Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh, Martyn

A note of uncertain date by Martyn Minns of Truro Parish regarding Archbishop Akinola's attitude toward imprisoning gay and lesbian Nigerians has appeared on Truro's website. Here's an excerpt (h/t ThinkingAnglicans):
In a recent Washington Post article, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola was characterized as "an advocate of jailing gays." That is not true.

Archbishop Akinola believes that all people—whatever their manner of life or sexual orientation—are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with respect. "We are all broken and need the transforming love of God," Archbishop Akinola said to me during a recent conversation.
Archbishop Akinola may say one thing to the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns when they're in private meeting, but he does quite another in his public statements. If Akinola doesn't advocate jailing gays, then why, on at least two separate occasions (here and here), did he endorse legislation that would do so? Where were the caveats? I guess the "transforming love of God" is some pretty tough love if disagreeing with the good Archbishop could put you in a jail like this.

As Jim Naughton says [my emphasis]:
One does not support laws criminalizing certain activities unless one wants to put the people who break those laws in jail. Archbishop Akinola supports a piece of Nigerian legislation that includes the possibility of five year's imprisonment for gay people, and their advocates, should those people exercise rights to speech, assembly and religion in ways that the law proscribes. As I've pointed out numerous times, this bill has been criticized by the U. S. Department of State and numerous human rights groups.

... Leaving the Episcopal Church does not require associating with those who endorse the violation of human rights. It does not require associating with those who bear false witness against their enemies. This is a choice Bishop Minns has made freely. It is a choice that the vestries of Truro Church and the Falls Church have made freely as well. They are entitled to their choice, but we are entitled to elucidate what they have chosen.
Can't say it better than that.

UPDATE: I should add that Bishop Minns has had plenty of time to deal with the confusion and controversy surrounding this situation. He was in a position, all along, to simultaneously push Archbishop Akinola to stand down from his strong stance on this legislation and realign his parish with the Church of Nigeria.

I don't see how those two actions would have been incompatible, except that to do so would have softened the political aims of the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church.

Frankly, I'm surprised. Martyn Minns can read, and he can understand a basic civil rights issue when he sees it. He can also understand that silencing opponents is the wrong path for a Church to take. So, why on Earth has he let this get so unbelievably messy?


Anonymous said...

Let's see, I think he said he doesn't support jailing gays. Seems pretty clear to me.

Matt said...

Is this BabyBlue? If it isn't, you should know that I've seen the same sentiment crop up on at least two different blogs this very day.

If it is, thanks for stopping by.

Either way, without calling +Minns a liar -- which I am in no position to do -- if Archbishop Akinola has endorsed the legislation, then he has endorsed jailing gay and lesbian Nigerians for speaking out on their own behalf.

As Cheryl Clough says over at ThinkingAnglicans:

People don't support people being sent to jail, but they do support legislation. What does this mean? They support ineffective legislation or an ineffective legal system? After all, if they don't support people going to jail, but they do support the legislation, that must mean that they do not want the legislation to be fulfilled...

Like she says, to argue that he supports the legislation (which apparently no one denies), but that he doesn't support gay and lesbian Nigerians going to prison is a weasel of the highest order. Read the legislation! You can find it here, as if I hadn't linked to it enough already.