Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Anglican and Episcopal Pharisees

The newest issue of The Advocate has an informative article on Peter Akinola, the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria (pictured at left), and one of the leading homophobes in the Anglican Communion. The article (http://www.advocate.com/currentstory1_w.asp?id=46836) also focuses on the manner in which delusional element parishes within the Episcopal Church in the United States are breaking away and aligning themselves under Akinola's poisonous heirarchy.
Not surprisingly, the article also discloses that the good archbishop's homophobic agenda appears more about money and power than preaching and living in accordance with the Gospels of Christ. Meanwhile, conditions in his own diocese are going to Hell in a hand basket, but like the Christianists in the USA, caring for the sick and the poor is never part of the Gospel teachings as perverted by the santimonious and greedy. Here are some highlights form the article. Judge for yourselves whether Akinola is a follwer of Christ or not:

With antigay rhetoric as his tool, a Nigerian archbishop has made himself a central player in the fight over America’s Episcopal Church. But in chasing his ambitions, has he failed his own country?
Akinola must have felt a strong calling to make such a move. It put him in defiance of a church tradition, dating back to the fourth century, that limits the activity of a bishop to that bishop’s jurisdiction.
It would be wrong to call Akinola unprincipled. No doubt he, like most Nigerians, grew up believing that homosexuality is a sin. But this pastor has let his flock at home suffer while he networks in America, accumulating power, publicity, and—according to informed observers—money.
Nigeria, with about 120 million people, is the most populous country in Africa and among the poorest in the world. Life expectancy is 47 years, roughly 3 million people are infected with HIV, and between 1996 and 2005, nearly 30% of children under age 5 were malnourished. It is a land of dichotomies, where oil flows at about 2.5 million barrels a day—making Nigeria the largest oil producer in Africa—and yet anywhere from 60% to 75% of Nigerians, according to various sources, live on less than a dollar a day.
Akinola issued an essay that proclaimed, “Homosexuality and lesbianism, like divorce, breed a society of single parents which gives rise to a generation of bastards.” While Akinola passes such judgments, his fellow Africans struggle with poverty and disease. “We debate these things whilst people are dying,” says Bishop Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba of Botswana.
Mwamba sees the real issues of the African people—poverty, the lack of clean drinking water, nutrition, HIV and AIDS, education, women’s rights—being neglected by the small cadre of bishops led by Akinola. “Thousands of kids are dying every day,” Mwamba says. “Now, those are the issues the church should be addressing.” For Akinola, though, rejecting gays takes priority. After he cut off ties with the Episcopal Church, he refused to take its relief and assistance money, not only for Nigeria but also for the entire 13 provinces that form the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), of which he is chairman.

Akinola may get joy from preaching his beliefs. But he gets earthly rewards as well. Both Mwamba and Sserwadda say that Akinola and other bishops have been lured away from addressing key African issues by the promise of power and money.
The “influence” Sserwadda describes comes in the form of all-expenses-paid trips to the United States, envelopes that contain several hundred to several thousand dollars—gifts big enough to be meaningful for one person but too small to have serious impact on an entire ministry. The money is nearly impossible to track because it isn’t linked to any specific organization. “If an American gives an envelope like that, it is not given for the use of the church, it is given to the individual,” says Sserwadda. “Or if not that, someone is flown into the States, and all his bills are paid…. He goes back after doing shopping, and sometimes that person comes with his wife or with his child.…” In other words, it’s a cushy family trip for free.
Reach your own conclusions, but to me, the dear archbishop sounds like he belongs more properly among the chief priests and Pharisees of the Bible than among true followers of Jesus.
On the local level one Episcopal parish has split, with the break away element led by one of my former law partners, Eric A. Hauser of the Virginia Beach office of Williams Mullen (pictured above at right). The irony of course is that Mr. Hauser is himself divorced and remarried, thereby utterly ignoring the condemnation of divorce attributed to Jesus himself in the Bible. Obviously, Mr. Hauser's own actions are not consistant with his alleged insistance that the Bible be construed literally. Funny how he can lecture me and condemn me for being gay, but is fine with his own ongoing adultery under a strict application of the Bible.

No comments: