People seeking to hold official positions within the Anglican Church of Nigeria are being forced to swear that they are not gay before God - inviting God to destroy them if they are not telling the truth.
‘I declare before God and his Church that I have never been a homosexual/bisexual or have repented from being homosexual/bisexual and I vow that I will not indulge in the practice of homosexuality/bisexuality,’ the oath, uncovered by Nigeria’s Daily Post online newspaper, reads.
‘If after this oath I am involved, found to be, or profess to be a homosexual/bisexual against the teachings of the Holy Scriptures as contained in the Bible I bring upon myself the full wrath of God and subject myself willingly to canonical discipline as enshrined in the constitution of the Church of Nigeria, so help me God.’
According to the News Agency of Nigeria a public denouncement was held in St Matthews Church, Maitama in Abuja as part of the swearing in of new members of the Parish Church Council.
The church’s vicar, Ben Idume, said his church believed that homosexuals needed help and counseling but they must not be allowed to hold offices within the church.
Lucky Erhaikhuemen, the warden of the church and one of those who made the oath, said twenty years ago such an oath would not have been needed but things had changed.
‘With what is happening in Western countries and the churches there, there is a lot a pressure on church leaders and members here to compromise the teachings of the church,’ Erhaikhuemen said.
‘The oath is a guide and warning that those in leadership positions in the church must uphold scriptural teachings and point to the godly part to the younger generations.’
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan recently passed draconian laws banning all forms of LGBTI expression and any support to LGBTI while making same-sex marriages actual crimes for anyone who is in any way involved with one.
The law also requires people to turn in anyone that they know is gay or face jail time themselves.