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The Big Read

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Mirror

‘Nigeria’s Anglicans won’t be part of such unholy practice’

Most Rev. Welby

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 al and Transgender (LGBT) people of faith and none, is to hold on to their dreams and hopes in the face of hardship; God is a good God and loves all people.” The gay pastor also traced his antecedent in the Anglican Church, which eventually calibrated in his emergence as a deacon. “I played the character of ‘Jesus’ in the passion play, which was staged outdoor throughout the London Borough of Newham in 2000; this alone did not change my life but nonetheless, it was a single contribution to enhancing my relationship with the Anglican Church and more so, with my Christian faith.” Macaulay had a baptism of fire in bringing to the open in Nigeria, the gay dimension to Christianity, which is culturally, socially and religiously rejected in the homeland. Alluding to this, he said: “2008 was a very busy year for House of Rainbow and the ministry was at the height of its popularity as we have become a household name in Nigeria, particularly well known for its inclusive welcome of marginalised communities. “We stood for change, peace and reconciliation; however, violence was thrust upon us as a community and many people, organisations and the media were simply looking for “dirt” about us. In February, I was ambushed by the media in Abuja at the Africa Sexuality Conference. In March/April, the newspapers were filled with sensational headlines; by July we have had many more ‘undercover reporters’ join us and they started to record and take photographs. By August/September, we received unprecedented hostile media coverage, increased violence and numerous death threats. Those who attacked us used this for their own gains. After the second year anniversary celebration of House of Rainbow in Lagos, I went to Abuja for several meetings and when I returned to Lagos, the environment became extremely hostile and the Board of House of Rainbow decided it was time we re-strategise. I was advised to return to London for my own safety and we moved the ministry underground to make it safer for those who attend. House of Rainbow since 2006 has always remained an active ministry in Nigeria with three active groups.” But Macaulay said despite persecutions, he would


Primate Okoh




CHRISTIANITY, WHICH IS CULTURALLY, SOCIALLY AND RELIGIOUSLY REJECTED IN THE HOMELAND not be deterred by his resolve to keep shielding and pastoring gay Christians as he himself is a professed one. His words: “The subject of homosexuality is rarely addressed in churches today, even more so the topic of gay/lesbian Christians. Most ministries refuse to accept that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals can be born-again Christians. The belief is; you cannot profess to walk with Christ if you make a conscious decision to walk in ‘sin’. From many church pulpits, there is constant reference to Biblical scriptures like Sodom and Gomorrah which they say illustrate the consequence of this ‘chosen lifestyle’. These sentiments are also echoed in the lyrics of some well-known Gospel songs. “Whether you agree with this or not, the fact remains that LGBT communities are often condemned to ‘fire and brimstone’ damnation and ostracism. They are seen as the ultimate of all sinners – ahead of the adulterers, idolaters and gossipmongers. There have even been extreme cases of this ‘non-acceptance’ with arson attacks on gay-welcoming churches – one such example occurred in Hawaii a few years ago. “The irony of the matter is that the hatred towards

LGBT Christians is more likely to come from the black church which was once oppressed by the white community pre-civil rights days. Yet despite this history, the perceived bigotry from the black congregation remains and my experience is testimony to that,” he explained. Macaulay who said “I am proud to be gay and of Nigerian descent” also declared that “with the love of my parents, I continue to excel as a son who just happens to be homosexual.” However, Macaulay’s father, 80 years old Professor Kunle Macaulay, in an interview with Sunday Mirror, lamented, saying: “Though my son is a gay, I have been praying for him and I will keep praying for him, because that is what the Bible demands of us…also, I have rallied other men of God to join me in prayers as gay practice is a sinful act.” Soon afterwards, however, Macaulay the father, said Jide, his son, was gradually dropping the gay habit and that he hoped that with time, he would become a changed person. Professor Macaulay who is the National President of Association of Christian Theologians (ACT) in Nigeria, added that the incident of five years ago where gays gathered to worship was in no way connected with his United Bible University (UBU) in Ojodu Lagos, as his son’s Pentecostal fellowship group only hired the auditorium for use, at a time he (the father) was not in the country. Objecting strongly to the tolerance given to homosexuals in the Church of England, the Anglican Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of Nigeria, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, recently warned of its dire consequences. “Such practices contravene the law of marriage as instituted by God. The Anglican Church of Nigeria is not in support of such. We maintain our stand despite the present pressure by the Church in Europe and some political forces compelling us to accept and approve same-sex marriages in Nigeria. We are proud to say that we stand by our belief in the true word of God as we will never be part of such unholy practices presently destroying the church of God in Europe,” His objection, penultimate week, was also amplified CONTINUED ON PAGE 5