The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has restated its opposition to gay marriage and civil partnerships among same sex in the country.
The Primate of Anglican Church, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said gay marriage was an acquired habit which was inconsistent with the scriptures.
He said, “Our position on gay marriage is well known; we don’t accept gay marriage; we don’t condone gay marriage and we don’t regard it as part of Christian life; but we have no hatred for anybody.
“If anybody is gay, our position is that we should counsel the person because it is an acquired habit that can be delivered through the power of the gospel; that is our attitude to it. We want to show them love by rehabilitating them and helping them to abandon that habit which they have acquired and is inconsistent with the scriptures.”
The cleric also advised the National Assembly to maintain its strong opposition to same-sex marriage.
Okoh said, “I want them to remain resolute and steadfast so that we can moderate the moral tone of our country. We should not allow any foreign nation to teach us how to live in our own country. I encourage them to remain firm.
“Those who want gay marriage should allow us to live as Nigerians without importing foreign attitudes. They should not allow themselves to be unduly influenced by their associations with the outside world because it will not help us.”
The Anglican Church in Nigeria had a few days ago threatened to break away from the Church of England over the decision of the latter to drop opposition to gay bishops in civil partnerships.
The announcement from the House of Bishops in England would allow gay clergy become bishops if they promise to be celibate- a move that did not go down well with conservative evangelical Anglicans.
The issue has split the church since 2003 amid a disagreement over gay cleric, Jeffrey John, becoming Bishop of Reading.
John, now Dean of St. Albans, was forced to withdraw from the role shortly after having initially accepted it, following protests from traditionalists.
He was also a candidate for Bishop of Southwark in 2010 but was rejected.