Thinking Anglicans

update on Uyo

Since the earlier reports, there has been an email, which TA received only as a comment from elsewhere, but which various other blogs have published, that reads as follows:

From: Emeka Samuel
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 6:00 AM



This is to inform the agency and the general public that the report on the above subject credited to the Anglican Bishop of Uyo Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama was untrue.

I wish to state here that the report was not a true reflection of what the interview he granted journalists while Bishop Orama never made any statement at any time to condemn perpetuators of such unbiblical acts to such an extent as was reflected in the report.

The Bishop was wrongly misrepresented and misquoted and I hereby render my apologies to him, the Anglican Diocese of Uyo and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) for embarrassment caused them by the report.

While I apologize for the mistake and to state that the report was not written in bad faith I wish to express my commitment to the evangelization of the gospel through this medium.

The Church of Nigeria has also issued the full Powerpoint file containing Bishop Orama’s synod presentation, the content of which Stand Firm has republished here. Although as the above email states, that presentation was not the source of the original article but rather an interview with journalists.

There has not so far been any statement relating to this email from the Church of Nigeria.

There has not been any statement from the News Agency of Nigeria.

Nor has there been any further statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury.


  • acb says:


    Haven’t they forgotten the bit where he asks that we help him launder the THIRTY MILLION POUNDS STERLING bribe he was paid by Jack Spong to write the report?

  • Number one, Nigeria isn’t the UK or the US. No doubt the accuracy of reporting can be worse. But so can the accuracy of retractions.

    Number two, the NAN reporter writes “not a true reflection of what the interview he granted journalists.” Key word here: interview. Because do we have from the Church of Nigeria? — what is purported to be the bishop’s Powerpoint presentation to the synod, not to the journalists. And where are the other journalists?

    Finally, we were initially told that the bishop could not provide his presentation. But now it’s been provided. What’s the explanation?

  • C.B. says:

    Mark Harris points out that the E mail address for NAN is wrong. The letter states it as “” but NAN is listed as Is this a typo that means the letter probably was never received, or something else?

  • Pluralist says:

    Was the apparent misrepresentation and misquote part of the “commitment to the evangelization of the gospel through this medium”?

    I want to evangelise by wishing death to gay people? What *was* the source of this misrepresentation then?

    It’s pathetic.

  • John Robison says:

    Anyone else think this is phrased oddly?
    Who is the intended audience of this email, and who, exactly wrote it? The fact that the email is wrong indicates this may be a forgery.

  • C.B. says:

    At the very least, if the letter is authentic, we see that there are those who think that promoting the idea that homosexuals are insane and deserving of death actually furthers the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These ideas ARE abroad in the world. And Akinola et al., not to mention his American compatriots, feed that thinking. Silence = death.

  • You know, siblings, I think we need to let this one go. Am I prepared to believe that the bishop could have said this? In terms of capacity, certainly. Am I prepared to believe that this bishop believes that GLBT persons are deep in sin and so should not be permitted full participation in the life of the Church, not only on Uyo or Nigeria, but everywhere? Certainly. Do I think his attitudes as we know he expressed them in the synod presentation contribute to violence? Perhaps; but my experience is that those commited to violence don’t really need much encouragement.

    In the meantime, African provinces are working to undermine the ministry of welcome that the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is a Christian value, both in their own provinces and elsewhere. They amass bishops to the point that, like the post-Apostolic church, there may well be one city-one bishop before long. One can only hope they are true to their commitments not to come to Lambeth, lest they come with voting blocs that will overwhelm efforts for Gospel compassion and embrace (and this without invitations to their erstwhile American “missionary” quislings). Granted, Lambeth only has the “authority” to issue statements and not canons; but look just how problematic even those statements can become.

    Pray for the bishops of the Episcopal Church here in the United States as they prepare to meet. They will seek to embody welcome and embrace, and reaching out to the struggling in the name of Christ. Pray for those persons and those institutions that seek to maintain the teaching that Christ calls all – all! – and don’t get distracted by one person, however despicable might be statements he might have made; or how much we might fear he is representative of distortions of the faith that we work and pray to end.

  • Kurt says:

    “Anyone else think this is phrased oddly? Who is the intended audience of this email, and who, exactly wrote it? The fact that the email is wrong indicates this may be a forgery.”—John Robison

    It strikes more than just “phrased oddly,” John. The alleged reporter informs us that his reporting is “untrue.” If Bishop Orama never made any such statement against gay people, the reporter in question must have deliberately lied. In fact, he states that he “wrongly misrepresented and misquoted him” in his news article. Yet he claims “that the report was not written in bad faith.”

