Thinking Anglicans

Nigeria: wording of Canadian resolution

Meeting of the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada
Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre, Niagara Falls ON
2006 04 23-27 [regular spring meeting of the house]

RESOLUTION

Nigeria
moved by Bishop Lawrence [Archbishop of Moosonee] / seconded by Bishop Poole [Suffragan – Toronto/Credit Valley]

The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada notes with grave concern legislation before the Nigerian parliament that would prohibit or severely restrict the freedom of spech, association, expression, and assembly of gay and lesbian persons in Nigeria. This legislation is inconsistent with the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that recognises these rights as derived from the inherent dignity of the human person.

The Archbishop and Bishops are especially grieved by the strong and public support for this legislation given by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Whereas Lambeth 1998 resolution I.10 called on churches to listen to the experience of homosexual persons, the proposed legislation criminalises civil and religious same-sex marriage as well as the public and private expression of same-sex affection, all public affiliation between gay persons, and even publicity, public support, and media reporting of the same. The proposed legislation, endorsed in an official communique of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria signed by its Primate, would make the very act of listening to homosexual persons impossible.

The members of the House of Bishops are in full agreement with the Primates’ statement from Dromantine in 2005, that ‘The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.’ The Nigerian legislation, and its endorsement by the Church of Nigeria, is indeed anathema to us, and quite at odds with the grace and love given to all human beings in Jesus Christ.

We therefore disassociate ourselves from the actions of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) that are inconsistent with the Commitments of its bishops made at Lambeth and Dromantine, and we call on Anglicans throughout the Communion to listen and respect the human rights of homosexual persons.

Carried unanimously

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Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Simon Thanks for bringing this to the front again. Once again, I give thanks to God that the Canadians are looking beyond the fear of being tainted by loving “outcasts” to the greater question of defending civil liberties and thus human rights (and not just for the “outcasts”). I won’t repeat the comments relating to the 5 May thread. Another passage that I find poignant when contemplating this matter is “How the precious sons of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands!… my people have become heartless… Read more »

bls
bls
15 years ago

This is wonderful – especially the “disassociation” part. This may at last call attention to the real issues at hand.

I’m so glad at long last, IOW, to see this discussion get off the endless “Bishop” track, and move on to the concerns of real people, the ordinary membership, and small groups being scapegoated for political purposes.

O, thank you, Canada.

Charles
Charles
15 years ago

As a member of the Anglican Church of Canada, I am proud of my Bishops for standing up for the oppressed in the world. The Canadian House of Bishops is far from being a completely liberal House. Nine bishops disassociated themselves from our General Synod motion in 2004 that recognised the “sanctity” of same-sex relationships, and got the Canadian Church into as much hot water as ECUSA. That these bishops would vote in favour of this resolution, shows they have integrity to the whole text of Lambeth 1:10 in that they are willing to criticise other “traditionalists” who go too… Read more »

Shawn
Shawn
15 years ago

As a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, and chaplain for our local chapter of Integrity, I was blown away with joy to see this resolution! Our bishops can be an aggravating lot at times, but sometimes, when they come through, it makes me proud to be part of this church… blessed be.

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Charles I would never want to see a “completely liberal” Anglican communion. There is a place for scribes to remind us of the traditions and God’s reasoning (much the same as there is a place for the Old Testament/Torah). Without remembering history and precedent we would become will-o-wisps swept by the winds of fashion. That said, the scribes need to remember that there is a place for visionaries who seek to apply the intent of God’s exhortations to modern circumstances. It is also healthy to have a tension balancing stability with innovation as new technology or social stability make it… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
15 years ago

I know this sounds curmudgeonly, but, glad though I am about this, I wish they hadn’t made reference to the UN. One of the big criticisms levelled against gay friendly people is that we are allowing our principles to be dictated by the world. This law is wrong not because the UN or any other worldly power says it’s wrong, but because it oppresses people. It is inherently immoral. The Church doesn’t need the UN to tell her this law is wrong, the Gospel does that quite well.

Jared Cramer
15 years ago

Good stuff, I’m glad a province finally stood up and officially said something about the very real moral issues at work in the Church in Nigeria.

