Akinola, Repudiate Anti-Gay Violence

September 23, 2007

Success: 1st-Ever Protest Against Akinola & Schism

About 50 people showed up at a demonstration against Peter Akinola today in Wheaton, Illinois. Fifty people, not a huge number; 50 people on three weeks’ notice. Fifty fabulous people.

Toddlers, oldsters, college students, graybeards, Gays and Straights; Episcopalians, Methodists, independents, United Church of Christ, Baptists, Metropolitan Community Church, a closeted Roman Catholic priest from Nigeria; the whole human rainbow.

The body of Christ, the bread of heaven.

The Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, local TV, the Associated Press, Christianity Today, the college newspaper, the Religion News Service: we got our message across. Jesus loves everyone.

Best of all, Thinking Anglicans picked up on it; that website is read all over the Anglican Communion, and Davis Mac-Iyalla reads it daily. That means all LGBT activists in West Africa will see it!

They were who we were marching for.

Kudos to the Wheaton College police: they didn’t give us a lick of trouble or deny our constitutional rights. They were completely professional, defined the college turf and enabled our Christian witness to happen. We got closer to the college chapel than I thought possible.

The Nigerian/Rwandan/American schismatics ignored us, but they knew we picketed them. I’m sure they all felt energized to gather together and hear Peter Akinola’s shouting, fire-and-brimstone sermon about sexual sin; but they also knew 50 people said there are other kinds of sin.

Scapegoating is sin.

Peter Akinola scapeoats Gay people so Nigerians won’t notice the government and the “Anglican” Church steals Nigeria’s oil money and blames all the country’s ills on Gay people.

So we picketed his bigoted behind.

Let him recoil in fright; pamphleteers, picketers, is he nowhere safe?

Not in the United States, no. This was the first demonstration against him, but it will not be the last. Peter Akinola, you’re damaged goods. Repudiate anti-Gay violence, or lose the worldwide Anglican Communion.++


  1. Great work, Josh! Congratulations to all of the folks who participated in this historic protest!

    It would be good if you would link to, or otherwise reproduce, the newspaper articles and other coverage on this web site.

    Again, good work!!!
    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

    Comment by Kurt — September 24, 2007 @ 6:39 am | Reply

  2. Links up, Kurt. I especially enjoyed the Sun-Times article by Steve Patterson.

    I have a few photos too I’ll be uploading. Watch this space!

    Comment by josh — September 24, 2007 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  3. Good for you guys. You’re right: Akinola should be picketed everywhere he goes; it still amazes me that he’s gotten completely away with the things he’s said and done. He should be censured by the whole world, and so should every anti-gay hatemonger like him.

    Great work, and thanks for organizing this. Here’s hoping the big homophobe comes to New York soon.

    Comment by bls — September 24, 2007 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  4. Josh, I don’t knonw if you guys got them, but the sponsoring church had plans to serve the picketers coffee and donuts. I do hope that you got them.

    And Akinola’s message had very little to do with sexual sin, except a couple lines regarding that ‘fornication is fornication’ and ‘adultery is adultery.’

    Also, I think 50 people is a stretch. I did not go out and count, but it did not seem that many, and the newspapers said 20 or 30. The fact that you got that many people there on such short notice is impressive, but don’t taint your accomplishment with exaggeration.

    But, I am glad that Wheaton College Public safety didn’t harass you. They are not exactly a group of super highly trained law enforcement officers, and so I can imagine someone stepping out of line and giving you guys trouble. So, I am happy everyone was safe.

    Comment by Andrew — September 25, 2007 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  5. Well, nobody offered us coffee and doughnuts, and you didn’t go out and count.

    Did any of you good Christians ask Peter Akinola why he wants to imprison Gay people for five years just for having lunch together?

    Comment by josh — September 25, 2007 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  6. 50 people is definitely a stretch. There was max 15 people there. Josh, have you ever spoken to Akinola? You seem to have alot of questions for him but don’t ask him directly. Sounding off to the press gets publicity but does it really get you answers? If you had heard Akinola speak on Sunday, you would have heard him talking about obeying the Lord and following scripture. It was not just about sexual sin but all kinds of sin. He emphasized obeying scripture: not some scripture but all scripture.

    Comment by Claire — September 25, 2007 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

  7. Claire, you silly bigot, more people arrived after you walked into Edman Chapel. What started small turned out bigger.

