Friday, 11 May 2018

Nigerian primate calls for Nigeria to leave the Commonwealth

A report in the Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian, is headlined Britain urges Nigeria, others to legalise same-sex marriage.

British reports of the speech by Theresa May contain no mention of same-sex marriage, but refer only to laws criminalising same-sex relationships across the Commonwealth.

See for example these reports:

BBC Theresa May ‘deeply regrets’ UK’s colonial anti-gay laws

Guardian [UK newspaper] Theresa May says she deeply regrets Britain’s legacy of anti-gay laws

Nevertheless, the Nigerian report continues:

…In swift reactions, some leading Nigerian religious leaders rejected the call for same-sex marriage.

The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who was bitter with May’s call, said Nigeria should pull out of the Commonwealth.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who spoke to The Guardian on phone from Rome, said: “In my church, we condemn same-sex marriage. The National Assembly has clearly taken a position that is very much in line with that. It is also against our culture, which considers it as an abomination.

“Theresa May can say whatever she likes, but I hope that our own leaders know what is good for our people. I think she should also think of releasing the looted funds in their banks if she really wants to help us. The era of imperialism is over. I don’t know whether the Commonwealth has now become a legislative assembly. It is not a place where you legislate for everybody. We should let her know that we do not want it.”

“This is Nigeria, we have our values. I am sure our president understands that. Our relationship with the Commonwealth does not cause us to sell out our values.”

And there are further quotes from other Christian and Muslim leaders.

Another report: Disregard Teresa May’s counsel on same-sex marriage, CAN tells Buhari

Hat tip to George Conger, who recently reported on this: Okoh urges Nigeria quit the Commonwealth. He also noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury had described the Commonwealth as a “blessing to the world”. And also here.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today that the Archbishop of Canterbury urges African Anglican leaders to shape the world

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told African Anglican leaders that the strength of the Church on the continent is a gift to the world and that is has the ability to shape the globe – but it must move forward. Speaking at a regional primates meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) in Kenya, Archbishop Justin Welby said the Church in the region was full of life and energy. It had grown and had enormous power even though Africa had often struggled economically.

In a wide ranging address, Archbishop Justin urged CAPA leaders to learn from the mistakes of the Global North – to be wary of individualism and not to be complacent about the numbers of young people currently in churches across the continent…

It seems he did not mention decriminalisation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 3:15pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

I don't see why Parliament continues to allow the Primate of All England to get away with this nonsense. If a Tory PM is willing to risk Commonwealth relationships over decriminalisation, surely the Archbishop can give the Communion the same message.

"[T]o be wary of individualism." That's Lambeth code for LGBTQI people.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 4:10pm BST

Jeremy, on the hard left "individualism" is code for "personal freedom", and it is something that only unreconstructed Stalinists really think is a bad thing. What Welby means by it: well, who knows? Does he really think that there is a global trend towards collectivised fascist regimes in which gay people are marginalised? it's an interesting position for a British ABC to adhere to, but I guess that once you're decided that no policy, no matter how hateful, is beyond possibilities so long as it preserved the "global communion" anything is possible.

Next stop: the LambethConcordat.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 5:53pm BST

Given the cultural chasm between them, maybe a parting of the ways between Nigeria and Great Britain's for the best. It would, if nothing else, throw light on how divorced the CoE's becoming from her own country. (Or at least, her country's metropolitan opinion formers.)

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 5:55pm BST

"... on the hard left 'individualism' is code for 'personal freedom', and it is something that only unreconstructed Stalinists really think is a bad thing."

Read any Giles Fraser lately? He's no Stalinist, but it's striking that the CoE's most famous progressive despises personal freedom as so much soulless liberalism, and regularly launches Twitter jeremiads about the evils of choice. (He's also proudly anti-science and pro-Brexit.)

This isn't some reactionary: by common consent of secular opinion formers, this is as progressive as the CoE gets, which is why Fraser's always appearing in the 'Guardian' and on BBC Radio 4. No wonder Welby gets on so well with Okoh and pals. The institution may jive with the yeomen of merry England, but it's alien to millions of England's urbanites. The deeper ties to conservative provinces get, the wider that chasm becomes.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 6:37pm BST

"Nigerian primate calls for Nigeria to leave the Commonwealth"

As we say across the Pond, don't let the door hit your backside on the way out.
Nigerian politicians and church leaders misconstrue the British PM's words, harass and persecute GLBT people, and use them as scapegoats. Maybe Nigeria and the rest of the Commonwealth need to decide if there's anything in common between them.

