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From The New York Times:
Nigerian Anglicans Seeing Gay Challenge to Orthodoxy
By LYDIA POLGREEN
Published: December 18, 2005
ABUJA, Nigeria - At one end of town on a fall Saturday morning, in a soaring cathedral nestled in a tidy suburb, dozens of Nigeria's most powerful citizens gathered, their Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rover sport utility vehicles gleaming in a packed parking lot. The well-heeled crowd was there to celebrate the Eucharist with the leader of Nigeria's Anglican Church, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola.
At the other end of town, in a small clubhouse behind a cultural center, a decidedly more downscale and secretive gathering of Anglicans got under way: the first national meeting of a group called Changing Attitudes Nigeria. Its unassuming name, and the secrecy accompanying its meeting - the location was given to a visitor only after many assurances that it would not be revealed to anyone else - underscored the radical nature of the group's mission: to fight for acceptance of homosexuals in the Anglican Church in Nigeria.
"We want to tell the bishop that it is our church, too," said Davis Mac-Iyalla, a 33-year-old former teacher who founded the group, which claims to have hundreds of members. "They do not own the word of Jesus. It belongs to all of us."
The worldwide Anglican communion of 77 million people faces a serious possibility of schism over the issue of homosexuality. Anglican leaders from the developing world, led in large part by Archbishop Akinola, have objected bitterly to the 2003 ordination of an openly gay bishop by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, and to the Anglican Church's blessing of same-sex marriages in Canada. Many church leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America think that tolerance of gays is a repudiation of biblical orthodoxy, seeing it in light of a series of disputes with the Western arms of their faith over the last 35 years, notably the ordination of women.
National churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America have severely limited contact and cooperation with their North American counterparts. Archbishop Akinola argues that the churches of the "global south," as the Christian population of the developing world is often called, are standing up for orthodoxy in the face of increasing liberalism in the West, where homosexuality is less taboo. "It cannot be supported by scripture, it is against reason," Archbishop Akinola said. "It is against nature. So we in the global south stand against it."
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