New head of Anglican Communion Office supports criminalization of homosexuality

by

UPDATED: Scroll to end.


The newly-named Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office said in 2014, “The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good, our battle is not against human beings, it is against the devil.” In the job description for the position of Secretary General, reconciliation was a primary consideration.

Nigerian bishop to be the Anglican Communion’s next Secretary General (ACNS)

Dr Idowu-Fearon currently serves as Bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) where he has earned a global reputation in the Church for his expertise in Christian-Muslim relations [links added].

The person specification for the role of Secretary General indicated that the next incumbent should “assist the Communion to become even more faithful to, and engaged in, God’s mission of reconciliation.

“The successful candidate will be a committed Christian, a person of deep faith and prayer, a visionary ambassador for Christ and his Church, a bridge-builder to effect healing amongst the churches of the Anglican Communion, a creative and imaginative thinker, and an inspirational leader who will help to renew the witness and effectiveness of the Communion, its structures, and its programmes.”

Lay and clergy individuals from a member Church of the Anglican Communion were encouraged to apply.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is not involved in the interview process but receives the nominations for approval.

Reconciliation within the Anglican Communion is a primary goal of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Idowu-Fearon is a long and vocal opponent of the acceptance of LGBT persons in the church. Some examples:

In an interview in 2007 he told the Dallas Morning News,

[W]e feel we are deceived, we have been cheated by the people the Lord Jesus Christ used to introduce us to the Scriptures, to bring us to a new faith in the Lord Jesus. They are telling us that it’s not wrong after all, that it’s a natural way. But we say: You are wrong; the Bible is right. So it’s not just a question of human sexuality. It’s about the authority of Scripture. For us, Scripture judges every culture. What I hear in the Western world is that culture judges Scripture. That’s the basic difference. It’s not a question of sex or no sex.

From “No going back on stand against gay marriage – Anglican Communion,” March 2014, in the Nigerian newspaper New Telegraph:

The Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) said yesterday that there was no going back on its 1998 stand against promoters of homosexuality and bi-sexual tendencies. Leadership of the communion lauded the Federal Government for the decisive step it took banning the ugly practices.

Bishop of Kaduna Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Most Rev (Dr) Josiah Idowu- Fearon, who spoke at the induction/investiture of knights and dames, held in Benin, Edo State capital, stated that legalising gay marriage or such acts amounted to making God’s good creatures and standards to look imperfect.

Rev. Idowu-Fearon said, “Our battle today is not against homosexuals, our battle today is against those who say God’s standards are not good enough for us.

The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good, our battle is not against human beings, it is against the devil.” He urged all those already initiated to reestablish the family system that is Anglican oriented.

“You knights should go back and re-establish the family system and that is the Anglican position. Our resolution of 1998 on homosexuality has not changed and will not change by the grace of God.

Updates:

Idowu-Fearon preached at the consecration of Welby as Bishop of Durham. The biography Archbishop Justin Welby: The Road to Canterbury, contains the following passage,
CaptureDurham
In 2011 he pleaded with Gafcon Primates not to boycott Lambeth. He took a similar stance in 2007.

In 2007 he was demoted from archbishop to bishop by then Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola.


Posted by John B. Chilton


Image source: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/data/images/articles/2013_June/CROSS-WEB.jpg

 

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Pete UK
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Pete UK

How does the Bishop feel about slavery? Does he think that the word of the Bible to be correct?
Leviticus 25:44-46

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Ann Fontaine
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Ann Fontaine

Pete UK -- please sign your full name when you post. Thanks, Editor.

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John Dakin
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John Dakin

The problem is, the Anglican Communion presents a different face in Africa to the tolerant Church of England.

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Benoit Mailloux
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Benoit Mailloux

Reconciliation? With who? Nigeria???

What are you doing with this guy? Every man is created equal under the eyes of GOD, but in Nigeria, they seemed to have taken over the role of GOD and DECIDE who should live and die. WHO are you people to elect a KILLER as part of the church I visit every week and worship. and YES, I am a gay man who did teach Sunday School and has been received. Make changes... NOW... before it is too late. PLEASE!!!

