Let your yes be your yes and your no, no--but if you must lie, go ahead and do that
There is legislation currently under debate in Nigeria. Here is what it says: (link)
[O]n January 19, 2006, Mr. Bayo Ojo, Minister of Justice, presented to the Federal Executive Council a "Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Prohibition of Relationship Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith". While the Council reportedly approved the Bill, it has not yet been submitted to the National Assembly ...One month later, in February, 2006, Peter Akinola of Nigeria approved the following: (link)
[I]n its article 7 (1), the Bill prohibits the "registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations by whatever name they are called [...] by government agencies."
Furthermore, the Bill provides in its article 7(3) five years imprisonment for "any person involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private." It also provides the same sentence to anyone who "goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex, and "performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage" (article 8).
At the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) focusing on the theme “Stewardship of Time and Money”, presided over by the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, CON, DD, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, the following message is hereby sent to the Nation:This past September, Akinola reaffirmed his support of this legislation. (link)
The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality.
The Church 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.There is no question about it; Akinola supports the bill that calls for imprisoning people who even display same sex affection or who "support" it directly or indirectly. He has the church in Nigeria behind the bill not once, but twice. Anyone denying this is simply denying it, lying, or refusing to see what is plain.
As we near the end of 2006, several parishes in Virginia have decided their churches would find a better home under Akinola's guidance. As part of this guidance they have issued releases saying Akinola does not in fact support the law noted above, despite the fact that he sent the Church's good wishes to speed it along not once, but twice.
Here is what Minns of Virginia said on December 7 on his church homepage, to defend Akinola. (link)
"In a recent Washington Post article, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola was characterized as 'an advocate of jailing gays.' That is not true."Yes, it is true. By the way, The Washington Post did not issue a retraction, correction, or apology.
Akinola does support putting gay people in jail, Mr. Minns. He wants this to be a law, in fact. The part that is not true is that he is a supporter or friend of gay people. He is not. That is why you are allied with him.
On December 17 in a report on the Virginia churches, noting how they are mobilized by antigay sentiment, The New York Times said Akinola is
an outspoken opponent of homosexuality who supports legislation in his country that would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant.Four days later, on December 21, in new letters from Minns and Akinola (link), they say Akinola does not support jailing gays, even though Akinola twice commended the legislature in Nigeria for wanting to do this very thing.
That is a distortion of our true position. We are a church that teaches the truth of the Holy Scriptures and understand that every person, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation, is made in the image of God, loved by God, and deserving of the utmost respect. Akinola said he does not want to see his nation follow the path of license and immorality that we have witness in other parts of the world.What does this mean? As stated in his commendation to the legislature in Nigeria, to Akinola the "truth of Scripture" is that gays are evil, abominable, and sinful. And as he sees it, this is also the position of all of Nigeria. That is why it is then alright to push for their imprisonment.
The Virginia churches are allied with Akinola, because they look fondly on such a position. They too think that gays are evil and sinful.
They have spoken for quite some time about how sinful and evil gays are, yet when asked outright, perhaps they are as appalled as everyone else, by what they are saying and doing, and so now have some great difficulty letting their yes be their yes, and their no, no.
We'll leave the light on.