Friday, 23 March 2007

Nigeria: legislation imminent

Updated Saturday

Changing Attitude has this: Changing Attitude Nigeria urges international action against Same Sex Marriage Act. It concludes thus:

…Archbishop Peter Akinola is said to be doing last minute lobbying of Anglicans in the House of Representatives and the Government to ensure the bill is voted on soon and passed into law.

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN), said:

“Changing Attitude Nigeria stands as a reminder to the world-wide Anglican Communion that the Church of Nigeria is promoting and supporting a bill which will erode the most basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”

“Archbishop Peter Akinola has committed himself to the Windsor Report which commits him to the process of listening to LGBT people. If he is honest and serious about listening to LGBT members in his Province he must speak out now in condemnation of this bill and ensure that it is defeated.”

“I am very worried because very few Nigerian LGBT activists are free to speak out in a country which already has repressive anti-gay legislation on the statute book. The bill is moving very fast and although some people think the bill will fall, the Church sponsors are not giving up and neither are we.“

“Conservative Christians want to use Nigeria as an example to other African countries to demonstrate that anti-gay legislation can be passed which criminalizes all affection and activity between LGBT people.”

To put this in context, another article from the Daily Trust (Abuja) is instructive, Nigeria: The Audacity of Deviants.

Update Saturday

Jim Naughton reports in A hopeful delay in Nigeria? that

…the Nigerian legislature did not consider the hateful anti-gay legislation being supported by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria before adjourning yesterday. The legislature as currently composed does not reconvene until May, after the general election, and then only for one week…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 12:24pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Perhaps we should all write our bishops and ask them to make some sort of collective statement.

The Episcopal bishops condemned "violence" against the LGBT community. For those of us in the know, it's clear that this was a swipe against Akinola. However, not all of us are in the know. I would be much more relieved if the bishops had named him and the legislation, like the Canadian bishops did in mid-2006.

Posted by: Weiwen on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:07pm GMT

Now, Rowan, now!

This is your last chance...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:18pm GMT

One quote from the article in the Daily Trust of Abuja really stands out:

"It is certain that if those who signed the genocide convention knew that the definition of genocide is so elastic that it also protects lesbians and homosexuals, they would have hesitated before signing."

(Simon, is any html allowed here?)

Posted by: Andrew Brown on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

++Rowan won't do it. Apparently he does not understand the magnitude of the public relations disaster he has created with his unreserved support of Archbishop Akinola. To date he has utterly ignored the many letters, e-mails, articles, and editorials worldwide that have been calling on him to take a stand. Can we expect a change now?

Consider his kid-gloves handling of Archbishop Malango and his Bishop Norbert Kunonga -- a corrupt and murderous crony of Mugabe's and his Primatial Protector -- who rated a "dear me" and a "please don't do that" from My Lord of Canterbury.

But when the US Church fails to use the precisely correct wording in promising to consecrate no more gay bishops, but uses some other wording instead deemed less satisfactory -- why, then the axe will fall!

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:44pm GMT

Always good to see what Rowan's best buddy is up to.

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:45pm GMT

The idea that an ethical community like a Church should have anything to do with the Church of Nigeria is just astonishing.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 2:42pm GMT


come on Davey and the rest, tell us how this is not related to your milder strain of homo-antipathy.

Tell us you are not secretly gleeful and excited.

Posted by: matthew hunt on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 5:18pm GMT

What say YOU Archbishop of Canturbury about the PENDING anti-human rights Nigerian Legislation against LGBT Anglicans, Muslims and OUR fellow human beings who are being oppressed, tormented and outcasted by bigoted zealots and radical hate-mongers?

There is no place to hide from truth.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 6:00pm GMT

It's getting harder and harder to remain an Anglican, if it means looking to Canterbury for spiritual leadership. His refusal to take a stand for the Gospel is stunning. Thank God for our American Bishops.

Posted by: Garth on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 6:54pm GMT

Please is your problem with:

1. Peter Jasper Akinola.
2. The Nigerian People.
3. The Church in Nigeria.
4. Social Mores in Nigeria.
5. Evangelical Theology in Nigeria.
6. Nigerian Culture.

