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
"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."