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Unfit for the Episcopacy?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 • 4:54 pm

If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world.


The blogs of the Episcopal left are positively humming with the news of a remark reportedly made by Bishop Isaac Orama of the Anglican Church of Nigeria:

“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.”

Fr. Jake has featured the remark in two stories today. Susan Russell has posted on it. Episcopal Cafe has, too. All of them are guilty of acting shocked, shocked that an African bishop could say such a thing - after all, they’ve been claiming that anyone - American, African or Martian - who doesn’t wholeheartedly embrace homosexuality is a hate-mongering homophobe - but you know what? About the horrible nature of the remark, the injury to the Christian witness it does, and yes, even the “rhetorical violence” it commits… I agree completely.

I don’t speak for Bishop Duncan, or Bishop Iker, or any other bishop, or any other human being for that matter. I do speak for myself, though, and while Matt, Sarah, David, Jackie and I disagree on matters more than occasionally, I’m the closest thing there is to the unified “editorial voice” of Stand Firm, and on the matter of Bishop Orama’s statement, I want to say this:

If the quote is not accurate, then Bishop Minns and Archbishop Akinola need to provide compelling evidence, and they need to do it immediately. Not next month or even next week - they need to do it in the next 72 hours. If they do, then UPI needs to fire the reporter who filed the story. Let’s remember that remarks do get mis-reported; I’ve seen it a dozen times in media coverage of business and other dealings of mine in the past, and anyone who’s ever been quoted in the media more than once or twice knows what I mean.

But if the quote is accurate, then Bishop Minns and Archbishop Akinola need to come forward with a statement just as quickly, which contains an unqualified condemnation of +Orama’s remark as abhorrent, and unfitting of the office of the Anglican episcopacy, and Bishop Orama should be removed from office immediately. If that’s not canonically possible for Archbishop Akinola to do, then he needs to mete what punishment the canons allow him to.

Describing homosexuals as “unfit to live,” or implying that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. “Life not worthy of living” is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world. If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world. Bishop Orama deserves our prayers that he might come to understand this, but - if his remarks were accurately reported - he does not deserve to be a bishop in the Christian church.


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Comments:

Amen Greg

[1] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-05-2007 at 05:07 PM • top

Add another Amen, Greg.

[2] Posted by SHSilverthorne+ on 09-05-2007 at 05:10 PM • top

Greg, I fully with on the travesty of this statement, I’m fully in support that ++Akinola needs to handle this man’s comments and bring some either evidence to clear the bishop’s name or disciplinary action. I’ve said many a time that CANA needs to discipline it’s own before it has any right to seek discipline of TEC.

However, I completely disagree with you inclusion of +Minns. I think that would be a disaster considering everything. +Orama is not listed in the CANA structure. +Minns has authority of +Bena, +Kwashi, also +Okubadejo & +Nwosu as visiting episcopacy outside of those folks and clergy serving inside CANA, I think it’s ecclesiastically improper and politically a mistake for +Minns to be involved except in concert with CoN’s HoB.

[3] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-05-2007 at 05:21 PM • top

You found something else on which we agree.  Well said.

[4] Posted by JackieB on 09-05-2007 at 05:23 PM • top

Thank you for the unequivocal statement.

[5] Posted by selah on 09-05-2007 at 05:27 PM • top

+Minns is +Akinola’s representative in America, and as such he owes the American orthodox reassurance about the positions held by leaders in the Nigerian church, and what kind of discipline we can expect when one of them goes off the rails, as it appears +Orama has.

[6] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-05-2007 at 05:34 PM • top

Greg—I’d agree is quote is not accurate but if it’s correct, I think ++Akinola needs to handle this! However, I’m not confident he’ll see this as it strikes us (Kendall+ statement “immediately brings to mind the Nazi language of Lebensunwertes Leben” being very vivid to Western mind), +Minns in an interview has voiced opposition to the certain Nigerian law while +Akinola’s comments to Glenhill lead me to believe he does not have a problem with them. Regardless, I’d expect +Minns will probably produce a statement for damage control, but action is needed & he’ll be seen for who he truly is as an underling.  I think CoN needs to earnestly handle the situation if there is validity to these comments.

[7] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-05-2007 at 05:50 PM • top

agreed Greg, although part of the problem is that we are two cultures, Africa and the West, speaking 2 languages. Nevertheless, the “unfit for living” quote, in particular, is extremely distressing - for all the reasons you point out.

[8] Posted by David Ould on 09-05-2007 at 05:53 PM • top

Thanks for making this statement, Greg.  Speaking only for myself, I needed to hear it.

[9] Posted by FrJake on 09-05-2007 at 05:58 PM • top

Greg,
Very well said. I’ve tried to write a couple comments, but can’t really find anything you left unsaid.

Prayers for the Church of Nigeria.  And prayers for this bishop in hope that he sets aside this hatred and finds peace in Jesus Christ.

I was wrong, there is one comment (having read with some interest Matt’s exchanges on Fr. Jakes website).  It is interesting to me that everyone is calling for this man’s head, and I mean NOW.  If this were the US, it would take 3 months to bring presentment.  And then there would be depositions and hearings and all manner of legal and psychological arguments.  But we anticipate that the Nigerian Primate can wield some sort of executive authority that allows him to know all the facts in a case and act judiciously in a matter of hours.

TJ

[10] Posted by tjmcmahon on 09-05-2007 at 06:05 PM • top

A good one, Greg.  I hope +Orama did not say this, but it is certainly an un-Christian saying altogether. Nobody should be a bishop or priest who holds the reported view. No true Christian could hold it.  The way ++Akinola handles it could provide a good example to all: I hope so.

[11] Posted by Paula on 09-05-2007 at 06:21 PM • top

The language here is peculiar. What if he’s not entirely comfortable with English? And what if intended something less shocking like “Homosexuals make inappropriate use of the life they were given by God.”?

[12] Posted by henryleroi on 09-05-2007 at 06:24 PM • top

Hear, hear, Greg.

[13] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 09-05-2007 at 06:24 PM • top

Apologies to Greg—you too used referenced the Nazi “Life not worthy of living.” (I actually did read your piece, but Kendall+‘s Duetsch stuck in my mind because of my working with disabilities).

[14] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-05-2007 at 06:30 PM • top

If he really said this then he may have been referring to the fact that homosexuality along with all sin carries with it the penalty of death.  In my reading of scripture I am impressed with the fact that murder, idolatry and sexual sin seems to be especially abhorant by God and often punished in this life quite often sooner than later.  Of course God is mercifal and His grace can cover all sorts of sin if repented of.

“receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Romans 1:27c and “God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Romans 1:32 ESV.
All said and done, I don’t think he should have said it since it is left up to God to deal with this.  More the reason we need to pray for all us sinners.

[15] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 09-05-2007 at 06:35 PM • top

Great post.

[16] Posted by Deja Vu on 09-05-2007 at 06:57 PM • top

Thank you very much for this statement, Greg.  Very much appreciated.

[17] Posted by Lapinbizarre on 09-05-2007 at 07:13 PM • top

I pray God will help the Bishop see the error of his words and the hurt he has caused so many.  If a person deserves death because of their sin, then I too stand condemned.  But Christ died for the very sin that would condemn me.  I pray I always have a merciful tongue and never forget my offenses against God or my fellow man.

[18] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-05-2007 at 07:27 PM • top

As others have said, no one is really deserving of life. We all stand under the condemnation of death, all the way back to the death that occured in the Garden of Eden. Each of us, very early in life I think, puts our stamp of approval and solidarity with Adam’s sin.

To single out gays, at this point in the debate, obscures the central point that we are all under judgement. As PM has stated, some sins tend to bring about physical, earthly death sooner than others, but it is not because the one who has sinned “deserves” to die, any more than you or I deserve to die. We all deserve to die. That’s why grace is such a wonderful thing.

It’s also confusing because the immediate question that follows is whether some sort of death sentence is to be carried out by the state, and that really does remind one of the Nazis.

Thanks be to God who is both just, and the justifier through Christ our Lord!

[19] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 09-05-2007 at 08:02 PM • top

Agreed. Thank you, Greg.

[20] Posted by PatrickB on 09-05-2007 at 08:04 PM • top

The statement as quoted is highly unacceptable and should be repudiated.  But I think henryleroi is on to something important.
Different cultures use hyperbole differently.  Bp Orama should be given every opportunity to clarify before he is pilloried.  And who among us
trusts the profession of Dan Rather and Jason Blair?

[21] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-05-2007 at 08:36 PM • top

And Greg, did we not learn anything from the recent Packer article episode?  People who presented themselves as Packer experts were falling all over themselves attesting to the genuineness of an article quickly exposed as a hoax.  Before repudiating, authenticate!!!!

[22] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-05-2007 at 08:41 PM • top

Has anyone been able to confirm this statement.  I have searched AllAfrica.com.  Which has extensive religious reporting and have been unable to locate any news about the Bishop’s interview. 

I am also unable to find any thing that indicates that News Agency of Nigeria does direct person interviews.  The little I was able to find reveals they are a gov’t agency.  Their function seems to be releasing news about Governement activity to various communication sources.  The Times of Nigeria has no information on such an interview.  afrol News has no information about the Bishop’s interview.  Maybe someone else will find the actual interview.  I can not.

I am starting to smell a rat.  I stand by what I said if the Bishop did say such uncharitable things he needs to be reminded of Christ’s love for such sinners as gays and hard hearted Bishops.

[23] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-05-2007 at 09:13 PM • top

And Greg, did we not learn anything from the recent Packer article episode?  People who presented themselves as Packer experts were falling all over themselves attesting to the genuineness of an article quickly exposed as a hoax.  Before repudiating, authenticate!!!!

