Akinola, Repudiate Anti-Gay Violence

July 29, 2008

UK Grants Asylum to Davis Mac-Iyalla; Now the Rest of the Story

Davis Mac-Iyalla wearing my Purdue sweatshirt, under my crucifix in my home office.

I am pleased to note that the United Kingdom has granted the asylum petition of Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Nigerian Anglican Gay activist, with whom I’ve had frequent dealings.

The decision comes smack in the middle of the Lambeth Conference, where bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion are in the midst of an orchestrated crackup over homosexuality.

The British government’s asylum decision has been reported in The Times of London, among many other media outlets. The news has been greeted with howls of outrage by anti-Gay zealots eager to preserve a favorable image of Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican), who have persecuted Mac-Iyalla for years as an embarassment to their anti-Gay crusade.

I know Mr. Mac-Iyalla better than anyone else in the United States, having served as sponsor of his six-week, coast-to-coast American tour last year. We spent every day and evening together, living in the same hotels and homes, sometimes in the same room.

I believe the British Government has made the proper decision in his case. Now that he is presumably safe, I am free to tell what I know of this man, one of the “World’s 50 Most Influential Anglicans.”

I do not like Davis Mac-Iyalla, nor do I trust him. But I believe him.

Indeed, I brought him to the United States last year to save his life from Church-inspired violence.

I was present when he met with an immigration attorney at the offices of Episcopal Migration Ministries in New York. We were there to evaluate the case for Davis’s applying for asylum in the U.S. The attorney pronounced it a very winnable case, though the U.S., like the U.K., does not generally look favorably upon impoverished Africans with sob stories.

Davis was not particularly convincing during this meeting, for which he arrived late. We’d had a disagreement about how to get from Chelsea Square to 815 2nd Avenue. He insisted on taking a taxi, while I told him as a steward of Episcopalians’ money that a bus would be fast, efficient and cheaper.

Once he arrived, he began telling his story of persecution in Nigeria in his laborious, roundabout way. To save time, I provided the lawyer with numerous documents obtainable on the internet, including an eyewitness report in The New York Times of the first secretive meeting of Davis’s LGBT Anglican organization, Changing Attitudes. Other documents included the Nigerian Church’s written smear campaign against Davis, photographs of his first Communion, his commissioning as a lay minister in the Nigerian Diocese of Otupko and a copy of a written death threat. I also provided evidence of Archbishop Akinola’s promotion of a draconian bill in the Nigerian Parliament that would have criminalized with a 14-year term any public or private meeting of LGBT Nigerians or their friends; I called it the “No Gay Lunch” law. I showed that the U.S. State Department under Secretary Condoleeza Rice had denounced the proposed bill and warned the Nigerian government its enactment would be an abuse of human rights.

The American lawyer found these documents convincing. Meanwhile we were also pursuing a request for an investigation by the United Nations’ “special rapporteur” for human rights.

Despite the attorney’s favorable recommendation, Davis chose not to pursue an asylum request, which was entirely within his rights. Richard Parkins, the Episcopal Church’s director of Migration Ministries, had counseled me not to try to persuade Davis, but simply to lay out the case. No one, Parkins said, has the right to tell another person to uproot himself from his country of origin for an unknown future elsewhere. I disagreed with Davis’s decision, but I accepted it.

The U.K.’s asylum decision is for me the best possible outcome; Davis can live in freedom and I don’t have to put up with him in the United States.

I found his private behavior over the six weeks we were together to be rude, manipulative, arrogant, spendthrifty and destructive. He was continually sexually predatory, in ways both disgusting and laughable. Our tour nearly broke apart in Chicago after the first week; I had to seek the intervention of two Lesbian priests who were hosting us. I also had to warn Bishop Gene Robinson, who had consented to a joint appearance with Davis at a Pride Week Eucharist in New York, of the difficulties Davis’s behavior presented, so that the bishop would not be embarassed by the association.

