations.

One might also hope and pray that whatever forms of fasting for a season seem right and good, all TEC believers will be asked to share them, not just the scapegoated gay or lesbian believers.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 6:36pm GMT

Arriving for breakfast one morning at the White Sands Hotel in Tanzania, and finding Bishop Martyn Minns breakfasting with his CANA/Global South-remnant conspirators, I took the opportunity of asking him if he would contact Canon Tunde, the Communication Officer for the Church of Nigeria, and ask him to cease publishing deliberate lies and falsehoods about Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria. Bishop Martyn agreed to contact Canon Tunde that day. He didn't agree to ask him to stop, but I hoped he would. He had met Davis a day or two earlier when Davis met Archbishop Akinola. I wish I had also asked Bishop Martyn if as a Nigerian bishop, he supported the pending legislation. It would outlaw all Changing Attitude Nigeria meetings, and make any listening process in Nigeria impossible. The next question should have been, 'Are you, as an Anglican bishop, committed to the listening process, and if so, how can you reconcile this position with the Nigerian Church's support for the bill?'

Since that encounter, I realised that I have been thinking of Bishop Martyn as a Nigerian bishop who will behave as such, rather than as a bishop of the Episcopal Church who I might expect to conform to Western standards of honesty and Christian practice rather than Nigerian prejudice. I had expected him not just to be prejudiced about LGBT people, but also to collude with the Nigerian Church's support for the pending legislation.

How does Martyn Minns reconcile these apparently irreconcileable positions? How can he claim to be 'Windsor-compliant' in all respects, and at the same time, as a Nigerian bishop, support legislation which makes it impossible for all Nigerian bishops to be Windsor-compliant in respect of the 'ongoing process of listening and discernment' (Windsor 146) and the process of study and reflection regarding the blessing of same sex unions (Windsor 145)?

The Windsor Report makes it clear that we are in the middle of an open process of discernment and listening. The extreme conservatives deliberately spin this truth by writing as if Windsor has adopted a fixed and final position about the place of LGBT people, clergy, bishops and blessings. It hasn't. Time and again they distort the truth.

Nothing will now satisfy me other than a public statement by Bishop Martyn and Archbishop Peter that they are committed to every recommendation of the Windsor Report and they will now exert all their influence and energy to ensure the proposed legislation is defeated.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 7:24pm GMT

As the Church of England goes into its synod, remember that this Nigerian Church now claims to be able to dictate terms to you. Not merely to the Americans. To Canterbury -- to you. Are you comfortable with that?

See:

http://allafrica.com/stories/200702221147.html
The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS
February 23, 2007
Posted to the web February 22, 2007

By Lucas Barasa and Nyabonyi Kazungu
Nairobi

African Anglican bishops yesterday warned of a split among faithful unless the mother church stopped embracing homosexuality by September 30.

Led by Nigeria's Archbishop Peter Akinola and Kenya's Benjamin Nzimbi, the bishops said if Canterbury "does not come back to us by September 30, we will decide whether they will continue being with us or not."

"Let us know if they will have stopped celebrating same sex marriages and ordaining homosexuals," Bishop Akinola who is the chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (Capa) said during the launch of an HIV /Aids prevention plan at Panafric Hotel.

Posted by: Charlotte on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 7:29pm GMT

With some of the problems in this world, the biggest problems are the rats in the wheel who tell you to get out of their way.

"We can't talk to you - we haven't succeeded in gaining intimidatory control over our enemies. Leave us to take shots, bomb or beat them into submission."

"We can't talk to you - they are beating our women and hurting our children. So we have to get the big guns out to stop them doing it to us."

"We can't talk now - we are dealing with aggressive enemies and therefore our aggression is reasonable."

"We can't show compassion - don't you know that makes us guilty of the same sin?"

Mice in wheels who fail to realise that their cycles of scape goating, inhospitality and aggression destroy everything they touch. War, genocide, pandemics, poverty, destroyed infrastructure, rape and plunder are inevitable.

"Peace comes when you heal rather than judge". Civilization is what happens when the adults realise that there will always be a violent rogue element in any society but that they are dysfunctional and need to discredited as what they are - mentally insane, and a common enemy to ALL members of society. You will still have organised crime as rogues will cooperate with each other, but at least society sees them as what they are and not as the most holy advocates.

