Monday, April 21, 2008

Church of Nigeria's American Beachhead Claims to Be "Radically Inclusive"

CANA is a group that describes themselves as "an Anglican missionary effort in the US sponsored by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)." It is centered around 11 churches in Virginia who voted to abandon the Episcopal Church in late 2006. Here is part of Bp. Peter Lee's response to Abp. Akinola claiming those churches for the Church of Nigeria:

...The Church of Nigeria, like The Episcopal Church, is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion with clearly defined boundaries. Bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion hold that provincial boundaries are not crossed by bishops without expressed invitation. Bishop Akinola’s effort to establish CANA within the boundaries of The Episcopal Church has occurred without any invitation or authorization whatsoever and violates centuries of established Anglican heritage. As the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, CANA is not a branch of the Anglican Communion and does not have his encouragement.

When the membership of these congregations voted to sever their ties with the Episcopal Church and affiliate with CANA, they left remaining Episcopal congregations in those places without vestries, without clergy and without their churches, whether the remaining congregations numbered one or 100 souls. The spiritual abandonment of their Episcopal brothers and sisters of the past, the present and the future, is perhaps the greatest offense for which there is no redress under our tradition...
To date, the Church of Nigeria has not relinquished the Church property and have continued to occupy the churches and use the property owned by the Diocese of Virginia.

The CANA website has a link on their front page to an explanation of why they are claiming to be an example of "radical inclusion":

Did you know that there are things God doesn't know? For one, God doesn't know a person he doesn't love. God loves you — no matter what.

God loves the world (John 3:16). CANA is leading and building communities of faith where the radical message of Galatians 3:28 is lived out: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” CANA is a place where people of diverse backgrounds show the world that true unity is possible when we are connected by “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). CANA is committed to the Dromantine Communiqué (February 2005): “we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.”
I find this a rather outrageous claim for these folks to be making. Why? Because it is simply not true. Consider just a few examples from their Archbishop, Peter Akinola, whom they have freely chosen to be their spiritual leader:

A quote from Abp. Akinola from 2003:

'This is an attack on the Church of God - a Satanic attack on God's church,' he told the Lagos-based Guardian newspaper.

'I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don't hear of such things.

'When we sit down globally as a communion, I am going to sit in a meeting with a man who is marrying a fellow man,' he added. 'I mean it's just not possible. I cannot see myself doing it.'
Another quote from the Archbishop, from 2005:

...To opine that, unknown to humans, God had hitherto created some people to be homosexuals and lesbians (i.e., sexual orientations) is tantamount to creating God in our own image and introducing a cancerous element into the fabric of the African understanding of marriage and family.

Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of bastards. And in the context of much poverty and lack of education, this further produces an ill-bred generation of hooligans, portending much terror to the peace and stability of the society...
From 2006:

The Church (of Nigeria) affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity and encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values.
What was it CANA, a mission of Abp. Akinola's Church of Nigeria, said on their "radical inclusion" page?

...The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us...
I guess referring to fellow Christians as being Satanic, less than animals, a cancerous element, hooligans, a perversion of human dignity and advocating that they be incarcerated doesn't qualify as "victimization" and "diminishment"?


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