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Ford On one hand I can share your fears, but on another hand this is also one of those times where the reforms might need to come from the outside. [As it was in the case in the case of stopping the priestly castes colluding in the abuse of children and other vulnerables. The fear of loss of monies through lawsuits or reduced tithings seemed to be the only thing that motivated some churches to work on these problems.] Unfortunately, there are times when the priestly castes can become the biggest obstacles to reforms. Look at the Old Testament –… Read more »

Charles
Charles
15 years ago

Cheryl

I agree with you.

My point in saying that the Canadian House Of Bishops is not 100% liberal is that it was good to see, that all the Bishops, regardless of their theological perspectives supported the resolution.

Tobias S Haller
Tobias S Haller
15 years ago

Ford Elms, My fear is that this is an area in which the “world” is out once more in the forefront of the “church.” One should not need the Gospel to know that it is wrong to persecute people without cause. The irony in this case is that it is people who claim to possess the Gospel (CoN[AC] et alia) who are in violation of it. Occasionally, it seems, God needs to raise up a voice or authority from another quarter entirely in order to set the church back onto the Gospel track. Sometimes it takes a Cyrus to start… Read more »

Jim Koenig
Jim Koenig
15 years ago

I applaud the Bishops of Canada for disassociating themselves with the actions of the Nigerian church that are in violation of basic human rights. Why should we be either sheepish or apologetic for doing the right thing. We have just observed “Good Shepherd” Sunday–Scripture exalts the role of shepherd as does religious literature. Shepherds would seem to have an unusual amount of alone time– time to feel God’s presence, to meditate, solitude in which to hear the “still small voice of God.” One shepherd named David used his solitude to write psalms of praise, lamentation, and longing. The most familiar… Read more »

Abigail Ann Young
15 years ago

First the St Michael Report and now this! I feel it’s truly a time to be proud of belonging to the Anglican Church of Canada. Part of it is that we continue to fly a bit below the radar of the organised Episcopal “right” — they are so concentrated on observing and dissecting all of ECUSA’s doings that the ACofC has not been so watched over as we pray, deliberate, and debate on a variety of important issues (of which human sexuality is only one). But a very big part has been the leadership of our primate, Andrew Hutchinson. We… Read more »

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

I find it surprising that the Nigerian Province would think it should support legislation that denies people all freedom of “spech (sic), association, expression, and assembly” supporting homosexuality (even though in their culture it is seen as a serious “sexual perversion”).

However, I also notice that the Canadian Province is not denouncing the equivalent Canadian legislation that denies people freedom of speech on homosexuality. Folk in Canada are at risk of prosecution (some already have been)…… if they express any negative view !!!

Does the Canadian HoB really support freedom of speech ? or just freedom of sex ?

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Charles

Sorry. I didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers and now read your postings as you intended. (Mind you, I don’t mind making the point that many “liberals” by their nature have a vision of spreading the tent stakes to cover a large and diverse flock. There has been some exchanges in recent times where the absolutists have tried to misrepresent that our strategies are the mirrored reverse of theirs).

Jim, your posting was beautiful.

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

This was posted in the Anglican Journal overnight: http://anglicanjournal.com//extra/news.html?newsItem=2006-05-09_a.news

It is simply brilliant, I couldn’t have worded it better myself. I particularly liked this comment ““Twenty percent of us cannot say we’re off to Mars or doing great things when 80 per cent are living in inhumane conditions – unless we’re saying we are more human than they are, that we have a higher priority… “And not one of us,” he said, “is more human than the other.””

Spirit of Vatican II
15 years ago

Great to hear Bishops speak with a Christian voice. For once the word “anathema” is fittingly used. Would that the RCC ever spoke as plainly as this! Our bishops are hopelessly compromised, and their centuries of guilty silence have been duly rewarded with the witchhunt against clerical pederasty that has come up and slapped them in the face. Anglicanism may be riven with bitter argument, but that is much better than the inquisitorial embargo on debate that has made the RCC record in regard to all gay topics one of stinking hypocrisy.

Abigail Ann Young
15 years ago

Dave,

You wrote above, “However, I also notice that the Canadian Province is not denouncing the equivalent Canadian legislation that denies people freedom of speech on homosexuality. Folk in Canada are at risk of prosecution (some already have been)…… if they express any negative view !!!”

Could you explain and document? I’m not aware of any such legislation or prosecutions. I know for instance that the government of the day were at pains to protect the freedom of conscience of clergy in the new Marriage Act.

