Orthodox Anglicans' Akinola: 'Five Years in Jail if You are Gay in Nigeria'
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Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 02:55:25 PM EST
In late February, 2006, John Bryson Chane, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, DC, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post. In it, he revealed to the WaPo's readership one of the many awful consequences that decades of conflict have brought to the Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality. Just days before, one of Chane's fellow bishops in the Anglican Communion, the Primate of All Nigeria and leader of the Anglican Communion's largest Province, Archbishop Peter Akinola, endorsed legislation that would ban most basic civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians, and enforce that ban with a 5 year prison sentence.

The Anglican Communion is in crisis mode, struggling to salvage a broad though loosely affiliated organization from self-destruction under the pull of two strong forces. On the one hand, northern Anglicans in the US, Canada, and the UK are committed to a liberal stand on homosexuality, and to a Gospel of Inclusion (i.e., "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You"). On the other hand, the Provinces of the Global South, along with splinter organizations in the North (see the American Anglican  Council, or AAC, and the Anglican Communion Network, or Network) are "orthodox" on the issue of homosexuality, and consider their purpose to be far more evangelical than that of the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA), or of other Northern Anglicans. The Provinces of the Global South claim moral authority because of their great and increasing numbers, while parish registries in ECUSA and elsewhere are stable or in decline.

[Image of Archbishop Peter Akinola, left, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, right -- photo credit Jim Rosenthal/Anglican World]

The "splinter organizations" that have organized the conservative movement within ECUSA, and in the process have forged deep alliances with their Global South brethren, have their roots deep within the Republican Party. Jim Naughton of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington expertly outlines that relationship in his series "Following the Money." The AAC -- an umbrella group for American conservative Anglicanism -- has historical and present ties with the Institute on Religion and Democracy (or IRD), a deeply conservative group devoted to supporting politically consonant forms of Christianity within mainline Protestant denominations. The historical relationship between the IRD and the AAC is clear -- at one point, their websites were identically formatted, and their offices were in adjacent suites in an I St. office building in northwest Washington, DC. (The AAC is now headquartered in Atlanta.) The IRD has received considerable support ($4,679,000 between 1985 and 2005) from The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Richard Mellon Scaife via the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundaiton, and the Scaife Family Foundation, the Randolph Foundation, the Castle Rock Foundation (the Coors family), and others. The IRD board is populated by such conservative luminaries as Mary Ellen Bork, Fred Barnes, author of "Rebel in Chief", Richard J. Neuhaus, Michael Novak, and is advised by conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved. A source in the AAC tells me that a still large share of the AAC's budget comes from Howard Ahmanson, Jr., a major funder of Intelligent Design "research" at the Discovery Institute.

Support from the IRD has helped the AAC and the Network (the "orthodox" wing of ECUSA) get their feet on the ground, and establish ties to Global South Provinces, where the Network's brand of Anglicanism has found a far more sympathetic audience.

The groundwork was laid, then, for a massive right-wing reaction to the elevation -- at the ECUSA 2003 General Convention -- of V. Gene Robinson, an open and partnered gay priest, to be Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. Since then, it has been open warfare against the "creeping influence" of Western liberalism, with Archbishop Akinola leading the charge, and conservative American Anglicans more than eager to follow.

It is in this context that we must interpret the significance of the Nigerian gay marriage bill (pdf) that Archbishop Akinola endorsed and Bishop Chane discussed. As much as Archbishop Akinola and the Church of Nigeria would like us to think otherwise, the bill is a direct reaction to the conflict over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion, and specifically a reaction to the presence of a gay and lesbian Anglican advocacy group that formed in Nigeria last year.

It is also in this context that we must interpret the inability civil libertarians among conservative Anglicans in the US to take action against what I know many of them believe to be a bad piece of legislation. One highly-placed cleric associated with the Network has been quite clear with me that he is very uncomfortable with the legislation -- he believes it is no longer ministry when you put gay and lesbian parishioners in jail over a theological disagreement. Because of clergymen like him, and because of his continued silence, I have become convinced that only a schism in the Communion could rescue gay and lesbian Nigerians from prison. That is, only when conservatives are freed from having to fight their liberal brethren and defend their hero Peter Akinola will they able to see the forest for the trees.

While the bill would affect millions of Nigerians (assuming conservatively that the background "homosexuality" rate among Nigerians is 1-3% out of a population of 120 million), the legislation's story begins and ends with Changing Attitude, an Anglican group in the UK determined to achieve full acceptance for gay and lesbian Anglicans. The following timeline will help illustrate why Changing Attitude and its Nigerian branch Changing Attitude Nigeria (see CA website for sources) are so important, and why it was that their presence in Nigeria precipitated the legislation's introduction:

  • March 2005 -- The ECUSA House of Bishops adopts a "Covenant Statement," which says, in part:
    We express our own deep regret for the pain that others have experienced  with respect to our actions at the General Convention of 2003 [the elevation of Bishop Robinson] and we offer our  sincerest apology and repentance for having breached our bonds of affection by  any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners before taking those  actions.
  • April 2005 -- Archbishop Akinola responds to the "Covenant Statement," saying:
    While the statement issued by ECUSA's House of Bishops expressed a desire to remain in the life and mission of the Anglican Communion, I was disappointed that the only regret offered was for their failure to consult and the effect of their actions instead of an admission that what they have done has offended God and His Church. [emphasis mine]
    Two days later, Archbishop Akionola announces the planting of a Nigerian Anglican church in North America, called the Convocation of Anglican Nigerian Churches in America (or CANA). In doing this, the Archbishop crosses "Provincial" borders, signifying to the rest of the communion that, in his soon-to-be very ironic words:
    If ... the measures proposed ... to protect the legitimate needs of groups in serious theological disputes prove to be ineffectual, and if acts of oppression against those who seek to uphold our common faith persist, then we will have no choice but to offer safe harbour for those in distress.
  • 1 September 2005 -- Changing Attitude (CA) launches in Nigeria. Its director, Davis Mac-Iyalla writes of their first meeting:
    It was a big joy to start the group here with 35 persons in attendance on the day of our first meeting. More people keep showing interest and our numbers increased each time we met. I have called on friends from other Dioceses who are very active to help start the group in their respective churches. Most of the people I speak to on phone want me to reach them in person and to tell them what to do so that they can start the group in their parishes.
    CA's goal is to:
    make lesbian and gay Anglicans visible and heard in every Nigerian diocese. Groups are already meeting in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja, where the headquarters of the Church are located.
  • 17 October 2005 -- Davis Mac-Iyalla, director of CA Nigeria, publishes an article in Nigeria's Daily Sun [no longer available online]. In it, he
    confronts the Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, with the reality of gay and lesbian worshippers in Anglican churches across Nigeria. [He] reminds the church of the commitment made by the Primates, including Archbishop Akinola, to listen to the experience of homosexual persons in each province and reflect on these matters. [emphasis mine]
    It is this "listening" that Archbishop Akinola himself agreed to at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, under the I.10 Resolution (I.10c).

  • 22-24 October 2005 -- Director Davis Mac-Iyalla and eight fellow members of Changing Attitude Nigeria are arrested. Mac-Iyalla believes that the arrests were in response to his Daily Sun article. Davis is beaten twice, as are his companions, and they are kept without food or water for three days.

  • 25 November 2005 -- Undaunted, Changing Attitude Nigeria holds their first General Meeting in Abuja, as covered by the New York Times' Lydia Polgreen (LexisNexis):
    At one end of town on a fall Saturday morning, in a soaring cathedral nestled in a tidy suburb, dozens of Nigeria's most powerful citizens gathered, their Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rover sport utility vehicles gleaming in a packed parking lot. The well-heeled crowd was there to celebrate the Eucharist with the leader of Nigeria's Anglican Church, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola.

