One of my gay Nigerian friends was in conversation with me on Facebook this morning. I told him about General Synod and the bishops’ report. He asked me send him the link to the report, which he read swiftly. My friend was confused by one particular part of the report. I told him it means the bishops have a problem, that bishops in Nigeria have a different theology and live in a different social context, a homophobic context according to our values, and the English bishops don't know what to do about them. My friend replied: “After I returned from the hospital, a friend of mine called me to let me know I will be planning his wedding in South Africa. Then my question was why South Africa - why not Nigeria? Why can't I find love here and get married here and be happy here? This guy is a church guy, he grew up in the church and always dream of getting married in the church, now just because he is gay the church rejected him, saying he is demonic.
Conservative evangelicals are most afraid of people making a connection between their theology and John Smyth’s beating of the children in his care. Yet the connection is obvious – and at the very core of the evangelical story: that God the father violently punishes his son for the salvation of the human race. The bkishops are never going to achieve” a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” until they confront the dogmatic requirements of the conservative evangelical lobby and rid themselves of the abusive ideas they want to impose on the church.
The media has reported allegations of abuse by evangelical Christian leader John Smyth who is accused of violent sado-masochistic beatings of teenage boys and young men. The Iwerne camps with which he was involved in the late 70s were designed to bring a Christian influence to this country, a very specific brand of conservative evangelical influence exemplified by Holy Trinity Brompton and marking the impact of Archbishop Justin on the changing culture of the Church of England. Ingredients of this unhealthy and abusive culture are to be found in the present House of Bishops. The “wholesome muscular Christianity” ethos in part explains the addictive conservative evangelical fascination with homosexuality.