The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Still Standing at Armageddon, Battling Dutifully Away

Just over four years ago (!), I chided then-aspiring CANA bishop, Martyn Minns, rather harshly for his false statement denouncing as "untrue" reports that the then-Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola was "an advocate of jailing gays,” in which he said that "Archbishop Akinola believes that all people—whatever their manner of life or sexual orientation—are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with respect." Archbishop Akinola had, in fact previously issued a statement supporting a proposed Nigerian law that would do exactly that, stating "[t]he Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality." This was important at the time, as Minns' parishes in Virginia were deciding whether to affiliate with Nigeria, rather than remain in the Episcopal Church, on the ground that it was insufficiently bigoted against gays, but the Nigerian law was further than the upscale parishes might have felt comfortable with. It's one thing not to consecrate openly gay bishops, quite another to criminalize homosexual relationships, speech in favor of gay rights, etc.

So why do I bring this up, four years later? Because Nigeria is in the process of passing a version of the draconian law, under which:
couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. That’s an increase over the bill’s initial penalties, which lawmakers proposed during a debate Tuesday televised live from the National Assembly in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

Other additions to the bill include making it illegal to register gay clubs or organizations, as well as criminalizing the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly.” Those who violate those laws would face 10-year imprisonment as well.
Needless to say, Archbishop Akinola now retired, "has enthusiastically endorsed Nigeria's anti-gay bill." I have not seen a straightforward endorsement of the bill by Akinola's successor, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, but, in September of this year, he was quoted as calling gays and lesbians “evil”, saying that God had created women as “helpmates” for men. “What is being known now as 'gay' and 'homosexuality' is contrary to God’s plan for human sexuality and procreation,” the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh said. “It is against the will of God, and nobody should encourage it, and those who do will earn for themselves the damnation of the Almighty."

CANA members must be very, very proud of how their church is advancing the teaching of Jesus Christ in this Advent season.

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