Comments: American reports (2)

Those who believe Akinola's "spin" will probably also want to buy the bridge I have for sale here in Brooklyn.

Posted by Kurt at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 4:34pm GMT

What a load of nonsense.

When will these people realise that we are not interested in their 'pastoral care' - they talk about me as if I'm a walking problem needing 'care' Patronising or what?.

Nothing other than absolute acceptance will do - otherwise, they can stuff their church and their nasty, judgemental version of god where the sun don't shine!

As for Akinola, they are welcome to their alliance with him - the sooner the reform mob go off and join him, the better for the rest of us.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 5:08pm GMT

Of course, the Nigerian Bill has absolutely nothing to do with strengthening marriage or family life; only the criminalization of same-sex marriage and family life, or any movement towards it. Akinola in this reminds me of the person who said she was not a vegetarian because she loved animals but because she hated vegetables.
I also note Akinolas's efforts at shifting the issue and the responsibility. What a mealy-mouth he turns out to be, after all the bluster.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 6:16pm GMT

Akinola's letter is a prime example of the use of pious words to cover hatred. How does one 'address' serious human rights concerns while supporting the very prison sentences that abrogate those rights? How does this action strengthen marriage and family life? Having a gay son or daughter sent to jail or living in fear and self loathing does not strengthen that family. For the family members of gay people to be afraid to support each other, and we must remember that the families of gay people in such cultures have a hard emotional road to walk as well, is hardly going to strengthen the family. And to his comments on Islamic law, I say "Oh gee, thanks, you'll only send me to jail for 5 years where other inmates are likely to kill me, rather than let the Muslims cut my head off. How very kind of you!"

Sadly, I fear he is right on one point. I don't hear a lot from the left about the difficulties faced by Christian minorities in other countries, and there seems to be little appreciation of the struggles Christians have in Nigeria and elsewhere, or of what the actions of Western Anglicans might well bring down on the heads of Christians half a world away. That said, Tunde Popoola has already told me he would rather throw me in jail than accept my support for persecuted Christians, so I tend to read his archbishop's statement in that light.

Well, I must be off, I have seven nuclear families to destroy before I can get my Christmas shopping done. How are all the other gays on this list doing with their part in the Nuclear Family Destruction Project?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 6:49pm GMT

The statements from Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Minns are not for their flocks--they know perfectly well with whom they have affiliated and for what reason. The public letters are rhetoric designed for the rest of us on the outside, to lay down a smokescreen to hide their actions and their intentions. Reminds me of other hate groups who used public forums to openly lie to the rest of the world about their behaviors and actions while inside they were plotting solutions to regional ills. It's both sad and frightening that they think they will be able to deflect the truth. Thank goodness for the media's response in shedding light where the Church of Nigeria/CANA would like to maintain darkness.

Posted by Shawn+ at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 6:57pm GMT

One of the fault lines that is becoming more clear at the moment is the difference between individuals and organisations that are able to tell the truth and people who can only tell distortions of reality.

This was true of the 'covenant' published last week, as so devastatingly shown by Tom Wright.

It is even more sickeningly true of Archbishop Peter Akinola's letter. I wonder who wrote it for him?

The Anglican Church of Nigeria is clearly a church that seeks to punish homosexual persons. If they really believed that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, is made in the image of God, loved by God, and deserving of the utmost respect, their actions would be radically different. The public statements and all the reports Changing Attitude receives from Nigeria about meetings at which bishops reveal their true feelings about LGBT people show this to be a totally false statement by the Archbishop.

Resolution 1.10 is not a well-crafted statement. It was cobbled together from totally opposing positions, and it shows.

If the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria desires to see marriage and family life strengthened in order to avoid Nigerian heterosexuals from becoming more licentious and immoral, then of course it would have supported a totally different piece of legislation, wouldn't it?

And most foul of all, the Archbishop uses the tactic of portraying clergy, Christians, and particularly converts to the Church as the real victims, whose lives are threatened and too often destroyed because of mob violence. If this is true, then outrage is the right response, and we need to be given the evidence to support this claim. Would anyone reading his letter and posting to Thinking Anglicans really claim that LGBT people are not subject to extremes of prejudice and fear in most African countries, and certainly in Nigeria?

Is this letter from Archbishop Akinola really an analysis that Martyn Minns, Chris Sugden, et al, think is true and honest?

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 7:48pm GMT

I love it when some people decide to release press releases. Every press release has at least one gem that is useful.

