14 February 2007

Five Years in Prison for being "Openly Gay"

The BBC reports on the The Nigerian Bill that will not only make gay acts a criminal offence, but will also make being "openly gay" a criminal offence. If I remember correctly, the bill also makes it a criminal offence for gay people to meet together and for anyone to participate in a "gay wedding", even as a guest.

The Anglican Church of Nigeria is wholeheartedly in favour of this bill. The Anglican Church of Nigeria is the sponsor of
CANA.

Is a Methodist entitled to have views on internal Anglican issues? CANA have put themselves under the oversight of a group of people who want to throw people into Nigerian prisons for BEING gay. This seems like topsy-turvy ethics and morality at its worst to me. I do not see how any Western Church can turn a blind eye to imprisoning people for their sexuality - no matter what our theology about gay acts. Even worse, how can a person in good conscience put themselves under the oversight of a group of people who are actively endorsing the removal of civil rights from gay people? Love the sinner and hate the sin? Sorry, your endorsements speak louder than your words.

7 comments:

crystal said...

Things seem to be getting worse rather than better in the religious/gay rights area :-(

Sandalstraps said...

Pam,

You ask if a Methodist can articulate an opinion on internal Anglican issues. Good question.

There are more than a few considerations embedded in that question:

1. Can someone "outside" a group rightly form opinions about the internal issues of that group?

2. If "yes," then there is no problem here. If "no," then, can Methodists be seen as being entirely outside the Anglican communion, given that we are a related religious phenomenon born within the Anglican communion?

3. But, perhaps the answer to (1) is "under certain circumstances, but only under those circumstances." In that event, what would those circumstances be, and are they met in this issue?

My take: in their advocacy of a law that would be imposed on a population broader than their own numbers, this particular branch of the Anglican communion has stepped so far outside their own bounds that they remove themselves from the considerations of the first question. That is, the issue here is one broader than the Anglican communion, and as such those who can rightly respond to it extend beyond the bounds of the Anglican communion.

Enacting this law would be disasterous, a violation of fundamental human rights. As such, we each have a duty to oppose it, although we should be carefully in our opposion, wise to the fact that too much external interferance can have the opposite of the desired result.

But, yes, you are justified in using your voice to call this injustice to the attention of whoever it is that you think has the power to do something about it. You shouldn't worry that this is an "internal" matter.

Turbulent Cleric said...

I find the involvement of Nigerian Christians in this law to be utterly shameful. It is a matter that Christians should be concerned at without regard to labels.

PamBG said...

Sandalstraps: My point was really more what Turbulant Cleric said. I think that it is morally and ethically objectively wrong to support a bill that is intendend to criminalise people on the basis of their sexuality - no matter what a person thinks about the morality of gay actions.

Your post isn't exactly addressed to the British situation where the Methodist Church and the Church of England have signed a covenant to journey together toward full visible unity. It doesn't make me an Anglican, but I reckon it gives me a bit more investment in the issue than maybe someone from a free congregational church, for example.

seasick said...

Hmmm. I wonder what the Methodist Church of Nigeria has to say about the bill.

Sally said...

"how can a person in good conscience put themselves under the oversight of a group of people who are actively endorsing the removal of civil rights from gay people?"- This I think is the central point- we cannot endorse the removal of civil rights from any group, no matter what our views are

PamBG said...

Sally, yes, thank you. That's the central point. Thanks for clarifying my "muddle of words"!