On the first day of Executive Council’s June 11-14 meeting in Parsippany, N.J., a sub-group heard Davis Mac-Iyalla speak movingly about how he and eight other homosexual Nigerians were beaten and imprisoned for three days without food or water by Nigerian authorities because of their efforts to organize.
Among the issues Executive Council will debate are a partial response to the primates’ communiquÃ© and the proposed Anglican Covenant. Mr. Mac-Iyalla spoke before a joint session of the national and international concerns committees. The 60-minute session was also attended by about three dozen press, visitors and guests.
Mr. Mac-Iyalla said his troubles began in 2005 after he publicly accused the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, for “telling lies” about lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people in Nigeria. On Oct. 17, he was arrested and freed three days later, only after Colin Coward, founder of Changing Attitude U.K., a gay and lesbian advocacy group, paid his bail. Prior to that time, Mr. Mac-Iyalla said, he had never seen a white man or been outside his native country. He now serves as director of Changing Attitude Nigeria.
In response to a question, Mr. Mac-Iyalla said it would be important for The Episcopal Church to do everything it could to retain its full voice within the Anglican Communion. Mr. Mac-Iyalla said Archbishop Akinola is trying to subvert dialogue with gays and lesbians from taking place in Nigeria, and he believes the proposed dialogue in the Anglican Communion will not happen if the voice of The Episcopal Church is silenced.
“People are afraid to speak out,” Mr. Mac-Iyalla said. “Our hope is The Episcopal Church. If you do not speak out for us, we don’t know where we will take our voice.