My favourite this time "I am troubled, however, by the silence of outside commentators concerning the rights of the clergy, Christians, and particularly converts to our Church whose lives are threatened and too often destroyed because of mob violence. I see no evidence of compassion for those whose rights are trampled on because of the imposition of unjust religious laws in many parts of the world. There seems to be a strange lack of interest in this issue…"

Actually, I recall when the latest round of Nigerian mob violence hit the mainstream press that many of TA's regulars contributed postings of comfort and wishing healing for the Nigerian people. Tunde himself thanked us for our prayers at the time and said they were being forwarded back to his Nigerian counterparts. So much for our indifference.

Secondly, I am totally against violence as a means to resolve conflict; it is a weapon of last resort and I am quite happy for God to do divine interventions rather than trying to take justice into my own hands. My conscience is clear that I have never prayed or sought harm for anyone and that if anything bad has happened to them it was not because I wished it upon them. I would prefer to be like Abraham who cried over the loss of the citizens or David who hoped they would live long enough to realise the errors of their ways. Remember he did not kill Saul, even after he was annointed as replacement king. Instead, David trusted God and allowed God to play out His hand to resolve the problems with Saul.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 8:04pm GMT

As a further comment.

There is a schizoid assumption that one can look to resolve problems of violence but keep some areas "out of bounds". When thinking through how to resolve the problems of terrorist theology, I had to think how such thinking evolved and where and how the continuums of manifestation occur. It became apparent that if one group is allowed to be violent e.g. because they represent a powerful State or advocate a pure theology; then you will have a romanticisation of violence. Similarly, if one group is allowed to be dehumanised or exempt from decent treatment, you have a means for people to act out violent tendencies with impunity. The complacency of systemised domestic violence against women and children is one vulnerable point, ethnic hatred is another (I am reading Jim Wallis' Gods Politics right now and am horrified at how Israeli border guards are obstructing pregnant Palestinians getting to hospital to deliver their babies. Women and babies are dying and Israeli guards are laughing. Because they represent the Israeli State, they bring shame to the State and their purported God. There needs to be an accountability for cruel violence - these guards are no less vicious that the overly zealous Nazi youth in pre-WWII Germany). Similarly, exempting GLBTs from human rights and dignity leaves one group vulnerable to abuse from violence lovers.

Look to Jesus for advice. In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus accepts the attentions from an unworthy sinful woman. Jesus comments "...he who has been forgiven little loves little."

And I love Jesus' words in Matthew Mt 5:43 to 6:2, which includes: “...Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you... If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? ...“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 8:24pm GMT

Do Bishop Minns and Archbishop Akiinola expect anyone to believe them? What Bishop Akinola has said about gays and the proposed law in Nigeria is part of the public record. Martyn Minns' association with the Archbishop and his diocese clearly allies him with the that stance.

"We aren't as bad as the Muslims" doesn't inspire confidence.

You can say that you love gays as a Christian until your face turns blue, but if you continue to support the proposed legislation in Nigeria, you are either a hypocrite or have such contempt for others' intelligence that you think they won't notice the discrepency. I would not follow such a person across the street, much less into a church.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 8:36pm GMT

That Truro, Falls Church, and several smaller VA churches have seceded from TEC is no surprise. That they've chosen to fall in line with the most egregious arm of the Global South is tragic and will, I'm sure, flash back on those who voted to leave without thinking.

An old proverb says that he who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas. How long will it be till the Trurovians and Fallschurchites start to itch? Keep a light in the window, Bishop Lee!

Posted by Robert Dodd at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 9:25pm GMT

'"We aren't as bad as the Muslims" doesn't inspire confidence.'

Indeed, Akinola's words about a Muslim leader wanting immediate passage of the bill while an Anglican leader wanted to open it up to debate are troubling. it seems to be an attempt to place blame on Muslims.

we should recognize that there has been Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria. at the same time, I think Akinola's comments are irresponsible.

Posted by Weiwen Ng at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:10pm GMT

I think we need to keep track of who voted to leave and what Province they voted to join. The Church of the Apostles, Fairfax (hadn't heard that they had voted yet); Church of the Word, Gainesville; Potomac Falls Episcopal Church, Sterling; St. Margaret’s, Woodbridge; St. Stephen’s, Heathsville; The Falls Church, Falls Church; and Truro Church, Fairfax, have all joined CANA? All Saints’, Woodbridge; Christ Our Lord Anglican Church, Lake Ridge; Church of the Holy Spirit, Ashburn; and South Riding Episcopal Church, Fairfax, have affiliated with the Church of Uganda? Church of the Epiphany, Herndon, and Our Saviour, Oatlands, have not yet voted — are they planning to join CANA? So that is 7 to Nigeria, 5 to Uganda, and 2 not yet known.
I think there is going to be a lot of itching.

Posted by Diane Hanson at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:48pm GMT

Are the Nigerian clergy allocating more time in their next year diaries for prison visiting of homosexual people, so that they can express their pastoral care for those they helped bung into prison?