Earlier in Cleveland, the Dean of Trinity Cathedral, Tracey Lind, had to send her curate the Rev. Judith Alexis to fetch Davis to attend a Choral Evensong, after which a dinner was held in his honor. Though I had warned Davis of the time, I could not pry him loose from an explicit Gay website (silverdaddies.com) offering dating and chats with “sugar daddies.” He was in mid-chat and he wasn’t about to lose a live prospect. Ms. Alexis, Caribbean-born, her hair in dreadlocks, finally dragged him into the nave.

The entire tour was like that, but we managed to keep it together. He “scored” twice, both times while we were resident at American seminaries.

He did manage to keep up his appearances, and though he never became expert at presenting an overview of Nigerian LGBT Anglicans’ experience, dawdling too long on his own story and failing to connect it with the larger, even global issues, he can be an eloquent and powerful speaker. He managed to “nail” his speech once in Tucson, Arizona, ironically in a large parish that was more indifferent to him than any of his other venues.

He was also moderately effective in two appearances before the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council in Parsippany, New Jersey—visits I arranged with the help of Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. We sat together at dinner that night.

Davis is occasionally prone to hyperbole and exaggeration, though I never heard him say, in his public appearances, a single thing that wasn’t true. One can question some of his interpretations of events and personalities in the Church, particularly the role of Archbishop Akinola and his associates, but Davis is a credible, dedicated and self-sacrificing advocate for LGBTs in West Africa and in the Anglican Communion. For that I respect him and call him my brother.

It is immoral, wrong and sinful to persecute this man. Archbishop Akinola and his allies—African, British, Australian and American—must answer for their encouragement of anti-Gay violence, whether physical, verbal, written or ecclesiastical. It is the Church itself they are attacking, to enhance their own power and wealth.

Indeed, the maintenance of power and wealth are always the sources of homophobic bigotry. That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury acts as he does at the Lambeth Conference, to maintain the power and wealth of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

All over Africa, politicians allied with religious leaders incite anti-Gay violence and scapegoating. From Nigeria to Zimbabwe, Ghana to Uganda and Kenya, the cooperation of Anglican Churches in transparent schemes with the local strongman is an international scandal.

Davis himself is very familiar with this system of corruption; indeed for the first 30 years of his life, until he came out as Gay, he benefited from it. He grew up amidst fabulous wealth as the son of a Nigerian Army colonel. When we stayed overnight in the lovely home of a Gay American couple, renovated with taste and class and overlooking the Hudson River near West Park, New York, Davis dismissed his surroundings as “no better than my father’s children’s quarters.”

That he managed to say this, while living in a hovel in Togo, took my breath away.

Davis unfortunately understands gifts and bribes as “the way the world works.” Remember his constant visits to that “sugar daddy” website in the U.S.? If he had met a wealthy older man here, he’d have applied for asylum last year.

But his decision to leave his father’s home, to enter into poverty and danger, to subject himself to international abuse, even to give up his beloved Nigeria, in order to advocate for LGBTs in Africa and in the Church shows just how authentic, believable and faithful his witness is.

I do not like Davis Mac-Iyalla, I do not want him near me—but I recognize the Christ in him.

I will go to my grave proclaiming that the Holy Spirit got Davis that U.S. visa in 2007, after he’d been denied entry two years ago by both the U.S. and U.K. Mr. Parkins advised, two members of Congress helped, Episcopalians gave donations and issued invitations and I did my part coordinating a thousand pieces, but it was the Spirit of God Himself that moved the bureaucratic mountain and brought Davis to temporary safety.

If God be for him, who can be against him?

Who else stands for Nigerian Gay people against the entire edifice of Anglicanism? No wonder Akinola and Williams are so afraid.

One could never know this from iconography or Renaissance paintings, but as often as not, saints stink. To which Gene Robinson advises, “Love them anyway.”++

June 20, 2008

Arab Nation Refuses to Admit Akinola

Finally. Somebody has refused to allow Peter Akinola to wreak havoc in their country.

Reuters is reporting that the nation of Jordan has denied Akinola permission to enter to attend GAFCON, the right-wing conference that purports to plan the Global Anglican Future of schism, America-bashing and homophobia.

