Culture is not static—it changes. Therefore if culture is the only basis upon which [Africans] are rejecting the legalization of homosexuality, then we are just postponing the problem. The Kenyan author and self proclaimed gay, Binyavanga Wainaina, is right when he says, “I’m extremely optimistic about rapid transformation and change of things in Africa in general.” In addition Mr. Wainaina says “It’s set off. It cannot stop. It’s going to be turbulent. There’ll be dark bits and there’ll be bright bits, but it’s a speed train.”Part of what is going to make this train move even faster is the pressure from the western countries. On 28th February 2014, BBC reported that the World Bank postponed 90million dollars in aid because the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had signed a bill that criminalized homosexuality in Uganda.
As I keep following the debate on homosexuality across Africa, my particular interest has been the objections that have been raised in favor of gay rights. I believe God’s word is clear on this subject that is the reason why am mostly interested in the objections that have been raised by those who believe that homosexuality must be legalized. The objections run as follows;
… But homosexuality is a natural sexual orientation
Apparently this is the most popular argument being given why homosexuality should be legalized. A few weeks ago, Yoweri Museveni, in his response to Barack Obama, wrote; “I sought for scientific opinions on this matter. I am grateful to Ms. Kerry Kennedy of the USA who sent me opinions by scientists from the USA saying that there could be some indications that homosexuality could be congenital. In our conference, I put these opinions to our scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health.” Interestingly, the Ugandan scientists could not agree that homosexuality was congenital; to the contrary they proposed that it was a learned behavior which could be unlearned. After the recommendations from the Ugandan scientists, Museveni signed the “anti-gay bill.”
In the context of Romans 1: 18-26, homosexuality exists as a form of Judgment when men’s hearts become continually evil: “therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves… God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature… the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another” (ESV). When men persist in rebellion, God gives them a rope with which to hang themselves. He lets them pursue their sin with abandon. This seems to suggest that the “plague” of homosexuality that has befallen the world whether congenital or learned, is not natural it is against the prescribed law. The Bible calls this orientation sin and there are many passages in the Bible that call homosexuality sin (Lev 18:22; 1Cor 6:9-10; 1Tim 1:9-10). Therefore, to use the biological orientation argument as the basis to legalize the condition is a monstrous conclusion because homosexuality is a condition that results from God’s displeasure, a form of Judgment! It is not natural.
Although homosexuality is sin and a form of judgment, there is a need to clarify that this is not a particular judgment on an individual. People with homosexual orientations are not being judged for particular sins or innocently on behalf of the world. Rather, it is like all of us who are born with particular besetting sins for which we need to repent.
… But homosexuality is a private choice
This is a fallacy. There is no such thing as “private morals” and “public morals.” When a man and a woman are attracted to each other (legitimate or not), how long does it remain a private matter? Doesn’t it develop into a community matter even long before matters of marriage or pregnancy come into play? These so called private morals sooner or later become a description of a particular society or individual. No wonder that to this day, “sodomy” refers to the homosexual life style of the people of Sodom (Gen 19:1-8). Homosexuality is a moral issue and like any other moral issue it affects a society. The society will have to; redefine marriage, redefine social terms, and work through issues of adoption, deal with the consequences of same sex couples raising children and several other related issues.
… But not everyone is a Christian, not everyone follows the Bible
The issue of whether one is a Christian or not for this to be applicable is a worthy inquiry! However, there is need to acknowledge that the God of the Bible has not revealed Himself as a regional God, or a tribal God. He declares that He is the God who made heaven and earth (Gen 1:1). Jesus presents himself as the Savior of the world for this reason, in John 14: 6, Jesus states that he is the absolute Way, the Truth and the Life. In Romans 1, the Bible addresses the non-Christians (gentiles), people who worship other gods. Furthermore, in Acts 17:30 Paul says, God commands all men everywhere to repent. As Christians we preach a universal message to all mankind because we believe our God is the God who made heaven and earth and shall return to judge the world in righteousness.
Since God has declared Himself supreme, we maintain that there is a supreme standard upon which matters can be settled. God is the absolute standard, and he has expressed his will in the Bible. What is in the Bible is not for Christians only but for all people whether they believe or not, whether they agree or not. On judgment day, no thief will stand and say in defense, “but God I am not a Christian.”
…But is this not homophobic?
Concerning our brothers and sisters who find themselves with homosexual inclinations, we should love them. The only problem is that our generation is mistaken. As Phil Robertson puts it, “Our generation has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.” We should ask our homosexual friends to repent just like we would with one who steals or one who lusts. We should also offer them help to overcome their struggles in this area.
…But it is happening!
Just because it is happening doesn’t mean we should legalize it. There are so many wrong and awful things that are happening which would be legalized if we took that route of reasoning. For example, hardly a day passes in Africa without hearing of a defilement case or a rape case or corruption among public servants. All these are happening at an alarming rate, but does this mean we should legalize such criminal acts? Nay, my friends, it simply means that people are becoming more and more wicked with every intention of the thoughts of their hearts only being evil continually (Gen 6:5). It means it is time to uphold the law.
The real issue of the debate
Ultimately, the debate on homosexuality is a battle of authority. Either we accept God as the supreme authority or we accept man or society as the supreme standard. It is not enough to simply say, “Homosexuality is against our African culture.” This as the premise of the argument is wrong and leads to wrong conclusions. Ultimately, we want to know if it is ok to be gay or if it is ok to practice homosexuality, but how will we know what is ok and what is not? We need a standard definition of right and wrong.
Most debates I have heard on this issue seem to bracket right and wrong in terms of what society, human beings, the majority, or the mighty, are saying. All we need is to ask a few penetrating questions, and we shall find that some of these standards of right and wrong are ultimately sinking sand.
Society cannot be the standard of right for it has proved to be inconsistent in so many things. There are several things in most societies that were socially accepted as facts but later on dismissed as either wrong or mythical. Society can only be the standard of right if it possesses perfect knowledge of all issues. The same can be said about making human beings the standard of right. All of us know that humans have often erred; thus they cannot always be entrusted with the responsibility of defining right. As for the mighty (Super powers), history is our witness! They have often erred, and the worst part is that they never apologize!
The only consistent standard of right is God who is right Himself, and his standard can be trusted…