Monday, December 1, 2008

Old Fashioned Nigerian Faithfulness.

Regular Nigeria watchers will be well aware that Christians and Muslims have once again been demonstrating the compassion and forgiveness of their respective traditions by killing each other. The causes behind this latest outburst of what Liberals pejoratively term “violence” are complex, but one can rest assured that leading Bible-teachers are at this moment working on finding a way of linking it back to western homosexuality and a certain Bishop in New Hampshire

In the face of this obvious by-product of western immorality, it’s been particularly heartened to see that Big Pete Akinola has not jumped on the bandwagon of Bible-deniers falling over themselves in the rush to condemn what is clearly just a case of honest Christians standing up for themselves and the gospel. While African news site This Day reports that the Pope, leading Nigerian politicians, the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, and even the National President of Nigerian Baptists, have all spoken out against the violence, little Martyn Minns and his “special” big friend appear to have remained steadfastly silent, and certainly haven’t received a mention in any of the weekend’s African newspapers.

Which is how it should be – what possible fellowship can the light of Anglicanism’s future have with the likes of those speaking out against a little good old fashioned sectarianism? Whoever it was who said something about “Blessed are the peacemakers” certainly isn’t on the GAFCON Primates Council, nor do I recall them presenting an address to the faithful in Jerusalem this year. So I can’t for the life of me see why anyone should even suggest it could be relevant to a situation like this.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

15 comments :

Fred Schwartz said...

Fr. Christian --
You have overlooked the obvious. Big Pete and his entourage are so busy freeing the 200+ hostages from their Nigerian captors that he just does not have the time right now to comment on such trivial matters. I am certain that when he comes up for air this will all be explained. Mr. Minns (on the other hand) needs no explanation. He is Mr. Minns.

Anonymous said...

Instigating hate is far different than instigating healing reconcilliation...Big Petey and Minns know nothing of the later...besides, they are preoccupied with figuring out how to do another surge in Colorado Springs and Spring Armstrong from his criminal difficulties.

Rudyard

Jim said...

It occurs to me that one should not expect Big Peat and Minn-no to speak out against violence towards Islam is like expecting AIG to speak out against bailouts.

FWIW
jimB

Laura Toepfer said...

Fr. Christian,

Very seriously, now: thank you for paying attention. I had not heard about this until you brought it to my notice, and I'm grateful. I will add Nigeria to my prayers, along with Mumbai.

Laura

Stephen James Bloor said...

From: Barnabas Fund (subscribe@barnabasfund.org)

Jos, Nigeria: Local Election Sparks Religious Rioting which Kills Hundreds

Hundreds of people were killed and an estimated 7,000 – 10,000 fled their homes in two days of rioting last week between mainly Muslim Hausa people and mainly Christian Berom people in Jos, the capital of Plateau State, Nigeria. Senior Christian leaders in the state believe that the riots were coordinated and planned, and that the political events were used as a pretext for anti-Christian violence.

The rioting began at 2.00 a.m. on Friday, 28th November, following local elections on Thursday 27th. A police spokesman said that the clashes were triggered by a rumour that the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) had lost the election to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In the midst of the violence, the election results were announced, confirming that the PDP had won all 17 local government areas, including the Jos North local government area where the violence was centred. In Jos the ANPP is considered to be a predominantly Muslim party, whereas the PDP is perceived to be mainly Christian.

A curfew was enforced and troops deployed with orders to shoot curfew-breakers on sight. By Sunday calm had been restored. Most estimates of the death toll suggest that 200 to 400 people were killed. Both churches and mosques have been burnt.

Coordinated and planned

The Archbishop of Jos, Rt Rev. Ben Kwashi, issued an urgent plea for prayer on the first day of violence. “Please pray for us in Jos, we are being attacked by Muslims.” Mentioning the link with the local elections, he added, “Why Christians must pay for this I do not know.” On Saturday, he reported, “The Muslims are attacking and burning this morning. It looks well coordinated. They are well armed with AK47 and pump machine guns. This morning they have been at Dogonduste. Quite a number of Christian homes have been burnt. We do not know how many have been killed.”

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has denied allegations that its group started the attack, and appealed to all the people of the state to be calm. Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the chairman of CAN in Plateau State, commented, “We were taken aback by the turn of events in Jos. We thought it was political, but from all indications it is not so. We were surprised at the way some of our churches and property were attacked and some of our faithful and clergy killed. The attacks were carefully planned and executed. The questions that bog our minds are why were churches and clergy attacked and killed? Why were politicians and political party offices not attacked if it were a political conflict? Why were the business premises and property of innocent civilians destroyed? We strongly feel that it was not political but pre-meditated act under the guise of elections.”

Part of a pattern

Plateau State lies in Nigeria’s troubled “Middle Belt” where Christians and Muslims are in roughly equal numbers and there is a history of large-scale sectarian rioting. These riots often appear to be pre-planned attacks, with young people being paid tiny sums to participate in the violence and promised heavenly rewards for killing people. The Berom ethnic group is indigenous to Plateau State, whereas the Hausas are settlers; there have been tensions for decades between the indigenous minority groups and the Hausa settlers.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, comments: “The apparently pre-planned anti-Christian violence in Jos would be shocking enough if it were a single incident on its own, but is far worse given that it forms part of a pattern of repeated rioting in Nigeria, usually started by Muslims against Christians. It is tragic when Christians respond with violence, as seems to have happened this time. Please pray that Christian leaders in Nigeria will be able to help the Christian population to react in a Christ-like way to such provocation.”

Can you help?

Barnabas Fund is sending assistance to the Christian victims of the riots in Jos. Thousands of displaced people need clothes and food. Those sleeping in the open air need shelter. Christian homes have been burnt, and people have lost all their possessions. Church buildings have also been burnt. There are urgent needs of the injured and bereaved. Please click to donate online using our secure server (Please quote project reference 39-772).