GAFCON (Fr. Jake calls it Gaffe-Con) has proven to be one disaster after another for its organizers. First it was supposed to happen in Jerusalem—but the Anglican Bishop didn’t want it there, saying it would inflame Israeli-Palestinian relations in that sensitive part of the world. Then they moved the parley to Jordan, with a “pilgrimage” to Jerusalem tacked onto the end. Now that hasn’t worked either; Jordan won’t let Akinola in.

Why? They want to know his role in an anti-Muslim riot in Nigeria in 2004 which killed 660 people. This was in response to an anti-Christian riot two months earlier in the town of Yelwa, in which 70 Christians were murdered. Supposedly some of the Christian rioters wore name tags identifying themselves as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, which Akinola headed until he was tossed out earlier this year.

He was asked about all this by a reporter for The Atlantic magazine, grinned and said, “No comment.”

This is the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, who’s made his entire name and reputation by trying to purge the Episcopal Church of homosexuals, or barring that, to steal as many buildings and altar hangings as he can get his hands on.

Jordan said no thanks. The United States should likewise prevent him from entering. It appears the man’s a criminal.

The American homophobes who have cast their lot with him (in Virginia, Illinois and elsewhere) are cruising for a bruising. Akinola has no moral stature. He isn’t a leader of the self-proclaimed “orthodox Bible believers,” much less the second most powerful man in Anglicanism; he’s an outlaw, a pretender, a usurper.

Lately American schismatics seem to agree; they’re all running the other direction these days, to Argentina and the Diocese of the Southern Cone, which offers homophobia without the anti-Islamic violence.

Still, it’s all for naught; you can’t build a church in America anymore where the product is anti-Gay; the market rejects it. This isn’t a matter of “trendiness,” as the GAFfers like to claim; it’s a deep-seated conviction, born in American high schools, Why’s Everyone Picking on Tommy? What Did Tommy Ever Do to You?

The GAFfers are crazy-delusional. You can’t take the staid, solemn ritual of the Episcopal Church, overlay it with snarky homo-hatred and expect anyone but old people to show up. You sure as heck can’t put an outlaw in charge and think you now rival the Queen of England. It just doesn’t work that way.

This will all be over soon, and Tommy will have more fans than ever.++

May 28, 2008

Rightful Bishop of Harare: Persecuted Anglicans “Will Never Cease to Worship”

The spray paint says, “Mugabe is a dictator.”

From Only Connect, a pastoral letter from the persecuted Anglican Bishop of Harare, Zimbabwe:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

We are shocked and dismayed by the continuous police interference with Sunday services and by the increased brutality causing casualties. Many of you have been assaulted and beaten, and several parishioners of St Monica’s Church, Chitungwiza, were brutally assaulted on 18 May and had to be admitted to hospital.

Our struggle to worship without harassment continues. The Supreme Court Order issued by the Hon. Chief Justice on 12th May was totally disregarded by the police, as previous orders have been. Needless to say where there is law and order such defiance would result in the arrest of those in contempt of court. Today in Zimbabwe the rule of law does not exist. That leaves us with no recourse to ensure that our members can freely and peacefully exercise their constitutional right for example, for everyone to worship without harassment. We are however not deterred by this lawlessness and will continue to seek justice through the courts.

Once again we appeal to the law enforcement agents, and especially the police, to let sanity prevail and refrain from harassing and brutalising Anglican Christians in Harare Diocese even if it may fall on deaf ears. Let it be said for the record.

As a Diocese we will look for alternative worship places to ensure that members of our congregations remain united as we struggle for freedom of worship. We will never cease to worship. We also believe, whether the police like it or not, that God will intervene, may be not today or tomorrow but in His own time. We will rejoice when this happens.

As Christians we encourage you all to take solace in reading the Bible and be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are reminded of Jesus’ promise to his disciples:

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).

Our lives as Christians will always have security in Christ and not in the powers of this world. May we take this inspiring message into our hearts.

In the book of Revelation chapter 13 we are reminded of the image of the beast whose agenda is to destroy the followers of Christ (Rev 13:5-10). Rest assured that the principalities and powers of this world come and go, but the God who is Alpha and Omega remains to achieve His purpose to save humanity in spite of the challenges put before us by the beast.