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 22 December 2006 at 11:12pm GMT

"Nigerian congregations occupying Episcopal Churches" - This is 100% fact and one of the most succinct, brilliant summations of what has happened. I'm not surprised Mr. Minns is stung by it - what can he do but fumble for an answer when confronted with the absolute truth. Bishop Peter Lee may get the vote for line of the year!

Posted by Dallas Bob at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 12:27am GMT

At this rate one can imagine rather a lot of applications for asylum from Nigeria.

It really does show how low churches who wish to affiliate themselves to them have sunk. Good riddance to the lot of them.

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 12:31am GMT

I would like to see someone competent to comment on the Virginia statute. It would seem that the departing churches are depending on Virginia courts recognizing as an institution the Anglican Communion, so that association with Nigeria or with Uganda is simply choosing one side of a divided institution. On the other hand, if within the Anglican Communion provinces are truly autonomous, then association with Nigeria or Uganda is a step well beyond that.

The statute would work well with divisions of congregations in congregational traditions; but we are not congregational. The Virginia courts should be able to tell the difference.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 4:39am GMT

Isn't this just doublespeak from Nigeria? This is the same Archbishop whose words had to be 'reinterpreted' after he appeared to issue barely veiled threats of retaliatory violence against Muslims, only a relatively short time ago. We were warned of such people coming and told to know them by their fruits (or perhaps not in this case!). We have seen this one's fruits more than once in his actions and pronouncements: no matter how red and juicy the apple he proffers, it still seems poisonous to me.

Posted by Greg at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 9:30am GMT

Cheryl Clough wrote: “I would prefer to be like Abraham who cried over the loss of the citizens or David who hoped they would live long enough to realise the errors of their ways. Remember he did not kill Saul, even after he was anointed as replacement king. Instead, David trusted God and allowed God to play out His hand to resolve the problems with Saul.”

Even more so, David punished the man who had taken Saul’s life in his own hands expecting a reward, as some do.

Cynthia Gilliatt wrote: “I would not follow such a person across the street, much less into a church.”

But the Boy Scouts! What shall they do if little old ladies are allowed to decide for themselves?


Weiwen Ng wrote: “It seems to be an attempt to place blame on Muslims. We should recognize that there has been Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria. At the same time, I think Akinola's comments are irresponsible.”

It takes two to tango… and the riots in Nigeria most certainly is one such case.

Marshall Scott wrote: “… if within the Anglican Communion provinces are truly autonomous, then association with Nigeria or Uganda is a step well beyond that.”

It shouldn’t be much trouble for the Diocese to show the Courts that the Anglican Communion is a function of its Provinces not an independent entity, nor that the Diocese of Virginia is an outflow of The Episcopal Church in the Americas whereas the Provinces of Nigeria and Uganda are outflows of the British Empire – Colonial laws on the books, and all that.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 10:13am GMT

Ford Elms has consistently written what he would have me tell him in much the same way many have always wrongly ascribed words to Abp. Akinola. You may want to go over your question and my answer. You will not find your allegation there. I used to get upset with such misrepresentations but I have since learnt it is usually a result of transferred aggression and ignoring such is wise.

May I however stress that Christianity when truly practiced makes hatred of fellow humans almost impossible. I have publicly (on this blog) repeatedly professed my sincere love for homosexuals while still holding firm to my conviction that the practice is an aberration. Abp. Akinola just did the same in his statement. Why is it easier to ignore declared facts and rather draw wrong conclusions from innocent statements? If anyone is sincerely bothered, please email me.

Praying the LOVE that birthed the season we are remembering will keep your hearts, bodies and souls in Christ Jesus. Amen

Posted by Tunde at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 3:41pm GMT


One cannot compare the blog prayers of a few commentators on Thinking Anglicans to the silence of a large and vocal press who would otherwise take up issues when there is the slightest trace of a church's principled stand against what that section of the press holds dear.

We had people killed, churches, houses and shops burnt, and priests and bishops sent into hiding. It may be helpful to consider the news coverage of these with that of "Akinola wants to jail gays" which was never a statement of his.

Colin, as usual, I’d rather ignore.

Wishing everyone the joys of Christmas.

Posted by Tunde at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 4:17pm GMT

We will no doubt hear from all levels of the court review process in due time. Meanwhile, we have to just keep on following Jesus in TEC. There is plenty to challenge and occupy us, besides decoding the doublespeak that sometimes comes from Nigeria, or answering all the false witness accusations of apostasy typified by the most recently published evangelical covenant. How about an underground railroad between us and that greatly diverse contient of Africa? Good things could flow in all directions so far as we can manage. We could try doing without those institutional Anglican or governmental African structures which delay, moralize to distract, and sometimes rob the help trains that do arrive from the rest of the world?