    What kind of wacko “retraction” is this? If what this reporter is confessing to is true, the man is unfit to be a journalist and should be fired immediately!

  • Malcolm+ says:

    From the incorrect email to the incoherent phraseology, this denial is about as credible as a five year old denying he took a cookie from the jar.

    The information about the inaccurate email is a bonus. I was already convinced it was a fraud from the phraseology.

    Compare the original story to this incoherent mass of bumph. There is no way the two could have been written by the same person.

    Further machinations from the incompetent Tunde, methinks.

  • Davis d'Ambly says:

    I’m with Marshall Scott on this. Enough.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “lest they come with voting blocs that will overwhelm efforts for Gospel compassion and embrace”

    I somehow suspect this is the point.

  • Curtis says:

    I don’t actually need this nobly applied detective work to know what these men’s will and intentions are. Stand Firm spouts it daily. It IS suited their agenda and it fits their message. That’s why we believed it when the story broke. It only seemed a little bit over the top, but not beyond probability. If the wing-nuts here in the states don’t want this to be their message then they need to say so loudly and soon because Orama’s vitriol is the message they’re sending.

  • Pluralist says:

    _There is no way the two could have been written by the same person._

    Are there two original MS Word .docs produced that we can all look at?

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    Baby Blue is reporting that the Nigerian House of Bishops has issued an open letter to the ABC calling for an emergency meeting of the primates.

    It oozes hypocrisy – maybe one should err in the direction of charity by saying “lacks self-insight” – but there are some fine one-liners. Speaking of “placard carrying and leaflets distributing campaigners at the last Lambeth Conference”, the Nigerian bishops claim that “these protesters effectively shifted the focus of the conference to human sexuality”. Chutzpah of a high and aggravated nature, but the best laugh I’ve had all day.

    SF is also reporting as “firm rumor” that our local bishop, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina is Shori’s choice for the position of primatial vicar. Bishop Henderson’s blog is at His May 15th letter addressed the March meeting of the House of Bishops and it’s response to the Dar es Salaam communiqué.

  • Jackie says:

    The reporter has verified to me that the retraction is real and uncoerced. As to phrasing you might recall the original wording in the article, “It is scaring.” The various turn of phrase found in different parts of the world can be quite humorous. When I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Scotland and left a wake-up call, it consisted of a knock at your door with a voice saying, “Good morning, time to knock you up.”

  • dave paisley says:


    A retraction should surely include some amended, corrected form of the comments that were “misinterpreted” OR an abject apology for making stuff up.

    Those are the only two grounds for a retraction.

  • Reporters can the threatened and coerced, reporters can also make errors.

    I think Marshall’s comments are excellent.


    Simon has now put the Nigerian letter on TA.

    Hi five to both of you 🙂

  • Merseymike says:

    I don’t believe a word anyone in the leadership of the Nigerian ‘church’ says.

    And there remain people who actually want to be in communion with this bunch of reprobates? Why???

  • Pluralist says:

    Yes, there is a thing called a note book (paper or electronic). What did the journalist write down at the time? Remember the Hutton Inquiry and the accuracy of Susan Watts’ notes on her meeting David Kelly?

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Jackie assures us that the reporter is real and the retraction is real. I don’t know Jackie, but clearly Jackie is to be trusted.

    I’m still curious though, Jackie, how we managed to get all this through an email address that is NOT real.

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Thanks to Strange Rabbit for sharing that missive from the Bishop of Upper South Carolina.

    It was moving to read the words of an authentic conservative like Henderson – as it was moving to read last week the to read the words of an authentic conservative like Howe. Henderson sounding certainly more hopeful than Howe. But neither of them motivated by a desire for schism.

    I am tired of schismatics trying to pass themselves off as “traditionalists,” “conservatives” or especially “orthodox.”

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    I should also have drawn attention to Bishop Henderson’s March 2nd response to Dar es Salaam, in particular to section 4, which begins “In my view we have failed the homosexual community.”

  • While we might want to move on, there are important issues that remain for me.

    It is not easy to contact NAN – yet alone the right person – I have been trying.

    I understood this article to be based on an interview with the bishop of Uyo and the important material for me would be the journalists note book and/or tape. What the bishop said in his presentation (although interesting) does not have a bearing here, what he said to the journalist does.

    If I were the head of UPI I would be interested to speak to this journalist and to send other reporters to find the truth. I shall be pressing this matter with Michael Marshall and urge others not to let this entirely fall off their screens

  • Jackie says:

    I began my search to find the truth. Isn’t that what we are all seeking here? Greg Griffith, Matt Kennedy+ and Kendall Harmon+ were correct in condemning the words but providing the Bishop the benefit of the doubt until further information could be obtained. Regardless of who dreamed them up, the words needed to be condemned.

    I started with the UPI. They referred me to NAN. Eventually, my request was referred to the reporter who responded to my request. It wasn’t hard but it did take a bit of time and effort. As far as email addresses, I used the one provided for UPI on the internet. In contacting NAN I used one I found on the internet and also one provided by UPI.

    I also talked personally with Bishop Orama. He seemed quite genuine and hurt by the report. I thought he was very gracious in everyway and especially appreciated him providing us with his talk.

    Doesn’t anyone here believe that if this remark had truly been made at a press conference it would have been picked up by the MSM?

    Could I ask how you would have taken this report if it offered the same condemnation to conservative Christians and it were attributed to Jim Naughton+ or Bishop Chane both of whom have been publicly critical of the Orthodox view? Suppose it was reported while they were on sabbatical in a remote part of the world and hard to reach? Something to think about.

    Hope this information answers some of your questions.

  • Merseymike says:

    But all the reported words said was what conservatives believe without the soft-soaping.

    Wake up. these people are our enemies. No more sitting on the fence. No more ridiculous idea of a unified ‘Christianity’. There is conservative and liberal religion, and they have NOTHING in common.

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Leaving aside my objection to the offensive appropriation of the word “orthodox” by one side in this dipute, let me respond to you substantive points.

    I still find the retraction to be less than credible. That said, less than credible things frequently turn out to be true.

    On your other point, when a “liberal” Episcopal blogger speculated on the state of mind of a certain “conservative” Episcopla blogger (suggesting that a woman with so many children was likely to “snap,” putting the children in harms way), I was one of a handful of folk online who was very critical of the remarks.

  • jackie says:

    Malcom+, I’m glad to hear you stood on the side of reason in the case you mentioned. I pray that it is always so.

    Mersey Mike – I see some things never change. A professed non-Christian continuing to haunt Anglican blogs.


  • dave paisley says:

    Sorry Jackie, this “retraction” is still crap.

    What WAS said? Presumably something was said that was misinterpreted, (somewhat implied in the email in a very roundabout way)…


    The quote was an entire fabrication, which is possible based on the convoluted words above, but not likely. Even if this were the case, what was this particular “reporter’s” motivation for doing so?

    OR, of course, what was said was true and the reporter is being coerced into a fake “retraction”.

    Given the lack of clarity in the retraction itself, the last option seems most believable.

  • Margaret says:

    I have really found reading the comments on this thread illuminating.

    It really does indicate your commitment to Tolerance and Love that most of you will not even consider that the Bishop could have been misquoted.

    I note that the UPS has withdrawn the story. Obviously they don’t believe in your “broadminded” approach of believing the worst of everyone you don’t like.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “these people are our enemies.”

    No, they most certainly are not. They might consider us their enemies, but no-one is my enemy. It’s often very hard to bless those that hate you. I don’t usually come anywhere near that virtue, but we cannot fall into the trap of believing “them” to be our enemies. That is the end product of the whole persecution myth. The Real Orthodox speak of the Enemy. The Enemy wants us to hate one another. He uses lies and deceit to do so, and we all get ensnared by them, and in the end we fall for the lie that someone is our “enemy”. This is the same as “false teachers are not my neighbours.”

  • Ford Elms says:

    “your commitment to Tolerance and Love”

    Matched only by your commitment to gloating over the failings and hypocrisy of those you consider your opponents.

    “your commitment to Tolerance and Love “

    Actually, they didn’t print a retraction. They printed a statement that they could not vouch for the truth of the original statement and threw it back into NAN’s lap. We have since been told that the bishop did not make any such statement in his charge to Synod, but no-one said he HAD done it at Synod, so what’s the point of that statement? Does this cause you no doubts? We have been assured some faceless journalist is “begging for forgiveness”. If the shoe were on the other foot and liberal spokesman made these kinds of denials, and committed himself to the spread of liberal Christianity, would you not be suspicious of some agenda behind it? Is your mistrust reserved for liberals alone, and conservatives can do no wrong? The most credible thing for me is that CA Nigeria is cautious and sees no evidence for the incident. Now, why is it you are so willing to accept a denial that, I venture to bet, would not acceptable to you at all if, worded in the same fashion, it denied some calumny attributed to a liberal?