    At the other end of town, in a small clubhouse behind a cultural center, a decidedly more downscale and secretive gathering of Anglicans got under way: the first national meeting of a group called Changing Attitudes Nigeria. Its unassuming name, and the secrecy accompanying its meeting -- the location was given to a visitor only after many assurances that it would not be revealed to anyone else -- underscored the radical nature of the group's mission: to fight for acceptance of homosexuals in the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

    ''We want to tell the bishop that it is our church, too,'' said Davis Mac-Iyalla, a 33-year-old former teacher who founded the group, which claims to have hundreds of members. ''They do not own the word of Jesus. It belongs to all of us.''

    About the meeting, Davis says:
    I am full of joy at the end of the Meeting. God is great. About 360 people were at the opening on Friday afternoon. More than 800 people came for the second meeting later on Friday and the meeting lasted until 4am. We worshipped, ate and prayed together. The meeting was held openly so that we can now tell everyone that gay Nigerians met together and came out of their closets.
  • 28 December 2005 -- Clearly alarmed by the presence of Changing Attitude Nigera, and surely more than a little annoyed, Archbishop Akinola releases a statement to the Nigerian public, warning them of the "activities of a person who goes by the name of Davis Mac-Iyalla." The statement can be found here at the Church of Nigeria's website. An accompanying press release warns the public of "fraudsters."

  • 31 December 2005 through 16 January 2006 -- Changing Attitude responds to these charges vociferously, here, here and here.

  • 18 January 2006 -- Justice Minister Oyo presents the legislation (pdf) in question to the Nigerian Federal Assembly (discussed in detail below). The bill goes out of its way to ban any sort of organization that advocates homosexuality within Nigeria. The bill's emphasis on "organizations" is suspiscious, and, of course, were the bill to pass, Changing Attitude Nigeria would be illegal, and members would be subject to 5 years' imprisonment were they to continue to meet.

  • 25 February 2006 -- Archbishop Peter Akinola explicitly endorses the legislation in his "Letter to the Nation" following their Standing Committee meeting, as found on the Church of Nigeria website.
Davis Mac-Iyalla believes the Church of Nigeria is behind the bill. Other human rights workers in Nigeria have confirmed this, saying that Archbishop Akinola has "spearheaded" the campaign to pass the legislation prior to the runup to next years' presidential elections.

Conversations between Church of Nigeria officials (notably Canon Akintude Popoola) and Changing Attitude occasionally pop up on the website Thinking Anglicans (for example here, here, and here; Canon Popoola goes by "Tunde"). Typically, Canon Popoola claims that homosexuals do not exist in Nigeria or that they exist in very small numbers (to which CA responded in the Church Times, posted here), and that Davis is defrauding his foreign supporters and attempting to trick them into sponsoring his asylum in the EU. The most recent defense of Davis by CA can be found here.

I will publish a compendium of Canon Popoola's comments (in context!) sometime in the near future.

Since the publication of Chane's op-ed -- which you must read if you haven't already -- the issue has only grown in strength. The US State Department has denounced the legislation. Nearly 20 human rights organizations have called for President Obasanjo -- historically a friend of Peter Akinola -- to drop the bill. Sixty members of the European Parliament have condemned the legislation. While currently in committee, the legislation is expected to go up for a vote in July, 2006.

When reading the bill, it is important to keep in mind that sodomy is already illegal in Nigeria. Chapter 24, Section 214 of Nigeria's criminal code penalizes consensual homosexual conduct between adults with fourteen years' imprisonment (Human Rights Watch). Sharia, as practiced in northern Nigeria since 1999, calls for death by stoning for "sodomy" violations.

