The Rev. Colin Coward, MBE, director of Changing Attitude England, recently wrote on Facebook about his displeasure with homophobia in Africa and the distortion of Christianity by those who are anti-homosexuality. Read below.
‘I feel incredibly angry today. I’ve been chatting for the last hour and a half with a gay Nigerian friend, a quiet, thoughtful, stable young man who allowed himself to trust a ‘friend’ who invited him to a café this morning. It was entrapment. They went to a place that was more rooming house than café which was a set-up, finding himself in a room where other guys were waiting to assault him. He has been attacked, threatened with a machete, kicked and punched, burnt with cigarettes, forcibly stripped naked, clothes torn, photos and a video taken, beaten, and those in the room were joined by guys he had seen playing football earlier.
‘He is a Christian and those assaulting him were Christians. He feels suicidal now, fears the police and further exposure, can’t seek medical treatment, is in deep pain physical and emotional.
‘Assaults like this against LGBTI people are a daily event in Nigeria and other homophobic African countries. I am seethingly angry at the distortion of Christian teaching that encourages and supports the abuse of LGBTI people.
‘I’m furious at the failure of [Archbishop of Canterbury] Justin Welby and other Primates and bishops to have the guts to proclaim the love of God and condemn all abusive action.
‘I’m sick of the corruption of the church in this country which also abuses LGBTI people, but in a spineless, devious, underhand way, blocking vocations, colluding in the appointment of people who flout the rules whilst blocking those judged to be inconvenient – because they would upset the African churches.
‘Christianity has become so sick, following a Jesus who I don’t recognise but who gets trotted out by the [Archbishop of Canterbury] as if he is the magical answer to all our needs. Welby’s Jesus isn’t the answer to the need for love and protection of LGBTI Africans or the need for just recognition of LGBTI members of the Church of England.
‘My friend needs help but I am impotent. African Christianity needs to be transformed from corruption to love and justice and truth, and I thank God for all those friends of mine who work with passion for such a transformation.’