In furious statements this week, Anglican Archbishop Peter J. Akinola of Nigeria and other conservatives denounced the elevation of openly gay V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire on Sunday. Archbishop and Primate Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya said, “The Devil has clearly entered our Church.”
Robinson was consecrated as the first openly gay Bishop of the Episcopal Church in a ceremony in New Hampshire on Sunday. (Anglicans in the United States are known as Episcopalians.) In the first such openly gay ceremony, forty Bishops in drag from around the United States laid hands on Robinson’s penis and chanted “Y.M.C.A.” An aging Elton John sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The reaction from conservative Anglican churches around the world, including Africa, South America and Australia was swift and fierce. In a moderate example, the Anglican Church in Nigeria, where homosexuality is virtually unknown, declared: “We totally reject and renounce this obnoxious attitude and behavior. It is devilish and satanic. It comes directly from the pit of hell. It is an idea sponsored by Satan himself and being executed by his followers and adherents who have infiltrated the church.”
Many church leaders declared their intention to “break communion” with the Episcopal Church in the United States, or at least with the Church in New Hampshire, although not quite yet, as the Anglican Church in the third world is largely dependent for funding by the Church in the USA. The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and Head Primate of the Anglican World Communion, under increasing pressure, denied Monday that he had ever had the words “Jesus is coming — look busy!” tattooed across his buttocks.
The Anglican Church is no stranger to controversy. King Henry VIII founded the church in 1536 when Pope Biggis Dickus II refused to grant the King the privilege of multiple orgasms. In a fit of anger, Henry executed several of his wives and declared himself the head of the Church of England. Currently Queen Elizabeth II is titular Head of the Church, or “President,” while the Archbishop of Canterbury is “Vice-President and CEO for Operations.”