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PITTSBURGH: Bishop Duncan Responds to Bishop Chane's Letter

PITTSBURGH: Bishop Duncan Responds to Bishop Chane's Letter

March 15, 12006

By the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan

Bishop Chane's comments betray a profound lack of empathy or understanding for the position that Archbishop Akinola and all Christians in Nigeria find themselves in. During the last few weeks in Nigeria, an archdeacon has been murdered and two bishops have survived assassination attempts.

All were attacked by what appear to be Islamic extremists. During the same time, Islamic violence ignited by the publishing of Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed have claimed the lives of scores of lay Christians and seen numerous churches destroyed in Nigeria.

Further, it should be noted that while the proposed law sounds harsh to American ears, the penalty for homosexual activities in those parts of Africa under Islamic Sharia law (such as the Sudan and portions of Northern Nigeria for that matter) is death. It is precisely the imposition of these much harsher Sharia laws that Archbishop Akinola and other Anglican leaders in Africa have resisted so strongly for many years with little publicity or support from the West.

It is jarring, to say the least, to see church leaders, who claim to champion the primacy of local understanding and culture, demanding that foreign sister churches give up their own local understanding and culture and be judged by an American understanding of individual rights. There is a word for the one-way imposition of values - colonialism.

--Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan is moderator of the Anglican Communion Network

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