To protect society from organised rogue elements, you need to have an underpinning premise that no one element of society is "fair game" for being abused by the rogue element. Women, children, GLBTs, the afflicted, the ethnic minorities, the immigrant need to be guaranteed a minimum standard of safety.

Zechariah 8 is very appropriate. God warns us that "No one could go about his business safely because of his enemy, for I (God) had turned every man against his neighbor." (8:10) But there is the vision and promise “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with cane in hand because of his age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” (8:4-5)

Jerusalem's vision no longer just applies to a city in the state of Israel. The image of Jerusalem is meant to apply to where ever humanity inhabits; either on this planet or elsewhere.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 9:55pm GMT

Charlotte, it has long been obvious to anyone with the barest common sense that TEC was, to the Akinolistas and their fellow travelers, just the *first* target.

That is why the response of other first world Anglicans--"Maybe if we just sit here quietly they won't see us and they'll take it all out on the Americans"--is so shameful.

Frankly, I hope that Akinola does take his Brave New Anglicanism to Britain, Canada, Scotland, etc. Let them spend some time on the hotseat for a change.

And, if I can dream, I hope that he even tries to carry off a few ancient church properties--then we'll see Rowan change his thinking on the propriety of lawsuits very quickly.

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 12:27am GMT

What a short memory the Primates have! In 2005 they declared "The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us." I've been wondering why they didn't revisit this idea and discuss it in Tanzania.

But out of this meeting we are faced with what essentially looks like ultimatums against those who--what? Love too much? I remember somebody else who never did any harm, that taught love--love of God and love of neighbor--who was crucified for blasphemy.

And the Primates turn their backs on the real suffering in the homelands of TEC's accusers without censure, without comment?

Shall we live out the Gospel message our accusers do? Really?

I pray we do not give up! I think we are doing this for the whole world.

Posted by: Annie on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 12:58am GMT

Charlotte, re the quote in The Nation (Nairobi), I think it's a misprint; the writer mistakenly thought that quote was directed against Canterbury when in fact Akinola was referring to TEC. nonetheless, it is a fact that priests in England, Canada, and other countries conduct blessings for same-sex couples. if TEC is forced out, they will be next.

drdanfee, it is my hope that even if TEC's bishops do exactly as the Primates have requested (proclaim a moratorium on same-sex blessings and consents to LGBT bishops, etc) they will also remind the Anglican Communion that they have failed to confront Peter Akinola's complicity in a massive violation of human rights. those in the Nigerian legislature who support this bill are looking for a scapegoat. that is one step on the road to genocide. additionally, successfully targeting a scapegoat will come at the expense of the things they should actually be doing, and the suffering won't be limited to Nigeria's LGBT community. Akinola is complicit in all this. if there is anyone who not be invited to Lambeth, or declared out of communion with everyone else, it is he.

in any case, I do not think that TEC's bishops will do exactly as asked by the Primates.

it is ironic that Akinola should have made the comment that was quoted at the launch of an anti-AIDS campaign. although it is true that rates of infection are rising among the MSM (men who have sex with men) population, the primary mode of transmission is heterosexual. because of the great stigma around the disease, lay understandings of its transmission may not follow the science. I would not be surprised if gays were being used as scapegoats for AIDS:

"...Pentecostal churches perform exorcisms on people seen as being gay. We're blamed for AIDS. You get the picture...

...When we hit it off, I agreed to meet him at the market where he sold shoes. There, several men and women accused me of forcing their friend to have sex. They beat me and took everything I had, while loudly blaming gay people for causing AIDS in Ghana..."

http://www.thegully.com/essays/gaymundo/040623_gay_life_ghana.html

Posted by: Weiwen on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 1:18am GMT