Posted by: peterpi -- Peter Gross on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 7:25pm BST

"The Archbishop also expressed concern about the negative impact of modern, faster communication. He said there had been a very rapid rise in comment but it was not always accurate – words were spread and reinterpreted in different cultures. And social media, although it had the power to spread the gospel and encourage prayer, was being used to slander, attack and bring disorder."

The other leader saying things like that adds" fake news" and "witch hunt".

The biggest parallel between Welby and Trump is perhaps that a significant proportion of their respective constituencies no longer believes what they say.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 7:52pm BST

Re: Welby on 'beware' individualism, just a guess but I wonder if one would find a clue in his book, Reimagining Britain? I have not read it; but I noticed this from a review in The Guardian, "On community, for example, he [Welby] draws on the excellent body of Catholic social teaching with its stress on solidarity, subsidiarity, the universal destiny of all goods, gratuity and the common good."

Perhaps someone who has read the book may be able to shed further light?

The full review is here

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 8:39pm BST

In reading Welby's comments, as summarized in the Anglican Communion News, I see much that reflects the strength of the Anglican Communion, such as sharing the urgency of climate change on people who are our sisters and brothers in Christ. I also appreciated the fact that he urged the primates to not wait for agreement to move ahead with God's work in the world.

However, he did seem to use code words to affirm homophobia, like resist "individualism" (i.e. keep up the patriarchy that brings so many benefits to the world *sarcasm). And how the African Anglicans can help shape "family." By not addressing criminalization, however, he yet again gave the impression of collusion through silence in the violation of the human rights of LBGTQI people. I find that remarkable and awful. As a member of TEC, it simply is impossible to respect a leadership that can't bring itself to advocate for basic human justice and offer compassion and mercy to those being persecuted by the church.

I continue to believe that the primates are not in alignment with rank and file African Anglicans, as displayed by the ACC. That does not bode well in the long-term for Welby's "all in" with the primates.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 8:57pm BST

Jeremy: It's hard to see what Parliament can do. What do you suggest?

James: On the matter of "metropolitan opinion formers". Repeated research shows that the support for same sex marriage (if that's what you are talking about) doesn't differ much across regions or social class. The main demographic variable that makes a difference is age (and to a lesser extent gender). On Brexit, on the other hand, the hierarchy of the Church was of course right in tune with "metropolitan opinion formers" and out of line with the clear majority view of those who identify as Church of England.

Posted by: Bernard Silverman on Friday, 11 May 2018 at 10:16pm BST

Bernard: The political reaction to the women bishops vote in 2012 was swift and brutal, if mostly conveyed in closed-door meetings.

But here's a legislative suggestion: Undo the exemption to the Equalities Act.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 1:44am BST

So the summary of this is that in the eyes of its senior leadership, the destiny of the Church of England is as a regressive, socially reactionary organisation appealing to older, less-educated bigots, whose main objective is limiting in whatever way it can get away with the rights of women, gay people and pretty much everyone who isn't a straight man, in order to stay onside with reactionary forces in Africa? It's a plan.

It also means that when the churches start falling down and the priests' pensions don't get paid, most people (outside the small echo chamber of gay-hating bigots) will say "good".

A sad end to a noble institution. Why is homophobia the hill so many boomers want to die on?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 8:54am BST

Meanwhile, TEC Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry will preach at the royal wedding.
Are both Theresa May and Prince Harry telling the Archbishop that he has missed the plot?

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 1:02am BST

"Are both Theresa May and Prince Harry telling the Archbishop that he has missed the plot?"

Perhaps, but Justin has been out-of-step with the morality and human rights sensibilities of his country for some time.

I just want everyone to know that we expect to get ++Michael back as soon as he's finished spreading the Good News of the Jesus Movement at the wedding in England.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 10:29pm BST

"But here's a legislative suggestion: Undo the exemption to the Equalities Act."

And define the appointment of bishops as public appointments

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 14 May 2018 at 2:21am BST

I thought the Anglican Church in Nigeria - together with all the GAFCON Provinces - had already left the Anglican Communion - at least by intention if not officially. They are party to an 'alternative gospel' based on homophobia and sexism out of context in the moderrn world.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 14 May 2018 at 9:23am BST

*They are party to an 'alternative gospel' based on homophobia and sexism out of context in the moderrn world.*

But one which the Archbishop of Canterbury wholeheartedly supports. Yeah, I know he says he thinks violent homophobia is wrong. He may even think he believes that. But his every word and his every action say that given the choice between supporting violent homophobia and actually trying to do something to prevent it, he's on the side of the violent homophobes.

So if you define the Anglican Communion to mean "the people Justin Welby wants to keep onside", then "homophobia and sexism" is onside, "the moderrn world" is offside.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Monday, 14 May 2018 at 4:47pm BST
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