Thursday, May 25, 2006

The problem with religion in politics

Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the Archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria, made this clear statement on the importance of integrity in a democracy:
Bishop Okogie, who spoke at the Holy Cross Cathedral during the inauguration of the Catholic Social Forum, said since the PDP wanted to elongate President Obasanjo’s tenure by supporting the third term agenda, the party had no moral right to present another candidate.

Okogie, who was represented by Revd Fr. Olaitan Julius said: "PDP believes that only President Obasanjo has the solutions to problems facing Nigeria. They should go and rest after Obasanjo’s tenure. Yes, those who want the present administration to stay longer in office should not bring forward anybody for election next year. A party like PDP should not present any candidate for election next year."
Yet he said this in early March:
You heard that a group of them (gays and lesbians) actually came out to flaunt their homosexuality and lesbian behaviours and are asking for official recognition [he refers to Davis MacIyalla's Changing Attitude Nigeria]. That cannot happen in Nigeria. Of course, it cannot happen in the Catholic Church. It’s an abomination. It cannot happen in this part of the world. No, it cannot happen.

I thank God that the secular society did not leave the matter in the hands of the church. It acted appropriately and the church knows what to do now. I am hopeful that as stipulated, the government gets serious with it because we know that in some parts, homosexuals exist. It has to stop.
Add Okogie to this long list of religious leaders who think democracy is important only when it serves their own interests. Apparently, imprisoning homosexuals is a great way to minister to their needs. Surely, other forms of excrutiation are more efficient? Maybe waterboarding?

(For the record, the legislation Okogie refers to is the "gay marriage ban" that would also imprison gay and lesbian Nigerians, or any other individual for that matter, who speaks out, assembles, or uses the press to advocate or defend homosexuality.)

Cardinal Okogie was discussed as a potential successor to Pope John Paul II, though Cardinal Arinze (also Nigerian) was seen as a more likely should the conclave have chosen an African.

No comments: