Thursday, 12 March 2009

Nigerian church support for legislation

Updated Sunday

The BBC reports under the headline Nigeria gay activists speak out

Church groups spoke in favour of the bill, saying that gay marriage risked “tearing the fabric of society”.

“In the Bible it says homosexuals are criminals,” Pius Akubo of the Daughters of Sarah church told lawmakers.

Rev Patrick Alumake told the National Assembly the top leadership of the Catholic church in Nigeria supported the bill wholeheartedly.

“There are wild, weird, ways of life that are affecting our own culture very negatively, we have people who either by way of the media or travelling around the world have allowed new ideas which are harmful to our nation and our belief,” he said.

According to reports in Nigerian media The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was outspoken in its support for the legislation. See below the fold for detailed reports.

Changing Attitude reports that its Nigerian members spoke up, see Group leaders from Changing Attitude Nigeria present statement on Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2008 at public hearing in Abuja.

This is the legislation about which Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch said:

Nigeria’s proposed ban on same-sex partnerships an assault on human rights.

A bill now before the Nigerian National Assembly aims to outlaw marriages between individuals of the same sex – in a country where homosexuality is already criminalized. The bill would punish “the coming together of persons of the same sex with the purpose of leaving together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship” with up to three years’ imprisonment.

If passed, the bill would give licence to the authorities to raid public or private gatherings of any group of people they suspect to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The measure would also increase the risk of violence and other acts of discrimination against individuals who are suspected of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“It is simply unacceptable to single out one group of people to be deprived of the rights we all enjoy,” said Aster Van Kregten, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher. “Legalising discrimination is reprehensible in itself and can only promote acts of hatred.”

In addition to the measures against those thought to be in same-sex relationships, the bill would authorise sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of N2,000 (US$14) for any person who “witnesses, abets and aids the solemnization of a same gender marriage.”

These provisions would violate the rights to freedom from discrimination, freedom of private and family life, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of association, guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution and by human rights treaties.

Press Reports mentioning the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

Punch Homosexuals protest move to criminalise same-sex marriage

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), condemned homosexuality, describing it as “being ungodly, unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian.”

Independent Homosexuals Besiege NASS, Seek Stoppage Of Same-sex Marriage Bill

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) argued in its submission that “same-sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind.

“Same sex marriage, apart from being ungodly, it is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian.

“It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation.”

Nigeria Exchange Homosexuals protest against making same-sex marriage a crime

But the Church of Nigeria called homosexuality “being ungodly, unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian.”

Church groups spoke in favour of the bill, saying that homosexual marriage risked “tearing the fabric of society and in the Bible it says homosexuals are criminals,”

“There are wild, weird, ways of life that are affecting our own culture very negatively, we have people who either by way of the media or travelling around the world have allowed new ideas which are harmful to our nation and our belief,”

This Day Homosexuals Kick against Same-sex Prohibition Bill

In a presentation by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the church said “same sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family, which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind.”

According to the clerics, same sex marriage ”apart from being ungodly, was unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation.”

Daily Trust Homosexuals storm National Assembly

However, an overwhelming number of people at the public hearing, especially religious bodies, supported the enactment of the bill.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in its presentation said it “strongly supports this bill and wants the members of the National Assembly to ensure that it is passed. Every country has its laws; there is nothing like a universal law and you see weird ways of life affecting our people negatively. Christians and Muslims are strongly against homosexuality.”

On its part, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) said “same sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind.”

It added that “same sex marriage apart from being ungodly, it is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation.”

Fellowship of Christian Patriots (FCP) for its part said “God in his infinite wisdom, made sex enjoyable in order to encourage indulgence in it, for the purpose of procreation and not merely for hedonistic pleasure.”

Added Sunday
Somehow I missed this one earlier:

Sun Homosexuals storm House to oppose Anti-gay Bill

Head of Anglican Church in Nigeria, Rev Peter Akinola in a memo to the public hearing pointed out Biblical verses that opposed sexual intercourse by persons of same sex.

He reminded the committee that the purpose of God’s creation of human beings was to sustain procreation, noting that the existence of gay in churches in Nigeria was embarrassing and unhealthy.

“The Bill will not only preserve the Nigerian families, but will also ensure that the community spirit in Africa does not dies.

“Same sex marriage, apart from being ungodly is also unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, un-cultural, unhealthy, un-African, and un-Nigerian,” he argued.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 9:25am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

“In the Bible it says homosexuals are criminals,” Pius Akubo of the Daughters of Sarah church told lawmakers.

If ever... ;=)

The criminalization is not in the Bible, but in the Colonial laws taken over from the English "Blackmailer's charter".

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 10:16am GMT

In fact there was a parallell "development" in Sweden, the 1862 changes in the Criminal law, but this was abolished in 1944.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 10:22am GMT

Will someone please forward all this to the ABC? Better, will someone please print this all out and read it to him, slowly enough for him to bring his mind around from the lofty heights of speculative economics to the reality of what his buddy Akinola and others want to visit on lgbt persons?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 11:58am GMT

"In the Bible it says homosexuals are criminals,"

Um, I believe the Bible says God cursed Ham. Africans have traditionally been considered the sons of Ham. Ergo, the Bible and Christian tradition has said for quite some time that Africans are cursed. That's why some people thought it OK to enslave them. Gee, how soon we forget.

