Jul 29, 2010

WAR ON HOMOSEXUALITY: ¨When Anglican Bishops Distort Scripture with Hate¨

Even taken literally, the Bible does not support Nigerian Archbishop Okoh's pronouncements...African Activist:

In a press release from the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) HERE, Bishop Okoh states that Nigeria is at risk from an "invading army of homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexual lifestyle." He uses the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to bolster the claim that he stands for the authority of scripture over life. Today South Africa's Mail & Guardian provides an astute theological critique of Okoh's "biblical" position, Bishop Okoh's war on homosexuality HERE.

The point has often been made that scripture should be read in context, and interpretation may not be literal. Yet, even taken literally, the Bible does not support Okoh's pronouncements.

"The sin of homosexuality, it must be reemphasised, destroyed the communities of Sodom and Gomorrah", he declared. Yet the sin of Sodom in Genesis 19 is inhospitality -- contrasted with the hospitality and compassion of Abraham in Genesis 18 -- and Jesus refers to this in the Gospels.

Archbishop Okoh, Primate of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

Editing Bible passages so that the meaning is lost is another Okoh speciality. In a sermon he stated that "As son of man [son of God] Jesus is lord of the Sabbath. He has control over the holy day of God's people (Mk 2: 28f)." But in Mark 2, "the son of man is lord even of the Sabbath" is a rebuke to those who care more about religiosity than human need: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath".

One Old Testament commandment repeatedly endorsed in the New Testament -- not bearing false witness against one's neighbour -- does not seem to appear in Okoh's version of the Bible. At the press conference he alleged that "The church in the West had vowed to use their money to spread the homosexual lifestyle in African societies and churches; after all Africa is poor. They are pursuing this agenda vigorously and what is more, they now have the support of the United Nations." While the UN opposes jailing gay people, as do many churches, that is rather different!

Okoh is by no means the first to distort the meaning of the story of Sodom to encourage, rather than warn against, victimising the vulnerable and rejecting the unfamiliar. Admittedly, many Christians occasionally misinterpret our faith because of our preconceptions and prejudices...

The Rt. Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool

...However he is unusual in his self-belief and fierce hostility to those who disagree with him. For instance James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, an evangelical who strongly opposed inclusiveness towards partnered gays and lesbians, softened his stance partly because of careful reading of scripture, and suggested that Christians with different views could stay in fellowship. Okoh denounced Jones for establishing "two authorities in the church, the scriptures and 'the canon' of deviant sub-culture. It is intended to destroy the Judeo-Christian understanding of morality as revealed in the Bible". The Bible does not support Okoh HERE.

· Thanks to African Activist, sidebar
· Thanks to Bishop James Jones, Liverpool, U.K.
· Thanks to South Africa's Mail & Guardian
· Thanks to Savitri Hensman
· Thanks to Flickr Photo Sharing
· Thanks to Amplifying Africa's LGBTI Voices



The ANGLICAN UN, United Nations, HUMAN RIGHTS Observer, Mrs Hellen Grace Wangusa from Uganda, has an office and staff provided by the Episcopal Church (USA) at the Church Center 815 Second Avenue, New York, 10017. The direct office line is (001) 212-716- 6263 and the email address unoffice@episcopalchurch.org

Lionel Deimel, Anglican HERO, click HERE,¨No Anglican Covenant¨

1 comment:

Lionel Deimel said...

Thanks for pointing out the Hensman piece. Archbishop Okoh’s statements are stunning and should be widely condemned by those in the West. We do seem to have a taboo against criticizing primates, unless, of course, the come from the U.S. Even primates can be bigots.