Friday, 20 March 2009

Decriminalisation in Nigeria

The United States government has announced it will support the UN resolution concerning decriminalisation of homosexuality.

This is a resolution that the Vatican did not support, but about which it did say:

“The Holy See appreciates the attempts made in [the declaration] to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge states to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them.”

Savitri Hensman has written at Comment is free that Nigeria’s attack on human rights has no virtue. She writes:

…Yet several church leaders have spoken in favour of the bill, including Rev Patrick Alumake, who claims to represent the Roman Catholic Church, though his stance appears to defy Vatican policy. While hardly gay-friendly, this opposes criminalisation. It will be revealing to see how Rome reacts.

Another champion of the bill has been Archbishop Peter Akinola, though the international Anglican Communion, to which his church belongs, has repeatedly called for human rights for all, including homosexuals.

In a statement supporting the bill, Archbishop Akinola starts with his own (contested) interpretation of the Bible, and warns, “Any society or nation that approves same sex union as an acceptable life style is in an advanced stage of corruption/moral decay. This bill therefore seeks to shield Nigeria from the complete annihilation that will follow the wrath of God should this practice be accepted as normal in this land.” He goes on to make further extraordinary claims: “Part of the purpose of God is to ensure that human existence is sustained through procreation. God blessed them ie Adam and Eve and told them, multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1: 28). Same sex marriage is a violation of this divine injunction and will only endanger human existence.” The fact that these dire predictions have not come to pass elsewhere in the world does not deter him.

Despite the major historical contribution made by Africans (including Nigerians) in winning recognition for and defending human rights, he is dismissive of these: “We must take note of the various stages of pernicious western influence in our nation and continent … The present clamour for unrestricted human rights especially in relation to same sex union is yet another ploy to unleash more mayhem on this nation.”

The Archbishop’s portrayal of the threat posed by gays and lesbians would appear to justify even the harshest measures: “Same sex marriage… is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this county. It is also capable of existincting (sic) mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria.” In this apocalyptic worldview, it can be too risky to love one’s neighbour as oneself…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 20 March 2009 at 12:07pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Slowly, slowly he isolates himself, but a dangerous man in what he is setting out to achieve.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 20 March 2009 at 1:52pm GMT

"Any society or nation that approves same sex union as an acceptable life style is in an advanced stage of corruption/moral decay. This Bill therefore seeks to shield Nigeria from the complete annihilation that will follow the wrath of God should this practice be accepted as normal in this land" - re criminalisation of LGBTs -

No! Not a papal pronouncement, but it could easily be one - except that the infallibity here is claimed by none other than the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican?), Peter Akinola.

This prelate's continuing denunciation of Western democratice countries, and their liberalisation of archaic and unjust laws against LGBT people, ought to preclude his entry into any civilised democratic country that he seeks to destabilise by these denunciatory remarks.

Statements such as this almost make me want to disclaim any partnership with the Nigerian Church - which has already dissociated its constitution from the See of Canterbury, anyway - but still insists on calling itself 'Anglican'. The hubris of this Prince of the Church surely must soon be called to account - by the members of the ACC and the Anglican Primates Council?

The big question is: Do the grass roots members of the various Churches within the Anglican Communion agree with Abp. Akinola's denigration of the Gay Community and of the various countries which have refused to retain legal sanctions against them - or is it now time for our world-wide Communion to openly challenge his homophobia?

To say that the 'wrath of God' will bring about the 'annihilation' of those who want to affirm the good that can be discerned within monogamous same-sex committed relationships, is the sort of pronouncement that even His Holiness the Pope might find difficult in these enlightened days.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 20 March 2009 at 11:12pm GMT

Simon, your headlines at TA are (always?) matter of fact. This one doesn't seem to be. Did you mean "Decriminalization in Nigeria, NOT"?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Saturday, 21 March 2009 at 1:05am GMT

"The United States today formally endorsed a UN statement calling for the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality, a measure that former president George W Bush had refused to sign." - The Guardian Newspaper -

And thank God for that!

The fact that the George Bush Government refused to endorse the 'statement' declares how blatant was his opposition to the rights of the LGBT community - a situation which the enlightened adminstration of President Obama has now put right, by agreeing with the majority verdict of the U.N. on this important issue of human rights.

It may be that Nigeria, and the bishops of that province in CANA, will never come to the party on this issue, but then, neither will those other unenlightened dissidents in North America, who have broken fellowship with TEC and the AC of C.

Thank God for the United Nations, which seems to be following the Gospel path of liberalisation better than some parts of the Church, which are inclined to hang on to legal shibboleths that are counter to the New Testament Christ's passion for justice without hypocrisy.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 22 March 2009 at 11:25pm GMT

"Thank God for the United Nations, which seems to be following the Gospel path of liberalisation better than some parts of the Church,"

Not that I'm saying the UN oughtn't do this or anything, but this again adds fuel to the fire. This will be seen as the Godless World attacking the Pure and Holy Faithful Remnant. Even the UN is against us! See how persecuted Christians are! Everybody's against us because we are holy. The world hates us because it also hated Him, that sort of thing. Watch. If Bp. Popoola is still hanging around, I'd expect some sort of claim from him soon. We can't do anything to prevent that, just sit back with our popcorn and watch them frantically try to convince everybody else that they are up on a Cross and it is not of their own making.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 23 March 2009 at 7:59pm GMT
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