In the past there have been assurances from Bishop Minns that his Archbishop, the Primate of All Nigeria, was not against homosexual persons per-se and that the Church of Nigeria was not a prime mover in the effort to get the anti-gay legislation passed in Nigeria. This is what was stated in a "Clarification" issued shortly before the vote by a number of Virginia congregations to leave the Episcopal Church and become part of the Church of Nigeria:
"In a recent Washington Post article, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola was characterized as "an advocate of jailing gays." That is not true.
Archbishop Akinola recently spoke with Martyn Minns and stated that he believes that all people—whatever their manner of life or sexual orientation—are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with respect. "We are all broken and need the transforming love of God," Archbishop Akinola said during this recent conversation."
Well, that has all come tumbling down. In several releases documented by Thinking Anglicans the matter is now clearly put in perspective. In particular the Church of Nigeria's own statement to the Listening Process, now online and available HERE, puts Bishop Minns' assurances into the realm of political statements made in the context of a campaign to get out the vote. In particular, the Nigerian statement says,
"In Nigeria the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006 is passing through the legislature. The House of Bishops has supported it because we understand that it is designed to strengthen traditional marriage and family life and to prevent wholesale importation of currently damaging Western values. It bans same sex unions, all homosexual acts and the formation of any gay groups. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria has twice commended the act in their Message to the Nation."
"It bans same sex unions, all homosexual acts and the formation of any gay groups." The continuously restated assurance that, "The Church of Nigeria is committed to the pastoral care of homosexual people. It says: 'While recognising the sinfulness, from the biblical perspective, of homosexuality, we must continue to keep open the door of restoration for homosexuals through repentance on the one hand, and sensitive pastoral care, on the other.' The Church is clear that all people are sinners and need to repent."
What this open door policy on the part of the Province of Nigeria proclaims is that, in so far as there is restoration and repentance the door IN to the Church is open. If there is not restoration and repentance, the door into the Prison is open. Either way, the Church is there to offer its support.
NOW, what is needed, and that right quickly, is some new statement from Bishop Minns who has either been mislead or is misleading, and a statement from the Moderator, who has had very little to say in recent days, indicating that they distance themselves from the Church of Nigeria on this matter. Bishop Minns lives in the shadow of the Archbishop, so for him this will be hard to do. The Moderator of the Network is beholden to the Global South Steering Committee, of which the Archbishop of Nigeria is chair, and CANA is part of the wider Common Cause Partnership. It remains to be seen if the Moderator can in fact speak in a different voice than the Archbishop of Nigeria on this or any other matter.
Still, it would appear that nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.