Monday, May 01, 2006

Nigerian Bishop Hates Sin AND Sinner

"Hate the sin, love the sinner." That was the mantra of my conservative seminary classmates, tossed around so blithely in discussions of homosexuality that it came to induce instant nausea. And yet, let's be honest, it does describe a defensible position, in discussions far more wide-ranging than those of mere sexual morality.

The anti-gay crowd has hewn to this line in the debates which are slowly dividing worldwide Anglicanism (here's the New Yorker's take, reasonably good by secular-press standards). They have inisted that while they consider homesexuality sinful, they continue to care pastorally for gay people, and object to any legal or civil institutions which "victimize or diminish" them.

Or at least they did. Seems that Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola, a leader of the anti-gay forces, "recently threw his prestige and resources behind a new law that would criminalize same-sex marriage in his country and deny gay citizens the freedoms to assemble and petition their government. The law would also infringe upon press and religious freedom by authorizing Nigeria's government to prosecute newspapers that publicize same-sex associations and religious organizations that permit same-sex unions."

The quotation is from an op-ed piece by Bishop Chane of Washington, which has appeared in the WashPost and on the Episcopal Life website.

Apparently, the man who has become the living symbol of the global south's position on sexual morality is also happy to associate himself with the global south's endemic contempt for human rights. I hope that conservatives within America's Episcopal Church think long and hard about whether Akinola is somebody they want to, er, climb into bed with. Even proverbially.

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