Anglican bishops from developing countries are expected to agree on a pact this week condemning the ordination of gay clergy, according to Nigeria’s Archbishop.
The church of Nigeria’s standing committee led by Peter Akinola in a message to the country said: ”The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity”.
He encourages the National Assembly to ratify the Bill prohibiting the legality of homosexuality since it is incongruent with the teachings of the Bible, Quran and the basic African traditional values”.
The agreement, due to be signed later this week by clerics from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia meeting in Kigali Rwanda, is expected to deepen rifts between the conservatives from the “Global South” and liberals in the US and Europe.
The row over gay bishops in the Anglican Communion has reached a new level recently after liberal clergy in the UK suggested teaming up with ideologically similar US churches, while the denomination’s most traditional church called for pro-gay congregations to be “excised.”
The Church of Nigeria says it is unfair to have to accommodate gay affirming churches, calling them “a cancerous lump in the body (which) should be excised if it has defied every known cure. To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient.”
The African church added: “We encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury to persuade those who have chosen to “walk apart” to return to the path chosen by successive generations of our forbears.”
This summer’s General Convention of the US Episcopal Church displeased conservative members after failing to ban the ordination of homosexual bishops, stemming from the outcry of the appointment of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.
The US Episcopal Church agreed on a watered down version of a proposal which would have banned the appointment of gay clergy.
Following the Convention, conservative bishops from San Joaquin, California, South Carolina and Pittsburgh expressed dismay at the “painful complication” created when the church called for “restraint” in the ordination of gay clergy and appointed Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a supporter of gay rights, as its first female head.
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association view Nigeria as having the most oppressive piece of anti-gay legislation anywhere in the world. Homosexual practices in Nigeria are currently punishable by up to five years imprisonment.