Justin Welby condemns Nigeria Primate's 'unacceptable' language on homosexuality

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has issued a strong statement against recent comments from the Primate of All Nigeria on homosexuality.

Archbishop Henry C Ndukuba spoke of "the deadly 'virus' of homosexuality" in a February 26 statement. He likened it to "a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough", and added that "secular governments are adopting aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture."

Responding to his comments, Archbishop Welby said: "I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks." 

Welby said he had written to the Nigerian Primate privately "to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998)."

"This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words," he said.

"It affirmed that 'all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.'"

The statement continues: "The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.

"The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God's offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope."

The Nigerian Primate's comments were in response to the publication of a pastoral statement on sexuality and identity by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a denomination formed of conservative Anglicans who broke away from the US Episcopal Church over its pro-LGBT stance. 

ACNA says in its statement that it does "not believe it wise nor commendable to adopt categorically the language of 'gay Christian,' or 'same-sex attracted Christian' as the default description for those who experience same-sex attraction within the ACNA." 

"To insist on the adjective 'gay,' with all of its cultural attachments, is problematic to the point that we cannot affirm its usage in relation to the word 'Christian,'" it reads.

It instead commends the usage of "Christians who experience same-sex attraction."