Thus my repeated qualifications: “...if the quote is accurate… if his remarks were accurately reported…”

[24] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-05-2007 at 09:30 PM • top

If the statement is correct as it stands, the bishop needs to issue an immediate retraction and sincere apology.  If he won’t, then he should be disciplined.  The Lord did not call any sinner unworthy to live, but rather died and rose for all sinners, that they might live forever if they repent and trust in him.

However, given what we have seen of inaccurate reporting, the first task is to verify the quote.  It may not be what he really said.

[25] Posted by Katherine on 09-05-2007 at 09:33 PM • top

“If the quote is not accurate, then Bishop Minns and Archbishop Akinola need to provide compelling evidence….”  So they are guilty until they prove themselves innocent, right?  Nice to know you have an open mind on the matter; I did not gather that from my first or second reading.
And why does the burden of proof lie on Bishops Minns and Akinola?

[26] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-05-2007 at 09:37 PM • top

From another perspective, this kind of language looks particularly menacing if you’re used to the idiom of westerns and crime drama, but might otherwise not be very consequential from the lips of a non-native speaker of American English.

[27] Posted by henryleroi on 09-05-2007 at 09:44 PM • top

One cannot defend these unchristian words, nor should one even try—and it’s gratifying that this web site has roundly condemned them.  Compare this responsible and forthright confrontation of this abomination with what happens at the revisionist blogs when something offensive—be it Photoshopped simian primates from Africa, or Muslim priests, or the usual vitriol spewed in the direction of the orthodox—is brought to light.  The typical reaction is silence, or an effort to suppress the information in hopes no one will notice, or a condemnation of those who object because they simply don’t appreciate what’s really at stake being as they are, after all, fundementalist cretans.  I think that Greg’s leadership here is not only the right response, but it also highlights a very big difference between us and our “worthy opponents,” to use Sarah’s charitable term.

[28] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-05-2007 at 09:48 PM • top

Don’t act so shocked.  You people have been condemning gay people to loneliness and joblessness for a long time.  What’s the difference between telling them they don’t deserve to live and just starving them to death or driving them to suicide?

[29] Posted by Curtis on 09-05-2007 at 09:49 PM • top

So they are guilty until they prove themselves innocent, right?  Nice to know you have an open mind on the matter; I did not gather that from my first or second reading.
And why does the burden of proof lie on Bishops Minns and Akinola?

Because that’s the way the world works, Mr. Wells. You get quoted in the newspaper, then the ball is in your court. If the quote is inaccurate or completely phony, you have to stand up and say so.

The world does not work such that a news source reports you as having said something, and everyone proceeds on the assumption that you didn’t. Like it nor not, it’s the other way around.

[30] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-05-2007 at 09:50 PM • top

“Those who practice them”: I couldn’t make sense of the syntax when I first read it. He’s not competent in English. He strongly condemns homosexuality, but he’s not calling for acts of violence.

[31] Posted by henryleroi on 09-05-2007 at 09:56 PM • top

Although I completely agree with the condemnation of +Orama’s reported remarks, like Paula above I find it odd—given the eagerness of so much of the US and European mass media to demonstrate their freethinker credentials—that there is no mention of this anywhere but in a UPI retransmission of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and that the NAN story gives no context or other details for the interview (or sermon?).

I also note that the only recent news story I can find mentioning the bishop is this, from yesterday’s (Tues 4 Sept 07) Nigeria Guardian News:

<HR SIZE=2 width=“100%”>     
                                                                                                                                                    Cleric wants reforms extended to economic, social sectors
            <FONT size=-1>  From Inem Akpan Nsoh, Uyo                 </FONT>                  <FONT SIZE =+1> <b>B</FONT></B>ISHOP, Uyo Diocese Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama, has commended President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s move on political reforms, warning, however, that the exercise should be all-encompassing.
  <HR SIZE=2 width=“100%”>

(This is the summary, and originally pointed to a longer story inside which I haven’t been able to retrieve.  The Church of Nigeria, as well as the nation’s RC Church and the rest of the Nigerian religious community, have been outspoken opponents of official corruption for many years.)

One would think, with such major media as The New York Times, the Guardian (UK), and countless others happy to demonstrate their progressivism by bashing Christianity and defending homosexuality, that if the story could be verified it would have appeared somewhere else, if only at the bottom of page 19 in the religious news—particularly since it’s now several days old (the UPI piece is dated Sept. 2—last Sunday).

So if +Orama was accurately quoted, stern discipline is indeed in order.  But I’m not going to leap to any conclusions.

[32] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-05-2007 at 10:36 PM • top

Paula,

I think something smells funny, too

Blessings,

[33] Posted by J Eppinga on 09-05-2007 at 10:44 PM • top

Hot dog—I come home from a very long long day and evening and discover this excellent article!

Thanks Greg!  Though progressives don’t repudiate the heresy of those who are leaders in the Episcopal church, that’s no excuse for us not to repudiate wrong, and heretical words from leaders in an orthodox province and Bishop Orama’s words were most certainly wrong and heretical.

