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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

UGANDA: When Christians condemn God’s children during the Easter season

When Christians condemn God’s children during the Easter season

http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/Tabaire/When_Christians_condemn_God_s_children_during_the_Easter_season_82994.shtml

It is Holy Saturday, today, the final day of Holy Week and of Lent – “a period of spiritual preparation for Easter which typically involves fasting, penance and prayer”.
Besides fasting, penance and prayer, the Lent period in Uganda this year has been characterised by something else: virulent gay-bashing.

This is a project that has been, and is still being, championed by “serious” Christians such as Mr Stephen “Heterosexual” Langa of the Family Life Network and Pastor Martin “Heterosexual” Ssempa of Makerere Community Church. And yet we are all, in our ‘sinning’ difference, God’s children! What happened to tolerance and understanding as cherished values in Christ’s church and civilised society in general?

Well, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. That much, even if nonsensical, is clear. What is not clear is Mr Langa’s bigoted behaviour and how he goes about displaying it. He seems to have unilaterally declared 2009 the Year of Homophobia in Uganda. He spent much of March parading several men (and why no women?) who claimed they are reformed homosexuals. Good for them.

But here are some questions. Where did Mr Langa find these eight-plus men, led by George “Georgina” Oundo? What attracted these men to Mr Langa and not Archbishop Luke Orombi, for example? Had he all along known them to be gay? Or had he planted them in the local gay community in the first place as part of a plan to undermine gays and lesbians in Uganda? Do the police have any reason to not look closely into the activities of the Family Life Network?
More disturbing are the allegations that the men, especially Georgina Oundo and Emma Matovu, are making. They say they were engaged in “recruiting” school children into homosexuality using money from the immoral Western world. Fine.

But enticing minors into sexual activity, any sexual activity, is illegal as well. So why are the Georginas not reporting this matter to the police? Why do they report to Mr Langa’s little outfit? If they do not know about the rights of children, surely, Mr Langa knows. Why does he then not encourage them to report these things to the police?

In fact, the police should swing into action and arrest anyone, straight or gay, who has lured children to sexual activity. Otherwise they will stand accused of going along with Mr Langa’s posturing as the guarantor of morality in Uganda.

Indeed, the main point that has come out of Mr Langa’s shrill anti-gay crusade is that adults are messing with our children. This, though, begs the question: what has recruitment of children into homosexuality got to do with two consenting adults having a sexual relationship? In his zeal, Mr Langa appears over his head here. He needs to straighten his priorities not gays and lesbians.
Another significant aspect out of the confessions is that money is pouring in from the West to promote homosexuality. The real message is that if there was no money from outside, no Ugandan would be lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender.

How fanciful! Let us grant for a moment, however, that the argument is correct. How then to explain “former homosexual” Charles Asiimwe’s statement that “many business moguls are involved” in homosexuality? If being gay is about making money, why would business moguls be gay? How much more money can a mogul possibly make from Western handouts by being gay? Or did these moguls become wealthy because they are gay?

“We shall expose those who refuse to abandon the practice and we shall not be intimidated because we are protected by Jesus,” Georgina thundered at one of many recent Langa-organised public spectacles.

There is something potentially dangerous in what Mr Langa is doing in inveighing against fellow Ugandans just because they are not heterosexual. It will come as no surprise if individuals falsely name others as gay or lesbian to settle personal scores.

A Catholic priest, Fr Anthony Musaala, has already been named. He has strongly denied that he is gay saying he ministers to all irrespective of sexual preference – as it should be – and his parish of St. Matia Mulumba in Old Kampala has defended him. Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga, however, appears unimpressed and is going ahead with an investigation.
Worse could happen. On Tuesday, The New York Times published a story out of Iraq. The first two paragraphs read thus: “The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish ... The response has been swift and deadly.

“In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.”