Changing Attitude Nigeria will need all manner of help, perhaps eventually including asylum for some of its targeted members or leaders. Before we take Akinola's allegiance to solid pastoral care seriously, he probably should spend a multi-year sentence in a Nigerian prison ministering to the queer folks he has helped jail, then come back to talk to us about how very, very, very much he really, really, really cares for non-straight Nigerians.

For my own part here in USA, I have contributed to the Global Demise of the Straight Family Project by giving gifts and helping straight people do errands that they could not manage completely on their own. I touch everything I can when I pass through the department stores loaded with goodies, so that my fatal queer cooties get all over everything. Who knows? Some cooties probably are drifting towards Nigeria as I write, from all over the rest of the world.

Freedom train, chugging in the darkest night. Akinola ain't pulling that whistle stop chain, I tell ya fa sure. We all rest in the good hands of Jesus, our Risen Lord.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 5:11pm GMT

We know you would rather ignore anyone who doesn't agree with you, Tunde.

We know you support the legislation which makes doing so obligatory by throwing them into prison and stopping them meeting.

Cowardly and prejudiced - thats your 'christianity'

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 6:42pm GMT


Thank you for acknowledging that blog prayers of TA contributors.

You might find Jim Wallis' latest book "God's Politics" interesting. There's a few others who cover similar ground from different perspectives.

Like yourself, Jim laments the bias in the mainstream media. His concern is that poverty has become disconnected from justice, that war and violence have become legitimised, and that the media portrays this as being condoned by religious leaders.

On the issue of the links between poverty and justice, this was my response to one outrageous conservative voice article I found that denied any correlation You might find the article annoying, but the end of itemises a lot of biblical passages you might find useful.

We might not agree on how to handle GLBTs. Both paths have problems, mine of becoming a blank cheque for hedonistic behaviours, yours of becoming a tool for an ever expanding repression. I would prefer to see a communion that acknowledged the risks from both ends of the spectrum and realised that our ministry is to caution against both extremes and walk a middle way.

Denying GLBTs existence or the means to live reverential lives and then branding them as immoral sinners has been going on for centuries. If it worked as a strategy, it would have already worked. The same as if punishing or repressing all women was going to work, we would have eliminated sin centuries ago.

Jesus' sacrifice means that we are all give a "clean slate". That means a child is born innocent. That every day is a new day. Every day we have the chance to improve and fix something from the day before. To say otherwise is to deny the purpose of Jesus' incarnation and sacrifice.

Our job is not to remove all sin in an instant. Our job is to help people improve the quality of their lives' journey and to mete out God's true justice of compassion mercy. There will be no peace while we turn a blind eye to "the other". "The other" will starve, literally or emotionally, and we will be held accountable.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 23 December 2006 at 8:12pm GMT

Silence Please.

Tunde, let's take another moment of "silence" and "ponder" a pre-Christmas message from your Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria:

"...To opine that, unknown to humans, God had hitherto created some people to be homosexuals and lesbians (i.e., sexual orientations) is tantamount to creating God in our own image and introducing a CANCEROUS element into the fabric of the African understanding of marriage and family.

Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of BASTARDS. And in the context of much poverty and lack of education, this further produces an ill-bred generation of HOLLIGANS, portending much terror to the peace and stability of the society.

Homosexuality and lesbianism thrives on many sexual ABERRATIONS and improvisations typical of human selfishness and greed in the name of pleasure and self-actualization.

In a society where many women are finding it difficult to have husbands of their own due to the depletion of men by many factors, homosexuality will exacerbate the existing social disequilibrium, leading to much social unrest.

Granted, the American society as a super-power is in the forefront of human adventure. However, in this case of human sexuality, it is nothing but ADVENTURE IN UNGODLINESS. For people like Gene Robinson, who was married for years with children, to wake up one morning and discover that they are homosexuals is nothing but adventurous PROMISCUITY and unfaithfulness. The Church condones that at her own peril. If this is not yet clear to many today, it will surely be tomorrow. " Peter Akinola (to be continued)

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 12:20am GMT

LGBT Nigerian Christmas Cheer continued:

It's "tomorrow" now Tunde and your Bishopness and it's quite clear your "adventurous" diocesean border crossing and behind-the-scenes manipulating (everywhere/anywhere) ARE dangerous anti-Windsor action of introducing/supporting incarceration and social outcasting of homosexuals in Nigeria, Changing Attitudes Anglican Nigierans and at OUR sacred LGBT families and with our LGBT friends at the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. You Bishop Akinola and Canon Tunde have further harmed everyone at ALL levels of Epicopalian/Anglican Church life.

