|As gay church arrives Nigeria, Christian, Muslim clerics declare:It's evil!|
• 'National Assembly must fight it'
By JOSSY IDAM & PAUL OMO OBADAN
Sunday, September 14, 2008
A welter of criticism has greeted the emergence of the first openly declared gay church in the country.
Both Christian and Muslim clerics have not only condemned it, they equally dismissed it as evil.
In very strong terms, therefore, they want the National Assembly to enact laws to stop what they describe as a festering sore from gaining roots and spreading.
The Archdeacon of Oleh Diocese in Delta State, Ven. M.A.E Igri, in his reaction, said "the church is not biblical and out of tune with God's plan. God created man and woman to be married to themselves. The situation where a man will be married to a man is wrong and unacceptable."
Coincidentally, while the Lagos debauchery was on, Anglican priests in Nigeria were holding an All-Anglican Clergy conference at Nsukka, Enugu State, where they spoke against gay marriages that is currently threatening the cohesion in the Church.
Similarly, the National Missioner of the Ansar-u-deen Society of Nigeria, Abdurrahman Ahmad called on the National Assembly to legislate against homosexuality in Nigeria.
Said he: "All people of conscience and people of faith must rise to fight this evil."
For the first time in Nigeria, men who openly declared themselves as homosexuals gathered penultimate weekend at a church in Ojudu, a Lagos suburb.
Under the auspices of a yet-to-be registered church - House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church - the men held a seminar and night vigil.
The heavily guarded event paraded men who wore necklaces, rings, conducted themselves and spoke softly like women.
Ironically, the homosexuals held the fiesta in the hall of United Bible University, Yakoyo Road, Ojudu, Lagos. The venue also serves as a place of worship for Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM). The event, Sunday Sun learnt, was championed by a lawyer and Theologian, Rev. Roland Babajide Macaulay. On the days of the event, a retinue of mean – looking, ill-tempered security men barred our reporter from entering the venue and meeting the men.
However, when Sunday Sun revisited the place Wednesday evening, the hall, SARRMAC Auditorium, was being arranged for an evening worship by CPM. The church's minister distanced the CPM from it.
"We have no connection with them whatsoever. We only hire this hall for service. We don't own it," he said. But he however, acknowledged hearing of the event.
As revealed by a plaque on the wall of the auditorium, the building was commissioned by the convener of the event, Rev. Roland Babajide Macaulay, on Saturday, November 10, 2001.
Sunday Sun investigation reveals that the man is the son of the founder, president and director of studies of United Bible University, Rev. Dr. Augustus Olakunle Macaulay. When our reporter sought to speak with him, a female secretary of his said he was out of town.
On his own
Contacted on phone, Rev. Macaulay denied having any link with the event. "God forbid! I don't support any thing that's contrary to the teachings of the bible and God," he said, sounding shocked.
Asked to comment on his son's glaring contradictory stance, he declined, saying, "I don't want to discuss that. All I can say is that the man is my son and he's over 40."
Pressed for a proper interview, Rev. Dr. Augusts said he was at Owerri conducting a seminar, and from there he would head to Akwa Ibom and won't be back until end of the month.
The United Bible University was established in 1994. The date is boldly emblazoned on its outer wall. To prove the top connection of the owner of the University, a new storey building - Moses Iloh Hall - was commissioned on Saturday June 17, 2006, by Hon. Oluyemi Cadoso, former Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Lagos State. The institution, according to a message on the wall of the new hall, aims to "develop moral Christian and ministerial education."
A board in the University's SARRMAC Auditorium listed Mrs O.A. Adeboye as O.A. Adeboye as Appreciation Award and Best Award Winner, for 1980 to 1994. Those listed as Activity Award Winners include Mr. C.A. Sodipo, Lady Evang. C. Arinola Ogunye, Mr. A.O Adeneye, Evang. S.A. Aroyehun, Mrs. E. Doyin Mould-Olupitan, Evang. V.A. Akande, Mr A.O. Oduwole, and Mrs B.A. Sodipo.
Other names on the list include Mrs M.O. Makanjuola, Mrs Bandele Jacobs, Mr. J. Babatunde Ebadan, O. Oduwole and Mr. Emmanuel B.O. Shobande.
Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS
In a recent survey, Integrated Biological and Behaviour Surveillance ranks homosexuals second to female sex workers, as the group with the highest figure of HIV/AIDS. In fact, the survey puts the prevalence rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) at 13.5 percent.
Sunday Sun learnt that the church, House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church has been existing in the closet since 2006. The church, according to a source, is affiliated to other metropolitan community churches in America and Europe.
In a public statement, Rev. Roland Macaulay is quoted as saying that the church is "a mission and vision to transform hearts, lives and history and especially, to help people reconcile their sexuality and spirituality."
The ordination of gays as priests in the Anglican Church has raised a lot of dust and it is threatening to splinter the Anglican Communion. The leaders of the church in America and Britain have conciliatory view on the matter. But African bishops are resolute on non-admittance and ordination of gays.
Woe betide them
At a week-long All-Anglican Clergy Conference which ended penultimate Friday at Nsukka, Enugu state, the issue reverberated. The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola said that, "Anglican orthodox members of this church are poised to do the mission of the church and those who say that gay is their concern woe onto them."
Crime and punishment
A lawyer in Lagos, Mr Godwin Ewa took a critical look at the gathering of gays and described it as a fad in Europe and America being imported into the country.
"Nigeria is a dumping ground for all manners of products and perverted ideas and lifestyle. From this development, it won't be long before we begin to hear of gay rights, same sex marriage and so on," he said.
Lamenting that homosexuality is an infringement and a complete assault on the nation's core values, Ewa blamed it on the lax law and lenient punishment for offenders. The law classifies it as "unnatural offences" under Section 214 and "indecent practices between males" under Section 217 of the Criminal Code," he said.
According to him, the Criminal Code criminalizes homosexual, gay marriages, lesbianism and sodomy. When an offender is convicted, he or she could be jailed for up to 14 years.