Nigeria: churchwardens made to denounce homosexuality

by
07 March 2014

by a staff reporter

SHUTTERSTOCK

A CHURCH in Nigeria is requiring its churchwardens and other office-holders to make a public oath denouncing homosexuality, a local news agency has reported.

At St Matthew's, Abuja, new office-holders were made to swear that they would not "indulge in the practice of homosexuality/bisexuality". The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the vow reads: "If after this oath I am involved, found to be, or profess to be a homosexual/bisexual against the teachings of the Holy Scriptures as contained in the Bible, I bring upon myself the full wrath of God and subject myself willingly to canonical discipline as enshrined in the constitution of the Church of Nigeria, so help me God.''

The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, signed a law in January criminalising homosexuality. Breaking the law carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

The Nigerian gay-rights activist Davis Mac-Iyalla, who has been granted asylum in the UK, said that oath-taking in the Nigerian Church was "nothing new", but had been restricted to the membership of cults, or the Freemasons.

He said this week: "I am told that the recent oath-taking about people swearing that they are not homosexual/bisexual has been encouraged from the National Church. Nigerian bishops have been asking those who want to be ordained to take that oath for some time now.

"Asking officials at the parish level is the new extension, which means they are now targeting not only clergy but also lay officials of the Church of Nigeria."

 

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