This is the right thing to do, and I’m glad you did it.

[34] Posted by Sarah on 09-05-2007 at 10:56 PM • top

Sarah:

Is ‘hot dog’ from It’s a Wonderful Life? I love it.

I was busy working as well and missed out… sigh… but life does go on…

[35] Posted by Eclipse on 09-05-2007 at 11:00 PM • top

Whoa, whoa, whoa…Greg, you qualified your response with “if this is true….” then, you seem to think, takes you off the hook. It might…possibly… take me off the hook as an ordinary commenter, but you are the respected editor, the blog host, etc., and therefore you must substantiate your comments before publishing them

You have carte balnce because it’s your blog. But in having that perk, you MUST assure the accuracy of your comments. You quoted and assumed correct (with a qualification) someone elses information. While I expect this irresponsible reaction from the main stream media, I don’t expect it fromyou because to me, you have more credibility than the main stream meida.

Further…like it or not, accurate or inaccurate…if you condemn this unfortunate speech/opinion, you are accepting political correctness and infringement of freedom of speech. In doing that you are putting your own blog and our opportunity in jeapordy.

I suspect that in England today as a result of the recent laws, much of the commentary on this blog, especially commentary following topics posted by you, would be considered illegal.

If this guy stated his opinion, I am grateful that he lives in a place where he has the opportunity to do so. We do not have to accept his opinion and we can judge him without demanding the politically correct apology or condemnation.

If we infringe upon the first amendment in any way, we all lose.

And that’s a “love/hate” statement.

[36] Posted by Forgiven on 09-05-2007 at 11:42 PM • top

P.S—You certainly gained a following on this thread from the worthy opposition. What, may I ask, does that tell you?

[37] Posted by Forgiven on 09-05-2007 at 11:44 PM • top

Greg,

Thanks. Even though I may slip in and out of sanity (says you—I’m grinning as I write this), I’m glad we can agree now and then.

One thing that may or may not have an effect on this whole quote/response issue: in Africa, journalism is very different than here. The reporters are about crafting narratives, even more so that in the US. When I was in Dar es Salaam, I was surprised to speak with locals who had read in the Swahili papers that (a) the White Sands was “crawling with homosexuals” and (b) that Gene Robinson was in town. Of course, any reporter who took a taxi out the White Sands could plainly see that neither statement was true. But that story sold papers. My point is this: +Orama may have uttered those words. He may have uttered something similar, and the reporter has taken liberties. It’s how journalism is done there.

More interesting to me, as you observe, is the reaction or lack of reacotion from Nigeria and CANA. I do thing Americans should be asking questions of their CANA leaders.

And, for the record, I think ECUSA bishops should be held accountable when they say ridiculous things as well.

The next couple of days should be interesting for Minns, et al.

Pax,
Scott+

[38] Posted by Scott Gunn on 09-06-2007 at 12:41 AM • top

I sent an Email to the Global South blog site and to the Anglican Church of Nigeria.  Wonder if and when I will get a response.

[39] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-06-2007 at 01:18 AM • top

“And why does the burden of proof lie on Bishops Minns and Akinola?

Because that’s the way the world works, Mr. Wells. “

So why did Dr Packer not have to disprove the attribution of a scurrilous article to him?  Proving a negative (“I did not say that”) is notoriously difficult anyhow.  We all (at least I hope we all) accepted his denial without further ado.  Fr Jake et al. will believe what they wish to believe.  I would hope that we would take a higher moral ground. 
We should have learned by this stage that the orthodox and the revisionists live in two different moral universes, so I’m not impressed (except negatively) by the cliche “that’s how the world works.”

[40] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-06-2007 at 06:44 AM • top

Minns and Akinola can’t “prove” anything about the remarks, but because the story has gotten out, they must respond. They must disavow the bishop’s words and, if Akinola feels those words are the bishop’s, he should discipline the bishop.  If he has good reason to believe that the bishop has been misquoted, he should make that clear. I suppose the situation is sort of analgous to that of Bishop Wolf when it was made publicly evident that a priest in her charge was claiming two faiths. The church can’t appear to endorse, through silence, the statement that this or that group is not worthy to live!

[41] Posted by oscewicee on 09-06-2007 at 07:40 AM • top

Well stated, Greg.

[42] Posted by Reason and Revelation on 09-06-2007 at 08:30 AM • top

Amen, Greg.  The comments are indefensible.

[43] Posted by Phil on 09-06-2007 at 08:31 AM • top

Thank you, Greg.

[44] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 09-06-2007 at 09:56 AM • top

“Sober” is one of the words used in describing the qualities required of ordained leaders.  The radically intemperated remarks of this bishop, if accurate, should disqualify him from office or place him under some kind of rehabilitative discipline.

[45] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 09-06-2007 at 10:32 AM • top

Here is Nigerian Bishop Orama’s remark about homosexual acts: “It is scaring that any one should be involved in a thing like that and I want to say that they will not escape the wrath of God.” He went on to say, “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.”