We encourage those of you who do not belong to a house group, to join one, as this is a way in which you can support one another in prayer and otherwise.

Bernard Mizeki celebrations will be on 13-15 June.

May God bless you all!


Lord Jesus, we talk glibly about your suffering but rarely stop to think what it involves. It was not so easy to imagine the physical, mental and spiritual suffering you had to bear on our behalf. You underwent all this in the company of your Father, although at a time you felt abandoned but not forsaken (Psalm 22).
The physical, mental and spiritual anguish we are going through in our Diocese, meted by non-God fearing police officers and their superiors is not hidden from you. We believe that we are with you here on earth as in heaven. We believe that those who believe in you are never forsaken.
Send your Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us as we go through the challenge of being denied to meet together in your name. Your Kingdom come.

+ Sebastian Harare

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Harare CPCA

Background: Robert Mugabe, the revolutionary independence leader turned brutal dictator of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), is fighting to remain in power despite losing the recent presidential and parliamentary elections. His party, called ZANU-PF, runs campaign commercials on state-run television promising violence for those who don’t vote for him. One of his strongest supporters is the former Anglican bishop of the capital city, Harare, a man named Nolbert Kunonga, who has since been deposed as bishop and excommunicated. Kunonga himself has been accused of murder.

Mugabe’s platform blames Western imperialism and Gay people for his nation’s problems, which include 80% unemployment, 16,000% inflation and mass hunger. Similar tactics are employed by Peter Akinola, Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria and spiritual father to right-wing White Americans trying to destroy the Episcopal Church and steal our property.

Akinola, Kunonga and Mugabe: repent!++

May 15, 2008

NYT: Zimbabwe Unleashes Police on Anglicans

The New York Times online reports the following:

Published: May 16, 2008

JOHANNESBURG — The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.

A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers.

Beneath their defiance, though, lay raw fear as the country’s ruling party stepped up its campaign of intimidation ahead of a presidential runoff. In a conflict that has penetrated ever deeper into Zimbabwe’s social fabric, the party has focused on a growing roster of groups that elude its direct control — a list that includes the Anglican diocese of Harare, as well as charitable and civic organizations, trade unions, teachers, independent election monitors and the political opposition.

Anglican leaders and parishioners said in interviews that the church was not concerned with politics and that it counted people from both the ruling party and the opposition in its congregations. Yet the ruling party appears to have decided that only Anglicans who follow Nolbert Kunonga — a renegade bishop in Harare who is a staunch ally of President Robert Mugabe — are allowed to hold services.

The violence by Mugabe and Kunonga’s forces has been going on for weeks now. It makes me very sad (and is a cause for much prayer), but at least I’m glad it’s finally being reported.

“As a theologian who has read a lot about the persecution of the early Christians, I’m really feeling connected to that history,” said Bishop Sebastian Bakare, 66, who came out of retirement to replace Mr. Kunonga. “We are being persecuted.”

Church leaders say the struggle in the Anglican diocese of Harare is not only over its extensive, valuable properties, but also over who controls the church itself in a society riven by political divisions, especially since the disputed elections of March 29.

Mr. Kunonga, who broke with the church hierarchy late last year and recently called Mr. Mugabe “a prophet of God,” is known in Zimbabwe as an avid supporter of the ruling party and a proponent of its seizures of white-owned commercial farms, often accomplished violently. In fact, he appears to have benefited richly from the policy himself.

Zimbabwe is the worst case, but this is how much of African politics works. The Times fails to mention that Mugabe is officially an Anglican too.

While such strong allegiances have clearly played a role in the attacks on parishioners, Anglicans beyond Zimbabwe have also taken steps likely to have enraged Mr. Mugabe and the ruling party, known as ZANU-PF.

The worldwide Anglican Communion issued a statement in January expressing “deep concern” about Mr. Kunonga’s close ties to Mr. Mugabe. Then on April 21, amid the postelection intimidation of opposition supporters, the communion called on all Christians to pray for Zimbabwe’s rescue “from violence, the concealing and juggling of election results, deceit, oppression and corruption.”