If you cannot identify your problem, you have not yet started. You merely will be shadow boxing.

Posted by: Maduka on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 8:17pm GMT

The silence of the former Episcopal priest, now Nigerian bishop, Martyn Minns, is also quite stunning.

I suppose we should be glad he's not vocally supporting this - but maybe he is, in communicating with his flock, so that they don't get any wrong ideas from lefty liberal sources like the UN, the US State Department, the world press outside Nigeria, etc. I wonder how he is spinning the cruel bigotry of His Master Akinola? Oh - probably saying the ++Akinola is being 'misquoted.'

I would like to be disproved on this. I don't have a high opinion of Martyn and his coterie,especially the other clergy and parish leaders, who have every reason to know better, but I hate to think they have sunk this low.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 8:38pm GMT

"His refusal to take a stand for the Gospel is stunning."

Dear Garth, I just read the Daily Trust article, I do not think speaking publicly against the bill will do the Gospel any good in our context.


Posted by: Tunde on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 9:47pm GMT

Setting aside the question of what universe Tunde and Maduka inhabit, will any canon lawyer answer me the following: when this legislation goes through in Nigeria, in that it involves a de facto acceptance of something approaching genocide by the local Anglican church, is there any way in which an individual CofE parish can declare itself out of communion with the Nigerian Church?

++Rowan doesn't seem to be having problems with ++Abuja, but my middle of the road anglican folk are starting to wonder.....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:13pm GMT

Points 1., 3., and 5., Maduka.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:17pm GMT

Is the Bill right or wrong, Tunde? Is it what God wants? Is it? And if it isn't, please say why Christians should keep silent about it.

Posted by: JBE on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:31pm GMT

"His refusal to take a stand for the Gospel is stunning."

"Dear Garth, I just read the Daily Trust article, I do not think speaking publicly against the bill will do the Gospel any good in our context.


Huh? Say what? Je ne comprends pas.
Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:38pm GMT

Dear Canon Tunde,

I'm glad to see you contributing to this thread about the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006. I'd like to ask you if you agree that the bill undermines the fundamental human rights of all lesbian and gay Nigerians, their families and friends? Would you agree that the bill will make criminals of LGBT people simply for being who they are? Will you join those international human rights organisations which have condemned this dangerous and inhuman bill?

I took the opportunity of asking Bishop Martyn Minns over breakfast at the Primates meeting in Dar Es Salaam, in the presence of Canons David Anderson and Chris Sugden, if he would contact you and ask you to cease making unfounded accusations against the reputation of Davis Mac-Iyalla, accusations which have put Davis's life under threat. Bishop Martyn said he would.

Could you confirm now that Bishop Martyn Minns did indeed contact you as he promised. Could you also now let the world know whether you are one of those Anglicans in Nigeria who oppose this bill because it proposes action in direct contravention of basic human rights, Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the Windsor Report. Failure to do this will lead to the conclusion that with Archbishop Peter Akinola, you support this anti-gay legislation which will incarcerate any lesbian or gay person who is involved with Changing Attitude Nigeria and any bishop who listens to the experience of a lesbian or gay Anglican.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:40pm GMT

An official church communicator? who doesn't want to "speak publicly" for the Gospel??

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:49pm GMT

Tunde, the Gospel is about God's unreserved love for humankind. No one, conservative or liberal, disputes this. Throwing people in jail for exercising the right to speak is not an act of love. Your church must speak up against the legislation. You have warned the Western churches not to accomodate to the culture at the expense of the Gospel... and yet, you are doing the exact same thing.

Maduka, you ask a fair question. People here should not confuse Peter Akinola's positions with those of the church he leads. To answer your question, my only problem is with 1) Peter Akinola, and with whoever is with him in violating human rights.

Posted by: Weiwen on Saturday, 24 March 2007 at 1:30am GMT

Yes: 1, 2 and 5 was my answer too to the question, a rotten question when the situation is stark and clear.

I hope you get an answer, Colin - a clear one.

