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23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008
Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, of the Jos province, (Anglican Communion), has denied allegations that the leader of a group representing “Anglican” homosexuals in the country was attacked.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja, Kwashi rebuffed a statement credited to the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) on the alleged attack.
Kwashi was reacting to an allegation by Mr Davis Mac-Iyalla, leader of Changing Attitude Nigeria, that homosexuals were being physically assaulted in the country.
Iyalla had requested the intervention of the ABC as the ‘spiritual leader’ of the global Anglican Communion.
According to Kwashi, the ABC criticised the alleged assaults on gay Anglicans in Nigeria , describing it as ” latest round of unchristian bullying .”
However, the Jos archbishop said: “I have personally tried to discover the place or nature of the attacks and threats without success.
“It is wrong for Canterbury and a group of English Bishops to accuse the Church of Nigeria of being the perpetrator of a physical attack on the streets.
“If a Nigerian Bishop or church leader was mugged in England would the Archbishop of Canterbury or even the Church of England in general be blamed for this?”
He maintained that “the Church of Nigeria would not be bullied and was committed to the human rights of all people”.
“We will not condone violence against people even though they behave in a way that is not acceptable to us.
“And none of us wishes to be responsible (either directly or indirectly) for murder or violence perpetrated by another person, ” he added.
The arguments in the Anglican Church over homosexuality came to the fore in 2003 with the ordination of a gay Bishop, Rt. Rev Gene Robins of USA.
Since then the Church has been sharply divided between conservative Anglicans who were adamant that ordaining gay clergy or blessing in the church is a sin.
However, the liberals insist on tolerance and inclusion of homosexual people. Kwashi, is the Coordinating Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria would do all in its power to maintain the unity of the Body of Christ. “But we shall not compromise or “dilute” the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.