African churchmen lead developing nations' revolt over gay bishop
November 4, 2003
LAGOS — Several African churches severed relations Monday with US
Anglican congregations which support gay priests, leading a revolt
in the developing world against the consecration of a homosexual
"The overwhelming majority of the Primates of the Global South
cannot and will not recognize the office or ministry of Canon Gene
Robinson as a bishop," said a statement from the primate of
Nigeria's Anglican church.
The Right Reverend Peter Akinola said he was speaking on behalf
of the Working Committee for the Primates of the Global South,
which represents 50 million Anglicans in Africa, Asia and Latin
The attack was supported – and in some cases made more forcibly
– by churchmen from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and, from outside
Africa, in Pakistan.
On Sunday the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA)
consecrated the appointment of Robinson, a homosexual, as the
Anglican bishop of New Hampshire, despite warnings that the
decision could split the church.
Akinola's statement on behalf of his colleagues in the
developing world stopped short of severing relations with all US
Anglicans, and declared support for American conservatives who
opposed the move.
But he made it clear that the Nigerian church would no longer
have any contact with the liberal bishops who endorsed Robinson's
consecration at an emotional ceremony in New Hampshire on Sunday.
"What that means is that we can no longer claim to be in the
same Communion, and those bishops will not be recognised by us any
more. We have come to the end of the road," Akinola said on
Nigerian state radio.
Another Nigerian, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma of Enugu, called on
the head of the Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams, to cut ties with pro-gay bishops "or face a very strong
action from us in Africa."
The Kenyan church announced it would cut off all ties with the
"As a church, we are not going to support homosexuality in the
church, primarily because it is a sin," Bishop Thomas Kogo of
Eldoret Diocese said.
He said Williams had been informed of the decision and that
Kenyan bishops would meet to confirm the split within two weeks.
The Anglican Church in Tanzania, another east African country
where, as in Uganda and Kenya, homosexuality is a crime, also
severed ties with its US counterpart.
"(We) believe that homosexuality is contrary to the teachings of
the Word of God. It is a sin," said the country's Anglican primate
Uganda's Anglican Church reacted less severely, only severing
ties with Robinson's New Hampshire diocese.
In Asia, Sadiq Daniel, bishop of the Karachi and Baluchistan
diocese in Pakistan, said: "The Christian community in Pakistan is
against this appointment, they don't approve it, it is a sin."
One South African bishop, however, broke ranks and refused to
condemn the consecration.
The Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, said nothing
should prevent Robinson becoming a bishop, and that the issue of
gay clergy was "on the agenda of the worldwide church and was not
going to go away."
At the heart of the row over Robinson's appointment is a deep
cultural split between many of the Anglicans living in the wealthy
North, such as those in the United States, and those in the poor
Worshippers in developing countries make up more than 70 percent
of the Anglican world, despite stiff competition in their regions
from Catholics Church, new-generation Evangelist sects and Islam --
all of which have a conservative stance on homosexuality.
Conservative prelates in Africa accuse their counterparts in
liberal dioceses like New Hampshire of allowing their societies'
increasingly secular morals to corrupt the traditionalist beliefs
"The consecration of a bishop who divorced his wife and
separated from his children, now living as a non-celibate
homosexual, clearly demonstrates that authorities within ECUSA
consider that their cultural-based agenda is of far greater
importance than obedience to the word of God," Akinola said. –Sapa-AFP
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