The Rev. Giles Fraser, “team rector” of Putney in Greater London and lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, exhorts readers of The Church Times to take seriously the death threats recently received by Changing Attitude, an Anglican LGBT organization in England, Nigeria, Togo and elsewhere.
Dr. Fraser writes:
I get my fair share of hate mail writing this column. But I don’t get half the nastiness received by the Revd Colin Coward, the UK director of Changing Attitude. Here is a sample: “Evil homosexual promoter, we gave your Nigerian homosexual representative and his followers long time to repent but he underrated us. Come and save them if you can.” Then there was the equally charming: “You will loose ur life for what u re doing go and write todays date u have few days to live.”
And again: “WE HAVE NOT STARTED AND YOU ARE PANICKING, HOMOSEXUAL PROMOTERS. WAIT AND SEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ALL YOUR AGENT IN NIGERIA SOON, ONE BY ONE.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly commented: “The threats recently made against the leaders of Changing Attitude are disgraceful.” But I do not think we as a Church are taking all this nastiness seriously enough. It is not at all impossible to imagine that the hatred coursing through the veins of the Anglican Communion could soon result in somebody’s death.
It’s interesting to me, in a macabre way, that Davis Mac-Iyalla, director of Changing Attitude-Nigeria, is twice described as Fr. Coward’s “agent” or “representative.” Apparently the Nigerian thugs think an African man is incapable of coming to his own conclusion that Gay people have and are entitled to human rights, and must therefore be an “agent” of a (superior) White man in Great Britain.
But this belief may bolster Nigerian thug ideology that homosexuality is a White, Western import, as if words for Gay people didn’t already exist in native Nigerian tribal languages (“bowo!”) before English Victorian missionaries ever arrived.
Dr. Fraser continues:
There will be those who say that the Church of Nigeria cannot be held responsible for a few bad eggs. This would be true, if the Church did not describe homosexuality as “devilish and satanic. It comes directly from the pit of hell. It is an idea sponsored by Satan himself and being executed by his followers and adherents who have infiltrated the Church. The blood and power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth will flush them out with disgrace and great pains.”
Language matters. The history of human violence suggests that if you can persuade people to describe others as “cockroaches” or “rats”, or “unclean” or “evil”, then those thus described are not far from harm. And the Bible tells of a God who is for ever by their side.
Since the most recent attacks on Davis Mac-Iyalla and his colleague in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, a schismatic American website called Stand Firm in Faith has taken up its favorite Gay-bashing cudgel to deny that any such attacks occurred; demanding proof (police reports, physicians’ statements—so reliable in Africa) not only of the attacks themselves, but also that if any such assaults did occur, that the victims can prove that Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola is directly and personally responsible.
Without a smoking gun, Viagraville shouts, who can prove that anyone got shot? Forget the victim over there on the floor bleeding to death; where’s the proof he was shot?
It’s a Trojan Horse demand, exactly like this one out of the corrupt, murderous government of Zimbabwe, where the entire world knows that president Robert Mugabe is doing everything he can to steal yet another election (aided by another renegade Anglican bishop). From today’s New York Times (“Signs of Attacks on Zimbabwe Opposition”)”
Senior officials in Mr. Mugabe’s party have denied that it has organized attacks on the opposition. The justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who lost his own parliamentary seat in the elections, has suggested it is the opposition that has fomented violence, and he challenged those accusing the party to come forward with proof.
I mean, Mugabe (who blames all Zimbabwe’s troubles on Gay people) ran TV commercials this year promising violence to his opponents: “If you want to live, vote for me.” (Background: Frontline on PBS.)
Stand Firm, of course, has no presence in Africa and no way to know whether Mac-Iyalla was targeted in an assassination attempt or not; this hasn’t prevented them from loudly denying that it occurred. “Proof proof proof! Show us proof!” If they actually got proof, they’d change the subject or find a way to denounce the proof. They don’t care about the truth; they care about their ideology, their income and their power. Everything, including God, is subservient to those goals.
Their problem is, with a few thousand other ex-Episcopalians in the U.S., that they’ve hitched their wagon to Akinola, a Nigerian huckster they barely know. One day they will pay a heavy price for this. The blood on their hands won’t go away, no matter how much they wash.
I caution Mr. Akinola: If anything further happens to Mac-Iyalla, your short life will become a living hell.
As to our pals at Viagratown: enjoy it while it lasts, kids, ’cause it won’t last long.
These are not threats; they are simply predictions. Real Christians don’t arm themselves, but trust God to carry out the justice human beings are incapable of.
We’ve seen thugs like these before. We grow plenty of our own here in America. Thomas Blanton: