Archbishop of Canterbury expresses "deep shock" at Nigerian statements
"The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed deep shock at remarks said to have been made by the Bishop of Uyo, Nigeria, the Rt Revd Isaac Orama concerning gay and lesbian people.
The Archbishop will be contacting the Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, to seek clarification. Dr Williams said "The safety of people of gay and lesbian sexual orientation is a matter of concern for us all. The Anglican Primates, along with all other official bodies in the Anglican Communion, have consistently called for an end to homophobia, violence and hatred. If these reports are correct I would urge the bishop to apologise. Such comments are unacceptable and profoundly shocking on the lips of any Christian".
Canon James M Rosenthal
Anglican Communion Office
St Andrew's House
Director of Communications
16 Tavistock Crescent
London W11 1AP UK
The comments the Archbishop is referring to were made earlier this week by a bishop in Nigeria named Isaac Orama. Orama appeared to welcome violence and action against gays and lesbians by categorising them as less than human, satanic, and unfit to live.
Outside his own country, Orama's comments amount to little more than bathroom graffiti.
Inside his own country, however, assuming anyone is even listening to this man, the statements pave the way for violence and wickedness against other people. It is precisely these kinds of statements, in concert with legislation and policies fed by the sort of hatred evidenced by them, that have required The Episcopal Church, in good conscience and Christian practice, to lift high the Cross for the defense and protection of all who would be dehumanized.
It goes without saying that a bishop of the Church cannot be permitted to incite or encourage this or any other kind of violence. The Archbishop of Canterbury's call for an inquiry is certainly a step in the right direction.
The Nigerian bishop's statements have been roundly condemned since he made them.