"We don't hate gay people"

And thanks be to God for that! If three years in jail is something you do to people you don't hate, what would you do to us if you did? And can you imagine some poor confused gay kid standing there in a T-shirt proclaiming for all the world to see that he, unknownst to everybody, is unnatural and unAfrican, and even God says he is a criminal? Someone show me the path to not hate these people, because right now I am seething with rage at the blatant hatred of this, the hypocrisy of those who say otherwise, the terror gay people in Nigeria must be feeling, and the fact that Christians could actually in any way support this. I am also awaiting the inevitable defence of this from our conservative brethren here and elsewhere, all the while pretending they don't hate me, just my sin, as though that is in any way credible. Go on guys, now's your chance, show that you really understand the Gospel, prove that you love me while hating my sin. CANA? Network? AMiA? Any of you oh so virtuous "orthodox"? Christopher? davidwh? babyblue? Anybody? Nah, didn't think so. You love us way too much to defend us from this kind of persecution. You know, if you really want to show how much you love us, there's always the stake. We're used to that, how do you think we got our nickname?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 12:13pm GMT

The Anglican Communion is a bit like this: due to the increasingly fascist nature of one of the members of the Communion, we have decided to slow down the development of human rights elsewhere.

Rather, time is now to develop human rights elsewhere and provide an alternative model, and meet this homophobic obsession in Nigeria head on.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 12:42pm GMT

And remember that these nutters are having their puppet strings controlled frm Sydney.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 6:54pm GMT

I am with AW and FE and CG and others on this one: the nastier the preaching from the far rightwing of global Anglicanism, the greater our need for real positive ethical church life change on the lefty middles and lefts.

If RW gets caught in the middle between ethics and traditionalistic antigay nastiness, so much the better so far as his own teachable moments might go. I'm tired of Anglican believers having to coddle Akinola and Company to any great degree, just because he believes traditional antigay stuff; because he could lay claim to just that high ground that demands antigay violence, backed up by state force. These antigay preachments are just as much Abominations as the so-called theologies of slavery were.

The believers who cannot recall the religious pro-slavery history of our own churches will no doubt be doomed to repeat it all, against queer folks as the easiest and most vulnerable targets in Nigeria. Lord have mercy.

Our next steps?

Maybe we need to stop putting resources into Akinola and his ilk and put them where they matter the most, to assist Nigerians on the ground who face this very nasty stuff, jack boot rallies with Jesus flags waving. Appalling. Do not expect the far USA right to much speak up - they would just as soon see USA adopt similar laws as Nigeria, but refrain from saying it too loud in public lest they be rode outta town onna rail. By even the rawly unchurched who know unethical self service when they see it and heart it, having seen it and heard it often enough from the far rights in USA as well as elswhere, to get sensitized.

My prayer for Akinola? That God will somehow make him spend four full weeks with Nigerian queer folks, every day, by day by day; without any way to force himself upon them at all in his false preaching; and silenced so that maybe his ears and eyes and heart may open up.
Somewhere among all those nastified Nigerian believers there is a gay kid in hiding, you can infer the likelihood just from statistical probabilities. Forget Akinola, throw those kids lifelines from the west, perhaps in cooperation with South Africa?

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 6:54pm GMT

I agree that we can have no truck with this at all - but I think we can see behind all this the other operative factors. A fear of being out of step with Islam, and of being seen as western. I feel that we must stand firm, but not let ourselves be pulled into the rhetoric of division and hatred ourselves.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 7:45pm GMT

'"Primate Akinola raised a poser, and warned the National Assembly and the government not to succumb to serious pressures being mounted in the name of civil and human rights. He said that as long as Nigeria does not have the right to order England or the West on what to do likewise America has no right to tell us how to live in Nigeria." - article by Mark Harris -

Despite Akinola's acknowledgement here that "Nigeria does not have the right to order England or the West on what to do (about LGBT issues)", he has held the Anglican Communion to ransom on precisely this issue.

Now is the time for the ABC and the other Primates of the A.C. to distance themselves and their Churches from the homophobia of the likes of Akinola and his crew.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 9:11pm GMT

I seem to recall the last time this cropped up, -Akinola tried to justify himself with weasel-words about what the Muslim population wanted to push through. Not that we believed that anyway.

Posted by: Tim on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 9:14pm GMT

Continued stony silence from the conservatives, I see. You love us, right? Just checking. Or is it the case the you only love homosexuals who live in countries where this kind of treatment is less likely. I suppose if they not only choose to be gay, but choose to live in a place where they will be treated like this, they deserve what they get? Seriously, I'm still waiting for the expressions of love for the sinner.

Posted by: Ford elms on Friday, 13 March 2009 at 12:07am GMT

"Besiege" "Storm" "Kick"???

Isn't it interesting (i.e., appalling) to see how the group that is having violence done TO it (LGBTs in Nigeria), is accused of *perpetrating* the violence?

How lovely, if Nigeria had a free/FAIR press, eh?

[Won't even bother to comment on the "Anglicans", and other "Christians" there, as they have long demonstrated themselves to be nothing other than Christ's latter-day crucifiers. Lord have mercy---Christ, defend your children You made LGBT!]

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 13 March 2009 at 12:13am GMT

Amen to what JCF said!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 13 March 2009 at 6:31am GMT
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