  • JPM says:

    That’s a good point, Ford.

    Let us imagine, for a moment, that Bp. John Chane were quoted as saying that conservative Anglicans are practitioners of a foreign religion and thus enemies of God who will burn for all eternity as good progressives look upon their suffering and rejoice in the majesty of divine justice.

    In response to the outcry that such remarks would inspire, a diocesan spokesman who has been caught purveying falsehoods numerous times issues a vague denial.

    Then, after a week or so, the reporter chimes in, declaring that Chane said no such thing during his brunch presentation to the Georgetown Garden Club, and that he (the reporter) especially regrets having filed this false story because of his commitment to the cause of gay rights.

    Would the so-called “orthodox” accept this denial at face value, or would they have some lingering doubts?

  • Ford Elms says:

    Then there’s this little jewel:

    “Bishop Orama never made any statement at any time to condemn perpetuators of such unbiblical acts to such an extent as was reflected in the report.”

    Now, I’m prepared to acknowledge that English is likely not his first language, and, combined with the cultural context, this statement might not be as funny in Nigeria as it sounds to me. Maybe, culturally, and this isn’t sarcasm, it is quite reasonable in Nigeria to say:

    “I never said that we should go so far as to kill such evil people.”
    One has to wonder to what extent it IS acceptable to condemn those who “perpetuate such unBiblical acts.” Is such stilted language typical of Nigerian journalists writing in English? Also, is it the case that in Nigeria people have an older attitude towards those in authority? Western society, for better or worse, doesn’t trust authority at all, respect must be earned, and those in traditional positions of power have to work a lot harder to gain most people’s respect. It wasn’t always this way. Is it still more traditional in Nigeria, the person of the bishop is respected because of the respect due the office, and what he says, essentially, goes? If so, this is a huge cultural difference, and impacts on how we make decisions, how we enact those decisions, and may well rise up to bite those Americans who seek foreign episcopal oversight, if these men aren’t used to the pat on the head and “Yes, yes, bishop, it’s wrong, now would you like some more tea?”

  • NP says:

    Hands up all those who wish the misreported comments were actually made and a tape-recording existed of them!!

    Quite a few hands raised round here!

    Now ask yourself why you wish you had proof that +Isaac had made the hateful comments incorrectly reported…..

    Lots of evos were happy to condemn the reported comments…..and got praised by liberals for doing so. The reason people like Canon Harmon were so forthcoming is dissociating themselves from the reported comments is because we wish that nobody would believe such things – let alone say them. Sad to see an undercurrent on TA since the false story broke which has really wanted the hateful reported comments to be true and verified!
    Do ask yourself why you feel like that if you do and if it is a healthy feeling to be nurtured

  • Pat O'Neill says:


    As a former journalist, I find the whole thing specious…both the report and the alleged “retraction.”

    The report, which did not name either the reporter or explain the circumstances of the “interview” was deficient. The “retraction”–still not naming the reporter–is rife with problems: The bad syntax, the lack of explanation for how the reporter got it so “wrong,” the failure to supply the actual words Orama DID say, and…most damning to this former reporter’s eyes…the final reference to the reporter’s own commitment to evangelism. Reporters should have at least an appearance of objectivism. One cannot be an evangelist and objective on the subject of religion.

    My suspicion? The whole thing was a “plant” by Orama’s supporters.

  • NP says:

    Pat – that’s a new twist – why would they do that?

    I have to say, I would like to see a clear statement from +Isaac not only saying he did not say what he was reported to have said but that he completely repudiates those comments.

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    NP. I frankly don’t give a damn what Orama said. What I do care about – which matters not a whit to you, I suppose – is what Akinola has said, has done, and continues to do. The problem lies with the organ-grinder, not with his little side-kick.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “why you wish you had proof that +Isaac had made the hateful comments incorrectly reported”