I hope fasting, penance and prayer truly mean something to Mr Langa, Pastor Ssempa and Ethics Minister Nsaba Buturo. Happy Easter to you all. Irrespective of sexual orientation.
bentab@hotmail.com

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Anti-Gay Bullying Claims Another Young Life


Anti-Gay Bullying Claims Another Young Life.
See the story below, I could not help my self this morning, hopelessly I shed tears in my pain and anguish, this could have been my child, this young boy was defenceless against the torrent of abuses and the only way out for him was to take his life.
Our community from Nigeria to the USA, mourn yet another loss and we continue to hold Carl's family, friends, allies and the entire Global LGBT communities in our prayers, we send prayers of hope throughout the world to all people trapped in painful and dangerous situation. As a gay man from Nigeria and also a Christian leader, our work is to continue the effort to educate all people everywhere.

Another tormented grade schooler, another little kid who thinks there's only one way out. "An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother’s weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year. Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying and harassment at school. The other three known cases of suicide among middle-school students took place in Chatham, Evanston and Chicago, Ill., in the month of February." [GLSEN]
Other links with this story;

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Homosexuality And Human Rights in Nigeria

Homosexuality And Human RightsBy Leo Igwe

I READ with great interest the piece "Limits to Freedom and Human Rights" by Luke Onyekakeyah (March 17, 2009) and The Guardian Editorial "Homosexuality and the Lawmakers" (March 23, 2009). I have followed closely and attentively the debates, arguments and lobbying for and against the same sex marriage prohibition bill. I have read and documented many reports, opinions and editorials on the matter. I attended the three public hearings on this bill.

And I must say that I am deeply shocked by the spurious arguments, reckless statements, fanatical outbursts, inane propositions, false, biased and misleading reports that have marked the debate over same gender marriage in Nigeria. We must not forget that it is critical issues like this that put to test, show and demonstrate the quality of a people's character, thinking, intelligence and reasoning. And I am sorry to say that we have performed poorly by allowing hatred, prejudice and religious fanaticism to becloud our sense of ethical thinking, moral reasoning and social justice. We have failed to handle the issue of homosexuality with the maturity, civility and level-headedness it deserves.

Before stating my objections to the points raised in the above mentioned articles, permit me to make some clarifications.

First of all, there are no gay couples in Nigeria asking for marriage or for the solemnization of their union. Second, the bill before the National Assembly is not for the legalization of gay marriage but for its prohibition. Third, there is a provision in the Nigerian criminal and penal codes that prohibits homosexuality or sodomy. And this provision has not been repealed. Fourth, there is no bill at the National Assembly to decriminalise sodomy- a necessary step before same sex marriage can be legalised.

So, one mistake those supporting the bill are making is that they think that a defeat of the bill would mean a decriminalisation of homosexuality and a legalisation of gay marriage.
This is not the case. Like I have told some supporters of the bill, opposition is not necessarily a proposition. Those asking that this bill be dropped are not necessarily proposing that Nigeria should legalise same sex marriage.

Having said that, I want to state that I agree with The Guardian Editorial that our lawmakers should rather make a better use of their legislative time and resources by focusing on basic problems facing Nigeria, like hunger, poverty ignorance, unemployment, lack of access to water and electricity, and diseases. That our legislators should stop preoccupying themselves with 'a redundant bill that stigmatises the sexual minority.'

But Luke Onyekakeyah thinks otherwise. He identified homosexuality as a great evil and a form of moral depravity beyond the limits of human freedom and human rights. But he failed to tell us how a homosexual relationship constitutes an act of moral perversion and excessiveness. Homosexual acts are human acts. Aren't they? He did not let us know how he arrived at what he called the limits of freedom and human rights, and what puts same sex relationships beyond those limits. More importantly Onyekakeyah did not explain what makes a same gender marriage prohibition bill necessary in a country where homosexuality is already a crime. He did not say what this bill seeks to achieve that has not essentially been taken care of by the provisions in the criminal and penal codes that prohibit sodomy.

Instead of addressing these points Onyekakeyah went further to attack and malign Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, Global Rights and other foreign-based organisations which he said knew nothing about 'Nigerian tradition and values'. I think we have gotten to a stage where we should stop discrediting an organization or a position just because it is foreign. The language we are using to discuss this issue is foreign. Isn't it?

