Gay Nigerians suffer violent abuse

by
10 April 2008

by Pat Ashworth

Threatened: Davis MacIyalla, director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, speaks to the press at the Anglican Communion meeting in Dar es Salaam, last year REUTERS

Threatened: Davis MacIyalla, director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, speaks to the press at the Anglican Communion meeting in Dar es Salaam, last year ...

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has added his voice to protests about threats made to the leaders of Changing Attitude, a pro-gay campaigning group.

The Revd Colin Coward, UK director of Changing Attitude, and his Nigerian counterpart, Davis MacIyalla, have both received death threats because “they are polluting Nigeria with abomination and immorality”. Over the Easter weekend, serious assaults were made on Changing Attitude supporters in Nigeria.

The statement from Dr Williams said that the threats were “disgraceful”. “The Anglican Communion has repeatedly . . . unequivocally condemned violence and the threat of violence against gay and lesbian people. I hope that this latest round of unchristian bullying will likewise be universally condemned.”

Nineteen signatories, among them the Bishops of Lincoln, Portsmouth, Ripon & Leeds, and Sheffield, have sent an open letter to the organisers of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), urging them to consider the effects of the “incautious, judgemental and abusive language” used by conservative Anglican leaders about homosexuality.

If the listening process set up by the last Lambeth Conference is not conducted in a context of Christian love and mutual respect, people will continue to perpetrate abuse against LGBT people, say the signatories.

“Some Anglican Christians act in this way because they believe that the language of criticism articulated against LGBT people in general and the Episcopal Church in particular gives them permission to perpetrate violence and abuse against Christians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We know that is not your intention, but it is the reality as many experience it,” they write.

The Church of Nigeria has stated that homosexuality “is classified among the most offensive crimes like idolatry involving the sacrifice of children, having intercourse with animals, or marrying a woman and her mother.”

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