Horatio

Horatio
[Photo by Jacquelyn Griffin)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them"

When the Anglican Wars began, The Congregation of Anglicans in North America ("CANA"), a self-described "missionary district sponsored by the largest and most vibrant province of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Nigeria which at c.19 million members accounts for about 25% of the membership of the entire Anglican Communion," formed as an attempted replacement to the Episcopal Church, or, as they put it, "a building block and an incubator that works to build up the Anglican Church in North America as the provincial structure for orthodox Anglicanism in North America within the next several years." That "province," the "Anglican Church in North America", is self-described as "an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion," and acknowledges that is is comprised of parishes and dioceses that have purported to "disaffiliate from the established provinces in North America and seek episcopal oversight and spiritual care from Anglican Provinces and leaders in other parts of the world, including the primates and churches of Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South America and Uganda." According to ACNA, "CANA is a founding member of the Anglican Church in North America, a missionary jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)."

Got that? Many of those who have split off from the Episcopal Church in the wake of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson are either directly under the jurisdiction of the Church of Nigeria, or in communion with it.

No doubt they are exultant today, to see their spiritual leaders' vision come to pass:
Since Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a harsh law criminalizing homosexuality throughout the country last month, arrests of gay people have multiplied, advocates have been forced to go underground, some people fearful of the law have sought asylum overseas and news media demands for a crackdown have flourished.

Gay sex has been illegal in Nigeria since British colonial rule, but convictions were rare in the south and only occasional in the mostly Muslim north. The new law bans same-sex marriage and goes significantly further, prescribing 10 years in prison for those who “directly or indirectly” make a “public show” of same-sex relationships. It also punishes anyone who participates in gay clubs and organizations, or who simply supports them, leading to broad international criticism of the sweep of the law.

“This draconian new law makes an already-bad situation much worse,” the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement. “It purports to ban same-sex marriage ceremonies but in reality does much more,” she added. “Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights.”

***

Rights advocates say they have recorded arrests in multiple Nigerian states, but the country’s north has experienced the toughest crackdown. Mr. Jonathan’s national ban has redoubled the zeal against gay people here and elsewhere, according to officials and residents in Bauchi, where Shariah law prevails and green-uniformed Hisbah, or Islamic police officers, search for what is considered immoral under Islam.

“It’s reawakened interest in communities to ‘sanitize,’ more or less, to talk about ‘moral sanitization,’ ” Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of Nigeria’s International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said of the law. “Where it was quiet before, it’s gotten people thinking, ‘Who is behaving in a manner that may be gay?’ It’s driven people into the closet.”

Officials here in Bauchi say they want to root out, imprison and punish gays. Local lawyers are reluctant to represent them. Bail was refused to the gay people already jailed because it was “in the best interests of the accused,” said the chief prosecutor, Dawood Mohammed. In the streets, furious citizens say they are ready to take the law into their own hands to combat homosexuality.
Peter Akinola, who was Archbishop of Nigeria at the time of the split, has long supported this law. The current Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, not only supported the law's passage, but has been quoted as saying that "those not in support of the bill are like the biblical duo, Adam and Eve who questioned God for asking them not to eat the fruits from the Garden of Eden."

So congratulations, ACNA and CANA! You own this:
The young man cried out as he was being whipped on the courtroom bench. The bailiff’s leather whip struck him 20 times, and when it was over, the man’s side and back were covered with bruises.

Still, the large crowd outside was disappointed, the judge recalled: The penalty for gay sex under local Islamic law is death by stoning.

“He is supposed to be killed,” the judge, Nuhu Idris Mohammed, said, praising his own leniency on judgment day last month at the Shariah court here. The bailiff demonstrated the technique he used: whip at shoulder level, then forcefully down.

The mood is unforgiving in this north Nigeria metropolis, where nine others accused of being gay by the Islamic police are behind the central prison’s high walls. Stones and bottles rained down on them outside the court two weeks ago, residents and officials said; some in the mob even wanted to set the courtroom ablaze, witnesses said.
I hope you're proud.

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