For Onyekakeyah, whatever he calls 'Nigerian traditions and values' should take precedent over human rights. And on this I say, count me out. Yes, count me out of this line of thought because I know one of the things human rights principles have achieved for human beings is to liberate us from the tyranny of religions, customs and traditions. The same fallacious argument was made by The Guardian Editorial. It stated "we must come to look at the issue of same sex relationships from the prism of our culture and religion" And my question is this, which one is our culture? Which one is our religion? Nigeria, nay Africa is a pot pourri of cultures, religions and traditions.

The Editorial went further to say that "The various religions of the world do not condone homosexuality, Christianity and Islam, Nigeria's largest religions in particular condemn homosexuality". Religions are codifications of moral outlooks that prevailed at the infancy of the human race. That an act is condoned or condemned by religions does not make it moral or immoral. Nigeria's dominant religions sanction and sanctify so many immoral acts like slavery, genocide, subordination of women, killing and persecution of witches and unbelievers, capital and corporal punishments, etc.

There are many cultural practices that are inhuman, harmful and abhorrent like the killing of twins, the burning of witches, human sacrifice etc. So, that a practice is endorsed by "our culture or religion" does not make it morally justifiable. Again, when we stay "our culture" or "our religion", what do we really mean? Is Christianity our religion? No. Christianity was brought by foreign missionaries from Europe. Is Islam our religion? No. Islam was introduced by Arab jihadists from North Africa and the Middle East.

Unfortunately, we have embraced these alien religions as our own. We have allowed these primitive faiths and norms to color and corrupt our ethical thinking and moral reasoning. We have allowed religion to dictate and determine our public policy and legislation.
Another point we must note is that cultures are dynamic. Every culture changes. Cultures grow and evolve. Any culture that remains static stagnates and dies. Every culture influences and is influenced by other cultures. And today, one of the major factors that are shaping cultures across the world is human rights.

In fact, human rights have become the mainstay of global culture and civilization.
Obviously Onyekakeyah and The Guardian Editorial Board would want human rights sacrificed on the altar of culture and religion. And on this again I say "Count me out". Count me out of the absurd idea that the only choice open to gay persons in Nigeria is to "marry members of the opposite sex or remain single". It is not the duty of editors or legislators to tell adults whom to marry. In fact the state cannot legislate when it comes to matters concerning consensual sexual relationships among adults.

Before I conclude I would like to correct some misinformation in one of the articles. Onyekakeyah said that "hundreds of homosexuals on Wednesday, March 11 2009 stormed Nigeria's National Assembly in Abuja". I was among those who attended the public hearing in Abuja. There weren't up to a hundred homosexuals at the event. I am not sure there were up to 50 of them. So where did Luke get his information from. If there was any delegation that stormed the National Assembly it was the clerics from the Anglican Communion and members of the Daughters of Sarah Ministry. The Daughters of Sarah Ministry came to the Hearing with buses packed with school children and youths wearing T-shirts and carrying banners with anti-same gender marriage inscriptions. Didn't the journalists see them? Also during the hearing two legislators made very important remarks. They said the House would need more information about homosexuality. That they would like to know if homosexuality was a disease or a biological condition. And that this would help them in shaping the bill. But no newspaper reported all these.
In conclusion, I want to say that if we are not ready to handle the issue of homosexuality in an enlightened, civilized and balanced manner then we should leave the matter to rest. Otherwise no matter the argument some of us may put forward in the name of culture, religion or tradition, to support this draconian bill and whip up hatred, intolerance, persecution and discrimination against persons on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, at the end of the day, human rights must prevail. Human rights will prevail.
*Igwe is the Founder/Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Who Is Manipulating the Truth?

Who is Manipulating the Truth?

