Gay group lodges complaint about Nigerian tactics

02 November 2006

THE Church of Nigeria's actions are poisoning the atmosphere in which the Communion-wide reception of the Windsor report and the monitoring of the listening process are taking place, says the Revd Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, a pro-gay group.

In an open letter released this week, he asks the Archbishop of Canterbury to bring recent events in Nigeria to the attention of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), which meets in London next month, and to the councils of the Anglican Communion.

Since the setting up of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) in August 2005, the Church of Nigeria's communications director, Canon Akin Tunde Popoola, has variously alleged that its director, Davis Mac-Iyalla, was not a real person, was not gay, was not Anglican, and was defrauding the Church of Nigeria of money. In a press release in December, he issued warnings and serious allegations of fraud against Mr Mac-Iyalla.

Canon Popoola has provided no evidence for his allegations. Mr Mac-Iyalla has denied each one, and supported his denials with independently verified evidence, Mr Coward writes. "Our understanding of the press releases is that they were deliberately issued to undermine Davis's reputation and the work of CAN.

"The releases have partly achieved this, because they were accepted as true in many reports. They have put Davis's life at serious risk, made people doubt his integrity and credibility, and caused great anxiety among the CAN members in Nigeria."

The Church of Nigeria has also given its support to the Bill approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria for an Act prohibiting marriages between people of the same sex, the public show of same-sex amorous relationships, and any person involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies, and organisations, subject on conviction to a five-year prison term.

"We ask that attention be paid to those members of the Councils [of the Anglican Communion] who are failing to honour the documents and statements agreed by those Councils to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay people," Mr Coward's letter continues. "We ask that the Primates of the Anglican Communion respect the dignity and integrity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Anglicans, and oppose all legislation designed to curtail their essential right to protection and freedom of association."

Lambeth '08 plans criticised
A meeting of the Global South Primates' steering committee on 6 February put out a communiqué stating that they continued to pray that ECUSA's General Convention in June, and the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod in June 2007, would provide "a positive response" to the Windsor report: "otherwise we fear this conflict will only worsen." They were further concerned that "the current design proposals for the Lambeth Conference in 2008 do not appear to fully recognise the seriousness of the crisis" in the Communion.

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