In truth, it IS hard for me to look forward to welcoming the birth of Christ with a hatecrime generating/Episcopal Church "poaching" Christian such as you standing next to me at OUR Communion rail.

However, I've been called upon to do so by Bishop V.Gene Robinson, OUR Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Christ Jesus.


Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 12:25am GMT

All of the sudden professions of Christian love for Gay folk by the Nigerian hierarchy mean nothing until they rescind their support for the antigay legislation before the Nigerian parliament.

Posted by counterlight at Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 4:17am GMT

Dear Canon Tunde - you would rather ignore me? Why? This is how a senior member of the Church of Nigeria acknowledges the comments and criticisms of a gay Anglican Christian?

Jesus Christ makes it impossible for committed Christians to hate or maintain hatred against any other person. This is a challenge I take utterly seriously, with great difficulty sometimes, when I am being humiliated and treated as less than human. What Christianity doesn't always do successfully is teach people how to deal with the anger we sometimes naturally feel.

I am not sure what Canon Tunde's sincere love for homosexuals means when he immediately follows by restating his firm conviction that the practice is an aberration and tells us that Archbishop Peter Akinola just did the same in his statement.

It could be that Canon Popoola thinks it is more loving to point out to someone, in a loving, Christian way, of course, that practicing homosexuality is an aberration, thus hoping to persuade the person to stop practicing, and saving their immortal soul in the process.

Homosexuality is not an aberration, it is a natural human state created by God. You cannot love someone if you believe that the way they love someone else is an aberration. Canon Popoola is talking sex here, homosexual practice. What a demeaning way to describe the acts of love with which lesbian and gay people share intimacy and gift each other with their deepest selves.

I don't want anyone's patronising 'Christian' love. Canon Tunde's 'love' makes space for odious Nigerian legislation which removes further legal rights from LGBT people and reinforces prejudice. If Tunde's love for gay people were believed by gay Nigerian Anglicans, they would be making themselves known to him, trusting his love, rather than hiding their identity as they listen to more anti-gay prejudice expressed in church meetings and sermons.

I pray for conversion this Christmas as we welcome the love that casts out all fear, prejudice and hate. Jesus allows us no room for our prejudices, however much we might think we are following him and the Bible in holding them.

Posted by Colin Coward at Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 4:54pm GMT

Canon Tunde:

The legislation that would criminalize people (who may or man not be gay or lesbian) coming together to discuss issues of discrimination against gay and lesbian persons is a concern. Surely the Church of Nigeria - Anglican could pursue an end to discrimination against persons who are gay and lesbian persons with the same energy that has been put into ending discrimination against persons designated "Osu" or the equivalent in Nigerian society. I have seen on the Church's web site that ending that caste designation, which some human rights organizations have compared to apartheid, is a part of the vision of the Church.

By the way, could you point me to some reports on the Church's work in that regard? I have seen the Vision statement, and a number of reports from other organizations. I would like to appreciate the successes of the Church.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 5:58pm GMT

"Ford Elms has consistently written what he would have me tell him in much the same way many have always wrongly ascribed words to Abp. Akinola. You may want to go over your question and my answer. You will not find your allegation there"

The exchange was earlier this year. I do not have time to find it now, but after Christmas I will. I posited the hypothetical situation that Western Christians, if they are going to pass measures that will call down violence and death on Christians half a world away, should be ready to cross the ocean and stand in defence of those Christians threatened by such acts. I made a comment about you preferring to throw me in jail. Your response was that you would certainly rather see me in jail than lead Nigerians into sin. When I asked you how defending fellow Christians under threat could be seen as leading them into sin, you declined comment and have to this day. You didn't say it, you typed it, and it should be archived on this site. When I find it, I will copy it into a post. If you prefer, I will email a link to the website of the Church of Nigeria, or your own personal email, your choice. It is not wise to deny writing something that remains in print, and can be read by anybody, Tunde. Anyway, this is Christmas Eve. As the old carol says, "If wrath you do seek, do not lend her your cheek, nor let her inhabit thy brow." So have a very Happy Christmas, Tunde, and everybody.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 25 December 2006 at 12:06am GMT

Ford, Hope you get the archive and place my entire statement side by side with
"told me he would rather throw me in jail than accept my support for persecuted Christians"

TA readers need to we know whether I am denying or simply saying I am being misrepresented.

I also remember asking about your attitude if I am to come to your country to promote practice of pedophiles. I don’t think you will fight your country’s laws which would jail me. Yes I know the two are different but the issue here is that I believe (as does the official Anglican position,) that they are both incompatible with Scripture. That does not mean I hate the people caught up therein. No! I am concerned and pray for them. Demonizing me because of an opinion which I claim Biblical and Church support for, can only make my resolve stronger.

