Thursday 12 March 2009

Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Act and the Church of Nigeria’s position paper

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) presented a position paper on the Bill for an Act to Prohibit Marriage between persons of the same gender at the public hearing on 11th March. Below are extracts from the paper interspersed with my comments.

“The present trend in certain quarters to cast the bible aside and foist on the world a religion that does not have God and the bible at the centre…”

The oft repeated myth that the Episcopal Church has abandoned Christianity and has invented a new religion. The North American and UK churches are still bible-based and place God at the centre, despite the false witness made again and again by conservatives.

“… the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which dwelt extensively on human sexual orientation…”

I thought GAFCON was not obsessed with sexuality but here we are told it was dwelt on extensively.

“The introduction of this bill at this stage of national development is one of the best things that have happened to us as a nation.”

My knowledge of Nigeria suggests there might be other more pressing things to introduce that would benefit the nation. These include policies to deal with the rampant corruption and devastation caused by the oil industry in the Delta region; the violence and killings being perpetrated by cult gangs; and the corruption which is widespread at all levels in Nigerian society. These have a far more corrosive effect than same gender relationships and love.

“Genesis 19: 1-29 “It was because of the sin of homosexuality that the city of Sodom and Gomorroah was completely wiped out from the face of the earth.”

I’m not sure which verse, if any, this claims to be a translation of. There is no word or phrase in the bible that can appropriately be translated ‘homosexual’. Dishonest use of scripture doesn’t rate highly for me.

“Same sex marriage is a violation of this divine injunction and will only endanger human existence.”

The now familiar lie, that allowing gay people to exist, form relationships and marry endangers the very future of human existence. Why do these Nigerian so lack confidence in the ability of heterosexuals to remain dominant and continue to give birth and sustain the human race?

“The presence of gay churches, fellowships and clubs in Nigeria is not only embarrassing but also very unhealthy.”

It’s good to note that the ability to be honest about LGBT people has developed further in Nigeria. When Changing Attitude Nigeria was founded 4 years ago the church denied that gay people existed. Two years later the church admitted that gay people do indeed exist. Then they denied that Changing Attitude Nigeria existed or that there could be any gay churches or clubs in Nigeria. Now they concede that such things exist.

“The family is the nucleus of any society and its destruction will lead inevitably to the destruction of society. Same sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind.”

What disastrous consequences has the presence of gay people in society brought to humankind throughout history, and what consequences have resulted in those countries that now recognise gay marriage or civil partnerships?

“One of the Corollaries of same sex marriage is the introduction of male prostitution. If male prostitution is added to the social problem of Nigeria at this stage of our national development the effect will be very catastrophic particularly to our youth.”

Male prostitution is almost certainly more prevalent now under the present penal code in Nigeria. When you punish something which is natural for a percentage of the human race, as in the case of sexual activity, prostitution is one of the results. Legalising same gender relationships is more likely to lead to a reduction of prostitution and of relationships which are clandestine and unhealthy.

“Same sex marriage apart from being ungodly is also unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, uncultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. It is also capable of existincting (sic) mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria.”

Well, that’s quite a list of nasty things. The nastiest is the reference to the holocaust, given that homosexuals were one of the groups incarcerated by the Nazis. Homosexuals were threatened with extinction by the Nazis but the Church of Nigeria now alleges that we are threatening the extinction of humankind.

It would be too easy to make fun of such laughable claims, but they could have a tragic effect, reinforcing the deep prejudice against LGBT people in Nigerian society and leading to an increase in violent attacks. It is a scandal that the Church of Nigeria makes such blatantly false allegations. Canon Philip Groves’ book ‘The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality’ should be compulsory reading for every Nigerian bishop.

Where is the integrity in the position of the Church of Nigeria and their conservative friends in North America towards LGBT Christians?


  1. Who in the Nigerian Parliament lies behind this outrageous proposal?

  2. Goran, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is one of the bodies that we know has brought pressure to bear on the Nigerian Government to reintroduce this bill.

  3. I still haven't heard anything about the movers behind or the prospects...

    Please explain!