Splitting over hate.
Peter Akinola calls himself an archbishop. He thinks he speaks on behalf of a deity. But he’s a humble man -- just ask him. As he told one reporter: “Many people say I embarrass them with my humility.” The contradiction in that statement just whizzes past the archbishop’s little brain like a plane breaking the sound barrier.
Akinola is a symbol of an age old hatred within the Christian church -- a hatred for homosexuals. He is leading a schism within the Anglican church to protest the growing acceptance of gay people. Much the way the American church divided over support for slavery the Episcopal/Anglicans are dividing over whether to show acceptance of gay and lesbian members of the congregation.
Akinola says his church in Nigeria (that hotbed of enlightened intellectualism) is facing a threat from radical Islam. He argues “Should the church in this country begin to teach that is appropriate, that it is right to have same sex unions and all that, the church will simply die.” Interesting argument.
Fundamentalist Muslims are violent and hateful. If Christians don’t match them in hatred then they will lose out to Islam. So Christians must show they are willing to be as nasty as Islamists at least toward homosexuals. No wonder they call archbishops primates -- they act like primates.
Akinola is a key supporter of legislation that will turn all homosexuals in Nigeria into criminals. Not only that but the new law would make it illegal to oppose the new law. Very Stalinist of him, perhaps even Jehovah-like.
The New York Times writes that the legislation “includes measures so extreme that the State Department warned that they would violate basic human rights. Strictly interpreted, the bill would ban two gay people from going out to dinner or seeing a movie together. It could also lead to the arrest and imprisonment of members of organizations providing all manner of services, particularly, those helping people with AIDS.”
Primate Akinola argues that Nigeria has the right to pass legislation stripping people of their rights. “Does Nigeria tell America what laws to make? Does Nigeria tell England what laws to make? This arrogance, this imperial tendency, should stop for God’s sake.” Damn right! And Nigeria ought to reimpose the laws supporting slavery just to teach England a lesson.
Islamic slavers ought to be free of imperialist do-gooders and have the right to capture Primate Akinola and sell him into bondage. At least he’d be doing something productive with his life instead of wasting it on a fairy tale and hatred. The primate ought to know that there are many more Bible verses which condone slavery than which oppose homosexuality.
Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of the United States, argued that slavery “was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.”
Davis was right. The Bible does condone slavery. It was traditional. It was the way the world worked for centuries. All the major churches of the day supported it. Only a few cranks spoke out against it. Now if you have tradition and Scripture both supporting slavery then who the hell had the right to end it? Even today Calvinists in the Christian Reconstructionist movement argue in defense of reinstating slavery as an institution based on Biblical law.
Slavery existed all around the prophets and the messiah when they walked the earth. And they never thought once to condemn it. Enslaving others was considered natural and normal, even moral. Slaves were commanded to obey their masters by St. Paul. He said slaves should serve their masters “as you would serve Christ.” The most the Bible did was lay down rules for slaves and masters but not one verse condemned the practice. To oppose slavery is to oppose Scripture.
Nor is there any shortage of Biblical arguments made through the ages defending the inferior rights of Africans like Primate Akinola. Their black skin was described by many fundamentalists as the “curse of Ham” from the Old Testament and the Bible said the descendants of Ham would be servants to others.
Of course many Christians today, including some fundamentalists, no longer believe that. Instead they accept the modernists, liberal, non-literal interpretation of Scripture. They compromise the faith you could say.
In southern America the fundamentalist tradition supported slavery. There was no shortage of tracts and books defending slavery and arguing the inferiority of blacks. And all of it was done in keeping with Christian tradition. Entire books were written using the Bible to argue that the black race are the “beasts of the field” described in the Bible and that they were subhuman and required to serve the white race. No doubt there were some who had no trouble embracing both the Ham theory and the beast of the field theory though they contradict one another. But contradictions have never troubled the faithful.
Even today the Christian Party takes the view that blacks are “a serving order”. They find all sorts of justification for their position in the Bible. But one is apt to find justification for almost any position in the Bible. But there is more Biblical justification to enslave Akinola than there is to deny rights to gay people.
The last great split in Protestant Christianity was over whether or not to deny black people equal human rights. So it is no surprise that the current split is over a similar issue.
It should be noted that one of the American churches which has placed itself under the authority of Akinola has a history of leading antigay initiatives. The Truro church actually got the fraudulent exgay movement off to a start with the Liberation in Jesus Christ ministry under Guy Charles. They kept the delusion going for several years that they could change people’s sexual orientation via the white magic of religion. That illusion ended when Charles was shown to have not been as liberated as he felt it necessary to claim.