Posted by Tunde at Monday, 25 December 2006 at 11:19pm GMT

Anyone, Tunde, who uses that as an example simply displays their homophobia.

There are plenty of things that are 'incompatible with scripture', from your conservative point of view. But, you do not criminalise them, nor do you persecute those who are associated with them.

You sum up so well why your church and the Anglican Communion which contains your church is rotten to the core. The sooner it splits, the better

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 10:33am GMT

You gotta love the way Colin Coward lays down the gauntlet with Tunde: Either you approve of what I do or you are guilty of hating your Christian brother. This, I take it, is an example of the vaunted "listening process"? You hateful people keep listening to us until you buckle under and say what we want to hear! Until then, we accuse you of the worst sin a Christian can be guilty of!

Coward hasn't got a shred of evidence from reason, Scripture or tradition for claiming that homosexuality is "a natural human state created by God," but that doesn't stop him from demonizing people who question his logic.

Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss at Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 1:12pm GMT

Do you put paedophiles into jail in Nigeria Tunde?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 3:59pm GMT

I do not hate paedophiles but neither do I make this artificial distinction of condemning the sin and not the sinner. I'd put the sinner in prison for carrying out paedophilia because it is harmful, exploitative and done without consent.

I don't go around condemning people for wearing mixed fibres, saying I make a distinction between the sinner and the sin. In fact I ignore it. And as for the New Testament, the argument is about faithfulness and a view of idolatry, not about being homosexual. But even if it was about being homosexual per se, it makes no difference. We are talking about positive relationships and experiences, and it is nothing short of oppression to create a class of people for imprisonment just because of a misreading of ancient texts and misapplication.

It is all the wrong way around: we have an American Church that has interpreted the gospel and sees inclusion and the good, and is pursuing this. Yet it is being marginalised for the sake of keeping together a communion that includes provinces apparently able to support putting a class of people into prison just for being these people. These provinces are the ones who should be marginalised, until they stop this support or acceptance of oppression.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 4:05pm GMT

You can't have a 'listening process' with people in jail, who you compare to paedophiles, Doug,

But lets be honest - you aren't interested in listening, unless we agree to submit to your opinion.

You'll be waiting a long time.

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 11:07pm GMT

Posted in the thread 'Nigeria', on Sept. 21, 2006:

"Ford, YES! If you’d cross the ocean to come and lead people I love so much in what I believe is SIN, I’d try to discourage you, but if you insist, I will pray you end up in jail. Luke 17: 1-2. While I will not lay my own hands on you, I won’t stop anyone from doing so."

Now, you may argue that you didn't say you personally would throw me in jail. You would however pray for it. A very fine distinction. I have to wonder if you would also exhort others to do what you wouldn't be seen doing yourself. More alarming was your statement that you would not stop anyone from "laying hands on" me. Am I to assume that if you saw people beating me up, you would not come to my aid? I made the comment at the time that, while I cannot presume to compare myself to St. Steven, the phrase "and Saul approved of his murder" came to mind. And you still have not explained how my, admittedly hypothetical, going to Nigeria to stand in defence of Christians being attacked by Muslims would be leading people into sin. That is, unless you think it sinful for a gay man to let his "light so shine that all may see" his good works and thus possibly changing the minds of some of your flock about us, that some of them might actually say "He's a good guy, even if he IS gay".

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 27 December 2006 at 2:42pm GMT

I did not intervene in this, saying that if my memory does not fail me... Ford is correct... because my memory often fails me - my parents always said You will not become a professor, you a r e one!

But now it proves my memory did not fail me this once - and what I wonder is, whatever made Tunde even try to deny this?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 27 December 2006 at 7:14pm GMT

Colin Coward writes: 'You cannot love someone if you believe that the way they love someone else is an aberration.'

It might be helpful to do a critique of the specific points raised:
(1) Can one love someone else if one believes they are habitual sinners? Undoubtedly. If fact, there is no-one who does not, since we all love ourselves. Even my 7 month old baby whom I love to bits is not a paragon of altruism.
(2) Can one love someone with whom one disagrees regarding one matter? of course, since there is no-one with whom any of us agrees on all matters.
(3) How can we help what we believe? We believe based on data and evidence. The data and evidence are incomplete and partial, as is our interpretation. So our beliefs are provisional. But it is not possible to tell someone what to believe, since they will not actually believe that thing by virtue merely of being *told* to believe it. This is a matter of conscience. The only ones at fault are those (if any) who refuse to look at further data and evidence. Is Colin Coward asking that people disobey their own consciences?

On three separate points, I therefore reckon that he is logically incorrect.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Thursday, 28 December 2006 at 1:04pm GMT

Failure to adequately provide for 'plausible denial'?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 28 December 2006 at 2:36pm GMT

Doug Taylor-Weiss refers to me, a brother Christian, by my surname alone, an abusive act in the UK and I assume, internationally.

