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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Changing Attitude Challenges Akinola

Changing Attitude England challenges Primate of All Nigeria to protect Davis Mac-Iyalla
Friday, 2 March 2007
by Colin Coward


For immediate release

Changing Attitude England challenges the Primate of All Nigeria and CANA Bishop Martyn Minns to publicly defend Davis Mac-Iyalla

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, has been the subject of further intimidation this week. He was visited when absent from his place of work by two men who were identified as Nigerians. They wanted to speak with Davis and withdrew when told he wasn’t there. The same morning he was telephoned on his private mobile number by a Nigerian who said ‘So you are back from your trip to Tanzania‘ and then terminated the call.

To protect himself, Mr Mac-Iyalla has withdrawn to a safe location. He believes that members of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) are increasing their intimidation of him following his presence at the Primates’ meeting in Dar Es Salaam and coinciding with progress in Nigeria on the proposed anti-gay legislation.

The threats of violence and intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla can only come from members of the Church of Nigeria and with the approval and encouragement of the Church. Changing Attitude believes Mr Mac-Iyalla’s presence in Tanzania has very seriously angered and disturbed the Nigerian hierarchy. He has shown publicly that the statements issued about him by the Church are totally untrue. It is the deliberate action of the Church of Nigeria, organised we believe from the centre, that is leading to these further acts of intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla.

The threats are having a devastating effect on the 2,000 members of Changing Attitude Nigeria in their 8 diocesan groups. They are very scared for Davis Mac-Iyalla’s safety and feel worried and intimidated themselves. The threats are having an effect which is no doubt intended by the Church to silence and ultimately eradicate their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.

In his meeting with Mr Mac-Iyalla at the White Sands Hotel in Dar Es Salaam, Archbishop Peter Akinola confirmed that Davis is a member of the Church of Nigeria whom he had met on several occasions when Davis was serving the Bishop of Otukpo. Archbishop Akinola did not at any moment suggest that Davis was a criminal who is being sought by the church and police in Nigeria on charges of theft. The meeting was witnessed by Bishop Martyn Minns and Canons David Anderson and Chris Sugden.

Changing Attitude England and Nigeria challenge the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, and the CANA bishop in the USA, the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, to issue a statement denouncing those church members who are threatening violence. We ask both the Archbishop and Bishop to unreservedly demand protection for Mr Mac-Iyalla and confirm the sanctity of all human life, whatever a person’s sexual orientation, in conformity with the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1.10 and paragraph 146 of the Windsor report which states that ‘any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care.’

The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:

“Ii is intolerable that no Nigerian Bishop or Archbishop has issued a statement condemning the threats of violence and intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla. By their silence, they are tacitly showing approval for those members of the Church of Nigeria who believe they have the blessing of their church to abuse another Anglican and threaten to commit murder by drenching him in acid.”

“Both Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns are now implicated in the deep and destructive prejudice shown towards lesbian and gay people in Nigeria, characterised by the threats against Davis Mac-Iyalla and the Church of Nigeria‘s support for the proposed anti-gay legislation.“

“In Dar Es Salaam, in front of Canon David Anderson and Canon Chris Sugden, I asked Bishop Minns to contact Canon Akintunde Popoola and tell him to cease issuing lies and false statements about Davis. These statements have encouraged Nigerian church members to visit Mr Mac-Iyalla and threaten him with death. I have not yet received confirmation from Bishop Minns that he has done this, nor that such assurances have been given.”

“Time is now urgent. Mr Mac-Iyalla has been forced into hiding yet again. The Primatial and Episcopal leaders of the Church of Nigeria are acting with blind disregard for the safety of one of their own church members. They are deliberately supporting a bill which contravenes basic human rights and justice and renders the listening process impossible in Nigeria.”


Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria
Tel. Mobile: +2348025866133

Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England
Tel. Office: 01380 724908
Mobile: 07770 844302


Bill said...

Is there any doubt but that the church in Nigeria is being run by thugs. They preach the gospel and condone threats and murder.

Peter M. Vermigli said...

This paragraph is logically troubling:
"The threats of violence and intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla can only come from members of the Church of Nigeria and with the approval and encouragement of the Church...It is the deliberate action of the Church of Nigeria, organised we believe from the centre, that is leading to these further acts of intimidation against Mr Mac-Iyalla."

These are serious charges! Where exactly is the evidence to support them? If there really is evidence to back them up, why hasn't "Changing Attitudes" come forward with it?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

That's a fair enough question. But, if you really want to know, why not ask it of Colin? His contact information is at the end of the press release.

Mike in Texas said...

I wish the challenge had included Rowan Williams and our own Katherine.

Hiram said...

I have the same question as Peter -- The Church of Nigeria, while fast-growing, does not have all Nigerians in it's membership -- not even half, at most, since half of Nigeria is Muslim, and there are also other Christian bodies, not to mention members of traditional, animistic religions.

So, simply because, Mr Mac-Iyalla recieves threats from Nigerians does not mean that they are from members of the Church of Nigeria. And even if such threats are coming from a group of Nigerians who profess to be Christians, that does not mean that the Church of Nigeria is responsible for what they say. I have some 250 or so members of my congregation (on paper, at least), and I know that if I knew everything that they did, I would be grieved -- for even the best and most faithful members are inconsistent, and do not do all that I teach. And heaven knows that I struggle myself to be consistent with what I believe and teach...

So, if some of the 17 million plus Anglicans in Nigeria do not act in accordance with the Christian teachings on respect for all and love for one's enemies, ought we to be surprised?

Mr. Mac-Iyalla is clearly a very brave man, to be willing to be known as a person with an attraction to members of his own sex in a culture where that is something not to be spoken of. At the same time, he seems to have some questions about his past, and it is not unknown for people to seek attention to further their cause.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


Like Peter, you make a valid point.

Like Peter, you make it in the wrong venue.

I strongly urge you both to contact Colin Coward.

Richard Bates said...

I would have thought that Changing Attitude would have contacted Colin Coward about the evidence and made this available to readers. It ought not be up to those coming to this website to do the footwork to verify stories. My immediate reaction to Mr. Mac-Iyalla's recent encounters is that this might be Muslim intimidation.

episcopalifem said...

While it is an extrapolation to assume that the intimidators are Church of Nigeria, I also don't see the Church of Nigeria refuting these claims, nor refuting these kinds of tactics at the leadership level.

Of course, I don't see ++Williams doing it either, which is disappointing to say the very least.

Nasty, Brutish & Short said...

Rev. Kaeton,
Just last week you complained that Kendall Harmon posts items that he has not written. Why you think it's wrong for a blogger to do that is a mystery to me, but the bottom line is that you've now done the exact same thing that you complain about Kendall doing.

And when people question you about it, you just throw up your hands and say they are complaining in the wrong venue. Surely you recognize the inconsistency?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, it didn't take me long to add two and two and come up with "Bottom Feeders" over at "Viagra Central."

I can tell whenever it's a slow news day and the sharks are hungry. SFiF sends out the "Bottom Feeders."

You are all unbelievable!

Sorry, boys. Tank's closed for the day. Go swim someplace else.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...


I'm allowing your comment because it's not nasty and besides, I want to point out the difference between an "article" - which Kendall posts and a "press release" which this is.

Get it?

So, yes, the questions are good ones (although Eileen makes a good point, too), and need to be directed to the person who wrote the - ready? Not article but PRESS RELEASE.

Now, do try and behave yourselves when you're bored.

This will all be over soon. Before you know it, you'll have that nice Peter Jasper Akinola man declaring that Abuja is the new Canterbury and HE is the new ABC.

Then everyone will eat warm apple pies made by stay-at-home moms who love to be driven to the grocery stores by their husbands in their Cheverolets and all will be right with the world again.

Jim said...

"Then everyone will eat warm apple pies made by stay-at-home moms who love to be driven to the grocery stores by their husbands in their Cheverolets and all will be right with the world again. "

Rev. Elizabeth,

Let's not pick on Chevy's. The GM workers need the sales and they are getting almost green.

There are, without recourse to the person who wrote the press release, reasons to assign responsibility to Abp Akinola, the Nigerian church and Bp. Mimms for the persecution.

First, and formost, Abp. Akinola is prominently involved in Nigerian politics. He has, and the Nigerian church has, publicly endorsed the amazingly hateful legislation before the Nigerian Senate. His Virginia bishop has made no effort to distance himself from the law. Indeed their letters to the Virginia congregations they are trying to bring into their fold with pledges intact, are very evaisive on the subject.

"Silence betokens consent" as St. Thomas Moore reminds us.


Lisa Fox said...

One fact that has been established is that Canon Akintunde Popoola has lied outright and repeatedly about Mac-Iyalla over at Thinking Anglicans. As I understand, the Canon works for Akinola.

Another fact that we may have forgotten (since it didn't occur within the past 24-hour news cycle) is Akinola's "complicity through insinuation" in the Nigerian Christians' attacks on Muslims and their houses of worship.

Even aside from that, a godly man who seek to protect -- or at least ratchet-down the rancor toward -- another human who is the target of "religious" hatred.