    Peter Akinola wants to kill Davis Mac-Iyalla. Is that your idea of a Christian bishop?

    Comment by josh — September 26, 2007 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  8. josh, I am not sure where you get your info an Akinola, but I am trying to find some source other than you that even hints at Akinola wanting to kill anyone, and it is becoming hard to find. I do not think you are making that comment out of nowhere, because from what I have seen of you posting you get your information from somewhere. So could you please direct us to sources that point to this sort of attitude from Akinola?

    And I will concede that it is completely possible that you had far more protesters once the service started than when I looked over. I should not have commented on facts that I was unsure about.

    And you are very well aware that Akinola does not want to imprison people for ‘having lunch together.’ He isn’t part of some grand anti-lunch agenda. You know that he considers homosexuality to be wrong, and against the teachings of the Bible, and wants to criminalize that. I am not a die-hard Akinola supporter. I do not think he should have come to the US without talking to Purcell. After the Rusesebagina fiasco, I am not sure that a relationship with African bishops is best for American churches because of the political problems it can create. But please do not try to reduce his opinion to something ridiculous, or paint him to be what he isn’t. And don’t reduce our debate to name calling. ‘Silly bigot,’ and sarcastic comments about ‘good Christians’ does nothing good for either of us.

    But in all seriousness, I am unsure where everyone gets a lot of the information about Akinola, or if it is just inferred from the information I have already seen. Any help would be appreciated

    Comment by Andrew — September 28, 2007 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

  9. Andrew, I appreciate most of your latest comment. Perhaps “silly bigot” hurt the case I’m making. But there does get to be an element of silliness in all this; Akinola made a big point to reporters in both New York and London about how he went screaming from the room when Episcopal Gay activist Louie Crew sought to shake his hand; so why exactly would I “seek answers directly” from Peter Akinola?

    I agree with you that for Americans to align with little-known African bishops simply on the basis of their opposition to Gay people as fully human, moral beings may prove embarassing and even dangerous.

    As to your questions about Akinola, Davis Mac-Iyalla and the “no Gay lunch” law, you are not yet informed; that is why I write and even demonstrate, that you will get informed over time.

    There can be no question that Akinola has supported a bill in the Nigerian National Assembly which if passed would be one of the world’s worst laws regarding Gay people. Not only would it criminalize Gay sex and Gay marriage, it would criminalize any meeting of two LGBT people, for political purposes or merely social ones. Akinola’s pet project has been condemned by the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations and the European Parliament.

    He hit upon this crackpot idea because Davis Mac-Iyalla, the son of a prominent, wealthy and politically-connected Army colonel, had the audacity to organize a meeting of Gay Nigerian Anglicans.

    Thus the bill’s focus on “dangerous” meetings, visiting websites, carrying pamphlets, even talking to a priest about Gay issues.

    But wait, there’s more: Akinola also directed his canon for communications, AkinTunde Popoola, to initiate a smear campaign against Mac-Iyalla, denying that he is Anglican, denying that he is Gay, accusing him without proof of various crimes, and resulting in numerous death threats to Davis, which I have personally seen.

    When Akinola is campaigning in his home country and internationally to tear apart the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality, a Gay Anglican Nigerian is a bit of a threat.

    Welcome to Africa. They don’t operate on the same standards we do in the West. Violence as a weapon is commonplace in Nigeria, where those who dominate the society control the oil money.

    Davis has been forced to flee his family home and now lives two countries west of Nigeria. When his brother accepted a cabinet position in the new state government, gunmen shot up the place. Davis’s own mother was wounded; a cousin was killed.

    (It’s not known that the Church of Nigeria had any connection to these gunmen or that Davis himself was a target; more likely the brother was, and the gunmen were gangmembers. But bullets rule the day in Nigeria; we both know that.)

    There are so many links I could provide here for independent verification that I can’t list them all; I suggest you simply Google Davis Mac-Iyalla instead. You’ll find the smear campaign on the Nigerian Church’s official website; you’ll find massive documentation that Davis is who he says he is, a former administrative assistant to the late Bishop of Otupko, and thus well-known to the hierarchy there. The Nigerian Church does not like to be challenged, especially with facts, so it uses propaganda instead.