A copy of the "Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition)" bill can be found here (pdf). The bill has not yet passed. A summary of bill follows (I've emphasized those parts of the bill that, in my view, "cross the line"):

  • Sections 1 and 2 - Definitions
  • Section 3
    • Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in Nigeria.
  • Section 4
    • Same-sex marriage and adoption are prohibited.
    • Foreign same-sex marriages are void in Nigeria.
    • Same-sex marriages are not entitled to the benefits of valid marriages.
    • Contractural rights between same-sex married couples by virtue of those marriages are void in a court of law.
    • Nigerian courts will have no jurisdiction over such divorce, separation, and maintenance orders with respect to same-sex marriages.
  • Section 5
    • Again, same-sex marriages from outside Nigeria are not recognized within Nigeria.
    • No arm of the government, in its official capacity, will recognize same-sex marriages.
  • Section 6
    • The celebration of same-sex marriages is prohibited in any place of worship.
    • No marriage license can be issued to partners in a same-sex marriage.
  • Section 7
    • Registration of gay organizations by the Nigerian government is prohibited.
    • "Publicity, procession and public show of same sex amorous relationship" in the media is prohibited.
    • Gay organizations are prohibited, as is "procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private". Violators are subject to 5 years' imprisonment.
  • Section 8
    • Any participant in same-sex marriage is subject to a penalty of 5 years' imprisonment.
    • Any person who performs, witnesses, aids or abets a same-sex marriage is subject to the same penalty.
Sections 1-5 of the Nigerian bill would formalize restrictions on gay marriage that are similar to what are found in many states in the US. Twenty-one states still have sodomy laws on their books, and most ban gay marriage or civil unions either constitutionally or by statute. If the Nigerian bill had stopped here, it would have imposed a situation no different than that found throughout the US.

But this bill goes much further. Sections 6-8 above restrict the right to free speech, free press, free assembly, and the free exercise of religion, and enforces that restriction with a jail sentence.

This week, the Episcopal Church heads into its General Convention. I hope that anyone reading this will use it as a resource when speaking to the press, or working to convince our Conservative friends that abridging basic civil rights is not the way to minister to sinners.

Please send me any links to other resources you would like to have posted here. I don't have time to be exhaustive on my own -- I need help.

I recommend the following "talking point" when discussing the legislation with its supporters:

Don't let ministry turn to persecution.
Most conservatives I've spoken with either have nothing to say in response to this, or become quite willing to say all sorts of awful things in order to save face.

The following is a summary of Political Spaghetti posts in order of advancing date (I would be interested in linking to posts from other bloggers -- please send those links if you have them -- I will post them!):

March, 2006

  • My first post on the central role of Archbishop Peter Akinola in endorsing the gay marriage bill, and in doing worse than nothing to quell reprisal violence by Nigerian Christians against Muslims following the "cartoon riots" of February.
  • Comments on the "Absurdity of Same Sex Unions" by the Rt. Rev. David Onuoha.
  • A collection of quotes by Nigerian religious leaders of all persuasions on the same-sex marriage bill.
  • A call for Akinola's conservative colleagues within the Anglican Communion to denounce Akinola's endorsement of the legislation.
  • A letter by the Rev. Martyn Minns of Truro Parish, Fairfax, Virginia, defending Archbishop Akinola. Minns, incidentally, is a good friend of Akinola, has hosted Akinola's visits to the US, and is believed to be on the short list for the episcopacy should Akinola succeed in establishing an Anglican Province within the US.
  • Some clarification on our obligations to protect basic civil rights everywhere.
  • A summary of the relevant human rights documents, including sections of the Nigerian Constitution.
  • Comments on a letter by a local American Anglican Council (AAC) group in the Washington, DC, area to Bishop Chane in response to his op-ed. Their objections were easily dispelled, though we've heard nothing more from them on the subject.
  • A summary of a conversation I had with a commenter named "John" over at titusonenine, and my responses to his arguments, regarding Martyn Minns letter.
  • The US State Department denounces the legislation.
  • Archbishop Akinola formally endorses the legislation. I make suggestions for compromise changes to the bill.
  • Stephen Bates at the Guardian (UK) comments on conservative Anglicans' fear of crossing Archbishop Akinola.
  • Andrew Sullivan asks when Christian religious leaders will start using Islamists' calls of Western decadence to start calling for restrictions of our basic freedoms. I suggest that Martyn Minns already had.
  • I suggest that the Institution on Religion and Democracy might not deserve the word "Democracy" in their name if they are only willing to defend democratic institutions -- like the right to free exercise of religion -- when those institutions protect "orthodox" Christians.
  • Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, the moderator of the Anglican Communion Network in the US, responds to Bishop Chane's op-ed in the Washington Post. His letter is a weak response, and like most others fails to address the substance of Chane's op-ed (see here).
  • I note that by taking part in a schism of the Anglican Communion on the side of an Archbishop who endorses putting gay and lesbian Nigerians in prison for their speech, conservative American Anglicans are painting themselves as anti-civil libertarians.
  • Uganda and Nigeria among the ten worst places to live if you're gay.
  • An example of how the concept of a "civil society" has not yet reached poverty and war-ravaged Nigeria.
  • Human Rights Watch and 15 other human rights organizations call for Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to withdraw the legislation, in advance of Obasanjo's visit to the White House in late March.
  • A roundup of responses to the Human Rights Watch letter.
  • The Afghan Christian convert, sentenced to death by Muslim courts, set to be released. I discuss the implications for the IRD.
  • I muse over whether Schism in the Anglican Communion would be the best way to get conservative Anglicans in the US to look critically at the actions of their hero, Archbishop Akinola.
  • More reactions to the Human Rights Watch letter.
  • More on the "benefits" of Schism.
  • A missed opportunity by conservative Anglicans in the US to exercise the consciences.
  • Mark Harris responds to Bishop Duncan.
  • The Nigerian solar eclipse (late March)
  • My response to the Rev. Luke Mbefo's letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Bishop Chane's op-ed to the Washington Post.
  • Nigerian President Obasanjo calls for the Federal Assembly to expedite the passage of the Gay Marriage ban.
April, 2006
  • Nigerian President Obasanjo makes it clear that he will run for a third term as president if the Federal Assembly is able to change the constitution to permit him to do so. This is widely considered to be an orchestrated move, originating from Obasanjo, though he denies that to this day. The subsequent furor over "Third Term," as it came to be known in Nigeria, put the gay marriage legislation on the back burner.
  • Archbishop Akinola makes a low profile visit to the US.
  • What 5 years in a Nigerian jail might look like.
  • More human rights organizations come out against Nigerian gay marriage bill.
  • I wonder aloud about how religious voices can be melded into civil society with minimal conflict. I choose the example of Paul at the Areopagus as found in the Book of Acts.
  • The New Yorker covers the crisis in the Anglican Communion.
  • The Muslim News incorrectly reports that the gay marriage legislation had already passed. This becomes a common misconception, especially among gay activist magazines, web pages, and journals in the West.
  • A brilliant op-ed by Gary Wills in the New York Times on liberal religious leaders working to develop a political movement of their own. I have problems with such movements, regardless of whether they come from the left or the right. So does Wills.
  • An Easter message from Akinola.
  • A long piece I wrote, called "Things Fall Apart" (clever, huh?), to fill in blanks left by Peter Boyer's otherwise fascinating piece in the New Yorker about the crisis in the Anglican Communion.
  • Being gay in Botswana.
  • A post on the long-term involvement of Archbishop Akinola's Communications Director, Akintunde Popoola, in discussions on the liberal Anglican website, Thinking Anglicans. I tried to get Canon Popoola to declare that he was OK with putting gay and lesbian Nigerians in jail for their advocacy of homosexuality. He declined to answer. And no one heard from him again. For the record, he has never explicitly answered that question. Neither has Archbishop Akinola.
  • The damage done by the abstinence-only program within President Bush's PEPFAR campaign to HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa.
  • Jim Naughton, at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, posts a two-part article on how the right-leaning elements of the Episcopal Church is funded, called "Following the Money."
  • Archbishop Akinola named one of the world's top 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.
May, 2006
  • More on Jim Naughton's "Following the Money." I balk at making a comment.
  • I post briefly on the denouncement of Akinola's endorsement of the gay marriage ban by Canada's Anglican bishops.
  • Andrew Sullivan works hard to coin the word "christianism." Lucky him.
  • The IRD's Mark Tooley uses Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush to criticize liberals, showing us only that he's a tool of the Republican-controlled IRD.
  • The liberal blogosphere organizes against the IRD.
  • I predict that with the end of "Third Term", the gay marriage ban will shortly be re-introduced to the Nigerian Federal Assembly.
  • South African Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane comments on the influence of Western liberalism on his thinking, showing that not all of African Anglicanism has a totalitarian streak.
  • David Virtue posts randomly on Bishop Chane's op-ed, perhaps as a toss of red meat to his readers.
  • Why conservative Anglicans are wrong to support Akinola's endorsement.
  • The Guardian's Peter Tatchell puts pressure on the oddly silent Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to speak up on the issue of the gay marriage legislation.
  • Northern Nigeria and sex education.
  • The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, has room in his head for democratic politics in the face of a third-term run by President Obasanjo, but no room for the most basic of civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians.
  • Africans, sex, and the internet.
June, 2006
  • A coalition of Nigerian human rights groups forms around defeating, or at least changing, the gay marriage ban prior to its passage.
  • Just to show that I don't think Akinola is all bad, this post covers his denouncement of corruption in various Nigerian government agencies. (Of course, talk is cheap when corruption is so rampant.)
  • News finally reaches me of the gay marriage legislation. IT IS NOT DEAD.
Here is a list of relevant news on the gay marriage legislation, going back further than my time blogging on the subject.