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Treacy
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Treacy

Seriously mankind has corrupted the teachings of Christ. Why are Many Christians not as Christ? Homosexuality is no sin. Misguided info. Don't use old testament to justify your hate or lack of understanding. Christians who condemn Gays and denied Gay Christians making Christ a liar. Christian are to follow NEW covenant NEW laws in Christ. .. why are they being as Pharsees who jesus called hypocrites?
ALL IS EQUAL IN EYES OF GOD. Gay and Straight.

Treacy, please use your first and last name in future posts for them to be approved for publication.
Bro David

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Bob Webster
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Bob Webster

There is more to this picture than meets the eye. Please read the attached thoughts from Colin of Changing Attitude England. As appalled as I am by the actions of the church in Africa, we need to have compassion for all those stuck in that slough. We are after all to love our enemies, and if one of them is able to escape their oppression, let's hold our judgement for a while.

https://www.facebook.com/bob.webster.543/posts/10153197970909804

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David Weaver
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David Weaver

We will exhaust you O God our king.

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Jane Buttery
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Dr Idowu-Fearon may be admired for his desire to keep the Anglican communion together and I'm glad he is not for criminalizing gay people but it seems, his faith needs a little of the compassion of Christ. Jesus I remember talked to the rich young man but , when he did not comply with Jesus suggestions about sharing, Jesus was sad - not condemning. He never actually condemned Judas (it was others who wrote 'the devil entered him.')
I used to be against gay unions but I have thought and prayed about 'what would Jesus have done?" and I feel , above all Jesus and God are merciful, compassionate and full of love for us all. A great deal of harm has been done to God's children by trying to change a homosexual. I think God wants us to understand others not condem them. May the bishop seek God's answer on this not just from Scripture, and Paul in particular who wrote at a different time and to a different culture.

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Joseph O'Leary
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The appointee may now deny his former statements and vilify his critics, but that is not good enough. He needs to do a public act of conversion and vow to fight against the benighted and murderous attitudes with which he has allowed his name to be associated.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

Thank you, this^. [No more 'ditto' posts today, promise!]

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Trent Galbraith
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Trent Galbraith

Sad and regressive, oppressive ideation. Please, listen to the lyrics of this song. Empathy should always trump fear and small mindedness.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KqOlmLC_Row

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Julie Gittens
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Julie Gittens

Also, he is the Archbishop of Kaduna.

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Julie Gittens
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Julie Gittens

Unlike all of you, I emailed Archbishop Idowu-Feadon directly!!! He doesn't think homosexuality should be criminalized!!I strongly suggest the editors of Episcopal Café get their stories straight before posting them.

[We have an item coming up at 3:00PM. - ed.]

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

Thank you.

I doubt it will matter to anyone here.

If you are opposed to the new progressive view, in any form, this will be the only defining feature that matters.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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Again, this is unfair. Most people here have made big distinctions between conservative views and supporting human rights violations.

However, Julie, did you ask the bishop about those awful quotes? Did he say those things that were printed in March 2014, in the Nigerian newspaper New Telegraph? Has he now renounced that view when only a year ago he clearly said that criminalization is a good thing? It seems to me that more investigation than your single email is needed. The history is in print.

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Member

The interview committee was made up of members of the ACC Standing Committee. The Standing Committee members are listed here:
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/instruments-of-communion/acc/standing-committee/standing-committee-members.aspx

They include our Presiding Bishop and the Bishop of Connecticut. I don't know if they were a part of the Interview Committee.

I also note that the folks at Stand Firm seem to think that Bishop Idowu-Fearon is a Communion hack and are dismayed with his appointment. Maybe they'll perk up a bit if the read Episcopal Cafe.

It does seem that Bishop Idowu-Fearon has gotten in trouble in his own country if he was demoted.

It's possible that he does bring particular gifts, connections, and experiences that are useful at the Anglican Communion Office and that his opinions on homosexuality will no be determinative of policy. As liberal, I'm interested in drawing the circle wider rather than narrower provided that there is something to be gained for the greater good in doing so.

Not being a fly on the wall, I'm agnostic, and I do think those who appointed or recommended him could do well to indicate what they saw in him that made him the better choice and why that overrides certain comments and positions of his past.

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Michael Russell
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In 2006 TEC passed resolution D005. It puts us on record as opposing the criminalization of homosexualty. That remains our position. Time to cut funding to the Anglican Communion if it elevates human rights abusers to positions of authority.

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

I suspect this reaction re: TEC funding has been fully anticipated. Let the ACO be better representative of the Anglican Communion on the ground. If that means fewer meetings and less money from the proportionally tiny TEC, that is overdue.

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Deborah Elliott
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Deborah Elliott

How sad that we have to go back 50 years. It breaks my heart to see anyone representing God and the church to preach or speak hatred. How God must weep

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John Bennett
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John Bennett

I feel so loved as a gay Episcopalian, and so hated as a gay Anglican.

The bible also says that slaves should obey their masters and that women should be silent. Where does the new head of the Anglican Communion Office stand on these issues? Surely by now all Anglicans would have to admit that there are a bunch of ideas in the bible that are thoroughly un-Christian.

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Mark D"Alessio
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Mark D"Alessio

Deeply unsettling. Might Rome prove more faithful in their use of reason nowadays than Canterbury?

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David Murray
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David Murray

Good luck. It has been interesting visiting. However - whether Anglican or Islamic. North or South, religion itself has little to give in this modern world. In this time of review - I am going to join the secular world, and left this. This appointment only reminds me that religious leaders only do what is good for them. Nigeria is a mess wanting to sink into religious civil war. It also is a oil producing nation. That is a connection of the Archbishop with his former job before church. Neither faith is safe to be given any power.

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June Butler
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Sorry, to see you go, David. Blessings.

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David Murray
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David Murray

That was kind of you to write this. Thanks. It is a tension this. The pulls of past, present and possible futures seen in all these issues. I will watch. I am, however, neither for either extremes present in these various issues. bless you.

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

147 Christian students slaughtered in Kenya. 'We are al-Shabab. Who is Christian?'

This is the Anglican Communion.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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I think we are all very aware of a variety of struggles in Africa and the rise of extremism. The question for us is how do we respond to hateful extremism, be it Muslim or Christian? That's the question. And let's not forget that there are issues beyond religion in some of these struggles, but yes, some of it uses the excuse of religion.

I suggest that the response needs to be deeply Christian. The appointment of a human rights abuser just doesn't seem very Christ like to me.

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Diane Corlett
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Diane Corlett

I am beyond appalled
What is his position on polygamy and with regard to the sexual behavior of consenting adults, whAt could he possibly know Was he the one in the bed or under. The bed,hmmm?

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

Cosseted western liberalism ought to stick with picking on grannies with bakeries in Indiana.

Daily life in Kaduna State. Majority Religion Islam (shariah observant). Bishop Josiah lives in the midst of this. His view would be mainstream if, compared to shariah, moderate. Boko Haram on doorstep.

The remarkable thing is not Bishop Josiah's account of sexuality but that he is alive, that he is a courageous advocate for Islam-Christian dialogue, and that the Anglican Communion has appointed him to a position of authority, a Bishop from Kaduna State.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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Liberals stick to grannies? This insulting condescension is misplaced. I personally have ministered in the midst of political violence and in the wake of horrific natural catastrophe. I know a ton of liberals who have answered the call to do their Baptismal Ministry in difficult places like South Sudan, have been "detained" by thugs-du-jour at gunpoint, and of course, suffered illnesses for walking the talk. Your insults are not needed, not accurate, and not helpful.