And three weeks ago, an Anglican bishop in South Africa persuaded a judge there to halt the delivery of Chinese-made ammunition to Zimbabwe’s military — bullets the bishop warned could be used to repress Zimbabweans.

As an Anglican I’m proud of my church’s opposition to Mugabe. I’m glad those bullets never made it to Zimbabwe. But The Times’ polite description of “the postelection intimidation of opposition supporters” is sadly lacking; try beatings, houseburnings and murders instead.

Still, credit Celia Dugger and an unnamed Zimbabwean journalist for getting the story; journalism is illegal under Mugabe. They could both be killed.

Now Bishop Bakare’s followers, who include most of the city’s Anglicans, say that Mr. Kunonga has falsely told the government that they are politically aligned with the opposition — an accusation the ruling party seems to be taking seriously.

Despite a High Court order requiring that Anglican churches be shared among the worshipers, church officials say that only people who attend services led by priests allied with Mr. Kunonga have been allowed to pray in peace.

This week, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Kunonga’s appeal of the sharing order, but church leaders say they are far from sure that the law will be enforced.

A widowed mother of five who sings with the choir at St. Francis Church in Waterfalls — and who was too frightened to be quoted by name — asked despairingly this week where she could seek solace now that her church was no longer sacrosanct.

“I go to church to talk to the Lord and feel better,” the woman said. “Now, I don’t know where to go.”

Man, that just breaks my heart.

The Times’ report takes awhile to get to the money quotes, but they’re coming:

When Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, a police spokesman, was asked about police assaults on Anglican parishioners, he said he was unaware of such episodes and asked for the names of those complaining. “Give me names, because without those I will not comment,” he said. “Thank you and bye.” Then he hung up.

At the heart of the conflict with Mr. Kunonga is more than property and power, but also some of the church’s core values. Mr. Kunonga told Anglican officials last year that he was withdrawing from the mother church because of its sympathy toward homosexuals, they said. By October, the Anglican Province of Central Africa said Mr. Kunonga had “severed” his relationship with the church.

Bishop Bakare said Mr. Kunonga had preached hatred of gays and lesbians, contrary to the Harare diocese’s stand. “We believe in a church that is inclusive, a church that accepts all people,” Bishop Bakare said.

Kunonga and Mugabe are so toxic that now, even an ally of Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola has disowned them:

But even a spokesman for an alliance of conservative bishops who oppose “the ordination of practicing homosexuals as priests,” distanced them from Mr. Kunonga. Arne H. Fjeldstad, head of communications for the alliance, the Global Anglican Future Conference, said in an e-mail message that Mr. Kunonga was not part of the conference, but “rather that he’s one of Mugabe’s henchmen.”

Mr. Kunonga appears to have gained much from that loyalty. In 2003, the government gave Mr. Kunonga a 1,630-acre farm outside Harare and a seven-bedroom house that sits on it, according to Marcus Hale, who said the farm, bought by his family in 1990 for $2 million, was confiscated without payment.

Mr. Kunonga’s influence has been felt in church after church in recent weeks as well. Anglican parishioners said they found themselves shut out or driven out by police officers who claimed to be acting on orders from their superiors to allow only Mr. Kunonga’s priests to preside.

At St. Paul’s Church in the Highfield suburb of Harare, the congregation refused to budge and kept singing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” when a dozen policemen entered the church on May 4. But the commander radioed for backup, and soon more than 50 riot police officers arrived, the church’s wardens said.

Still, Akinola’s got way too much in common with Kunonga to wiggle out of this just because a spokesman said something. He’s in tight with the rich and powerful Anglican Establishment in Nigeria; he scapegoats LGBTs; he’s accused of fomenting violence against Gay people and others; and he lives rather well.

Pray for Africa; pray for the Anglican Church.++

April 28, 2008

Giles Fraser: Take Death Threats Seriously

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.”