He sneers at me in his first paragraph and calls me a 'hateful person' who is guilty of the worst sin a Christian can be guilty of. I don't agree that homosexuality is a sin. If I agreed with Doug's premise, would other conservatives like to support his statement that it is 'the worst sin'?

I am not asking anyone to approve of what I do nor accusing them of being guilty for hating me, a Christian brother.

I am saying that anyone who hates me is guilty of sin.
I am saying that anyone who supports a bill such as the one proposed in Nigeria is putting the lives of lesbian and gay Nigerians at risk.
I am asking for all of us who are Christians to conduct ourselves in a Christlike manner, repecting the integity of different theologies and scriptural understandings.

Doug accuses me of demonising people. If I have demonised anyone, I apologise.

There is evidence from reason, Scripture and tradition for claiming that homosexuality is a natural human state created by God. I will expand on the evidence if Doug would really like me to.

I am committed to the listening process. We all need to respect the listening process as one of the ways our church has committed us to explore our differences. I am committed to listen to conservatives as much as I hope others will listen to me. When Canon Tunde refuses to engage with me here, I understand why, but I believe it to be a loss to the listening process. Here is the only place we meet at the moment. If we are not able to engage our differences here, then where?

I would ask conservatives like Doug and Canon Tunde to respect the Christian faith of someone like me who experiences myself drawn to love someone of my own gender.

Posted by Colin Coward at Thursday, 28 December 2006 at 4:28pm GMT

No! Ford, busy with Christmas activities and do not forget that internet access in Africa is still light years behind that of the western world. Even the director of communication of CofN cannot boast of 24hr service.

Thanks for the quote. Please compare “LEAD…in .. SIN, I’d try to discourage you, but if you insist, I will pray” to your “ told me he would rather THROW me in jail than accept my SUPPORT for…” . I will appreciate you for once accept and apologize for the misrepresentation before trying to bury that fact by raising other issues.

I presume that English is not the first tongue of many TA readers including GKS and myself but I am sure there is a difference between LEAD and SUPPORT as well as PRAY and THROW.

Posted by Tunde at Thursday, 28 December 2006 at 10:00pm GMT

I am so sorry that Colin Coward misunderstood my earlier post. In a style I often thoughtlessly use, I was repeating what I heard him saying. I should have put quotation marks around it, but I didn't. I understood him to be telling Tunde, "If you disapprove of what I do, you therefore are guilty of hating me, your Christian brother. Nothing less than fully endorsing the behavior I have decided is OK counts as love. Unless and until you agree with me on the morality of homosexual acts you condemn yourself as hateful." Please note the quotation marks. I was not calling Coward himself hateful.

I heard this very view expressed in Coward's words: "You cannot love someone if you believe that the way they love someone else is an aberration." Of course you can, and to insist otherwise is to condemn all those who disagree with you to the hell Jesus describes for those who hate their brothers.

By the way, referring to someone by surname only is hardly abusive. It is, in fact, standard in academic discussions and I find that to be true in UK authors as well as any others. I've never lived in the UK, but I guess things have changed since the C.S. Lewis days when all self-respecting Oxford types called each other by surname. In America, among men, it still signifies that brotherly affection Lewis wrote about as philia.

I recommend not throwing terms like "abusive" around every time somebody crosses us. It minimizes the pain of those genuinely abused.

Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss at Friday, 29 December 2006 at 1:44am GMT

Doug ; I think your lack of empathy is displayed by your failure to recognise the effect of anti-gay attitudes on many gay people, particularly those who do not find being different an easy thing to come to terms with. Its not simply about 'crossing people' in these cases, but literally contributing to their destruction.

I have had to deal with some of the casualties. I am glad to say that a more open climate in the UK and the understandable rejection of the church by young gay people blunts the effect of these statements, but the pain is all too genuine. As is the abuse - and your failure to recognise your own abusive behaviour is symptomatic of the lack of insight of Christian conservatives. Your reduction of someone's very being to 'behaviour' emphasises this lack of insight.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 29 December 2006 at 9:33am GMT

Well, Tunde, I was prepared for you to say that I had taken you out of context (not much of an argument) or that I had misunderstood (a more powerful argument) or that we had been having a passionate discussion and that your comment was in that spirit and I was blowing it out of proportion (a much more powerful argument). I was not prepared for you to deny that you said what, to me at least, you actually did say!
Please clarify. How is standing in support of oppressed Christians in Nigeria "leading... into sin"? How is praying for me to be thrown in jail not the same as preferring that I be thrown in jail? How is not doing anything to prevent people from "laying hands on me" not equivalent to doing it yourself? I do not feel I mistrepresented you. You clearly seem to think otherwise. Please explain, since I sincerely do not understand.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 29 December 2006 at 1:28pm GMT

'...referring to someone by surname only is hardly abusive. It is, in fact, standard in academic discussions ..'Doug T-W

Ah, now I see where this discussion has gone awry.
It is far from being an 'academic'discussion to many of us --however one chooses to address others here. I think this was also the burden of merseymike's post. This is about real life, real pain, real lives.