The idea that the Anglican Communion needs to accept a human rights abuser because he might have other useful skills smacks of the racism of low expectations. There are plenty of African, South American, and Asian religious leaders who do not support human rights abuse. I bet plenty of them have experience with "Islam." Quotes because I don't think "Islam" is monolithic, anymore than "Christianity" is.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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I think that most in TEC have tuned out of Anglican affairs and would not vilify a mere conservative from Africa. You are creating a straw man and changing the subject. The subject is the appointment of a bishop who in print in March 2014 supported the "jail the gays" bill. This law is widely acknowledged as a human rights abuse.

But of course, it gives an opportunity for ad hominem attacks on every last person on the planet who believes in the liberating message of Jesus Christ. And it gives the chance to give the false impression that one of us is plugged into the larger Anglican Communion while the rest of us are naive waifs.

Let's be clear. Human rights violations are bad. Always. Coddling human rights abusers, in that special way that only the Church of England seems to muster, is decidedly not Christ-like. I can be condescending enough to believe that the Holy Spirit will do her liberating work in England and Africa in God's own time and simply ignore the Anglican Communion while it works things out. But, I'm sorry, elevating human rights abusers is a line that ought not be crossed.

Go minister in places where you can witness actual human rights abuses. In my case it just happened, I certainly wasn't looking for it. But once you've see it, you will know that the Church MUST say NO to it, in every form. When you see brutality on women and children and elderly by sheer power, you will know that there is no Child of God who "deserves" that treatment.

But go ahead. Defend the human rights abuser. It certainly affirms my view of what "conservatives" really think should happen to LGBT people.

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

Look, let's be clear.

ANY person appointed to this post who would oppose same-sex marriage--even though most Anglican Christians worldwide do--would be vilified by western liberals.

TEC liberals will not tolerate any position that deviates from their own.

This is the new illiberal reality.

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Donna Hicks
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Donna Hicks

Something to think about: Should we in The Episcopal Church expect that someone who subscribes to our positions be appointed Secretary General of the Anglican Communion when a majority of the Anglican Communion’s membership is in the Global South?

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Mark Kozielec
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Mark Kozielec

No one is suggesting that the appointee "subscribe to our positions," only that the appointee *not* subscribe to the wholesale jailing/killing of those with whom they disagree theologically.

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

Excellent comment, Susan.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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We must not accept the propaganda that the entire "Global South" is unified in hateful theology and human rights abuse! GAFCON would have us all believe that. Alas, there are plenty of religious leaders from the "Global South" who have signed on against the abuses and for inclusion. Desmond Tutu stands out first and foremost, but he is not the only one. There's a whole Indaba process going on, apparently with excellent understandings and tolerance.

It's one thing to have leaders from other Provinces who are "conservative" on sexuality. It's quite another to have ones that actively support human rights abuses.

I think I've maxed out my four posts for the day.

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Donna Hicks
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Donna Hicks

Not saying the whole Global South subscribes to these negative things, but suggesting that perhaps these appointments are not going to be someone from the part of the world which no longer has the majority of Anglicans.

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Josiah Henderson
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From the full context of the offending comments, ("Our battle today is not against homosexuals, our battle today is against those who say God’s standards are not good enough for us. The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good, our battle is not against human beings, it is against the devil,”) I am a bit confused. Precisely because I agree with the first sentiment, I would come to the opposite conclusion to the second (i.e., that criminalisation of sin is not Christianly appropriate, because we should always rely on the persuasive power of truth and never on the coercive power of civil government).

I hope and pray for an Anglican Communion that can be re-united around a Biblical and coherent doctrine of human sexuality AND learn to renounce both formal Establishment and informal attempts at controlling societies through coercive legislation. It seems to me that neither conservative nor progressive Anglicans are very good at learning the latter lesson.

Lord, have mercy!

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Whit Johnstone
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Whit Johnstone

Well, there are some sins, such as murder, which are appropriately criminalized by the State for the sake of the harm they cause to other people. The sin of murder, for instance, obviously falls into this category. So do stealing, bearing false witness (perjury), etc...