Abigail

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Dave Your last posting about consistency in application is also pertinent (vis a vis now turning around and looking at free speech within Canada). It is a clear example of how problems can interlink, and that sometimes working on fixing a knot in one place leads to untangling in other parts of the tapestry. As the Spirit of Vatican II’s posting proves, this debate is not unique to Anglicans, it’s just that we’ve had the courage to take it on. Their posting also raises the issue of responding to information based on “saving face” rather than looking at what opportunities… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
15 years ago

Thank goodness, thank God for the Canadian House of Bishops statement on Nigerian Anti-LGBTQ violence. How odd that conservative believers should now be so entirely busy with condemning the bishops’ statement against anti-LGBTQ violence by throwing their large rocks at the Canadian church – yet again – for not being narrowly conformed. Apparently we cannot even agree on non-violence or basic human rights unless we first get conformed into a certain sort of traditionalistic believer. Is this really a global way foward? The freedom to say unjust/negative things about homosexuality is shifting, indeed. Two forces appear to be at work.… Read more »

Bob Webster
Bob Webster
15 years ago

Sorry Dave, but you have it wrong. The law here is that you cannot speak or act in a way which promotes hatred or encourages injury. People are still free to espouse their beliefs and in this matter they certainly do. It’s one thing to say that you think someone is wrong in their beliefs and/or actions, but it is quite another to therefore encourage their destruction.

Chike
Chike
15 years ago

The issue at play in Nigeria is not the legislation (a mere symptom) but the contrast between the theology of the West and the theology of the Global South. I come from Nigeria, I can genuinely read my Bible and come to the conclusion that God opposes homosexuality. Many people in the West will read the same Bible and claim to come to a different conclusion. Concentrating on the legislation is one issue. The major issue is that we in the South are still struggling to come terms with your belief system – and vice versa. The Anglican Church does… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

This was posted on Ekklesia overnight: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_060510social.shtml There we are grappling for “new language”, when this Jesuit priest was writing books back in the 1980s! The article includes the comment: “Fr Henriot, has lived for nearly 20 years in Zambia – one of the poorest countries in the world. He argues that to respond effectively to social issues, Christians and people of good will need to move from a model of charity to a model of justice at the core of their living and acting.” I think that Fr Henriot nicely overcomes the argument that it is not just armchair… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
15 years ago

Chike, you make challenging points, but you are setting up the debate in a way that seems to position Nigerian Christians necessarily in homophobic ignorance. “The issue at play in Nigeria is not the legislation (a mere symptom) but the contrast between the theology of the West and the theology of the Global South.” Here you seem to associate the theological thinking of Anglicans in the southern world with homophobic legislation. In fact, I noticed that a southern Anglican bishop has written a book of pro-gay theological reflection, and that the South African Archbishop Tutu has also spoken in this… Read more »

Chike
Chike
15 years ago

Spirit of Vatican II,

The South African Church is special. Trust me on this; the South African Church (Anglican) has more in common with the American Church (on theological issues), than with any sub-saharan African Church.

We have gaping and glaring differences, how on earth can we communicate with each other?

J. C. Fisher
J. C. Fisher
15 years ago

Here’s a suggestion, Chike:

Try to hear *your* statement, “For far too long you ignored us, now we cannot be ignored.”

…coming from LGBT Christians (in Nigeria, in the U.S., and all around the world).

If we can’t be ignored anymore, then this questions remains: will we be listened to, or *silenced*?

Cheryl Clough
15 years ago

Did Jesus die on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for humanity’s sins or didn’t he? If he did, then why are some sins not forgiven (e.g. homosexuality) and other sins are forgiven (e.g. colluding in attempted genocide)? If I have to choose between allowing two consenting adults to play in the bedroom or allowing them to be the training fodder for the development of murderous regimes, then I will protect the two adults. I would rather be guilty of hiding Daniel from the authorities than of colluding to throw him in the lions’ pit…

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Dear Cheryl, it’s same-sex sex that is sinful according to the Bible’s writers, not homosexual “orientation”. And anyway, all sins are forgiveable if you will repent.. if not *all* sins are not forgiven!

I would protect people, even people I disagree with much more that “gay vicars”, fom murderous and genocidal regimes. But I wouldn’t feel it meant I had to approve of everything !

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

No, Dave, you can’t make that assumption, given that the Bible’s writers had no knowledge of sexual orientation as a concept. They reflected, hardly surprisingly, the dominant beliefs of their day.

Its a pity that some seem to think that Christianity is basically about premodern ignorance.

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