In response to reports on a 2007 interview and a 2014 news article, the newly appointed head of the Anglican Communion office has issued a statement. The chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt Revd James Tengatenga, has issued a statement as well. Portions of those statements are quoted below.
Statement from the Rt Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon responding to misleading stories concerning a sermon in 2014 and an interview in 2007:
In Benin on Sunday 23rd March, 2014 at St. Mathew’s Cathedral where Knights and their wives were being admitted, I encouraged them to continue to uphold family values in their homes bringing up their children as Christians in order to make a difference in their society. I then went on to challenge the National Assembly, comparing corruption with homosexuality that they had just criminalized. I wished the National Assembly had spent all that time and energy to criminalize corruption rather than homosexuality which is not damaging the Nigerian society as is corruption.
I have never supported the law in Nigeria that criminalizes the gay community and I will never support it….
In a Dallas interview in 2007 the question was about the Bible and culture. I did say by way of explanation that the West brought the Christian Faith to us and our forefathers embraced the faith finding it corroborated our view on marriage. Today, the same West are telling us that the position has changed. To the African, that is confusing, hence the difficulty between the Western church and the African church.
Statement from the Rt Revd James Tengatenga, Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, regarding the appointment of the Rt Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon as new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion:
The Panel set up for the appointment of the new Secretary General of the Anglican Communion acted with due diligence and was unanimous in appointing the Rt Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon.
The Communion is in need of leadership at the ACO from the majority world, a situation that is long overdue….
In responding to the appointment of Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon as Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, some have drawn attention to an article in a Nigerian newspaper concerning an address he gave in Benin on Sunday 23 March 2014.
The article misrepresents and distorts his comments in the sermon in which he challenged the National Assembly on the time and energy spent in criminalizing homosexuality and not the corruption that damages Nigerian society. The views attributed in the article to Bishop Josiah do not reflect what is widely known to be his position, both within Nigeria and amongst those who know him.
The Episcopal Café ran a report on the 2007 interview and the 2014 news article earlier this week. Another 2014 news article with the phrase “The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good” has turned up.
From 2013, see also, this item from the Episcopal Café: The sad case of Dartmouth and Bishop Tengatenga.
Addendum. From The Tablet (the international Catholic news weekly), December 2004:
A Nigerian archbishop, Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has said that homosexuality is on a par with adultery, fornication and armed robbery, while Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, has called it an “aberration unknown even in animal relationships”.
Posted by John B. Chilton
Photo credit: ACNS