Homosexual acts between consenting adults, if they are a sin (I admit that I am actually agnostic on this point) do not fall into this category, since they harm no-one but the 'sinners' themselves.

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Susan Russell
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Susan Russell

Any thoughts on something actionable for SLC?

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June Butler
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Thanks, JCF.

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June Butler
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What is SLC, Susan?

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

I think she means this summer's General Convention, in Salt Lake City.

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David Streever
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David Streever

Why would someone overlook support for a bill which started as "Kill the gays"? Even "Jail the gays"; does Jesus talk about using State power to enforce morality standards with the imprisonment of people? It seems like a weird 'fruit of the spirit' by which to judge something as good or evil.

If the fight is with the Devil, how will jailing people help?

I'm unable to follow the logic of this man.

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Member

A US Republican senator named Tom Cotton has now publicly advocated hanging gay people. Apparently, this thinking has become mainstream.

Robert - please use your full name when commenting in the future. Thanks, Editor

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Bindy Snyder
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Bindy Snyder

He needs to go back to seminary and retake Bible study.

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William Moorhead
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William Moorhead

We have many Anglican companions, partners, and friends, and our relationships with them are important and precious. The Anglican Communion as a whole, and as such? Please explain to me why we should continue to care.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

That's a great question, William, why should we continue to care [about the Anglican Communion]?

Part of me says that we should care because we are all sisters and brothers in Christ. Together, we make up the Body of Christ, charged with bringing the Kingdom of Heaven closer to earth. I want to be in communion. However, it might make sense to be more in communion with them like we are with Lutherans and Rome, loving but separate.

We Americans (and perhaps others) have the formation of MLK, who was quite "uncompromising" on justice. He said that it was immoral to ask the oppressed to continue to carry the burden of injustice for the comfort of the status quo. The Church of England is all about "compromising," meaning that they subject women and girls to unconscionable misogyny to appease heretical claims by misogynists. And their treatment of LGBT persons, especially their clergy, is an appeasement of human rights abusers - against the will of the majority of their own members.

The problem with justice is that it is or it isn't. There's no "compromise." There might be steps in the justice direction, but that should never be confused with actual inclusion as full Children of God, treated with the dignity of all of God's Created.

I want to be in communion, it is theologically right to be in communion. But it is difficult to be in communion with religious leaders who would have me and my spouse killed or jailed. It's absolutely chilling. This is the realm of the saints, and there are too few of those.

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Graeme Thomson
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Graeme Thomson

I have, for many reasons, never found it possible to embrace either Rome or Geneva. It now appears, despite having been raised and always identified as Church of England, I must sadly add Canterbury to the list.

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Jerald Liko
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Jerald Liko

Have you considered Wittenberg?

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ronald reno
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ronald reno

Outstanding selection. Keen expert on Islam. Served on Windsor committee.

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Heath Hutto
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Heath Hutto

Typo in the new final para--I don't think you meant "demoted from bishop to archbishop." (Some would argue that such a move is a demotion, but it doesn't seem to be what you're referencing.)

[Fixed. Thank you. - ed.]

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Brian MacFarland
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Brian MacFarland

This nomination reminds me of the new bride who married her gay husband thinking he will change after they are married. I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that gets worse with every new revelation from Canterbury.

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John Carter
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John Carter

I suppose this is meant to signal that the Anglican Communion is "Islam-friendly"? Or in a desperate bid to be relevant to someone, relevant to the enemies of mankind? Criminalizing the apparent sins of others is projection and scapegoating. Let those without sin cast the first stone ... or you will end up serving and acting out the ancestral curse. At best, this is another "Compelle intrare" following Augustine's footprints in using secular power to enforce doctrine. No, God does not bless sin, He prunes it. Leave such things to God lest your Prelest bring God's children to further harm. Do not imagine that God's coming is postponed; He withholds judgment out of mercy. Learn from that.

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David Murray
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David Murray

Sad. But typical of the modern liberal. I find myself unable to be with the conservatives, but increasingly the liberal church leaders shows what they too are about. Islam is the new thing, and there is a lot of bodies needing to be overlooked....