I’ve been saying that homosexual acts reflect a kind on insanity for years. Insanity is denying the reality of the binary order of creation. When we do this we are playing on Satan’s team because we are in rebellion against the order that the Sovereign God has deemed best for us. Then there is the biblical teaching that those who rebel against God will die. Then comes the Good News, those who repent will receive forgiveness, life, and grace to live a righteous life in accordance with God’s plan.

I don’t condone the harshness of Bishop Orama’s remark, which we are probably taking too literally. He is young and a new bishop. He is probably unaware of how his words sound to us in the liberal West. And the media will play this for all its worth! I do believe that Bishop Orama’s view is more biblical than TEC’s version of Christianity. There can be no Good News for those who deny their sinfulness, regardless of what particular expression that sinfulness may take.

[46] Posted by Alice Linsley on 09-06-2007 at 01:15 PM • top

If Bp. Orama said what has been attributed to him in the context reflected in the article, I would very much like to see a statement from Peter Akinola rejecting those remarks.  But I have no right to demand his response, neither does Greg or anyone else.  Akinola has spoken many times on the subject and is a signatory to statements by the primates clearly reflecting that gays and lesbians are made in the image of God and are deserving of the church’s pastoral care.  So while I would like to see more from Peter Akinola, he has already made clear that Orama’s statements are NOT his position nor that of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

[47] Posted by DaveG on 09-06-2007 at 03:24 PM • top

My first post here. I watched this unfold on Jake, and it feels like a set up.The source article no longer appears with a news google search. Jake picked up this article within one hour of its appearance on google/news. This was an unsigned story on UPI, and no other news media has picked up the story; it now only appears on blogs. I checked, and UPI and learned that this news service consists of only 5 reporters, out of D.C., and UPI produces only 100 word news summaries rather than its own stories. Isn’t it odd, therefore, that no original “story” can be found? It seems odd that the UPI piece has now disappeared? UPI is owned by New World Publishing, Chung Hwan Kwak is the leader of a number of key organizations of Unification Church and the Unification movement, and he’s the chairman and president of UPI. So, we have a little outfit with 5 reporters who only write summaries (not news stories), out of Washington, D.C., but this story doesn’t seem to appear in any mainstream source, or indeed, any other source except progressive Episcopal blogs, and on conservative blogs like this one which apologize for the bishop’s comment (when we don’t know that the bishop ever made this comment). I learned that NWC which owns UPI is described by Columbia Journalism Review as the media arm of Unification Church, and in 2006 The Nation reported that the owner, Sun Myung Moon’s son (sometimes called Preston Moon) Hy Un Jin Moon pulled his father’s publication enterprises to a liberal direction. Could this be a set up, to cast a negative light on Orthodox Anglicanism in time for Sept. 30? It’s amazing to me how fast Father Jake spun this into a project to mobilize gays on his blog into protesting when Archbishop Peter Akinola comes to Weaton. Again, I don’t know, I’ve just had a feeling that this “story” is not true, but is a vehicle for Jake and his types to marshall the troops, for the usual reasons. Pardon my intrusion because, as I’ve said, I never post though I read StandFirm from time to time, and I just needed to add my two cents because this “feels” so wrong.

[48] Posted by snowbird on 09-06-2007 at 03:37 PM • top

Folks, go back and read Romans 1 carefully.  Then notice the final statement in that chapter: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Now, of course, what this verse (and elsewhere in Romans) is saying is that all sinners deserve death: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)  However, the verse continues, “...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (6:23b).  We have all committed sins (i.e. fallen short of God’s glory) in ways that make us unfit to live.  But Jesus paid the penalty for our sins (I Peter 3:18, Romans 5:8) so that we don’t have to die for them.  However, the New Testament states clearly in numerous places that God’s judgment still rests on those who scoff at God’s law and are unrepentant (Matthew 10:15, Romans 2:5-8) and that there will be a “day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:7).

I am certain that Bp. Orama believes in the grace of God for all who repent and believe.  But when it comes to unrepentant, flagrantly immoral, habitual scoffers at God’s Word (which is who I believe Bp. Orama is referring to in his remark), is he really saying anything all that different from what the inspired writers of the New Testament have said?

[49] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 09-06-2007 at 03:49 PM • top

Snowbird,

I was accused recently (in this very forum) of seeing plots where they do not exist. So far be it from me to observe this, but I think you might be imagining things. I doubt UPI gives a rip one way or the other about the Anglican Communion. Someone filed a story (see my earlier remarks about the relativity of journalism) and it appeared. It could have gone away from all kinds of reasons.

If we’re going to invent preposterous theories, let’s go all out. Take, for example, my own theory that the crisis in the Anglican Communion is caused by purple fabric profiteers. Now that’s a theory! (Check it out, if you want.)

This thread has been an interesting one…

Pax,
Scott+

[50] Posted by Scott Gunn on 09-06-2007 at 04:24 PM • top

Scott+

Have you seen the 1991 art film Slackers? I think you’ve earned the title “Conspiracy A-Go-Go Author.”

