Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gay Believers.... Islam, Christianity

We recently had an election. For a President that had been elected by a majority of 68%, the silence on the streets of Kampala was, to say the least, deafening....

Maybe it was the 'security' that stopped people from rejoicing as they should have?....[shake of the head.]

Anyway, maybe Ugandans only celebrate the win of the president when there are cameras around..... Sorry, I am still trying to figure out the apparent incongruency.

Ok. Let me deal with another matter. The atmosphere of homophobia in the country, in Uganda. Now, a caveat, I am a gay Ugandan. I have grown up here. So, what is 'abnormal' for me, would be a lack of homophobia... maybe.
I have been following some of the reaction to the BBC documentary, 'The Worst Place to be Gay', and, here is one of the comments that struck me. From a person who is a Christian, and, is admittedly not gay friendly, from their own admission.

I watched a documentary the other night about homosexuality in Uganda.  Nearly everyone who was interviewed said that they should, at they very least, be put in prison.Many Christians and Ministers said they should be killed.
Whilst I do not agree with the 'act', I was horrified that so many so-called s have them put to death.
Did anyone else see this programme?
Well, as a matter of fact, I have not 'seen' that programme. But, I live it on a day to day basis.... it has sort of become invisible, you understand? And, I thought that that is the official position of all Christians?

LOL, I am having some fun with the commentary. I mean, that is normal in my part of the world. But, it is distressing to other Christians. Some time ago, that would have been a chance to go Christian bashing. Well, now I at least know that Christians are not all like Pastor Dr. Martin 'eat da poo poo' Ssempa.

But, Christians, you will have to stand up and say that you are not like so....... !

Religion.... Ok, fact is, I decided to stand on the fence, with regards to religion. Safer to think that way. But, because so many of my friends, going through the same issues as me are so much in love with faith, (and the fact that, I cannot but acknowledge that even gay people have a spiritual desire and need), I have resigned myself to having to seek out a compromise. Even when there are those ready to bash me because of my sexuality.
They say that I cannot be spiritual, or religious, because of my sexuality.

Not so, some other gay people say. Here is the inspiring testimony of the Pink Imam

South African Muhsin Hendricks is an Islamic cleric and a gay man.
He runs a foundation called The Inner Circle, which helps Muslims, who are struggling to accept their sexuality. He has come to the Netherlands to spread a simple message: “It’s okay to be Muslim and gay!”
It’s a message not everyone agrees with and the reason why Mr Hendricks is no longer officially a cleric.
Muhsin Hendricks looks a little tired. He is in the Netherlands at the invitation of the Amsterdam branch of gay rights organisation COC and he’s on a punishing schedule. There is enormous public interest in the “pink imam”, as he’s been dubbed.
But every trace of fatigue vanishes as Mushin Hendricks talks about his faith and his sexuality.
“Being Muslim and being gay are both strong identities. And I think that they are both innate identities for me. So somewhere along the line I had to reconcile the two.”
This was far from easy for Muhsin Hendricks. He was born into an orthodox Muslim family in South Africa. His grandfather was a cleric in one of Cape Town’s most prominent mosques. Mushin discovered at an early age that he was different. He played with dolls rather than cars. He was seen as being feminine and was teased as a result. All this was long before he even knew there was such a thing as homosexuality

That testimony energises me. Positively. Yes, it does. Here is a man who is going against the current, and swimming strongly. You go, Man, you go! Read it to the full. It is beautiful.

And, talking of gay Moslems, here is how one loving couple in Britain dealt with their problem. Yes, we are gay, but, that does not stop us from being spiritual.

"We met about three years ago, at an iftar - a breaking of fast during Ramadan.
"I think a lot of Muslims find that time of year very spiritual and very enlightening, and so I think that's why our relationship developed, because we spoke about our faith."
"Eventually we went on a date."
Asra recalls the first time she met her partner, Sarah, three years ago. The gay couple, who are also Muslim, are one of a growing number of gay, British Muslims who have cemented their relationship with marriage - Islamic marriage.
Asra fondly remembers the moment Sarah proposed to her.
"After the first date, which was about an hour, Sarah casually asked me to marry her."
Sarah interjects.
"I think it was more like four hours, after dinner, coffee and walking. I didn't really plan it, but it just really seemed like the way it was between us, I should try and keep it as pure as possible.
"That may sound strange being lesbians, but it felt like we should do it the most honourable way we could."
The Muslim way
Asra and Sarah decided upon a 'nikah' - a Muslim matrimonial contract. Whilst nikahs have traditionally been the reserve of heterosexual Muslims, Asra and Sarah were aware that other gay Muslims had followed this route and the couple decided to investigate further.
It's still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard”
"A few friends said you don't really have to have an official Imam, but you need someone who is knowledgeable enough about the Qur'an to do it. Fortunately, one of our friends was, and she offered to do it. She's a lesbian herself, and she said we could do it in her home."
Three months after the proposal, the big day came. Asra wore a white shalwar kameez - a traditional Pakistani outfit - and Sarah a pink dress.
"I wanted to wear leather, but Asra wouldn't let me," she sighs

I love this testimony. I really, really love it. It speaks to me.

We are, and will always remain, very ordinary people. The fact that we are gay does not change our very ordinariness. The thirst for faith is something that makes us similar to every other Jack, Dick and Harry. We are just too ordinary.

But, we have to rise above being ordinary. In the face of opposition from all those around us, we have to come face to face with who we are, accept ourselves, and then rise above that to be completely whole, as believing humans.

No. I am not revising my personal 'no faith' position. But, I am deeply impressed by the courage which we can find in our ordinariness. In embracing that which we are.

And, you know what? We continue to shame those who will demonise us........ Because we shall remain very ordinary, and extraordinary because we are so.

You go, People!



A slightly toasted sheep said...

As an American I thought I'd point out that there's an American Imam that features prominently (for good) in that BBC article. :)... not all of us push an anti-homosexual agenda.

Bolton said...

Hey, Gug --- Just get rid of the out-dated "anti-" of yours and stay on that fence!

Someday we are all going to show up in Kampala in a procession led by a crucifix! Yeah!

I think you may live long enough to see good evidence for changing your mind -- as long as you stay on the fence!

(Loving grin)

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