Saturday, January 13, 2007

A family divided in Nigeria :: Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal ($ reg. req.):
House of Rainbow -- a member of a gay-affirming U.S. umbrella church organization -- would almost certainly run afoul of Nigeria's proposed law. Homosexual sex is already punishable by up to 14 years in prison -- or death by stoning in the Muslim north, though that Shariah sentence is rarely meted out.

The sweeping new bill would punish by up to five years in prison anyone who enters into a gay marriage, "performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same-sex marriage" or is "involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings." The U.S. State Department has denounced the bill, proposed in January last year, as a violation of basic freedoms.

But the bill is widely expected to pass. It is supported by most mainstream Christian and Muslim clergy in Nigeria, including Peter Akinola, the Anglican archbishop who is leading an international revolt of conservative Episcopalians angry about the ordination of gay priests and the consecration of gay unions.

Archbishop Akinola, who also opposes the ordination of women priests, has become the spiritual leader of more than 20 American conservative churches that have broken away from the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Anglican Christianity was brought to Nigeria in 1842 by a particularly conservative group of British missionaries, and "there has been a hardening of attitudes as the West has liberalized," says Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University and author of "The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South."
More of this page one story from WSJ is available here at the Pew Forum.

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