Thursday, May 24, 2007

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Nigerian LGBT Rights Leader, Speaks in New York

Church of St Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 at 7:00 p.m., Davis Mac-Iyalla, will speak at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street, New York. Admission is free.

Mr. Mac-Iyalla is the founder of Changing Attitude Nigeria, an organization working for human rights and the full inclusion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) people in the Anglican Church of Nigeria. As such, he has been plunged right into the middle of a major social conflict in Nigeria. Mr. Mac-Iyalla has suffered ostracism from family and friends, been denied communion by his church, been fired from his job as a school principal and has faced death threats.

A law proposed by the Nigerian government, with the support of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, would ban any association of gay people. Under that law, a person attending a meeting of gay people or even the socializing of gay friends in a private house could receive a sentence of five years in prison. Engaging in homosexual acts is already illegal in Nigeria, punishable in the predominantly Christian south by imprisonment and in the predominantly Muslim north by death.

Mr. Mac-Iyalla is visiting the United States and the United Kingdom to bring the situation of the Nigerian LGBT community to the attention of both church and civil rights leaders.

The Reverend Caroline Stacey, Rector of the Church of St Luke in the Fields, says of Davis Mac-Iyalla:

"Through Mac-Iyalla's experience, we witness the frontlines of the struggle for justice and equality in a culture both different from and similar to our own. In both cultures, the Bible has been used as an instrument of oppression as well as liberation, and continues to be used as a weapon. In both cultures, the church can collude in oppression by siding with those in power. In both cultures, fear of structural societal change can hijack a gospel of radical equality and dilute the church's witness. The church needs to have the courage to be "out" about the gospel - and that includes the full equality of all of God's people. Making room for others at the table does not mean those already seated will be deprived, and it transforms human community. Mac-Iyalla's courageous example emboldens us to go and do likewise."

7:00 p.m., June 20, 2007, the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street at Christopher, Greenwich Village, New York. Admission is free but contributions will be welcomed to support Mr. Mac-Iyalla's work. A reception will follow.

For more information contact:
Reverend Mary Foulke
Telephone: 212-633-2099

1 comment:

jazzolog said...

I hope you had the chance to watch Bill Moyers Journal last night, whether or not you got word Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katherine was going to be on. (Yankee Episcopalians use that term "presiding bishop" to further differentiate from England's "archbishop." Presidents mean things are supposed to be more democratic, doncha know.) The interview was quite long (20 minutes) and the setup for it seemed to indicate Jefferts Schori had just testified before Congress about global warming or was about to. She was a marine biologist before becoming a priest. At any rate for that reason or some other, she didn't seem entirely comfortable before the cameras. Of course too the issues discussed were among the most difficult for a representative of any religion to field: the ongoing challenge of science, the history of women in spirituality, same sex involvement, and the possible breakdown of inclusive unity within a church. Her answers, however, were absolutely amazing and true inspiration, whatever your spiritual path I think. It's all at Bill Moyers' site, with a profile of Katherine, a history of Episcopalian response to Anglican dogma on sexuality, and links to the transcript and video~~~

BILL MOYERS: What can you and Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, your counterpart, what can you all collaborate on?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: I think with the help of our colleagues, we can collaborate on more than either of us might expect. He has said quite clearly that he doesn't want the help of the Episcopal Church in any kind of mission work in Nigeria, which is incredibly sad. It also removes us from being able to learn about his context-- to learn about Christian evangelism in a-- in a culture where Islam is so present and vocal. It- prevents both of us from being converted by the conversation.

BILL MOYERS: Do you see any hope of that changing?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: God has a way of keeping us at things like this. Even when some of us would find it more comfortable to depart.

BILL MOYERS: What is God asking you to do?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: I think God is asking us to build a society where people can live together in peace with a sense of justice. Where people can develop their gifts to the fullest, where people can, in some sense, recover their presence in the garden.

Meanwhile, Davis Mac-Iyalla continues his tour of the United States. This past week he's been in Chicago, and the Tribune gave him a writeup Monday.,1,373878.story?coll=chi-newslocalwest-hed

Mostly however this doesn't seem to be the stuff for media attention, and so it's necessary to turn to the blogs or other sites for how things are going. Josh Thomas continues to write for his Daily Office, even though he's guiding Davis around at the same time. Here's an update from Tuesday that even includes a photo from our meeting with Davis in Athens. That's our priest, Bill Carroll, in the maroon T-shirt. "The goofy fellow in the middle is Josh Thomas of"

Next week Davis heads for New Jersey where the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church will be holding 4 days of meetings to consider the relationship with the Anglican Communion. "He will be an invited guest of the Council's National Concerns Committee." The full schedule of Davis' tour is a pdf here