It's all rather transparent, isn't it? Patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, & the minimalization of the needs of women, children and men living/dying with HIV/AIDs are @ the core of the prostyletizing agenda that ++ Peter Akinola, +Martyn Mimms are orchestrating with other leaders of the Global South primates. They are more concerned with the saving of souls and the growth of the Anglican Church of Nigeria than they are with the fact that people are dying in the streets of Lagos and of curable, treatable diseases throughout the rest of the nation and the continent of Africa.
Maybe they could some use of the funds they are using on that very cool Church of Nigeria website to care for the people of Nigeria. "Caring" however is the fourth out of fifth of the Church of Nigeria's vision elements. Did Jesus of Nazareth place a priority on evangelism over compassion? Did the Christian apostles teach the early Christian communities that a person's "awareness of God's sovereignty" was more important than their presence at the Eucharistic table with their Christian sisters and brothers?
++ Katharine Jefferts Schori is asking The Episcopal Church to fast on matters of polity and human sexuality for the good of the unity of the Anglican Communion. Many faithful Episcopalians are willing to do so because we hear the Gospel telling us to love our enemies and to do good to do who revile us. Should we continue to do so when we observe the news that we read @ Political Spaghetti ? This is a truly complicated and ambiguous Lenten season. I cannot speak for others but many Anglicans are asking, how Long O Lord?

Posted by: Jim on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 1:19am GMT

Cheryl wrote "the rats in the wheel".

We don't say "rats" in Swedish so it took me a minute to make the connection. We use "ekorre", ecureuil in French (not sure about the spelling), a small brownish animal jumping about in trees.

Now, this was an image they used at home speaking about the Evil times: the 1930ies and 1940ies.

People ran about like rats in a wheel, not seeing what they did, or who, or what made them do it, nor that they really should be doing something quite different.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 7:08am GMT

I too wish that the 2005 statement about the "victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex" being "anathema" had been repeated and applied to the situation in Nigeria.

I note that the condemnation of "irrational fear of homosexuals" from Lambeth 1.10 is repeated but it is not elaborated upon.

Posted by: Thomas Renz on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 8:49am GMT

Not so long since someone from the conservative vaguely pro-GS end of things was arguing on TA that homosexuality was no bar to ordination as long as the gays remained celibate.

As I had thought, Nigeria seems to oppose the ordination of homosexuals per se.

What I don't know is whether the Nigerian take on homosexuality is that there ain't no such thing as a non-practising gay, or whether the 'disorder' of homosexuality is deemed a rebellious and sinful lifestyle in itself (which I'm sure could be argued on scriptural grounds).

SO will someone tell me:
a) What people like Anglican Mainstream think about non-practising gays, and
b) whether they would have celibate gay clergy and bishops thrown out as +Abuja seems to wish?

Sorry to be dim, but I'm getting more and more confused.

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 2:56pm GMT

I share your confusion about exactly what the dominant realignment position on queer folks is supposed to be. Taking slow, deep breaths, I have been visiting and posting on StandFirm. I am considered an old troll, one of the kinder posters finally confided to me in reply. Hanging in for a bit reveals that the going position has been quite variously stated.

Just Say No is one reply. No queer stuff, please, no way, no shape, no how. This one has at least two main variants. Those who concentrate on no queer folks inside the church, and think that civil rights outside are the gold standard for all cultures (Is this the Rowan Williams position?) and those who say No to queer folks, inside and outside the church, with various severities of punishment or policing. (Is this the Akinola position?)

Gays are just sinners like everybody else, is another reply, so they must be careful to stay celibate and not talk about sex, until/unless God makes them straight and they get married.

Out, Partnered, Parenting gay couples/families are swell, in another reply, just so long as we remember that they are innately sinful and inferior to straight couples who are also Out, Partnered, and Parenting. Lay queer folks are just fine in this strand of views, but never should expect to hear any other call from God except the one that makes them straighter and purer than perhaps they ever have been able to be.

So far from this discussion, I would tentatively surmise that there are many believers around the planet who have a tenuous and complicated and vexed relationship with their own personal sexualities, whatever they may be. The best ideal seems to be wishing for the capacities to lead a non-genitally alive life, and abstaining from sex outside of marriage seems like a guarantee of just the help needed to progress towards the more inward goal of no longer feeling or using one's genitals. The overall message seems to be that faithful believers are innately suspicious of the human body, especially when it comes to sex ... which a lot of the time really does sound like a set of disgusted variations, rung on the alleged messy wetness and ick of various excretory functions in various organ systems.

One reason we still need one another, to work through our rotting legacies in suspicion of human embodiment?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 2:26am GMT
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