Nigeria Attacks – Kwashi responds

Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi has responded to the allegations of assaults on Changing Attitude Nigeria leaders and the insinuations that somehow the Church of Nigeria was involved. Here are the important excerpts – read them carefully because his Grace understands what the core of the issue is:

We are saddened and worried that some Churches and Christians now find these teachings and standards unacceptable. However, we will never seek to bring any person or persons to our way of thinking and believing by using violence, force, slander or blackmail: to do so would be to contradict the gospel which we proclaim. Should anyone bring a case against us in this respect we will most certainly investigate it and deal with it. I would have hoped that the accusations made concerning the attack on Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla could have been properly presented in this manner, with evidence: it would then have been dealt with swiftly. This was not done, and it would be helpful to consider that there may indeed be other reasons why certain individuals felt they had a score to settle with Mr. Mac-Iyalla. All my attempts so far to discover the place or the nature of these attacks and threats have proved unsuccessful.

Simply to accuse the Anglican Church of being the perpetrator of a physical attack on the streets of a large city, does not make sense. If a Nigerian Bishop or church leader were mugged in England, would the Archbishop of Canterbury, or even the Church of England in general, be blamed for this? That the Archbishop of Canterbury, backed by a group of English bishops should – without evidence being presented – choose to accuse any other person(s) of resorting to violent crime and illegal acts, is in fact to resort to the unchristian bullying and behaviour which they so abhor.

Archbishop Kwashi understands perfectly that the problem with these allegations is not whether they took place or not, but the insinuations around them which have been made. We are now a week or more into this furore and still no evidence has been presented as to either the claim that there was a brutal assault (i.e. photos, medical reports, police reports) or, and more importantly, that anybody from the Church of Nigeria was involved. Remember Colin Coward’s final sentence in his response to the demands that some proof be presented:

We ask them to condemn those individual church members who are continuing to threaten Davis Mac-Iyalla and other Nigerian lesbian and gay leaders.

Well that’s just what Archbishop Kwashi wants to do, but can’t because despite alleging that Church of Nigeria members are involved, neither Coward or Mac-Iyalla have provided one single name of a member who was in any way responsible for these assaults.

I speak for myself and I believe my colleagues in the Church of Nigeria in saying that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the human rights of all people and will work to defend the human rights of every citizen of the country. We will not condone violence against people even though they behave in a way that is not acceptable to us and none of us wishes to be responsible (either directly or indirectly) for murder or violence perpetrated on another person.

There it is, unequivocally a condemnation of violence and threats of violence that Kwashi’s boss, Akinola, has also himself made as a Primate at Dromantine. So now the hand to play is entirely that of Coward and Mac-Iyalla. Let’s have the names of the people you allege to be behind these attacks. Failure now to produce them will leave only a bitter taste in the mouth, the flavour of fantasies constructed purely for political purposes.

For Changing Attitude it’s now put up or shut up, and the Anglican Communion is waiting impatiently.

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