The Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh

The head of Nigeria’s Anglican Church has warned his countrymen of the “evil wind” of homosexuality that, he claims, is spreading across the world.

The Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh – Primate of the Church of Nigeria – made the comment in an anti-gay diatribe during the ordination of three bishops in Lagos last week, reported The Guardian Nigeria.

“You are already aware of the evil wind blowing across the Western world, by way of the homosexual agenda,” said the Primate.

“They want to push it down everybody’s throat. Whether you like it or not, the government is doing so and the church is doing so. And as far as they are concerned, it is a matter of human right. But God’s right is not discussed. I want to say that you have a responsibility to this church, not to allow any influence from any quarters to corrupt our church.”

Okoh called on those who travel abroad to not be swayed by others who try to convince them to hold a different view on homosexuality.

“The Biblical understanding of marriage will continue to be the basis of our teaching; we will not change that position. So, no matter what they tell you, no matter where you go and who your friend is, please, resist the Devil and all his works, and he will flee from you.

“I want to encourage our clergy, particularly those of you who have attachment with the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe and America, don’t bring that influence in here. It is the responsibility of your Bishops to know where you go, who you relate with, and the influence around you. It may not be helpful to you to align with those people,” warned Okoh.

Responding to the Primate’s comments, veteran British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell said that “Nicholas Okoh is preaching a false, unchristian gospel. Jesus Christ condemned many sins but he never once condemned homosexuality. The Christian gospel is one of love and compassion. It is not consistent with homophobic prejudice.”

Tatchell argued that while he does not expect Okoh to approve of homosexuality, “I do ask him to stop vilifying gay Nigerians. He should support the decriminalisation of homosexuality and speak out against the anti-gay bill that is currently before the Nigerian Parliament, the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill.”

He added: “In a democratic, free society, religious leaders are entitled to express their opposition to lesbian and gay people but they are not entitled to demand that their interpretation of scripture becomes the law of the land. That is the slippery slope to theocracy, not democracy.”

Current legislation punishes homosexual acts in Nigeria with 14 years’ imprisonment, or death by stoning in northern regions.

The proposed Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill would jail anyone (for between five and 14 years) involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies (including the guests), anyone showing same-sex affection and anyone who does not turn in gay people to the authorities.

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