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Row over Bishop’s anti-gay outburst: CEN 9.14.07 p 8. September 17, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, CANA, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury’s denunciation of the Bishop of Uyo for demonizing homosexuals is unfounded and relies upon an unsubstantiated news report, the Church of Nigeria reports.

Coming two weeks before his meeting with the American bishops in New Orleans, where he hopes to be able to salvage that Church’s position within the Anglican Communion, Dr. Williams’ comments come as an ‘own goal’ in his relations with the Global South, and may have materially weakened his ability to hold the Communion together.

On Sept 7, the Anglican Consultative Council’s press office released a statement saying Dr. Williams had expressed “deep shock” at remarks made by the Bishop of Uyo, the Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama.

A Sept 2 United Press International (UPI) report based on a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) story, quoted Bishop Orama as having said “Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man.”

Such comments were “unacceptable and profoundly shocking on the lips of any Christian,” Dr. Williams said, and added that that “primates, along with all other official bodies in the Anglican Communion, have consistently called for an end to homophobia, violence and hatred.”

The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola had been asked for an explanation of the remarks, the statement said.

However, a spokesman for the Church of Nigeria, Archdeacon Akintunde Popoola told The Church of England Newspaper the story was false.

The Bishop of Uyo “denied making such a statement,” the Province’s spokesman said.

While the Bishop’s address to his diocesan synod did speak to the issue of human sexuality dividing the Communion, the Church of Nigeria’s position on these issues, and the creation of CANA-the Nigerian church’s missionary district in the United States, “he did not say that [homosexuals] are to be hated, not that they are insane nor unfit to live.”

The NAN reporter has “apologized for the misrepresentation and promised a retraction” Archdeacon Popoola said.

On Sept 7 UPI removed the story from its website.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace on Sept 8 told CEN it was unaware that UPI had removed the story. He noted that while Dr. Williams’ condemnation of such anti-homosexual sentiments stood, his censure of the Nigerian bishop had been conditional upon confirmation of the facts from Archbishop Akinola.

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Comments

1. Louie Crew - September 18, 2007

What are the exact words Bishop Orama said? Is there no manuscript available of the Archbishop’s precise remarks?

What motive would the reporter have to make up such statements, especially since there were so many present who could say that the report was false?

How free are reporters in Nigeria to document unpopular stories? Would the reporter lose his job if he held to what he had heard?

Why have we heard no outcry from those present? Did they hear what was reported, and are they afraid to get their bishop in further trouble?

Why has Bishop Orama not spoken directly to the world, or at least directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury? Why has Bishop Orama not spoken directly with lesbians and gays?

Why has Archbishop Akinola relied solely on his press agent? Is he afraid to speak out himself lest the original report prove true?

The standard of Christian discourse is to speak the truth to one another in love. This entire episode is very shady. It’s one thing to hate; it’s quite another not to have the spiritual courage to own up to the hated.

Louie Crew

2. RonF - September 20, 2007

I’m waiting for someone to tell me why a reports on the Province of Uganda’s own web site of what Bp. Orama has had to say is less credible than a report from a UPI stringer that UPI couldn’t verify and has retracted.

3. RonF - September 20, 2007

Given the inability by UPI to verify that the report of Bp. Orama ‘s remarks is true, the simplest answer to “Why have we heard no outcry from those present?” (Occam’s Razor and all that) would be “The man never said any such thing.”

4. RonF - September 20, 2007

The reporter doesn’t have a job. Apparently he was not an employee of UPI, he was a freelance stringer who sold the story to them.

5. RonF - September 20, 2007

Here is the complete text of the Bishop’s remarks – that, BTW, do not contain any such remarks as those reported. If you want to confirm this, you could contact Stand Firm in Faith.

6. RonF - September 20, 2007

The reporter’s motive was probably to make money. Apparently the person involved in this was a freelance stringer, not an employee of UPI. is an e-mail that Stand Firm in Faith received from UPI wherein UPI said that the source of the report was unreliable, that they could not confirm it, and that they were retracting it.

Or, it could be because the stringer had his or her own agenda. Consider that we have seen stories about blown-up mosques and wedding parties various stringers foisted off on AP in Iraq only to find out later that they were false. Consider that UPI has now retracted this story because they could not confirm it. First, if UPI couldn’t confirm it, why did they publish it in the first place? Second, if the only source for this report has retracted it, why should the offended person have the burden of denying it?

7. RonF - September 20, 2007

Here we have a posting on the Church of Nigeria’s site where Bishop Orama is recorded as having denied that he made those statements.
Bishop Orama, having not made these remarks in the first place and having had them falsely attributed to him by an obscure stringer picked up by UPI, probably figures that having made a statement in public that can definitely be attributed to him by a reliable source is sufficient to deal with something he didn’t do in the first place.

8. RonF - September 20, 2007

Abp. Akinola likely had his Diocese’s press officer speak to the press on the matter because that’s what he hired him for and because it’s a Diocesean matter and does not involve a statement that he himself made. Finally; who is Louis Crew that Abp. Peter Akinola or Bp. Orama should have to be accountable to him?


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