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK (Please quote project reference 39-772).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for addresses of our regional offices. (Please quote project reference 39-772).

Please Pray

"Prayer is very important," commented Most Rev. Peter Akinola, the Primate of All Nigeria, speaking to Barnabas Fund today, "Pray that people would be strong in faith and that God would comfort the bereaved." Pray for all the victims of the rioting in Jos, for the injured, the bereaved and those who have lost their homes. Pray for those who perpetrated the violence, including Christians who fought back against their attackers. Pray for church leaders as they urge calm and restraint for all, that they may be able to help the Christian victims to forgive those who attacked them and those who apparently planned the attacks. Pray that Christians in political office in Plateau State may be examples of integrity. Pray that there will not be any further outbreak of violence.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Thank you for this, my young man. Isn’t it remarkable that Big Pete can make such an eloquent statement (& one so free of Nigerian idiom at that) to a charity based in Great Britain which will channel money directly to Big Pete’s church (see the Barnabas Fund website), but he seems unable to rate a mention in any of his own country’s media – where his proclamations just might happen to influence those actually involved in the bloodshed.

Stephen James Bloor said...

I'm fairly certain that the people in Nigeria are hearing the messages of their bishops for peace loud and clear. I think on this occasion your humour at the loss of life is actually distasteful.

People have died in this incident, that really shouldn't be laughed at.

Doorman-Priest said...

Stephen, a doctrinal warrior such as Dr. Troll sees the bigger picture.

Is a little cynicism such a bad thing even in very troubled times?

Stephen James Bloor said...

Ah! But actually feel he has lost the bigger picture by going after this one.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

"Laughing"??? - My dear child: where on earth do you get the notion that there's anything to do with laughter on this site? Just ask little David Virtue or Fr. Mass Progeny if there's anything humorous here. I’m sure they’ll quickly set you straight.

People most certainly have been dying as a result of this latest expression of fundamentalist christian/muslim dialogue, just as they have also died as a result of the homophobia Big Pete so delights in embracing. Although the latter deaths just don’t seem to matter as much to conservatives – do they?

I for one find it refreshing to see Big Pete doesn’t seem to view sectarian slaughter in moral terms – unlike his approach to just about everything people get up to in the godless west. If you’ve managed to find any word from Anglicanism’s Glorious New Leader in any Nigerian paper I certainly appreciate the link – you obviously don’t realise that I peruse all the leading Nigerian papers on a daily basis: how else can the World’s Leading Doctrinal Warrior keep abreast of such dangerous developments as Penis Theft and Unregistered Sorcery. Besides, nothing raises one’s status in the Anglican blogosphere like being first with a great quote from one of the Primates of the Pure - especially if he’d made it purely for the benefit of the folks back home and never expected it would reach the ears of a wider audience.

Finally, lest you think old Father Christian has been utterly consumed by cynicism, I suggest that anyone tempted to throw money into the trough which is the Barnabas Fund should do something to help bring real change to Nigeria, and support these women instead. Or if you’d rather give to a name you know, the Nigerian Red Cross look like they could currently use some help. There’s plenty of ways to help the people of Nigeria which don’t involve subsiding an upgrade from economy to business next time one of the faithful is flying to attend a GAFCON meeting…

Fred Schwartz said...

If the Archbishop were indeed serious about ending the violence he would have negotiated for the release of over 200 hundred hostages out of the oil rich area of Nigeria. For over a decade the rebels have been abducting foreign nationals and demanding ransom. Some of those kidnapped have been in "custody" for at least 10 years. In addition, there have been attacks of this nature before and all ++Akinola could say was "It is not religion, it is all politics". And, "If Moslems are the only ones that know how to create violence they should watch very closely". Stephen, violence should be condemned by Anglican leadership at every turn-- Mr. Akinola needs to be less selective, more proactive and less mobile and more involved in ending the violence. Should he need an example I suggest he talk with ++Tutu.

Jim said...

I went to the Barnabas Fund web site. What a travesty! How can anyone not tell the difference between "especially" and "exclusively" in English and claim to be literate?

FWIW
jimB

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

My apologies everyone - the link showing the people in Nigeria who are really doing something worthwhile is broken. Since blogspot won't let me edit comments I'll give it again: www.bpwnigeria.org/

Anonymous said...

I think on this occasion your humour at the loss of life is actually distasteful.

Distateful? Oh please, not distateful! Distateful would be more like a grinning Akinola when asked by Ms. Griswold about his participation/instigation at the the Massacre of Yelwa where 600+ Muslims parished!

Of course, regularly, Bishop Akinola, author of Gays parent ¨Hooligan Children¨ and assorted other vile, and ignorant, slander against LGBT Christians, Muslims and others is a instigator of HATE CRIMES on a regular basis...and to think the man wants to export his contaminated thinking and selective beliving to the United States!

Forget it Akinola, Minns and the rest of your light/quick fingered/triggered religious accomplices/sect at NIGERIAN CANA!

Roselind Hepple-White

Anonymous said...

Fr Christian. You have clearly failed to understand or showcase the core issues of Christianity. Please see http://www.tribune.com.ng/07122008/church_news.html
for enlightenment. This interview with +Akinola has correctly captured the true spirit of GAFCON. Homosexuality and Christmas Greeting Cards . Also, although you have discussed, appropriately, the issue of finance, you have neglected the central importance of major donor giving...for example, the few major Nigerian donors, who properly cultivated by the primate, financed the affair. Although such dollars may come with strings, a good GAFCON primate is well skilled in manipulation and should be able
to manipulate such a handful of supporters to his own purpose.