Careless talk still costs lives Doug.

Posted by laurence at Sunday, 31 December 2006 at 12:41am GMT

Colin you have demonised no-one.

Doug in the Uk we have long since moved beyond your 'shreds of evidence' to a position of acceptance of lgbt people; and state-sponsored and provided Civil Partnerships for same-sex couples.

Don't you listen to the Archers ?! : - )

Posted by laurence at Sunday, 31 December 2006 at 12:50am GMT

Why I am I thinking of Dominical pearls and swine ?

My fear is that the likes of Tunde and Doug wouldn't have a change of h e a r t even if one were to return from the dead to warn them.

Which members of y o u r family, friends and wider circle are afraid to open their heats to YOU, and to tell you that, in truth, they are gay or lesbian ?

Sobering thought...

Posted by laurence at Sunday, 31 December 2006 at 12:57am GMT

Dear folks,
Scary as this might be for you to contemplate, members of my very closest circle of friends have already told me that, in truth, they are gay or lesbian. Yes, imagine! And I love them still. Yes, really! And they are still among my most intimate friends. Horrors! They are not "abused" by the fact that I find no way to legitimize their sexual behavior. But, then, we don't talk about such behavior in our friendships because I do not know their hearts and I do not presume to judge their souls. I do have some responsibility in my own life and in the society in which I participate to maintain the ability to judge between right and wrong and no one has come close to convincing me that homosexual couplings could be right.

I am told, above, that I have "reduced someone's very being to behavior." That is exactly what you protesters appear to me to be doing. In other words, you have taken an aspect of someone's behavior and exalted it to the very essence and identity of that person. Why exactly must someone's determination to act upon a set of sexual desires become that person's defining truth? It's as though someone loved to go deer hunting, subscribed to all the magazines, grew up in the lore. Then along comes somebody who objects on moral grounds to hunting, even wants to outlaw it. Must the hunter then languish in the "abuse" and "hurt" and "destruction" that this moral crusader has inflicted on him? Can't he just recognize that there's a dispute here about practical ethics and enter (or not) into that debate?

As to the exceptional enlightenment of the UK in legalizing civil partnerships, does Laurence realize that this does not constitute an argument?

Posted by Doug Taylor-Weiss at Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 12:30pm GMT

"along comes somebody who objects on moral grounds to hunting, even wants to outlaw it. Must the hunter then languish in the "abuse" and "hurt" and "destruction" that this moral crusader has inflicted on him? "

A very good comparison in some respects. Given that the animal rights industry uses lies, slander, and mistrepresentation of the truth to oppose hunting, I would suggest that hunters have every right to protest the 'abuse' of being lied about and slandered around the globe. By the same token, gay people and their supporters have every right to protest the slanders of those who describe them as "perverts", "no better than animals" "destroying family values", and on and on.

You can disagree with your gay friends about the whether or not their sexual behaviour is consistent with the Gospel. No problem. But then you probably do not suggest that they deserve to lose their jobs, their homes, even their liberty or their lives. Sadly, not everyone behaves as you do. Their statements and actions certainly constitute abuse, and we have every right to oppose them. It is your responsibility to express your beliefs in a way that does not include you in their number.

I do not reduce myself to behaviour. Being gay is one part of who I am. It is the people who claim that because I am gay I have no right to "life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness" that deny my humanity based on one aspect of my character and force me to respond. In so far as you don't so, good on ya.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 2:18pm GMT

Ford, sorry, no deal! An apology may assure me that it won't happen again. Otherwise, I m not prepared to give you futher ammo.

Have a peaceful year.

Posted by Tunde at Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 9:30am GMT

If you would answer my questions, I would know what it is you want me to apologize for, as it stands, I have no idea. I repeat:
How is standing in support of oppressed Christians in Nigeria "leading... into sin"? How is praying for me to be thrown in jail not the same as preferring that I be thrown in jail? How is not doing anything to prevent people from "laying hands on me" not equivalent to doing it yourself? This is the way I understand the statement I quoted. If you feel this is not an accurate understanding, then I need you to clarify so that I may know how you feel I misrepresented you. I am not seeking ammunition, just clarification. I am only too willing to apologize to anyone I have misrepresented, if I understand how I have done so.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 3 January 2007 at 1:52pm GMT
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