How Not To Make Matters Worse For African Homosexual People

Chris Sugdensugdenwebpae

In the lead up to the Anglican Primates’ gathering from January 11-16, further pressure was brought to bear on African churches and nations on the subject of their laws on sexuality. Both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have made direct threats from their positions of enormous power to African states to remove funds for their education and health budgets if the laws are not changed. The Episcopal Church (USA), the Church of Canada, the Dean of Christ Church and lobby groups have pressed for this too.

Where would Jesus be found? – in the courts of the rich and powerful bullying the poor for whom families and children are their security in countries with no welfare systems, or in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala,Uganda? Pope Francis has made clear where he stands.

There are many myths and misunderstandings on this topic.

The Gay Rights movement: the challenge
An archdeacon from Jos in Northern Nigeria writes:

In many African cultures, people with same sex attraction and those who have homosexual sex have lived within communities and not been challenged or harassed. In many Nigerian cultures they gain sympathy, as in the Berom and Anaguta tribes.

These small gay communities exist despite the introduction of Sharia law which, in northern Nigeria, proscribes death by stoning of any persons caught in homosexual practices. 

Homosexuality is therefore a discreet and personal lifestyle. Despite the laws, people acknowledge the practices and keep them private. They only become crimes when they are brought to public attention.

In many African cultures and tribes, especially among the Igbo tribe of eastern Nigeria, homosexuality was a taboo even before the coming of Christianity and colonialism. Families had their individual ways of managing those who appeared to be “gay” and helping them live their lives, but it was not generally considered a public matter. Indeed it was the coming of Christianity that provided a Christian community where people with same sex attraction were more readily accepted as Christians and were not necessarily segregated. The general understanding was homosexual practice was not to be encouraged for disciples of Christ, and that certainly a leadership position in the church would not knowingly be offered to a person in this category.”

Ugandans have discovered that UNICEF, UNESCO and liberal missionaries were teaching the affirmation of same sex relationships to children in their schools, also that teaching materials were being given out that reinforced this approval. Western funded LGBT offices have been set up in major cities throughout the country. It is widely believed that bright young people are being encouraged to join LGBT groups by being offered funding for the expensive local tertiary education which is only generally accessible to the elite.

In response to the negative ground swell against this activity among Uganda’s children, the President commissioned a major scientific study to find out if same-sex attraction is innate. The report concluded that it was not. Therefore the Government brought in the ‘aggravated homosexuality bill’ (AHB) which specially relates to schools and orphanages where these propagandists work as volunteers. The change in the law is that there are prison sentences where children are involved – this is the aggravated homosexuality.  When the death penalty was proposed the church stepped in to stop it.

Outcome
Ironically the liberal campaign precipitated the AHB in Uganda which is now the target of criticism by these same agencies.

The Archdeacon from Jos concludes: “What outside activists are succeeding in doing, in their campaign, is to put undue pressure on the church to accept openly what was a taboo in communities before even the arrival of the church in the 19th century and what the church itself would not encourage. This negates the Christian morality which the church has preached over the decades and simply says that the Bible is a lie. These communities would rather go back to upholding their pagan religion that protects their communities from this ‘cult’ and its unnatural practices.

Secondly, the pro-gay policies of outside activists are being quoted as an example of western imposition of ungodly practices.  As a result Muslim propagandists can condemn everything that has come from western countries, the church included, as unnatural practices introduced to destroy family values. Boko Haram and many Muslim clerics have used this against the church and western countries and culture.

Thirdly the consequence of the gay rights movement pushing so much money and political resource to enforce laws and legal ‘cover’ for gays is to set gay people apart from the rest of the community and runs the risk of portraying them as the enemies of society rather than as people to be understood and accepted.

The effect of the gay rights campaign is therefore  likely to  be increased resistance both from the churches and many African governments,  which the west is trying to use. In Nigeria for instance, because of the reasons set out above, it will be political suicide for any politician to be associated with a gay rights movement.”

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