A message received on our Youtube blog http://www.youtube.com/HouseOfRainbow

Title: Dont Manipulate the Truth
AqaMan84: (YouTube) 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.I did not leave this verse out, the implication is for those who have confessed their sin and have asked for forgiveness. You still haven't acknowledged your sin before God. So how can you be washed. Furthermore if fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, etc. are not sins than you need not to be washed or justified. But Paul in the beginning of the verse calls these behaviors unrighteous. Paul is stating that though we were these things, through Christ Jesus we are now new creatures. Once we become justified are we to still live as drunkards, adulterers, liars, effeminate (homosexuals). No true repentance is how we get the remission of sin. We must flee from sexual immorality and all things that are impure. For our bodies are the temple of the Lord. Please repent. I do not condemn. What gain is there in seeing someone perish.

Rev Jide Response
Rev Jide: We are not manipulating the truth, I do not condone sexual immorality either, the fact is that we least understand the mysteries of God, the manipulation of the truth is the failure to see the love of God in all things that we do. You say you are not condemning. Read Roman 8:1-2 (there is no condemnation). then verses33-39, (who will bring a charge against God's elect) Read Romans 9:19-25, (those who are not loved I will call beloved, and the very place where they are not loved they shall be called Children of the living God) then read John 9:35-41, (Jesus spoke about the ignorance which he referred to as spiritual blindness), Ephesian 4:14, (says we are no longer children).

Col 3:11, In that renewal* there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

It is understandable that people will feel that same sex relationship is a sin if they are not Gay, the truth for me and many people is that we have been abused under the system of ignorance, religious homophobia, what will you say to a transgender person?

The bible was used to justify slavery, misogyny, oppression of women, alienate interracial marriage, at one point Christians promoted discrimination and shamefully still does, Black people could not seat in the same church as white, it seems that people have soon forgotten the history of African Americans to concede hatred.

In my adult live I have not seen any more campaign of hate with so much venom but from other Religious people and it makes me wonder. I know who I am and I know whose I am, that is the truth.

What I am about and we do is preach the love of God to all people, bring the inclusive love of Jesus to all people. And that is the truth, which has set us free.

Read the Gospel of Inclusion by Bishop Carlton Pearson.
Read Other Voices Other World by Bishop Terry Brown.

Find out more about homosexuality before launching an attack, the truth is not easy to come by, what you are asking gays and lesbians to do is deny who they are, deny their humanity and thus deny the creativity of God, and this is more based on people's sheer ignorance of our humanity.

Ask any openly gay person what does it feel like living in the closet and being free, we are persecuted daily, how many times have you posted lengthy messages to condemn drunkenness or adultery, how many times have people been fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes because of adultery. You need to read more updated and modern versions of the bible, it does not change the truth, it simply corrects a few notions and misguided interpretation. For example, the word homosexual and Effeminate from the KJV is not used in the Today New International Version, it was referred to as Homosexual Offenders, for me and many people that is more appropriate.

Do a comparative study by visiting the following websites. Speak to gay people and listen to their stories from their heart.

http://wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/
http://www.soulforce.org/
http://www.religioustolerance.org/

Thanks for your message, God be with you and bless you always

Rev Macaulay

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Update On Our Online Inclusive Mission

With nearly 4000 hits on our videos since October 2008, the messages with Rev Jide Macaulay are inspirational, provocative, inclusive and there is more to come, visit us at http://www.youtube.com/HouseOfRainbow Also join our online membership discussion forum with more than 300 participants, 40 countries, photo gallery, over 100 topics, 60 video clips, create your own page, invite your friends etc http://spiritualityandsexuality.ning.com/, Be blessed.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Food For Thought

Food for Thought: get sick of listening to straight people complain about, "Well, hey, we don't have a heterosexual-pride day, why do you need a gay-pride day?" I remember when I was a kid I'd always ask my mom: "Why don't we have a Kid's Day? We have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but why don't we have a Kid's Day?" My mom would always say, "Every day is Kid's Day." To all those heterosexuals that bitch about gay pride, I say the same thing: Every day is heterosexual-pride day! Can't you people enjoy your banquet and not piss on those of us enjoying our crumbs over here in the corner