[51] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-06-2007 at 04:36 PM • top

Hosea6:6,
No, but I’ll watch it. For now, I’ll take that as a compliment. If you meant it otherwise, I’m going to come up with a theory…
Peace,
Scott+

[52] Posted by Scott Gunn on 09-06-2007 at 04:56 PM • top

LOL! LOL

[53] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-06-2007 at 04:57 PM • top

Paula,
In the past, have sent several emails to both the Global South website and the Church of Nigeria website and all have been answered.
My husband has spent quite a bit of time in Africa.  He says time and information travel a lot differently over there.

[54] Posted by JackieB on 09-06-2007 at 06:05 PM • top

Thank you Jackie for letting me know that.  I would love to see some of Bishop Orama’s statements to compare their language with this current ” statement”.

[55] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-06-2007 at 07:45 PM • top

If this statement is true, it is reprehensible.  But why is the left jumping all over it given their numerous statements about cultural context?  Remember what we have been told by PB Griswold and others in pecusa that what is inappropriate in one culture could be appropriate in another.  I don’t see how this comment could be appropriate in any culture, but I am not a moral relativist. On the other hand, liberals
are moral relativists until it is their ox that is gored.

[56] Posted by TonyinCNY on 09-06-2007 at 08:03 PM • top

TEC leftists have a special dislike of Nigerian Christians, especially Nigerian Anglicans.  It is thinly veiled hatred of Archbishop Akinola.

[57] Posted by Alice Linsley on 09-06-2007 at 08:52 PM • top

Alice, do you think it is just hatred for Christians or is it racism?  Some choice.

[58] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 09-06-2007 at 09:32 PM • top

Does anyone know what language Bishop Orama was using when he allegedly uttered these sensational words?  Can anyone give a date, time, place, occasion, audience?

[59] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-07-2007 at 07:24 AM • top

LKW,

The trail of this article stops cold at News Agency of Nigeria. Unlike UPI, they don’t archive the stories they relay. The just get them in one door (or computer port) and ship them out the other. No public record.

I spent most of yesterday (my day off) searching Nigerian newspapers online, including pulling up their archives back to September 2. Of 11 papers, not a one had a peep about this article. The good news from all that reading is I now know more about Nigeria than Alabama!

Another problem is that NAN is and always has been a struggling organization. Under-funded, under-staffed. From their web site I gather they have dreams of becoming the next UPI. But as their BoD has changed over the years, as key technology employees have come and gone, their contact e-mail address has changed dozens of times. Surfing the web, I found over 30 yesterday.

I e-mailed all I could find. Except for 3, I got back the standard “return to sender, addressee unknown.” In this morning’s inbox I got a reply from NAN’s branch in Zaire (1 of the 3 addresses that didn’t kick back to me). She said she’d no idea the source and hadn’t any way to find it. She gave me an e-mail address to try. It was one that I’d already tried but, what the heck. I gave it another go. Nope, undeliverable.

Lacking anything in the local Nigerian papers, and given NAN lets anyone with money sign on to both receive and distribute news items, I’m guessing this article was from a freelancer or a college student trying to exercise their ability to be “legitimate.” There may be some or a lot of truth in what they published, but how is anyone to know? Where is their editor-in-chief? Being both reporter and publisher is a slippery slope.

At any rate, NAN seems to be the point where this article entered the world of the legitimate press. Previous to that point of distribution, well, it’s anybody’s guess.

What language, you ask? What are the skills of the translator? Did +Orama speak in English but English is a (very) second language for him? Or did +Orama speak in English and knew well what he was saying and meant every word of it?

Who knows.

All the more reason he and/or ++Akinola should communicate with one of the leading Nigerian papers and get the remarks clarified. I agree with Greg at this point. Since NAN is a stopping point for any further digging into the source, and given the horrid nature of the comment as English-only speakers understand it, it simply cannot stand without (1) both men refuting it and quoting what was really said, or (2) ++Akinola debunking it and stating +Orama will be disciplined.

One lesson for the future I hope everyone learns from this… NAN is too immature in their technology to be a bonafide news relay company as they don’t archive their relayed stories and they permit anyone with money to use them as a feed to the world. Any story coming from NAN needs first to be put in a cardboard box to await verification from a more capable and reliable source. ].

[60] Posted by Antique on 09-07-2007 at 08:42 AM • top

Apparently ++RDW has weighed in on the topic according to Simon Sarmiento.

“The following announcement has been issued from the Anglican Communion Office:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has expressed deep shock at remarks said to have been made by the Bishop of Uyo, Nigeria, the Rt Revd Isaac Orama concerning gay and lesbian people.

  The Archbishop will be contacting the Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, to seek clarification. Dr Williams said “The safety of people of gay and lesbian sexual orientation is a matter of concern for us all. The Anglican Primates, along with all other official bodies in the Anglican Communion, have consistently called for an end to homophobia, violence and hatred. If these reports are correct I would urge the bishop to apologise. Such comments are unacceptable and profoundly shocking on the lips of any Christian”.