Rowan Williams has spoken about gay and lesbian experience and living safely, but he has done so in vague terms and not about what is happening in Nigeria. His voice with clarity would still carry authority. But everything he does on this is framed according to Church Communion, not about the people facing persecution. It is like he is not a pastor to people, which surely is the first duty. In the end a Church is its people, even a Communion, and this is the matter of sharp focus in Nigeria.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 24 March 2007 at 2:24am GMT

Does anyone have a suggestion of how we might get as many UK bishops as possible to distance themselves from what is happening in Nigeria in an open letter or statement?
Rowan not speaking out publicly is scandalous enough, but where are all the others?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 26 March 2007 at 9:42am BST

Sorry folks. I hardly visit your ‘turf’ again. I only came here on Friday because someone told me this is where to find info on the legislation which I could not get in Abuja.

Glad it turned out to be a false report!

Came back here to see if the usual apology or “I was mistaken” has been posted

Sad to see that rather, everyone is focusing on the other part of the false report which must be true because we just hate this Abp.

Off again. Cheers!

Posted by: Tunde on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 5:06pm BST

if you happen to drop by again - just enlighten us which report is false and which bit of the false report we're wrongly focusing on.

As for the apology - Davis Mac-Iyalla is still waiting for his.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 6:48pm BST

Changing Attitude Nigeria urges international action against Same Sex Marriage Act
Friday, 23 March 2007
by Davis Mac-Iyalla


For immediate release

The “Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006“ was debated yesterday, 22 March, by the Nigerian House of Representatives.

Jim Naughton reports in A hopeful delay in Nigeria? that

…the Nigerian legislature did not consider the hateful anti-gay legislation being supported by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria before adjourning yesterday.

Posted by: Tunde on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 7:12pm BST

Tunde, I can only echo what Erika has posted. For the Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria, what you write is often impossible to understand.

What report was a false report?
What 'usual' apology or 'I was mistaken' did you expect to see posted?
Which Archbishop is hated?

I have been trying to get information about the legislation today. There is no information that I can find on the web. The best information I have received has come from members of Changing Attitude Nigeria. They communicate well. I think it would be a good idea if you were in regular contact with Davis Mac-Iyalla. He could provide you with good information about what is really happening in the Nigerian Church.

I'm always happy when you visit this turf. It shows that TA is a source of news and information which is invaluable even to the Church of Nigeria.

I'm also happy because it demonstrates that despite our differences, we are part of the same, one, holy, Catholic Church.

Bless you, Tunde

Posted by: Colin Coward on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 8:42pm BST

Tunde, as you know we have very reliable contacts.
the bill was up for debate and all information in our press release was true. Just as always even if you know the truth about the bill you will never say it because it was not in your favour, because there was no vote on it. We will keep praying and lobbying till the assembly is officially dissolved, hopefully in May. As always, we will do everything we can to ensure that the bill will not be passed.

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 11:39am BST

Canon Tunde's post was clear enough - unless people deliberately want to patronise or belittle him.

Colin - we are not in the same communion for long: I suspect you will go with TEC rather than stay in the new AC - given it will not be supporting "don't ask, don't tell" policies?

(obviously, I hope you would stay and accept the AC covenant, agreed teaching on moral issues and standards of appropriate holy life - that would be my first choice rather than seeing you or anyone else go)

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 12:21pm BST

NP - I pray and hope under God that we will both remain in communion and in the Communion, for as long as hope stays alive. You are a person who favours a split or schism. Church history has taught me that schism solves nothing, except for those who wish to be ever more puritan.

I will go the way of TEC and South Africa, and Nigeria and the West Indies. If those who have been threatening a split haven't had the courage of their convictions to make a move before now, they're not going to find any courage over the next few months.

I long for the day when the Church of England and any other Province that practices a "don't ask, don't tell" policy stops doing so. It is dishonest and damages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Anglicans who are faithul to God and the Church.

I AM staying, and I AM accepting the Covenant. I agree with Church teaching on appropriate standards of moral life, and disagree where the Church advocates a blasphemous and immoral position.

I'm not leaving the Communion. Perhaps a few members of the Global South network will finally decide they won't stay, but I hope they remain in Communion with Anglicans who are fathful to our tradition of inclusivity, a broad, generous, loving church.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Thursday, 29 March 2007 at 4:06pm BST
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