[Constantly updated -- permalink here]

For more related stories, see the Talk To Action site section, The Shadow War

These two posts by, Talk To Action member ajg  are especially relevant :

An introduction to the Anglican "Global South">

Recent struggles within the Episcopal Church and the the Worldwide Anglican Communion, to which it belongs have pitted (as the IRD associated, Ahmanson funded American conservatives would frame things) the degenerate, gay-friendly American Episcopal Church against the oppressed, biblically orthodox and numerically superior provinces of the Anglican "Global South." Indeed, Anglican Archbishops (sometimes called primates) in a number of African provinces (most notable Nigeria, who's Archbishop is their de-facto leader), along with West Indies, and the numerically smaller provinces of Southeast Asia and the Southern Cone (of South America, which includes Argentina and Chile). Have been at the forefront of condemning the Episcopal Church for the actions of the their General Convention in 2003.

The AAC's ongoing Guerrilla War

To bring the TTA community up to speed on the IRD attack on the Episcopal Church and to add another response to the Shadow War discussion, I want to direct everyone's attention to fall 2003, immediately after the consecration of Gene Robinson, when the AAC (the IRD's Episcopal arm) made a commitment to "guerrilla warfare" within the church.  

From the notes of a meeting between the "Global South Primates" and AAC/IRD affiliated Bishops 11/20/03The AAC's ongoing Guerrilla War

also posts by Talk To Action members:


by Bruce Wilson on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 03:26:52 PM EST

But what are they doing about those idiot Nigerians who keep sending me emails offering a 30% commission if I help them get the money out of some multimillion-dollar account. Maybe they could throw them in with some big gay guys who could teach them a new way to get screwed. I'm curious why you think US conservatives would oppose this legislation. Most American conservatives would love it if they could pass a similar law here. Libertarians would support you, but they represent a small number of total conservatives, and an extremely small number of religious conservatives. And what is it about the south, whether American or global that makes people really, really, really stupid? It must be the weather. That's why conservatives don't want to fight global warming. They figure, if the whole world gets a southern climate, we'll all be stupid. And instead of electing any old primate, Anglicans should limit the position of bishop to humans. Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one.

by Dave on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 06:39:30 PM EST
Dave, I think there are an awful lot of conservative Anglicans who hear this story and start to question Akinola's position.

There are two problems.

(1) There is a crisis in the Anglican communion over the ordination of gay priests and the consecration of gay bishops. Archbishop Akinola leads the faction in the Communion that is diametrically opposed to such "innovations." If liberals oppose the legislation, they are dismissed as being politically motivated Akinola-bashers. If American conservatives oppose the legislation, they risk damaging his prestige, or worse damaging his support of them. And if "moderates", like the Archbishop of Canterbury, oppose the legislation, they risk shattering the Communion. It is because of this stalemate that I have often wondered if Schism might be the best thing to happen to gay and lesbian Nigerians. Certainly, Bishop Robinson can do nothing to help them.