I think this is typical Rowan, the first sentence of the actual quote plays to the GLBT lobby, but the second is very minimal for a response (they seem to demand blood for the offense). It’s good that he’s allowing room for error and seeking clarification by contacting ++Akinola directly. All in all, a very diplomatic reply, it says very little and commits to nothing but talks to the nature of the reaction, he could get a job with State Dept. when he retires.

[61] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 09-07-2007 at 09:04 AM • top

Antique, thanks for your illuminating research.

Until proven otherwise, I personally will assume that the story was a plant, and that the reason nobody in the Church of Nigeria has bothered to refute it is the same reason the White House doesn’t bother to refute “Bush Eats Kittens for Breakfast” stories.

[62] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-07-2007 at 09:05 AM • top

I pretty much came across the same roadblocks and lack of confirmation that Antique discovered.  That is why I decided a rat was lounging about the blogsphere.  But that was not the only reason.  I just did not think the language rang true.  I believe that Bishop Orama is a well educated man. Though English may not be his first language I am confident his command of it is far better than the quotes attributed to him.  I still would like to find other of his statements with which to compare the ” interview”.

At this point I think it very urgent that Archbishop Akinola release a statement pledging to find out the truth of this matter.  If Bishop Orama did indeed make these statements.  I pray the Archbishop will show himself a true shepherd and lovingly discipline him for the sake of the Church and for the sake of Orama’s own soul.

[63] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 09-07-2007 at 09:58 AM • top

I’m open to the possibility that Bp Orama really said “not fit to live” and that his command of English is equal to Shakespeare’s.  But who among us has not been guilty of intemperate speech, or language which sounds worse than it really is?  Remember Barry Goldwater’s “Extremism in the defense of liberty” line?  And think of how shocking the term “mortal sin” must be in non-Christian ears, if it is taken literally!

[64] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 09-07-2007 at 10:45 AM • top

So why did Dr Packer not have to disprove the attribution of a scurrilous article to him?

Mr. Wells

I think Dr. Packer did, in fact, disavow having anything to do with the article in question.

Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man.

Hmmmmmm…since this guy is a bishop would it be possible that he was referring to “live” in the biblical context of life…i.e., not fit to have everlasting life? Nah…..that wouldn’t have been inflamatory enough to start this feeding frenzy. He must’ve meant it as everyone here is interpreting it. It’s not possible that this has been misinterpreted…not possible at all.

[65] Posted by Forgiven on 09-07-2007 at 12:23 PM • top

Hosea 6:6,

he could get a job with State Dept. when he retires.

I think not, at least not unless he retires, successfully requests permission to emigrate to the U.S., waits the requisite number of years and successfully applies for citizenship. Now the British Foreign Office is another matter entirely.wink

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist
—“The common belief that whisky improves with age is true. The older I get, the more I like it.”—[Ronnie Corbett]

P.S. Are the smileys not working again? If so, is that intentional or accidental?

[66] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 09-07-2007 at 01:10 PM • top

Hello all,

For those of you who are suspecting an error, there is an article posted at The Living Church, although, I must acknowledge that the source is (the widely alleged prevaricater) Archdeacon Akintunde Popoola.

Incidentally, I found this simply by Googling™ the literal string “Orama”, so I am unclear why others hadn’t already found this article.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[67] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 09-07-2007 at 01:22 PM • top

I think it is not genuine for anyone on this website to condemn hate against homosexuals. The very nature of this Stand Firm website is the disgust and hate of all homosexuals. So when you make yourselves feel better by posturing against a man who says things like “those people do not deserve to live”, realize that he is just being honest. You really think that, but want to feel good about yourselves so you “condemn” such statements. What a joke. Who are you kidding?

[68] Posted by RCtoEC on 09-08-2007 at 05:02 PM • top

RCtoEC,
What an incredibly judgmental comment. Had I to guess, I would assume that the “RC” in your “screen name” refers in some fashion to Roman Catholocism. If that is so, then I am dumbfounded, because it would mean that there are people (or at least one person) in the Roman church who does not grasp the idea of “hating the sin whilst loving the sinner.” But, perhaps my assumption about the “RC” reference is incorrect.

Regardless of the accuracy of my assumption, it is readily apparent that you have difficulty in differentiating between a person and that person’s conduct or behavior.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[69] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 09-08-2007 at 10:40 PM • top

RCtoEC, I don’t think that “disgust and hate of all homosexuals” is inherent in the very nature of Stand Firm. Just about anyone here will tell you that homosexual activity is a sin, condemned by the Scriptures, but most of us love homosexual PEOPLE.

