Sunday, May 21, 2006

Akinola's Harsh, Merciless Christian Fundamentalism

Peter Tatchell offers a fiery condemnation of Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Archbishop of Canterbury:

...In the name of Christianity, Akinola and his Anglican hierarchy are endorsing the state oppression of their gay countrymen and women.

Akinola's harsh, merciless Christian fundamentalism has long whipped up homophobic hatred and intimidation. It poses a grave danger to the spiritual and physical welfare of gay people in Nigeria. I fear for the safety of my Nigerian brothers and sisters, under attack by both church and state.

Thousands of lesbian and gay Nigerians will be at risk of imprisonment if this new law is passed. Right now, it looks almost certain to be approved and will come into force before the end of this year.

To many people's dismay, Dr Williams, has remained silent about this attack on the human rights of gay Nigerians, many of whom are members of his Anglican Communion.

Although the new law will criminalise gay Christian gatherings, blessings and celebrations, the archbishop has refused to condemn this repressive legislation or to support gay Christians in Nigeria. Rejecting the parable of the Good Samaritan, he has chosen to walk by on the other side of the street, ignoring the suffering of Nigerian lesbians and gays.

Dr Williams would not appease a racist or anti-semitic cleric. Why is he appeasing a boastful homophobe like Archbishop Akinola?

The leader of the Anglican communion wants church unity at any price, apparently even at the price of betraying gay people. He would, it seems, rather unite with a self-proclaimed persecutor than with the victims of homophobic persecution.

When it comes to the fate of queers, the sermon on the mount cuts little ice with the archbishop: he prefers to curry favour with modern-day pharisees. For gays and lesbians, especially gay and lesbian Christians, Dr Williams is a huge disappointment. He is a good man who has lost his conscience...
Thinking Anglicans points us to a press release from Changing Attitude that highlights one result of this Nigerian bill becoming law; any Nigerian bishop who engages in the listening process as described in Lambeth 1.10 and the Windsor Report would face imprisonment:

...This deadly bill has the blessing of Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, who is the self-appointed leader of the conservative group in the world-wide Anglican Communion. Archbishop Akinola is leading a fight against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the Communion. He is not supported by every bishop in Nigeria and wants the bill to be implemented speedily to suppress disagreement.

The bill will make life impossible for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Nigerians. We will be prevented from free association and the ability to be open about ourselves. Our relationships will continue to be lived in fear and secrecy.

Any Nigerian bishop who tries to listen to homosexual experience in accordance with commitments made by the Anglican Communion will be labelled a supporter of homosexual people and be at risk of prosecution under the terms of the new bill, subject to a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.

The bill will make it impossible for any Nigerian bishop fulfil the commitment of the Anglican Church expressed in the Windsor report to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay people...
Who in a position of leadership within the Anglican Communion has spoken out against Akinola's blessing of this bill? So far, only the Canadian bishops and Bishop Chane of Washington.

I give the award for the most outrageous excuse for silence on this crisis to Dean Zahl, who wants the "embargo" of Trinity lifted before he'll even consider the topic:

...The embargo on Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry is an important symbolic symptom of a non-loving, non-space-conceding mind-set on the part of many of our bishops...

...I cannot listen to what the majority has to say – and I would truly like to – until those who hold the cards just now, in a human sense, give a little. When they give us some real space, then I shall listen to what they have to say concerning our co-religionist Peter Akinola...
Such a conversation will probably never happen, at least in Ambridge, for fear that the steamrolling brownshirts might plant a bomb within Trinity's hallowed halls.

The Special Commission is proposing a resolution that would address the situation in Nigeria:

Resolution A168 Human Rights for “Homosexual Persons”
Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reaffirm “its conviction that homosexual persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws with all other citizens, and calls upon our society to see that such protection is provided in actuality” (GC 1976–A071); and be it further

Resolved, That the 75th General Convention affirms the statement in the Windsor Report paragraph 146: “Moreover, any demonizing of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care. We urge provinces to be proactive in support of the call of Lambeth Resolution 64 (1988) for them to ‘reassess, in the light of … study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude toward persons of homosexual orientation’”; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns seek ways to address this concern through the Anglican Communion Office.

The respect and dignity due every human being, and the affirmation of the human rights of every person, require the constant attention of this church. This resolution affirms the need for this attention.

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