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:

Bobby Frank Cherry:

April 18, 2008

Archbishop Kwashi Promises Probe of Anti-Gay Violence, if…

Peter Akinola, Anglican Primate of Nigeria

From The Lead, part of Episcopal Café, an Episcopal Diocese of Washington website, posted by the Rev. Nick Knisely, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix, this afternoon:

Last week the Church of Nigeria was accused of being involved in some way on a series of assaults upon the leadership of the Changing Attitudes Nigeria organization. While some have questioned whether or not the assaults took place, today the Nigerian Church has responded by deploring any possibility that they might have been connected in any way, calling for an investigation if evidence points their way.

From a statement by the Nigerian Church’s Archbishop of Jos which has appeared on the provincial website:

“We are saddened and worried that some Churches and Christians now find these teachings and standards unacceptable. However, we will never seek to bring any person or persons to our way of thinking and believing by using violence, force, slander or blackmail: to do so would be to contradict the gospel which we proclaim. Should anyone bring a case against us in this respect we will most certainly investigate it and deal with it. I would have hoped that the accusations made concerning the attack on Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla could have been properly presented in this manner, with evidence: it would then have been dealt with swiftly. This was not done, and it would be helpful to consider that there may indeed be other reasons why certain individuals felt they had a score to settle with Mr. Mac-Iyalla. All my attempts so far to discover the place or the nature of these attacks and threats have proved unsuccessful.

Simply to accuse the Anglican Church of being the perpetrator of a physical attack on the streets of a large city, does not make sense. If a Nigerian Bishop or church leader were mugged in England, would the Archbishop of Canterbury, or even the Church of England in general, be blamed for this? That the Archbishop of Canterbury, backed by a group of English bishops should – without evidence being presented – choose to accuse any other person(s) of resorting to violent crime and illegal acts, is in fact to resort to the unchristian bullying and behaviour which they so abhor.”

The statement by the Archbishop continues:

May I note that I was invited to speak at a fringe meeting of the Church of England Synod last year. Mr. Mac-Iyalla was present at this public meeting, and at the end of my paper he made comments to which I responded. This all took place without there being any feeling of aggression, or any indication that the Church of Nigeria is homophobic or violent.

The full statement from the Church of Nigeria can be read here.

What follows is my comment, which also appears on The Lead:

It is significant that this comes in the name of the Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi, who has been something of a centrist on these issues.

He is correct in noting his friendly and respectful encounter last year with Davis Mac-Iyalla during General Synod. Davis considered this to be of some significance, since shortly before this the Church of Nigeria had publicly questioned whether Davis even exists.

They labeled him a con man, denied that he was Anglican (“we can find no record of him on our rolls”) and various other claims that appeared to be part of a smear campaign – all because he has the audacity to say that he is Gay, Nigerian and Anglican.

Archbishop Kwashi knows full well why the Nigerian Church has been accused in this latest matter. Therefore the significance of his statement is not his defense of his church, which is to be expected, but his promise that evidence of Anglican involvement in anti-Gay violence will be investigated.

For that I thank him as a brother.

Finally, I note this description of Nigeria published in The Edge, an alternative newspaper in Boston, published April 17. I believe it to be accurate:

Nigeria’s current leader is Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, whose April, 2007 election to a four-year term was characterized by a U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor report as “marred by massive fraud, vote rigging and political violence.”

That report also noted “government officials at all levels” committing abuses, including “politically motivated killings by security forces, arbitrary arrest and prolonged pretrial detention” as well as “restrictions on speech, press, assembly, religion and movement.” Homosexuality, illegal under federal law, is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The Anglican Church, headed by Peter Akinola, is the leading religious power in southern Nigeria. Akinola was turned out as president of the Christian Association of Nigeria last year for being too close to the Government. Akinola, the leading proponent of schism in the worldwide Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church, remains as Primate and Archbishop of Abuja.++

March 24, 2008

Gay Man Attacked at Mac-Iyalla Funeral


Some of the young men of Changing Attitude Nigeria

(press release e-mailed by Davis Mac-Iyalla, director of Changing Attitude Nigeria)

Changing Attitude Nigeria leader narrowly escapes death

Changing Attitude calls on the Primate and bishops of the Church of Nigeria to
condemn attacks on homosexuals

A shocking story of mob violence has emerged which almost culminated in the
death of one of the leaders of the Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) group in
Port Harcourt. The violent attack occurred in the context of the funeral
ceremony being held for the sister of Davis Mac-Iyalla, attended by six
members of the Port Harcourt group on Thursday, 20 March 2008.