Most does not mean ALL, however. Since the story broke about +Orama’s statement or non-statement, the haters have been coming out of the woodwork. take a look at some of the statements on BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Orama Denies UPI Report - UPDATED and you’ll know what I mean—there are actually people on that thread who have stated that Anglican bishops might actually rightfully support the imposition of capital punishment for sodomy.
As the saying goes, there’s a ditch on both sides of the road. We’ve seen the ditch on the left — Spong, Schori, Robinson and the like are wallowing in it and have been for quite some time now — but, regardless of what Bishop Orama did or didn’t say, the incident and the opinions expressed in its aftermath have demonstrated the existance of the equally deep and noisome ravine running down the right side of the path.

[70] Posted by Cynthia Gee(AKA CJ/goldndog) on 09-08-2007 at 10:41 PM • top

RCtoEC,
So sorry you feel that way.  We here at Stand Firm see our job as providing our readers with facts (and sometimes a little levity) and allow them to make their own decisions.  In other words, we seek to find and report the truth, not create it.
Best regards.

[71] Posted by JackieB on 09-09-2007 at 02:41 PM • top

RCtoEC,

Jackie is correct - you’re inventing your own truth instead of see what’s really there. There are some posters here who have or did have same-sex attractions - manny publis and Peter Ould are two I can think of right away - and while both would probably agree that from time to time some of us can be insensitive, I also believe neither one would say they’ve detected anything like “hatred” here. They can speak for themselves, and if they wander by this thread I hope they will. As for you, I’d recommend a little more hanging around here, and less lapping up the party line fed to you by the usual revisionist suspects, which by your choice of words it’s clear you’ve swallowed.

[72] Posted by Greg Griffith on 09-09-2007 at 03:03 PM • top

RCtoEC:

Welcome to Stand Firm.  I’m guessing that your moniker indicates you’ve made the transition from the Roman Church to the Episcopal Church.  If so, we’re in the same denomination.  Thank you for your rather challenging—and, dare I say it, quite provocative—initial comment.  Anything that provides an occasion for greater clarity is to be welcomed, I suppose.  Let’s see if I can help.

I am a celibate gay male who adheres to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Church on human sexuality (and on everything else that’s relevant, I hope!) and I’ve been reading and posting here for about six months.  In my estimation, the opposition of the Stand Firm bloggers, and most of its posters, to what can be properly called homophobia is quite genuine.  The current reaction to views that have apparently been wrongly attributed to Bishop Orama really is further evidence of that, if such were needed.

However, if you are convinced that any expression of disagreement with the notion that a sexually active gay lifestyle is compatible with Christian teaching is inherently hateful, then no amount of evidence to the contrary may persuade you otherwise.  Nevertheless, I would ask you to keep an open mind and try to engage those you are suspicious of in meaningful dialogue.  You may be in for a few delightful surprises.

Of course, some might suggest that I, too, am part of the “hate” problem.  Since I believe that my own sexuality is disordered (regardless of how it got that way) and that the temptations I face in that area are to be overcome rather than indulged in, I am sometimes accused of hating myself.  To that, my first inclination is to say that I only wish that I “hated” myself a great deal more.  If so, I might be a better Christian.  But the healthy spirit of self abnegation that the gospel enjoins on all Christians is not at all a pathological state of self loathing that prevents us from understanding who we truly are, before and after we come to Christ, nor does it cause us to “hate” ourselves in quite the same way that some of my critics intend.  At least, I don’t think so.

So what will you find here at Stand Firm, and what can you expect where matters pertaining to homosexuality are concerned?  Mostly, conservative Anglicans who are doing their very best to respond appropriately to issues that may not have been much a part of their experience in the past.  Some have had a broad interaction with gay people, and some have not.  Some understand the real problems associated with homosexuality these days, some better than others, and some not so much.  Some appear to have a genuine burden of the heart for witness and ministry to homosexual persons, and some may not quite be comfortable with going that far yet.  Some have quirks and pet theories that I think are extra-Biblical but . . . they may think the same of some of my ideas.

Mr. Griffith points out that posters can sometimes be “insensitive.”  Yes, they can be.  (I think it would be nice if we could limit the use of the term “sodomite” to those who lived in Sodom—but maybe that’s just me!)  You don’t have to be afraid to call them on it when they are.  But if you’re willing to make the effort, you’ll also discover that the overwhelming majority of them actually do love and care about you, as befits a Christian.  Why not love them back?  It’s kind of exciting and immensely pleasurable, actually!  Also, they—we—will pray for you, RCtoEC, a lot.  And that’s a good thing! 

I’m here because, as an Episcopalian, I need to know how this Anglican Communion realignment “thing” is all going to shake out.  I have a stake in it too.  I want to have a voice, and I want to be included.  I’m also here because I want to give witness to what I believe, and in all of the Anglican Blog World, this is one of the very best places to do it.

Don’t be afraid, RCtoEC.  Come and see.

God bless!

[73] Posted by episcopalienated on 09-09-2007 at 04:52 PM • top

I have little to add to the above comment. Episcopalientaed - Thanks for saying everything I would have wanted to.

[74] Posted by Peter O on 09-10-2007 at 03:41 PM • top

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