on Thursday, 20 April 2006 at 11.06 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion
Christianity Today carries this interview: Nigerian Archbishop Demands Justice. The interview was with associate editor Collin Hansen. The strapline says:
Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press.
Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press.
The greater the impending violence the more important a public and private example of Ghandian or MLK Jr. type of non-violence is. Ditto for the modeling of non-violence in word and deed throughout the worldwide communion, up to and including the much-targeted LGBTQ Folks. The Kingdom simply will break in, no matter what the wars and the rumors of wars. It is high time for Anglicans to speak out forcefully in favor of building bridges between Islam and Anglican Christianity and other communities of faith; and between straight and gay folks of whatever allegiances. Some believers on the conservative end… Read more »
One paragraph in the article quotes Akinola as saying “They’re simply bitter, they’re simply angry. They’re simply fed up with it. And they say to themselves that maybe if we fight back, the [Muslims] will know they don’t have the right to take life at will. So it isn’t that their Christian religion is telling them to go out and fight. You forget, in the West, the Crusades were a response to 400 years of Islamic aggression in Europe. Don’t forget that. Don’t you ever forget that. They didn’t just happen for the fun of it.” There are a few… Read more »
Not wanting to deny the suffering of the people in Nigeria (or Iraq or Palestine or anywhere else for that matter), but it is easy to assume that violence does not occur in “advanced” countries. Further, there have been studies that some forms of violence impact equally across demographics. For example WHO’s study on domestic violence last year http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr62/en/index.html This article notes “Partner violence appears to have a SIMILAR IMPACT on womenâ€™s health and well-being regardless of where she lives, the prevalence of violence in her setting, or her cultural or economic background.” Maybe some souls would like to look… Read more »
I continue to be puzzled by the characterizations of Archbishop Akinola as “one of the most powerful figures in the Anglican Communion.” [Warning: Realpolitik ahead] He is the Anglican Archbishop of a very populous and, tragically, very poor African country which is a former British colony and in which Britain retains considerable influence. Nigeria’s Delta region contains massive oil reserves which are of great importance to European nations and the United States; but the country is in danger of spiralling downward into a civil war of nominally religious motivation. Archbishop Akinola’s position makes him likely to be cultivated by political… Read more »
Dear drdanfee and Cheryl, personally I am very sympathetic with the terrible situation that Christians in majority Muslim states like northern Nigeria often find themselves in. Disapproval is often not just “moral” – as the cases of Andrew White’s church in Baghdad and Abdul Rahman’s experience in Kabul show! See articles here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3933-2134933,00.html http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/25/international/asia/25convert.html?ex=1300942800&en=2238ebb5494ad181&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss So, if you really believe what you are saying, why don’t you go to northern Nigeria to help the rioters to learn to “building bridge” and “cope with boundaries and accepting sufficiency” – like Norman Kember who did risk all, and had to be rescued by… Read more »
Maybe I should go, and take all those who advocate tolerance to GLBTs with me. That would solve all your problems in one transaction. And I wish I was only an armchair ethicist, the battles of abuse are not confined to Nigeria nor the African continent.
Dear Cheryl, If you think that the outcome would be that bad, why are you suggesting that Abp Akinola and Christians in Nigeria should do it ?
Dave Because I am asking them to do in Nigeria what I am doing where I live and what I am asking others to do where they live. I am not asking them to do anything more than I would ask of myself, and I can promise you that I have not suffered any less than them. A child torn out of their bed at night to be assaulted or forced to witness the repeated rape of their mother is equally as traumatic in Nigeria as it is in Australia or Argentina or China for that matter. When God called… Read more »
I wonder if any of those whose recent vitriol and invective on TA towards Akinola (over his alleged incitement to violence) are inclined to comment in the light of this clarification from him?
