A Nigerian priest has posted a comment on the blog written by Davis Mac-Iyalla about the service at Christ Church Beckenham at which Bishop Okohn preached. The priest writes:
“I’m a Nigerian Priest. The Church in Nigeria has lost her focus in Christian teachings. Condeming people because of their sexual orientation is evil and wickedness in the sight of God and man. International Organizations on Human Rights should rise against this injustices and act of wickedness on the people involved including those so called bishops that think they’re God.”
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, comments:
“I can understand why a Nigerian priest will post anonymously because revealing his identity will mean that he will lose his priesthood and be thrown out of the church. I can agree with him that the Church of Nigeria has lost her focus on Christian teaching because they are actively encouraging and supporting the Nigerian Government to pass a bill that will further suppress and punish LGBT Nigerians.
“We in Changing Attitude Nigeria have bishops and priests in the Church of Nigeria who have been actively but anonymously supporting us since we started in 2005. Changing Attitude Nigeria is working towards engaging more with the Church of Nigeria and continues to welcome priests and bishops who are willing to engage with us.”
The priest confirms what we know to be true, that despite to repeated assertions of Global South and GAFCON leaders, Global South churches are not monolithic in their attitude towards homosexuality. In a reversal of the usual Nigerian narrative, the priest has written in unusually forthright terms, describing the condemnation of people because of their sexual orientation as wickedness. Many Nigerian priests and lay people and some bishops totally disagree with the opposition of the church to her LGBT members.
He reveals a difference between Nigerian bishops and bishops in the UK and North America. Nigerian bishops and archbishops have a tendency to think of themselves as God-like in their power and authority. Archbishop Nwosu who confronted me so angrily and aggressively in Jamaica thought, even if only for that moment, that he has God-like authority to demand my camera. Many other Nigerians, gay and straight, describe the aloof, authoritarian style of Nigerian bishops.
It is hard for bishops from such a culture not only to accept homosexuality but to understand the relationship bishops in the UK and N America have with their priests and people. There is authority but it is more consensual. In the UK God-like obedience is rarely demanded and then only by bishops sharing un-Christ-like delusions of authority and power. In The Episcopal Church where bishops are elected, the relationship is even more consensual. Many in the Church of England find this degree of mutuality and accountability difficult to understand.
If the priest who posted the comment or other Nigerian priests with similar views would like to contact me in the strictest confidence I would be very happy to hear from you – email@example.com.