The CAN Port Harcourt leader who was the subject of the attack said:
“I am in total shock and living in fear while feeling the pains I suffered in
the hands of a mob group that attacked me at the Service of Songs for Davis’s
late sister. While hymn singing was going on a muscular man walked up to me
and asked me for a word outside the compound.

“The next thing I saw was a mob group who were there to attack me. They
started slapping and punching me, kicked me on the ground and spat on me. I
have never known fear like I knew when they were brutalizing me. I thought
they were going to kill me there and then. While beating me they were
shouting: ‘You notorious homosexual, you think can run away from us for your
notorious group to cause more abomination in our land?’ Those who attacked me
were well informed about us so I suspect an insider or one of the leaders of
our Anglican church have hands in this attack.”

Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:
“The attack on one of the CAN leaders in Port Harcourt is a terrifying
indictment of the attitude of the Church of Nigeria to LGBT people. Violence
against LGBT people has been encouraged by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the
leaders of the Church of Nigeria. They have attacked the presence of LGBTs in
church and society, and supported a bill which would reinforce prejudice
against LGBT people.

“Changing Attitude calls on the Church of Nigeria to denounce violence against
LGBT people. We challenge the leaders of the global south coalition to repent
of their un-Biblical views which fuel prejudice against LGBT people in our

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, learning of the
attack, said: “Please hold the Port Harcourt group in your prayers as we seek God’s guidance on this ugly and sad period of testing in our life.”

The thugs who attacked the Port Harcourt leader told him: “We will not rest
until we silence you and any who join you to pollute the land with the
abominable act of homosexuality. You are perverts who go around corrupting and
inducting young people into our evil society. We will kill you and it will be
a favour to the country. Nigeria will not contain you or any other person that
practices homosexuality.”

January 29, 2008

Nzimbi Fiddles While Kenya Burns


Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi leading an anti-Gay forum in Rochester, Minnesota one year ago this week. He claims the Kenyan Church is growing madly, but this talk attracted all of 40 souls.

It’s been a month now since the elections in Kenya, and so far the violence is unabated. This is a particular tragedy felt all over Africa and all over the Anglican Communion. Lives are being lost and hopes are being dashed all over the continent, because up to now Kenya has been a particularly bright spot. It is a large and prosperous country which successfully moved from one-party rule to democracy. Now it appears the government has stolen the election, leading at first to mass street protests, then a government crackdown, and finally violence, which has degenerated into tribal hatred. And somewhere near the middle of it all stands the Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, heretofore best known as a Gay-hating wedge-driver splitting the Episcopal Church in America.

He should have stuck to his own knitting. He should have concentrated on his own country instead of conducting border raids in the United States.

But the same can be said of many Anglican Archbishops in Africa. They’ve been so busy conducting anti-Gay campaigns in the West they’ve neglected their own countries and their own churches.

But wait, it gets worse. Several weeks before the late December elections, Nzimbi was appointed the head of a special religious peace commission to hold the country together through the electoral process—to bless it, if you will. Here’s how the Anglican Church of Kenya’s website described it:

Religious organizations in Kenya have launched a peace campaign to ensure a peaceful and secure process as the December 2007 general elections approach.

The campaign whose slogan is “Chagua Amani Zuia Noma” (Choose Peace Avoid Chaos) was launched recently by President Mwai Kibaki at a colorful ceremony at the Kenyatta Conference Centre grounds.

The Chairman of the inter-religious forum, The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi had this to say during the launch:

It is my great pleasure to welcome all of us to this grand occasion. Today, we join hands with the rest of the world to celebrate peace and remind ourselves of the immense negative effects of conflict and violence.

Your Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen, peace is so important in our lives that we should not allow the transient activity of holding elections leave us beholding each other as enemies. We are one nation: Our differences in language, race, religion and economic power are just a flavour that makes living together interesting and worthwhile.

