No, I'm not referring to Muslims. I'm not even referring to Christians -- here the guilty party appears to be all Nigerians, of any faith. I've reported on the Anglican Church of Nigeria's "welcome" of new legislation banning homosexuality in Nigeria with prison sentences of up to 5 years (pdf), but it's not just the Anglicans who are in favor of it: Muslims, Pentecostals, Church of God, Catholics, all of them appear to have put a stick in the fire. A new and extremely poignant article in the Nigerian Vanguard lays it all out. I quote heavily from that article (all emphasis mine), a must read, if only for its description of the recent gay rights movement under Changing Attitude Nigeria.
Dr. Lateef Adegbite, secretary-general of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA):
It [the new law] is a commendable thing to do. But I want to add that passing a legislation is not just good enough. We should be vigilant in monitoring the lifestyles of our people and their relationships to ensure that such practices are exposed in Nigeria and that offenders get their due punishment.Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, as well as the General Overseer of World of Life Bible Church, Warri:
The practice is dirty. It's incredible. It's sinful and a crime against humanity and against God. It depicts the height of animalism in man and such should be tackled immediately so that the practice does not gain ground here in Nigeria.
We must appeal to the federal lawmakers to expedite action and pass that law speedily because the unholy move by the gang of gays in this country can only drag this noble nation back several hundred years.Apostle Hayford, the spiritual leader of Saint Joseph’s Chosen Church of God:
It is an ominous sign we can hardly accommodate at this moment of the nation’s development and we must do everything possible to nip it in the bud. The proponents of gay practices in this country know that it is unAfrican but because they are being sponsored from outside this country they will do everything to actualise their dreams.
We know that they are being sponsored from outside this country for obvious reasons.
Let’s face it, religion aside, homosexuality and lesbianism are practices that are alien to the African culture. For God’s sake, let us do things that will uplift the image of our families and the nation as a whole and not things that will bring reproach to our parents, families and indeed the nation.
It is a most wonderful thing that has happened in the country in the last couple of months. I have to congratulate the Federal Government for the ideal initiative and urge all Nigerians to pray that they see it to its logical conclusion.Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie (Catholic):
God who created mankind did not ordain any of His creation to be involved in such despicable practice. Any minister of the gospel or even ordinary worshipper who involves himself or herself in such practices simply does not know what the scriptures say about such unholy practices.
We are Africans and must behave as Africans and most hold our traditional values high wherever we find ourselves.
All these stories are geared towards destroying the marriage institution. It’s very strange, indeed very absurd. How could a man and a man or woman and woman be in a sexual relationship? It’s crazy. This is a curse. All they (gays and lesbians) want to do is destroy the human race.Rev. Francis Ekeanyanwu is the General Overseer of Bible Wisdom Ministries International in Egbeda, Lagos
It is the same thing that made them to start using the condom. They call it family planning. People now want to have less children. So, they brought in the condom. Actually, there is a company that produces condom that wants to be located in Nigeria. They want to start producing condoms in Nigeria! That is besides the abortions they commit on daily basis.
Haven’t you also heard about people doing sex exchange? Men transform into women and women can become men! These are all targeted at destroying human life.
But I thank God for the fastness of this regime to arrest the situation.
In the light of the foregoing, human rights in Nigeria should be evaluated within the context of public morality and the religious sensibilities of the people and not just the legal considerations alone. If these social bridles of religion and morality are overlooked in the consideration of human rights, then we give free rein to moral anarchy. Since some human rights advocates in Nigeria only echo the pet ideas of their foreign sponsors, most of whom are libertarians, not minding the incongruities of such ideas in our social and cultural milieu, the government should intervene to ensure moral sanity.The Anglican Bishop of Lagos, Dr. Ephraim Adebola Ademowo:
When a government panders to the idiosyncrasies of people in the name of human rights, you will begin to see the base passions of men being brought to the fore for social acceptance. Before long we will hear of groups demanding the right to marry their children or sleep with their dogs, right to walk naked or sniff cocaine and such other outlandish, deviant behaviours as their animal instincts may crave. This could as well mark the beginning of the retreat to the Hobbesian state of nature.
This is why President Obasanjo must be highly commended for hurriedly forwarding before the Federal Executive Council a draft bill for an Act prohibiting sexual relations or marriages between persons of the same sex arguing that such practices are inconsistent with our religious beliefs and cultural values. The President was alarmed when a group of persons gathered in Abuja to advocate for same sex relationships in November last year, echoing the gay agitations in the West. So, he acted promptly to checkmate the ugly trend. That is what a responsible government should do.
Last year, the Nigerian Anglican Church severed its ecclesiastical relationship with its American counterpart because of the ordination of a gay bishop. It also threatened to withdraw its traditional loyalty to the British Anglican Church if it follows the example of the American Church.
It is crazy, abnormal and is not promoted by any religion known to man. Islam condemns it, Christianity loathes it and there is no known religion that accommodates the practice. If you are asking the position of my church, I think it is very well known all over the world and we have not changed.We've already heard from Anglican Archbishop Akinola and from Bishop Onuoha yesterday.
As a matter of fact, we commend the Federal Government for the bold step it has taken thus far on the issue and we hope it will go the whole hog to make the National Assembly complete the process by enacting it into law which will be completed to the letter.It is an unhealthy practice and every normal human being will boldly tell you it is not part of the traditional African culture. But above all, the Bible is very clear on the issue. It described it as an abberation and should not be seen among men who are called of by the name of God.
None of these statements surprises the American ear (e.g., the slippery slope: "Before long we will hear of groups demanding the right to marry their children or sleep with their dogs, right to walk naked or sniff cocaine"). We've heard it all before. But no one here could ever hope to get away with sentencing declared homosexuals to 5 years' imprisonment.
The sense one gets from these excerpts is that prevailing views on homosexuality are African rather than explicitly or solely religious. The sense is also anti-Western. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor says, "The proponents of gay practices in this country know that it is unAfrican," while Apostle Hayford calls "Africans ... [to] hold our traditional values high wherever we find ourselves." Dr. Ademowo declares, "It is an unhealthy practice and every normal human being will boldly tell you it is not part of the traditional African culture."
UPDATE: 3/4/2006, 11 AM. Something I forgot to say earlier (or in any other post), but which should definitely be made clear, is that homosexual sex is already illegal in Nigeria (according to the Nigerian Penal Code, "any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature . . . is liable to imprisonment for 14 years"), as it is in much of Africa. The new legislation explicitly bars gay marriage (a bit moot if the sex is already illegal, don't you think?), among other things, but it also explicity denies the right to publicly declare your homosexuality in any way. The legislation (pdf) states quite clearly, "Publicity, procession and public show of same sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise are prohibited in Nigeria...[and] any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment."