Religion and being Queer in Africa....
You know, I cannot seem to leave this topic. Cause, I am queer, and African, and I am bashed left right and centre by people who claim they know god.
Friend of ours has been having problems. He is straight, married, with family. A believer, a Christian. But, he is also a friend to us, a gay couple. Doesnt believe in the bigotry that the rest of the believers have. He is friends with kuchus in Uganda generally.
But, that is the problem. He is eating with sinners. Maybe he promotes the sin? The sin of homosexuality....!
So, he was thrown out of his church, with his family.
Talking about being more Christian than Christ.... don't know the details. Heard them second hand. Doesnt stop me from being mad, mad, mad. Because, far as I know, Jesus did eat with sinners.. and he was condemned by Pharisees for that. I don't mind being called a sinner. Fellow Ugandans think I am worse than a demon. Their pastors tell them so. But, my friend minds, and so I have to mind....
African activist takes a look at the constraints that religious people in Africa generally hold on our human rights. Not as just against gay people. An article worth reading actually. He examines the stance of the former president of Botswana. Clearly, the guy has his concerns. And, he is logical. He doesnt understand the stand by the zealots to violently condemn what they don't understand. Or, what they don't believe. Why arent gay people worth of human rights. [Of course, unless they are not human....]
I did not come out in support of gay rights but I did come out in support of human rights. I am not a pro-gay activist. I say I don't understand the sexual preference but they are entitled to it and therefore they should not be discriminated against, it should not be criminalised.
I can't understand why you say that homosexuality is un-African when there is evidence that it has always existed and exists today as it does elsewhere in the world. And therefore it appears to me that homosexuality whether we understand it or not or whether we like it or not is as African as it is European as it is Asian...We are trying to pursuade the rest of Africa and show them that homophobia is unjustified.
Being an activist does not make me lose my sense of what is logical, and the fact that my ally may find it tough to support me. I accept what my ally offers to me, a space for dialogue, as opposed to those who want no dialogue, because, quote, being gay is un-African.
What am saying is that I understand my friends sacrifice, being called and shamed in front of people that he shares faith with. And, Mogae of Botswana not being willing to lose an election because of a gay friendly stance... (Obama for his nuanced position on gay marriage?)
I am a pariah. And, good hearted believers in god and gods will seek to kill me in the name of the purity of the country and continent I share with them. Yes. A depressing thought. Read the article. It is worth the time. Here.
So, in Uganda, Ssempa was enraged when the opposition candidate dared to mention something vaguely supportive of human rights in the just concluded presidential campaign. And, same thing is happening in Zambia, according to African activist.
The church has vowed to campaign against Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata for advocating gay rights.
And Chief Government spokesperson Lieutenant-General Ronnie Shikapwasha said what Mr Sata is advocating is an abomination and the church must rise against such leaders.
"Churches that believe in Jesus Christ should condemn Mr Sata's statement because the bible condemns it as an abomination," he said.
Yes, it is politically incorrect to mention, even vaguely, anything about human rights for gay people in Africa. In Malawi, why... that deserves a blog post of its own....
I mean, religious leaders were called to take part in an HIV prevention campaign. Gay people were mentioned. The religious leaders were adamant. Death to the gay is the punishment mandated by the Bible, and Quaran, these principled leaders stated.
We have come far. A lot of distance we still have to cover. Just hope we continue to have the strength to walk and run and crawl it.
my comment to that Nyasa article u linked: "Homosexuality is not just about putting a dick in someone's ass, stop narrowing the focus to just how we have sex, that's not the only thing that defines or makes up a person, if the church's role is to win souls for the kingdom then why are they so judgemental? why are u worried about how we fuck?
Are we to assume the matter of homosexuality hits close to home and may expose some of u "holier than thou" to be doing the same thing u condemn publicly with church brothers privately in the rectory? (DOWNLOW is in it seems these days)
The Eddie Long case in the United States showed us exactly that, banging boys privately while publicly getting rich and chastising homosexuality playing on the emotions of his followers.
It may hurt the church's ability to keep the congregation excited enough to get them to throw large tides and offerings if religious leaders side with tolerance of accept gays so pastors can maintain top lifestyles so they rile up church goers and keep the emotions high along with the preaching of prosperity gospel messages as well, everyone knows the trick(s) employed by some churches and their leaders worldwide now. THEY ARE BEING FOUND OUT.
Someone needs to explain why there is so much anger from so called Christians when it comes to this subject? NOT TO MENTION THE HYPOCRISY
If God will punish the acts of sin and they are wide according to the Bible (which in itself is questionable these days with so many contradictions) then LEAVE ALL JUDGEMENT TO GOD
I had not realised that being gay was a problem in the world anywhere today and was really surprised to hear about this issue of crazy discrimination in Uganda. It was highlighted on a TV show recently where Scott Mills (a gay radio presenter) visited your country and saw first hand the sort of treatment gay people are faced with on a daily basis. What was really sad was the interviews with school children who had been brainwashed into thinking it was right to kill gay people, how messed up is that? Anyway, good post and keep up the good work, your blog is always a good read.
I'm a gay man from the UK, and have spent some time reading your blog, and want to tell you how shocked I am by what is going on in Uganda, and how much I admire the risks you are taking in helping to expose the situation there.
I have a question for you, if you get the time. How involved is the Catholic Church in Uganda in the campaign of homophobia which is going on? Have their been any particularly prominent Catholic priests or Catholic leaders involved in supporting Bahati's Bill?
This is an upsetting portrayal of Ugandan society, Gug. It makes me grateful that I occupy a liberal western society populated by eternal sceptics.
In my most optimistic reflections, I’ve hoped that religion might encapsulate a spirit of agape (wasn‘t that the abiding message of the Gospels?). But it seems it’s more a case of divide and conquer amongst some belief systems! When this misguided philosophy extends to friendships then it becomes a tragedy multiplied.
Even in the UK, I have encountered the stark reality of this type of Christian fundamentalism. Sects such as ‘the Pentecostals’ attempt to win hearts and minds and pontificate about the evils of gay and lesbian people. In fact this is why I was divided from a good friend of mine (although I think his wife still like me). What kind of ideology separates friends when it should be uniting humanity at large?
All this is a convincing argument for secularism - the world over. Faith is fine for the individual; but if that belief extends to persecuting one’s fellow human being and dividing friends then it becomes a problem. No, not a problem - a betrayal of the human spirit.
Religion, God? Take a holiday. Quantom physics is already answering those larger questions regarding the creation of matter from a vacuum.
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