    In May and June of this year I traveled throughout the U.S. with Davis. I lived with him every single day. I arranged his tour, helped him secure a visa and Episcopalians came to listen, to hear another view of life in the Nigerian Church. I know Davis’s strong points (he can be an amazingly eloquent speaker) and I know his real weaknesses (a high sense of entitlement, life is all about him). Even after his personal behavior disappointed me, I believe in his public message as much as ever. He is the voice of an acutely persecuted minority in West Africa.

    Americans need to take a very close look at Peter Akinola. He’s not only schismatic, he’s dishonest, manipulative and perhaps criminal. It doesn’t take much to buy a hitman in Nigeria, and I don’t want killers paid with American tithes.

    You and I disagree about the Bible; that’s allowed. But I don’t believe Isaac Orama’s statement (“Gays are not fit to live,” supposedly retracted) is much different from what Akinola’s said and done. This entire schismatic campaign is designed to fleece the West, steal its money and enrich the ruling (Anglican) class of Nigeria.

    Thus people like Claire really do look like silly bigots; victims, yes, and also victimizers.

    Comment by josh — September 28, 2007 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  10. For those unfamiliar with the Rusesebegina fiasco, this from The Christian Century, dated October 2, 2007 but now online:

    Anglican church in Illinois feels reach of Rwanda politics

    An Anglican congregation in Wheaton, Illinois, that has distanced itself from the Episcopal Church and placed itself under the sponsorship of the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda has learned, according to critics, how long a reach the politics of an African nation can have on a U.S. parish.

    All Souls Anglican Church was forced last month to cancel its speaking invitation to Paul Rusesabagina, the hero portrayed by actor Don Cheadle in the film Hotel Rwanda. Rusesabagina saved more than 1,200 Tutsi refugees while temporary manager of the Mille Collines Hotel during the 1994 genocide. His appearance at All Souls was intended to support the congregation’s efforts to build a school in Rwanda.

    What the pastor, ex-Episcopal priest J. Martin Johnson, did not know was that Rusesabagina is a controversial figure in Rwanda and in the Anglican Church there. “Truly I am horrified that we could have such a negative impact without meaning to,” Johnson told Christianity Today’s Web site.

    News reports said that Emmanuel Kolini, the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda, asked the All Souls pastor to cancel the invitation over a concern that the lecture could strain relations between the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the government.


    Comment by josh — September 28, 2007 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  11. Thanks for your post Josh

    I must admit my obliviousness to global politics, and the tactics used in especially African politics. Orama’s comments are not Christian, and it would be wrong for anyone to support the idea that any group of people do not deserve to live. Comments like that are neither acceptable or supportable. I am not sure how I feel about the laws that Akinola is supporting, but if they are as severe as you suggest, then I would not be voting for them.

    I can say that Akinola’s sermon was something that I did enjoy, and that some of the things he has said I can agree with. I can say that I was personally challenged by what he said, and that from my own interactions with him he seems like a godly man, deserving of his position.

    On a slight side note – any time for there to be real discussion common ground has to be established. What are the things that can be the basis for communication between conservative and liberal Anglican/Episcopalians? Or is taht opportunity far gone?

    Because the way I see it, no matter how we view each other’s opinions, we can see the other only in one of two ways: either Christians who are straying far from the truth and need to be corrected, or apostates who have fallen from the faith and are no longer really in part of the church. Both should drive us to want to continue dialogue with the other. So how can that proceed, especially if this schism really happens?

    Comment by Andrew — September 29, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  12. Andrew: What good questions you ask. I don’t doubt your seeking for God.

    I am glad that Archbishop Akinola’s Wheaton sermon was enjoyable and challenging. All sermons should be that way.

    I guess it is possible, since all of us mortals can perceive only part of the Truth, that this man I so distrust and criticize is capable of giving a Christian sermon—though I also wonder if you heard it as Davis Mac-Iyalla might have. All our ears are only partial, Peter’s, Davis’s, yours and mine.

    I appreciate your condemnation of the remarks attributed to Bishop Orama. Do note that those remarks go only one or two steps farther than his Archbishop’s.

    You ask:

    “What are the things that can be the basis for communication between conservative and liberal Anglican/Episcopalians? Or is that opportunity far gone?”

    On an institutional basis, that opportunity IS regrettably far gone; but not on an individual basis. So let’s you and me try to engage, in case that can be spiritually fruitful.

