John M. Becker

Another Nigerian Bishop 'Thanks God' for Anti-Gay Law

Filed By John M. Becker | January 23, 2014 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Catholic attacks on LGBT rights, Catholic Church, Hassan Kukah, Ignatius Kaigama, Jail the Gays Bill, John Onaiyekan, Nigeria, Roman Catholic Church

archbishop-ignatius-kaigama.jpgAnother Nigerian Catholic bishop has spoken out in defense of that country's atrocious "Jail the Gays" law. In an interview yesterday with New York City-based Sahara TV, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama expressed his support for the measure.

According to Joe Jervis at Joe. My. God., the TV station summarized Kaigama's interview as follows:

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, joined SaharaTV's Rudolf Okonkwo to explain his reasons for supporting Nigeria's recently enacted Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. "We thank God that this bill was passed," said Archbishop Kaigama, speaking from Nigeria. Although in support of the new law, Archbishop Kaigama also sympathized for the gay community and noted that they should not be discriminated against. "As a priest and by my Christian values it not a crime to be gay or heterosexual," said Kaigama. "I will treat [a gay person] with great understanding and love, with great compassion," he said.

In the interview, which you can hear after the jump, Archbishop Kaigama reveals that he is either shockingly ignorant about how the new law is being applied or willing to blatantly lie about the situation on the ground for LGBT Nigerians.

When Okonkwo asks him about the Nigerians in the north who face death by stoning for the "crime" of homosexuality, he flat-out denies it, insisting that the law only relates to same-sex marriage: "I don't imagine that just simply because somebody is gay he or she will be arrested or maltreated. I don't think that is acceptable. I think the constitution is clear about this. The legislation is very, very clear against gay unions."

Later, he continues:

"I do not think the law is simply to punish anybody who is of gay orientation. That would be injust [sic]. As I keep saying, it's about gay groups pressurizing, or publicizing, their activities in a manner that can influence other Nigerians, or getting into a union that constitutes a moral danger to other Nigerians."

Of course, this is completely false. The punishing law targets far more than just same-sex marriage, imposing harsh prison sentences for everything from LGBT rights advocacy to public displays of affection between same-sex couples.

When Okonkwo brings up the law's seeming incompatibility with Pope Francis's famous "who am I to judge?" remarks, Archbishop Kaigama justifies it thusly:

"I think when Pope Francis says we should not judge gay people, he is right. We have no right to judge any human being. Only God can do the ultimate judgment. We human beings have standards, we have criteria, we have cultural values, religious and ethical values. And this we must respect. So when Nigerians say gay activities, gay union or marriage is not acceptable in Nigeria, I think it should be respected."

Archbishop Kaigama is currently the president of the Nigerian Bishops' Conference. He joins Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Bishop Hassan Kukah in expressing public support for the "Jail the Gays" law.

Watch the interview with Archbishop Kaigama, after the jump.

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