PinkNews reader and gay teacher Richard Queripel writes an open letter to Reverend Emmanuel Olisamedualim Chukwuma, who last week criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for being “sympathetic” to gay people.

Dear Right Reverend Doctor Emmanuel Olisamedualim Chukwuma, Bishop of Enugu, Nigeria,

I read with interest this morning of the scathing attack you made this week on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in a conversation with journalists at a Nigerian airport, in which you condemned him for being “sympathetic” to homosexuals and threatened that the whole of the African church would secede from the Anglican Communion if he continued to be so nice to them.

Upon reading of this attack, I simply had to write to you to say thank you. It’s high time that a man of such great importance, influence and standing in the world, respected and revered by millions (that’s you) stood up to Archbishop of Canterbury Welby (who’s even heard of him anyway?) and the permissive society of today that says that homosexual people are actually quite nice and shouldn’t be repressed, discriminated against and forced back into their proverbial closets. Who does this Welby think he is telling them things like that?! For God’s sake, he’s the Archbishop of a church whose job it is to tell people how evil they are! And now he’s saying nice things to gays…even apologising?! At one time, his church would have prided itself on ensuring that no gay child in its ranks grew up unaware of how evil he/she was, but now, it would appear, it’s only a few brave dissenters, often based in Africa who are left fighting to make sure that the Anglican church does not forget its primary purpose: letting gay people know how evil they are.

You should be proud of yourself, Bishop Chukwuma, quoting confidently Ephesians 5:7 to the assembled journalists, to remind them and the many countless billions of people around the world who hang on your every word, that God Himself has told you and all other Anglicans (because, let’s face it, you’re the best kind of Christians) to have nothing to do with the sexually immoral (i.e. gays). You have stood up and allowed yourself to be counted as one who is prepared, unashamedly, to spread pain and suffering in the name of the Lord. And there can be nothing more heart-warming to a Christian former teacher than that, I am sure.

But you are no stranger to standing up and exposing yourself to total ridicule in the name of what some people call bigotry and you prefer to call Christianity. Back in 1998, when the bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion met at its decennial Lambeth Conference in the UK, and the issue of human sexuality and the Anglican Church’s response to it was a hot topic of discussion, you made a name for yourself outside the assembly hall when you laid hands on Reverend Richard Kirker, the then general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and prayed “Father, in the name of Jesus, deliver him. Father I pray to you, make him a Christian, in the name of Jesus. Hallelujah, hallelujah!”.  It was a characteristically bold and strident gesture on your part and one that risked making you look like a total idiot, but, yet again, you didn’t let that stop you. You know who the real Christians are and it’s your job to make sure that the fake ones (especially the gay ones) know that they can’t fool you. Good job Bishop. You must have slept well that night.

And you must have slept well every night since then, I imagine, happy in the knowledge that you have now become something of a mouthpiece for some of your fellow African bishops, who also believe that Archbishop Welby is too wishy-washy on the topic of homosexuality. You regularly issue warnings on their behalf that, if Welby does not come out and condemn homosexuals as evil, the African Church will secede from the Anglican Communion and set up on its own with proper Christians who don’t pick and choose from the Bible to support their own views. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing more heinous and un-Christian than cherry-picking verses from the Bible to support a particular point of view, whilst ignoring ones that clearly state the opposite. One either takes the word of Lord as written or one is evil. Simple. Of course, every proper Christian (I’m using here, of course, your definition of “proper”) knows that this applies only to Bible verses that talk about men lying with men and other icky homosexual stuff like that and definitely does notapply to Bible verses that support things that you, Bishop, don’t agree with. For example, every proper Christian knows that Leviticus 25: 44-46, which supports slavery, is outdated, wrong and must be ignored, but that Leviticus 20:13, which condemns homosexual behaviour as an abomination, is completely correct and must be shoved down homosexual people’s throats at every available opportunity.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
COMPLETELY RELEVANT AND TO BE BELIEVED (except maybe for the killing bit, as in some countries this is still sometimes seen as a little un-PC)

…but, five chapters later in the same book…

Leviticus 25:44-46 
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.
COMPLETELY OUTDATED AND TO BE IGNORED

I imagine it must be very difficult for proper Christians to know which parts of the Bible they must believe word for word and which they must ignore, so I hope the above summary helps a little. I hope you don’t think I’ve stepped on your toes by including it, however. I’d hate you to think I was trying to do your job for you. You were the one hired by the Anglican Church to spread bigotry and hatred, not me. And I would never want to swap places.

Well, I’d really better not keep you any longer from the many countless billions of people around the world who hang on your every word. Someone needs to keep reminding them what they should be believing and what they should be ignoring! Perish the thought that they decide for themselves. God knows, if that happened, they might end up being nice to gay people! And we all know where that would lead. Yes, to a schism in the worldwide Anglican Communion, with the African churches seceding and setting up their own proper Christian Church! I can’t imagine an event that would be more earth-shattering for myself and every other person on earth than that. We would scarcely be able to carry on functioning if the African churches split from Canterbury. Life as we know it would change in ways I cannot even imagine. The thought of it happening keeps me awake at night.

So, onwards and upwards, Bishop Chukwuma, you have work to do. You have a Church to save. And, whilst you’re at it, there are still some gay children out there who don’t know how evil they are.

Yours,

Richard

P.S. Just FYI, when perusing your diocese website, I found a lovely article about you and your wife, which lists all of your many accomplishments. However, I was struck by this sentence describing your wife: “Since she [your wife] got to Enugu Diocese, the women have become so strong and recognised in the governance and affairs of the State and Church”. I was struck by this sentence because, as I’m sure you are aware, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, St Paul writes the following: ”Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.”

I was just a bit concerned that maybe your wife being involved “in the governance and affairs of the State and Church” might mean that she is actually speaking in church, which is clearly forbidden by the Bible. I’m sure that this isn’t the case but I just wanted to check.

P.P.S. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 may be one of the Bible passages that proper Christians are allowed to ignore, of course. In which case, forgive my even mentioning it!

Richard Queripel blogs at Queerily.com

As with all Comment, the views contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.