(2) Most people have no idea what's going on in Nigeria.

by matt on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 07:08:20 PM EST

Then conservative Anglicans are much more liberal than their Evangelical counterparts. Most of them want gays executed, though few will admit it openly because of its political unpopularity.

by Dave on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 07:57:52 PM EST
I think it's an exageration to say they would want them executed. When push comes to shove, opinions lighten up.

by matt on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 08:27:41 PM EST
You're right, most average evangelicals wouldn't be so crazy. Unfortunately, many in leadership positions in the movement are this nuts.

by Dave on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 12:11:11 AM EST
Have a "nuanced" position :  they say they want to execute a minority of homosexuals in order to drive the rest back into the closet, or to discourage them from an openly gay lifestyle.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 05:59:01 AM EST
The words many have used do not stray to far from Bruce's "nuance." Many I have spoken to speak of "disincentives", as if they were fighting the war on drugs.

But it's only in group think that they take that sort of thing too far. When alone, they become the most reasonable people on Earth. I think that's what I mean by opinions softening up.

by matt on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 08:17:19 AM EST

This is serious stuff, and Matt's post is based on facts -- a real worl situation faced by ordinary human beings in Nigeria. That this draconian legislation could happen with the backing of someone as prominent as Bishop Akinola is chillling -- and should give considerable pause to those self proclaimed Orthodox Angligans who lionize this man. It is fair to challenge conservatves as to whether Akinola speaks for them on this -- or on anything. But it is wrong to assume that this is necessarily the case.

In anycase, Dave, I am certain that you can find more constructive ways to participate in discussions around here. Snarky glibness falls pretty flat in the context of the dire situations such as this.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 08:41:25 PM EST

The pastor of an American Anglican Council affiliated startup congregation in Baltimore, Eliot Winks, is on the executive committee of the Franklin Graham Festival coming to Baltimore next month.

I'll leave the clarification of the significance of this connection to others more familiar with these matters, but clearly AAC leaders can be connected with other Christian leaders like Graham, who's been saying some rather outrageous things lately.

Priest, deacons ordained to serve Episcopal splitoffs

Local Leadership - Metro Maryland Franklin Graham Festival

Acquire the Evidence: on Ron Luce, Teen Mania Ministries and the "BattleCry" campaign. acquiretheevidence.com

by Mike Doughney on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 01:27:16 AM EST

Line of rhetorical attack ?

Well, Graham's quote there doesn't go into it, but I suspect that other things he has said continue the typical line of assertion:

  1. Secularists have driven "God" out of the "public square"

  2. Bad things have happened.

Now, one could quibble endlessly with proponents of claim #1

But, claim #2 is demonstrably false. Bad things have always happened, but American society is NOT fallling apart in the way typically claimed.

Far from it, and the problem is that the American Christian right, and American social conservatives, have been making such claims for decades now without - apparently - bothering to check whether there exists any  evidence to support their claims.

Is this "false witness" ? - there's disagreement due to differing definitions of that term.  

But,  to the extent that the actual facts are publicized, those who make such claims can be accused of lying - truth telling is generally held to be a core value not just in Christianity but in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and all the great world religions.

It's time for people such as Graham to be called to account for promoting what I'd call the "myth of perpetual decay".

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 06:15:31 AM EST

That's not directly on topic here - though it is relevant at a deeper level.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 06:16:47 AM EST

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Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.On our second day......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (4 comments)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
For Salon.com readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's Salon.com interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first......
By Bruce Wilson (3 comments)
Education For Everyone: In Defense Of `Government Schools'
Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story about a trend among far-right conservatives in Kansas who call public schools "government schools."The......
By Rob Boston (6 comments)

Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (0 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (4 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (10 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (4 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (2 comments)

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