Religion

Leader, Revolutionary, Ass Weasel: Peter Akinola

Yesterday, I wrote a bit about the Time 100. I had some time to scan through the rest of the list, including the fascinating category of “Leaders and Revolutionaries,” which is where they throw all the terrorists, politicians, and religious figures. One particularly interesting choice was Archbishop Peter Akinola; interesting not because I don’t think that he should be considered an influential person, but interesting because his descriptive essay, written by Rick Warren, is overwhelmingly positive.

Nice hat, jerkoff.Warren admits a few less than admirable traits of the Archbishop: his campaign against the admittance of gays in the clergy and his “recent remarks of frustration” over the Muslim cartoon-inspired violence. Each of these admissions is followed by a “but” as Warren goes on to praise Akinola for strengthening Christianity’s hold on Africa and holds him up as a role model for Christians worldwide.

So Warren (with Time Magazine’s full endorsement) wants to give this tremendous recognition to a person merely for spreading his religion. We’re to forget the petty details concerning what Akinola actually believes and just be happy that he is encouraging those beliefs in others. How is that admirable? The man considers homosexuals to be unworthy of salvation; even heterosexuals who believe that homosexuals have a right to practice the Catholic faith are buying a ticket to hell, according to him. Here’s just a taste of what he has to say on the topic, as written in his 2003 essay Why I object to homosexuality:

This lifestyle is a terrible violation of the harmony of the eco-system of which mankind is a part. As we are rightly concerned by the depletion of the ozone layer, so should we be concerned by the practice of homosexuality.

God created two persons — male and female. Now the world of homosexuals has created a third — a homosexual, neither male nor female, or both male and female — a strange two-in-one human.

And we’re to applaud him for encouraging this outlook in his 37 million followers?

But wait, it gets better. He wasn’t just content to ban gays from the clergy — he wants them to be thrown in jail. Just a few months ago, he threw his support behind a Nigerian measure to criminalise same sex marriages as well as the 

“Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations” and “Publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise”, on penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment. Wikipedia

And what about his “remarks of frustration?” Here’s what he actually said: “May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly of violence in this nation.” And we’re to encourage this pugilistic one-upmanship? Not only does this one statement contain an obvious threat, but it condones and even celebrates the fact that people have performed despicable acts of violence under the supposedly approving eye of the Christian god. 

Warren wants us all to forget about Akinola’s vile beliefs and actions, and why? So that we can celebrate his promotion of “Christianity” to the poor unsaved African masses. Too bad it’s a form of Christianity that even many Christians reject as absurd. How important is the label of “Christian” to Mr. Warren? Is it more important to live out the ideals and morals that Jesus espoused — that of loving one another, turning the other cheek, and living a good life — or is it more important that we have one more African who calls himself a Christian? Never mind, I think I know the answer.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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12 Comments

  1. Here in Socialist Canuckistan (and I mean that in a nice way), the Catholic Church is seeing the number of priests who are over 60 increasing substantially. The dioceses are having trouble staffing the parishes with even one priest. Many priests now minister to the faithful in up to 4 separate parishes.

    I have heard that Canadian dioceses are importing priests from Africa and South America because those are the only places where a substantial number of males are joining the clergy (the food is better and you get a spiffy black dress set off by a white collar).

    My point is that there are many priests who are homosexual, who don't consequently molest children, who are serious about serving their parishes and without whom the church would have an even tougher time of herding their faithful sheep.

    What the church hierarchy can't seem to get past is that who we sleep with is only one facet of the jewel that is our humanity (pretty good rhetoric, eh?). If you read anything about Christian religions through the ages, you'll see that an obsessive preoccupation about sex (when you can have it, with whom, where and under what conditions ) has been one of their hallmarks.

    Worrying about gays is just an extension of that foolish behaviour.

  2. I was just reading the same thing about the Dali Lama. He is also against homosexuality. It seems that religious people who abstain from sex must obsess about the sex the rest of us are engaged in.

  3. I never understood the gnashing of teeth over many Christian and other religious denominations' tenets against homosexuality. Being a member of a given church is like belonging to a club. Every club has its own set of rules. If you don't like the rules of one club find another more to your tastes. Since no one is being forced to become a Christian, for example, why worry about their club rules with regards to homosexuals?

    I'm not religious, but the almost palpable hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular from Rebecca is a bit off-putting IMO. Of course, I can take my own advice and not join this club if I don't like the rules, but I still wanted to post this simple observation.

    Cheers!

  4. "the almost palpable hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular from Rebecca"

    Funny, I had originally included in this entry an entire paragraph explaining why I so vehemently attack the fringe freaks of religion and stating for the record that I hold no particular hatred of religions in general (there was a tangent about the fact that many Skepchick readers and contributors are religious — see the March issue for instance — as are all of my family and many of my friends). In the end, I erased it because I felt as though this essay conveys that as is, particularly in the last paragraph. These people are doing a lot of harm to the world, which is why I go after them, but also they are an insult to the people who subscribe to those religions. As I wrote, few Christians would consider the Archbishop's ignorant interpretation of the Bible as being in line with their own views, and they rightfully should rise up and fight this sort of thing, if not for the harm it does than for the insult it delivers to their religion.

    In any event, I hope that it's obvious to the majority of readers that I'm not showing hatred toward religion in general, but toward those people who use silly beliefs to harm others.

  5. And Anthony, the reason for the "gnashing of teeth" over certain religions' intolerance of homosexuality is that they are not content to keep homosexuals out of their "clubs". Many of them want homosexuals out of their schools, communities, indeed all aspects of civic life. And they are willing to do some pretty nasty things to get their way.

  6. It’s obvious to this Christian at least, Rebecca. People like Bishop Akinola have done more to turn people away from religion than most self-declared “enemies” of it.

  7. Continuing wright's comment to Anthony:

    Not to mention, it's not just a matter of joining "whichever club you want". These same "Christians" will not only actively recruit you, but if you refuse their "invitation", they will then condemn you for *that*!

  8. Agreed with wright and David, and another thing — I have no problem with private organizations deciding what they'd like to believe and who they want to let into their clubs, but let's get this straight: the instant they take a dollar of my tax money to do it, they're going to have to play by the rules of modern society, and sadly for them that means treating groups equally. (Of course, in this case I'm referring to the American wing of the RCC, which the Archbishop was campaigning about.)

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