In a recent Washington Post article, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola was characterized as "an advocate of jailing gays." That is not true.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.
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.
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.Can't say it better than that.
... 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.
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?