Dear Cheryl, the US context is very different from northern Nigeria. Disapproval of lgbtq people is *mostly* limited to moral disapproval and lack of affirmation of that part of their behaviour. Unlike Christians in northern Nigeria they do not generally have their homes burned, get hunted down, attacked and killed etc.. although there are some deplorable cases of physical attacks. Moral disapproval and non-affirmation are not equivalent to “oppression” – otherwise I would be feeling pretty oppressed in secular europe – where my faith is laughed at, my moral principles condemned, suspicion of conservatives is rife, employers can raise eyebrows… Read more »
“employers can raise eyebrows”
Dave, could you explain this one please. The UK now has specific employment protection wrt Religion or Belief, see for example this handy summary:
“I wonder if any of those whose recent vitriol and invective on TA towards Akinola (over his alleged incitement to violence) are inclined to comment in the light of this clarification from him?”
Something must have filtered through.
Simon, you might remember that a proposed European commissioner was recently black balled in public by MEPs because of his conservative Catholic beliefs on homosexuality – even though he said that this was his moral opinion rather than a legal one.
And once when a manager found out that I was “religious” his response was “well ok as long as you aren’t one of those conservatives”…
But I don’t live in the UK.
Thank you Simon, I look forward to seeing Dave’s response. Also, Dave should be aware that I sit in one of ultra-pure churches. I hear their prayer points to hinder the immoral developments in places such as the USA and their prayers to overturn such changes at the first possible opportunity. To put up as an argument the leniency of the US laws as a counterpoint to the problems in Nigeria is simply laughable. If we are going to resort to that kind of sloppy analysis then it could be said that Nigeria is more law abiding than the US… Read more »
Dear Cheryl, I wasn’t comparing the laws in the US to those in Nigeria – I was comparing the *experience* of lgbtq people in the US (who often claim “oppression”) with the experience of many Christians in northern Nigeria (who are suffering actual oppression – mob attacks, personal property and church burnings, and a lot of murders!)
You said that “I am not asking them to do anything more than I would ask of myself” – but their context is different in the extreme.
Dave The problems of mob attacks, personal property and burning of premises is not unique to Nigeria. One of the illusions that Katrina exposed was that affluent societies also have disenfranchised people who are “beneath” basic dignity. There are souls in affluent countries that can also not walk the streets safely, wonder if it is possible to escape being violated that day, or pray that they will literally survive the weekend. Church leaders are contemptible when they train their flocks to be indifferent to others’ suffering, timid lambs to be taken to the slaughter, apathetic and without vision, or incite… Read more »
I think I agree with everything you have written, as far as it goes!
Dear Dave & Similar Other Readers, I am somewhat puzzled and offended by your comments. You seem to implicitly say that because global cultures vary widely as contexts, the Christian witness against violence cannot still be made, clearly and without qualification. Your apparent guideline reads as a bit hidden, but may be something like: If Christians suffer sufficiently forceful violence from others, then counter-violence by Christians may be justifed as the main effectively forceful answer under those dire circumstances. This sounds, then, to me, like a Just War Theory sort of formulation. I do acknowledge that some believers subscribe precisely… Read more »
“why don’t you go to northern Nigeria” Because, Dave, presumably Akinola & Co. would accuse me, a Yank, of “imposing yourself, just like you did in Iraq”? I’ll go to Nigeria when *Nigerians* ask me to—not just on a dare by a non-Nigerian like yourself. [Oh, and when someone pays my way: the “Myth of the Universally Wealthy American” being just that, a myth!] I think the larger point, is that we are to manifest the “Fruits of the Spirit” WHEREVER we are “planted”. There isn’t a *single* place in which to do Christian ministry: it’s possible *everywhere* (not to… Read more »
Dear drdanfee, you might be astonished to learn that I find some things that you post and believe very offensive too. That is, I think, in the nature of debate! My criticism of what you and Cheryl wrote is that you are chiding people in Nigeria for not doing what you yourself are not prepared to do! And yes, I do believe in reasonable self defence. If you believe in some higher value I would, again, suggest that you demonstrate that you *really* believe it… in a place where you are in real danger – such as northern Nigeria! Dear… Read more »