    because we have a report of something terrible being said by a bishop. Changing Attitude Nigeria, in a powerful argument for me, cannot find evidence. Then we have a denial from Tunde Popoola, not exactly a reliable source, surely. We have an oddly worded statement claiming the report to be false, along with “proof” that the comments were not in the text of a speech, though the bishop was not accused of makling the statements in that speech. This, along with the way the ‘retraction/denial” was worded, generates suspicion. So, we have a report that may be untrue, denied by people and statements that do not inspire confidence in their reliability. Thus, there is a huge cloud of doubt about this. I predict we will never know who the reporter was, there will be no retraction or repudiation, and Tunde will have done his job well. It is not his job to provide us with the truth, it is his job to add enough doubt that the issue dies on the vine and, as time passes, becomes more and more clouded and his denials become more effective for some people, not because they can be substantiated, but simply beacuse they want to make political hay of the situation, on either side. I would like to hear a tape of the comments because it is the only way to dispel this doubt. It will never come, and the doubt will always exist, but, if one is in political power, which Tunde et al certainly are, then one needn’t prove innocence, all one needs is doubt. That’s just politics, and the way spin doctors handle a situation. I don’t know, and will never know if the bishop said this or not. Ask yourself, if this WAS untrue, what made that reporter believe he could say such a thing about a bishop and get away with it? Perhaps because the climate in Nigeria has deteriorated to such an extent that he had a reasonable expectation that such statements would not be taken with horror, but that many would at least accept that the bishop had said it, and might even agree?

  • NP says:

    Lapin – ++Akinola has said that the AC Provinces should stick to agreed positions and not just ignore ALL the Primates when they ask then not to do a particular thing – is this so radical??

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    “Pat – that’s a new twist – why would they do that?”

    To make those who believed it look bad when it was proven false (or allegedly proven false). Get a secret supporter to write something outrageous, scream that you didn’t say that, then get the supporter to “retract”.

    Then point to all the people who were taken in and call them bigots.

  • Tunde says:

    The bishop said he did not discuss anything about homosexuals or homosexuality with any journalist. Questions during the press interview were mainly on the Niger delta problem. Other reporters were there and none reported such. On asking the reporter for when such a statement was made, he was told by the reporter that it was from his synod address.

    Seems the reporter got incensed about the issue of a ‘gay bishop’ (which is not uncommon here) and put his own feelings as if they were the bishop’s words.

  • Pluralist says:

    Ah like the pastoral epistles then – what Paul would have said.

  • Pat O'Neill says:

    Can we have the NAME of this reporter please?

    And, if he did what Tunde says he did, is he still employed? He shouldn’t be.

    I’m still disturbed by all this…it sounds more and more like a deliberate provocation by the anti-gays.

  • NP says:

    Ford – I can see what you mean…but think you may have misunderstood me…..I was saying that some want the story to be true – probably to play politics too

    For me, I wanted it to be untrue because the reported statements were disgusting and non-biblical

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Seems the reporter got incensed about the issue of a ‘gay bishop’ (which is not uncommon here) and put his own feelings as if they were the bishop’s words.”

    Tunde, I confess I’m seeing less reason to believe the report and more reason to believe you. Though maybe you should meditate and pray about the way in which the anti-gay rhetoric, the lies and slanders against gay people that have come from your Church have created a situation where a reporter could get so “incensed”. I cannot conceive of someone getting “incensed” about a gay bishop. If what you are saying is true, then you have helped create a situation in your country where the presence of a gay bishop on the other side of the planet makes a person so enraged he is willing to either a) slander a bishop for some reason, (what reason?)or b) believe that statements like this are acceptable and that attributing them to a bishop would not be an issue. Either way, you have some, though granted not all, responsibility for the situation. There must be a better way to preach your message of redemption for gay people than creating a situation where someone can get so enraged he could do something like this.

  • NP says:

    Ford says “there must be a better way to preach your message of redemption…”

    Yep – there is:

  • Ford Elms says:

    I’ve managed to get about halfway through the first article before getting too angry at the hypocrisy of Fulcrum accusing others of their own sins. Come on. They speak of Windsor being concerned about the lack of theology behind TEC’s actions. I’m more dismayed than concerned. But then, there’s the stuff about strident condemnations and discpilined deliberations and moralistic confessionalism. This last is particularly galling. It is Fulcrum and their ilk who are pushing a moralistic confessionalism, they call it a “covenant”. That they can have the face to accuse others of this when it is not even something the others are doing, when it is Fulcrum et al who are the only ones doing it is uproariously funny. Do they seriously think that people can’t see through that? I know you can’t but I’ve had my St. Francis moment with you, there’s none so blind as those who will not see.

    Then there’s the e thing about Dromantine. In describing the piety of the Primates who couldn’t celebrate the Eucharist together, they neglect to reflect on the fact that those primates who absented themselves from Eucharist with their fellow Cristians were so pained that they held a feast to celebrate the fact! This is Christian? It will take a while for me to plow through the anger this hypocrisy creates in me, but I will, for the sake of discussion. Poor me!

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