A leading academic in Nigeria has said he loves his son who founded a ministry for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people, but does not agree with him.
Professor Kunle Macaulay, Director of Studies at United Bible University, said he rejected the House of Rainbow ministry founded in 2006 by Rev Jide Macaulay.
The professor held a press conference to explain that he was unaware of the nature of the church when he let it use the theology school’s auditorium for a “praise night.”
“Rev. Jide Macaulay is my second son. I cannot deny him as a son. I love and respect him. I personally relate with my son as a father and not with the church he controls,” he said, according to newspaper Punch.
“United Bible University and I have nothing to do with House of Rainbow officially. The church does not worship here.”
Rev Jide Macaulay established the House of Rainbow in 2006. His father was a supporter of draconian laws to penalise Nigerian gays and lesbians discussed last year.
“My journey in the Pentecost movement and my ordination service in 1998 shaped my life, but also confused me,” Rev Macaulay wrote on the Metropolitan Community Churches website.
“MCC affected my faith and belief system, and allowed me to reconcile my sexuality and spirituality.
“I recently transferred my clergy status to MCC.
“As an African gay man, it is important for me to make myself more visible in the ministry.
“The moments that make me most happy are when I see brothers and sisters from diverse race and orientation celebrate the goodness and grace of God together.”
Rev Macaulay was named Man of the Year at the Black Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Awards held in London in 2007.
It is estimated that 56 million Nigerians, 40% of the population are Christians. 50% are Muslims.
With 17.5 million members, Nigeria is the second-largest Anglican province in the world and the number of regular churchgoers is far higher and growing.
The leader of the church in Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, is one of those leading the charge against gay people being ordained as priests or the blessing of gay relationships.
The Anglican Bishop of Uyo, Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama, last year condemned the activities of homosexuals and lesbians in language that typifies Nigerian Anglican leaders’ hostility to gays.
“Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman,” he said.
“Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man.”
Nigerian law states that anyone who has “carnal knowledge of any person against order of nature or permits a male to have carnal knowledge of him” can be imprisoned for 14 years.
In 2007 the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill was debated in the Nigerian Parliament but did not proceed.
The proposed new law called for imprisonment for any person who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex”, anyone who helps them and any gay clubs or organisations.