Frankly this Archbishop of Canterbury is the same Islamic fan as the last one - and represents nothing to me.

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David Singer
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David Singer

I would object to him using laws as a way to try to enforce his idea of morality; I would object to him criminalizing consensual adult behavior; I would object to identifying an intrinsic aspect of humanity and indeed many species as immoral. I'm fine with conservative sexuality, as long as it's even-handed: for example, don't tell people 'no sex outside marriage' and then refuse to let them marry. Is that enough of a start?

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Helen Kromm
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Helen Kromm

Had this been posted yesterday, I would have thought it was an April Fool's post done in incredibly poor taste.

Left unsaid here are what the penalties are in Nigeria for homosexual acts. The maximum penalty in southern Nigeria for homosexual acts is fourteen years imprisonment. And in the twelve northern Nigeria states that practice Sharia law, the punishment can be death by stoning.

And apparently he finds this to be a good thing.

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June Butler
Guest

Wow! We see which way the wind blows from Canterbury. Justin Welby seems desperate to hold the Anglican Communion together at any cost, and the cost will be great.

Dr Idowu-Fearon: "...The government has criminalised homosexuality which is good, our battle is not against human beings, it is against the devil.”

Lord, have mercy!

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Margaret Burdge
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Margaret Burdge

Pray for them.

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Dean Roberts
Guest

So - to the people who've commented... are you objecting to the fact that he advocates criminalising homosexuals, or the fact that he's a conservative regarding sexuality?

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Matthew Malthouse
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Matthew Malthouse

Being "conservative regarding sexuality" is one thing. It's not a position with which I can empathise but it's clearly a matter for the church to consider how, or even if, its theology might be reconciled with developing social trends. It is entirely within the church's competency to determine if it is willing to admit homosexuals to its communion and hierarchy.

However "advocates criminalising homosexuals" is quite another matter.

Demanding that church doctrine or personal prejudice be enforced by civil law is not just lacking in compassion it is also an abrogation of the human rights both for non-Christians and for other Christians who do not share the same conclusions about their religious duty.

Appointing such a person to oversee the Anglican Communion which already encompasses women priests, a woman Metropolitan, gay clergy in legal civil partnerships and homosexual bishops must either be a grave mistake or a a signal that the Communion is already dead, just awaiting the final, fatal fracture to be made public.

Bishop Idowu-Fearon's public pronouncements do not suggest that he is a man capable of reconciling the more conservative provinces with the more liberal. If those who nominated him see this but hope that the appointment will appease traditional opinion I sadly fear that they are mistaken.

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Whit Johnstone
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Whit Johnstone

Decidedly the former. I think that the morality of same sex relationships is something Christians can disagree about. But supporting the criminalization of any sexual act between consenting adults is beyond the pale, and inconsistant with human rights. Amnesty International considers persons jailed for sodomy to be prisoners of conscience.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

I'm objecting to the fact that the Anglican Communion has appointed a human rights abuser to any office.

Where exactly is the moral compass of people who are "conservatives regarding sexuality" who defend jailing and even killing of gays? (Nigeria's law started out as a "kill the gays bill", after international outcry, they lessened it to "jail the gays").

It will be very interesting to see who defends this appointment. Because "conservatives" who support the jailing and killing of gays in Africa will certainly affirm the worst fears of moderates and liberals about conservatives. And it will show that there is no compromise position with human rights abusers and their supporters.

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David Murray
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David Murray

Some people just 'love' buggery law and faith? Really, Africa (like India) appear to have keep those Victorian age mindset.
Young people are right to question organized religion. I am.

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Robin garr
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Robin garr

Does it have to be either-or? It's both! It may be time for TEC to put the Anglican Communion back in the back of the BCP, along with the 39 articles, as "historical documents of the church."

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Jay Croft
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Jay Croft

Delivery is for pizza.

Who in heck nominated this guy? I hope his appointment is rescinded immediately.

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

Good Lord, Delivery us!

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