THE Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has been sounding off again about The Gays. In his latest rant, he described homosexuality and same-sex marriage as great evils and works of the devil that must neither be condoned nor allowed to exist in Nigerian society.
He has previously condemned the “homosexual lifestyle”, describing it as “the way of death".
Okoh was speaking during the ordination of three Anglican Bishops at the Cathedral of St Jude Ebute Metta, Lagos. The Nigerian Anglican Church supports the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill, which is currently before parliament. It proposes some of the harshest anti-gay laws in the world.
British human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, lost no time in slamming the Primate, accusing him of:
Stirring up prejudice against gay people in Nigeria.
According to Nigeria's The Guardian, Okoh told the assembled Sunday congregation:
You are already aware of the evil wind blowing across the Western world, by way of the homosexual agenda. They want to push it down everybody’s throat.
Whether you like it or not, the government is doing so and the church is doing so. And as far as they are concerned, it is a matter of human right. But God’s right is not discussed. I want to say that you have a responsibility to this church, not to allow any influence from any quarters to corrupt our church.
The Biblical understanding of marriage will continue to be the basis of our teaching; we will not change that position. So, no matter what they tell you, no matter where you go and who your friend is, please, resist the Devil and all his works, and he will flee from you.
The bigot added:
I want to encourage our clergy, particularly those of you who have attachment with the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and America, don’t bring that influence in here. It is the responsibility of your Bishops to know where you go, who you relate with, and the influence around you. It may not be helpful to you to align with those people.
Another Nigerian news report from the Naij website quoted Okoh as also saying:
There are lots of immoralities going on in the world and we do not want our Bishops or our members to be involved in any act of immoralities. I am calling on our clergies not to allow any influence from any quarter to corrupt the church of Christ.
The basics of Jesus Christ will continue to be our teachings and we will not depart from it. A practicing homosexual would not be of any help for the nation and the Church of God at large. The basics of Christian marriage is between man and woman and not between man and man or other way round.
Tatchell, Director of the London-based human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said:
I am not asking Nicholas Okoh to approve of homosexuality but I do ask him to stop vilifying gay Nigerians. He should support the decriminalisation of homosexuality and speak out against the anti-gay bill that is currently before the Nigerian Parliament, the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill.
In a democratic, free society, religious leaders are entitled to express their opposition to lesbian and gay people but they are not entitled to demand that their interpretation of scripture becomes the law of the land. That is the slippery slope to theocracy, not democracy.