Sunday, March 05, 2006

Some conversations I've had regarding Nigeria

Some conservative Anglicans I've conversed with since I started blogging on Nigeria have felt that the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, let alone our own 1st Amendment, is irrelevant to any obligation we may have to protect the civil rights of homosexual Nigerians. (I should note that even a non-homosexual advocate of their rights, such as myself, would be put in prison for five years if he or she spoke out while visiting the country.) Some, such as the Rev. Martyn Minns (and here), couch their support of Archbishop Akinola's endorsement of the new Nigerian legislation in terms of the different civil rights "contexts" that Nigerians and Americans find themselves. When I object to that kind of moral relativism, others accuse me of hypocrisy (even though I've never had any position other than that human rights should always be protected) simply because those same conservatives have accused many in the Episcopal Church of moral relativism for supporting the ordination and consecration of non-celibate gay priests and bishops. (I should point out that this final argument regarding hypocrisy is exactly backwards -- if conservative Anglicans have historically argued against moral relativism, then they should maintain that argument in all cases.)

Enough! We are not having the right debate. The Nigerian legislation exceeds the bounds of this long-running and highly contentious struggle over orthodoxy. Now it has become a debate on the very nature of civil society, and whether that society can be made to support peace rather than strife.

4 comments:

Doc Brown said...

"is irrelevant to any obligation we may have to protect the civil rights of homosexual Nigerians"

Who gives a shit! really? Arent we in enough shit over in Iraq right now?

I think Americans need to concentrate on Americans for once in our nations history.

We owe China more money than we'll ver be able to repay. CHINA. A communist country. How bout passin a hat around and getting that debt paid off instead of whining about some other countries civil liberties. We have ARABS taking over our ports...LETS SEE...WHO THE HELL ARE WE AT WAR WITH?

You whiners need to look at the BIGGER PICTURE and realize we DONT EVEN OWN OUR OWN COUNTRY anymore I guess before you understand to FOCUS ON OUR OWN PROBLEMS at home.

John said...

Matt:

The Nigerians don't see homosexuality as a "civil rights" problem but rather they see it as a symptom of the decadence of the West (and the ancient Roman Empire). As a society, they are well within their "rights" to vote for any legislation they want, especially the advocacy of homosexuality which they perceive as direct attack on their "culture".

Unfortunately, it appears you are incensed over the ability of the Nigerians to take a stand and decide for themselves democratically on the nature and future of their society. It does mean that Integrity Nigeria cannot be funded or operate in Nigeria and that is what has incensed Bishop Chane.

Matt said...

Sorry for my slow response -- I'll get to this in the morning.

Matt said...

Hi John,

I'm writing a post on this as we speak based in part on your comments on Titus. In other words, a response is coming.

Matt