The “Excellency” he refers to is, of course, President Mwai Kibaki, the one who stole the election from opposition leader Raila Odinga.

So there was Nzimbi in September, receiving his “peace coronation” from the current President in the absence of the opposition leader. They must have all felt pretty good about what they were doing that day, ensuring peace and all.

Here’s what Kenya looked like yesterday.


Of course, since the riots broke out, Archbishop Nzimbi and his peace commission are nowhere to be found. They sided with the status quo back in September and now have no credibility at all with the average Kenyan.

So the Anglican Church is ducking undercover to save its skin. Other international friends have had to go to Kenya to faciliate negotiations, including former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. As the violence gets worse, the peace prospects dim.

Interestingly, the next news story on the Kenyan Anglican website carries these two worthies: schismatic American priests Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch, who were recently ordained Bishops of Anti-Gayville by Nzimbi:

bill-atwood.jpg bill-murdoch.jpg

Don’t these White guys just look precious in their lace and finery? This stuff would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

The one thing they all have in common—Nzimbi, Kibaki, Atwood, Murdoch and their American enablers—is that they really don’t care who gets hurt, as long as they get their way.

As we’ve seen over and over in nation and after nation, fake religious leaders define morality in personal, sexual terms to enable governments to act immorally, thus enriching those in power. We see it in America, in Nigeria, in Kenya, in Europe, in Central and South America, in Russia, in the Middle East; we see it everywhere.

How long, oh Lord, how long?

Pray for Kenya. Pray for the Church.++

December 27, 2007

Ugandan Bishop Pops Off—on Christmas!


There is no end to Gay bashing in Africa, but now an Anglican bishop has sunk to a new low: using his Christmas sermon as the occasion.

The New Vision, “Uganda’s Leading Website,” reports this:

THE Government should not yield to pressure and legalise homosexuality and lesbianism, the Bishop of Bukedi Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nicodemus Okille, has appealed.

The bishop, who was delivering his Christmas sermon at St. Peter’s Church of Uganda Tororo on Tuesday, said the acts violate both the biblical teachings on marriage and African culture.

Okille criticised the advocates of gay rights, saying they had no place in the Kingdom of God.

Some Bible preaching, huh?

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “God hates fags. Gay sex is unafrican. Give lots of money to the Anglican Church.”

Using Christmas Day to deliver this hateful sermon is beneath the Christian religion—but it helps fill Archbishop Henry Orombi’s coffers.

December 13, 2007

Nigerian Witchhunts: Pentecostal Violence against Children

Filed under: Anglican,Blogroll,Christianity,LGBT Rights,Nigeria,Peter Akinola,Schism — Josh Thomas @ 9:22 am


As if there weren’t enough to be depressed about, the British newspaper The Guardian reports about the scapegoating of children in Nigeria:

Evangelical pastors are helping to create a terrible new campaign of violence against young Nigerians. Children and babies branded as evil are being abused, abandoned and even murdered while the preachers make money out of the fear of their parents and their communities.

Do read the article; yes, it’s depressing, but it’s an invaluable firsthand account for anyone who wants to understand Africa, its churches and worldwide fundamentalism. Here is the Pentecostal church at work—taught Biblical literalism by American and Scottish missionaries, the article claims—not the Anglican Church of Nigeria, which prefers to scapegoat Gay, Lesbian and Trans people instead. Archbishop Peter Akinola doesn’t advocate gouging Gay eyes out or throwing acid in their faces (although Davis Mac-Iyalla’s been threatened with the latter), he wants to jail Gay people for 14 years instead.

With all that is screwed up about Nigeria, you’d think Akinola would speak out against the abuse of children. But you’d be wrong. Since Anglicanism has to compete with Pentecostalism (and by many reports, is losing that competition), you’d think he’d compare and contrast these two versions of “Christianity.” But again you’d be wrong.

Beware the next time you hear some right-wing American Christian tell you to support missionary work. Chances are, the missionaries are just teaching Pentecostal-style hucksterism: how to get rich by stealing and committing violence in the name of God.

Lord, have mercy. Defenseless children!++

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