    As you state (so well): “No matter how we view each other’s opinions, we can see the other only in one of two ways: either Christians who are straying far from the truth and need to be corrected, or apostates who have fallen from the faith and are no longer really in part of the church. Both should drive us to want to continue dialogue with the other. So how can that proceed, especially if this schism really happens?”

    I regard you, and invite you to regard me, as a Christian who is straying far from the truth and needs to be corrected—NOT as an apostate. If you love Jesus like I do, you’re in like flint.

    But to our differences, and where they don’t lie: like 99% of Episcopalians I believe every word of the Apostles’ Creed, just as you do.

    This apostate talk has got to stop. You are dealing with very conservative Episcopalians. Why would we claim to be Christians when we could simply be secular Democrats?

    I mean, think about it. God’s not just important to us, he’s everything! Instead of going to Mass we could all sleep in, and then play golf.

    We don’t. We go to church, and then to breakfast because we fasted before Mass.

    (And then maybe to the golf course, who knows. Let the non-churched claim the early tee-times.)

    God is everything, same with me as with you. Hey, bro: the peace of the Lord be always with you.


    I do think you need correction regarding these intrusive African bishops, just as you might think I need correction regarding homosexuality.

    But that does give us room for dialogue. As I told a reporter for Christianity Today in Wheaton, “I am 100% Chalcedon-compliant.” The Virgin Birth, the physical Resurrection, Jesus as the one Way, Truth and Life, yes to all.

    (I fudge just once in the Nicene Creed about the Spirit’s “proceeding from the Father [and the Son],” not because I know how the Spirit “proceeds,” whatever that means, but because the Orthodox deny “proceeding from the Son,” which was supposedly the basis for the Great Schism between East and West. My going silent during “and the Son” forces me to remember my Orthodox siblings. That is good for my soul to remember those who are separated from us about a doctrine I truthfully don’t understand or even care much about. If the Orthodox object, well okay! If the Western Church insists, well okay! I’m no theologian; howthehellwouldIknow? It’s the re-MEMBERING that’s important.

    (So I go silent during the words some of our MEMBERS object to. I don’t care who’s wrong or right, and neither does God.)

    That we all may be one…

    The principal difference I perceive between you and me is this: I grew up believing as you did that homosexual behavior was always wrong; then I asked God/prayed about it and pledged that if need be, I would change.

    Anti-Gay people grew up with the same belief and never once asked God or risked conversion.

    Whatever our doctrinal beliefs (about anything), we have to ask God, “Could I possibly be wrong about this? Dear God, Universe-Lover, Savior of the World, show me if I could be wrong. I will conform myself to your beliefs, not my own. Show me the way.”

    Homophobes never, ever ask God; they just assume they are right, so they have no need to humble themselves.

    They are scared to risk the humility; while Gay people (homophobic all!) risk it 24/7.

    It’s our risking conversion that lets us hear the voice of God: “I love you just the way you are.”

    Imagine hearing that, when you’re one of the most despised people on earth.


    In discerning God’s will we’re all too emotional about Gay sex, and we can’t even trust our brains to know God’s truth. Discovering the truth about Gayness can never result from our brainwork, only from our prayer lives. Both sides have to allow in our prayers the possibility that we could be wrong; or else we set up our brains as God.

    Whammo! God converted me in 1974. “I love you just the way you are.”

    That’s determined my life ever since.

    I could of course be wrong; but I learned that admitting to God that he knows and I do not, and that I will conform to his will, not mine (when I was completely enthralled with a man who heterosexually married, WITH A CHILD), leads me back to the gradually-inclusive, kicking-and-screaming Episcopal Church I was born in.

    Bless you, Andrew; my only advice is, Don’t assume, ask God, pray, then listen.

    You still won’t emerge where I do, but then we can talk.++

    Comment by josh — September 29, 2007 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  13. […] Ten yeas later, Nigeria and Uganda plotted to create and pass what became known as “Kill the Gays” bills.  But even before that, in 2007, Josh Indiana, a lay minister in the Episcopal Church, organized a protest of Akinola’s visit to the US. “Peter Akinola scapeoats Gay people so Nigerians won’t notice the government and the “Anglican” Church steals Nigeria’s oil money and blames all the country’s ills on Gay people,” Indiana wrote on his blog. […]

    Pingback by Anglican Communion Picks Harsh Anti-Gay Nigerian Bishop for Sec. General - Frontiers Media — April 2, 2015 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

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