Leaders of major churches in Ghana, which is home to many religions, have come together to denounce homosexuality as “perversion” in Ghana and endorse legislation that would, if passed, impose some the most anti-LGBTQ policies across Africa.
The Nigerian umbrella body of Christian churches portrays homosexual relationships in Nigeria as an evil that deserves the long prison sentences under the existing law.
In several African countries, the bishops who are aligned to the United Methodist Church worldwide are planning to join an inthe-works denomination to continue their refusal to recognize gay marriages or to ordain LGBTQ clergy.
Some prominent Protestant churches in the United States and other countries have supported LGBTQ inclusion. This has not happened in Africa, with only a few exceptions. There, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian leaders oppose inclusion.
Caroline Omolo associate pastor, Cosmopolitan Affirming Community, Nairobi, Kenya, stated that “all the mainstream churches” are against it. This is an unusual example of a church serving a majority LGBTQ congregation in Africa.
Omolo stated that they have always organised a group to silence us or make our church vanish. They don’t want it appearing anywhere.
Ghana is generally regarded as more human rights-friendly than many African countries. However, a bill in Parliament would see people who identify as LGBTQ or support that community facing prison sentences of three to ten years. Human rights activists have condemned the bill, while religious leaders in Ghana support it.
“Their role is in perpetuating queerphobia, transphobia and it’s very troubling. It’s very dangerous and dangerous,” stated Abena Hutchful (a Ghanaian who identifies herself as queer and organized a protest against the bill in New York City).
“The bill’s strongest advocates claim that they are doing this in support of religion,” said Graeme Reid (director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program). The measure was described as “a case study of extreme cruelty” by Reid.
According to the lawmakers who proposed the bill, they had consulted religious leaders during its creation. It is supported by the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, as well as the country’s chief Imam.
“We don’t accept murderers. Why should we accept someone who does sex in a sinful manner?” said Archbishop Philip Naameh of the bishops’ conference. “A stance that is against the production of more children is detrimental to the existence and health of the Ghanaian government is unacceptable.”
According to the Rev. Cyril Fayose, secretary general of the Christian Council, homosexuality is considered “an act perversion and an abomination” by its members, which include Anglican, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. Dr. Cyril Fayose, Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
He declared that homosexuality was not a human right earlier in the year.
The Christian Association of Nigeria, Africa’s largest country, threatened to sanction any church that tolerates same-sex relationships.
According to the AP, such acceptance “will not happen”, said Methodist Bishop Stephen Adegbite (director of national issues), to the AP.
Adegbite was asked about Nigeria’s law that criminalizes same-sex relationships and can result in sentences up to 14 years imprisonment.
He declared, “The church cannot be compromised.”
These comments are shocking for Nigerian LGBTQ activists like Matthew Blaise. Blaise told the AP that he was abused by a Catholic priest who wasn’t homosexual.
Blaise stated that the church has failed to address LGBTQ issues and instead uses love as a way of communicating.
The AP was briefed by Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria, in Lagos. He said that Catholic teaching “recognizes the dignity of all human beings” but that LGBTQ people living together with same-sex partners are “a disordered way to live” and should be changed.
John Wesley Yohanna is a United Methodist bishop from Nigeria. He says he intends to leave the UMC to join the Global Methodist Church. The new denomination is likely to be founded next year. It’s the result of an alliance between Methodists from the United States and those in other countries who don’t support the LGBT-inclusive policies promoted by many U.S. Methodists.
The breakaway would also include Owan Tshibang Kaap, a UMC Southern Congo District bishop, and Samuel J. Quire Jr., a Liberian bishop.
The Rev. The Rev. Keith Boyette, a Methodist elder who hails from the United States and chairs the Global Methodist Initiative, stated that the African bishops’ views reflect cultural and societal attitudes shared by many across Africa.
He said that the same-sex orientation was viewed negatively. This is true regardless of whether the person is a Christian, Muslim, or a more indigenous faith.
Uganda is home to many LGBTQ people, who are often kept in hiding by fear and violence. A retired Anglican bishop was banned from presidering over church events in 2006 because he expressed empathy for gays.
Christopher Senyonjo, who has been ministering to LGBTQ people for decades, said that he realized that sexuality is a fundamental part of who he is. Let people be themselves.
Senyonjo stated to the AP that ignorance is a major problem in all of this. “Ignorance is the root of all suffering.
The 2014 Ugandan President Yoweri Mugabe signed a brutal anti-gay law. It contained the death penalty for certain homosexual acts. A judicial panel rescinded the legislation after intense international pressure.
However, a colonial-era law that criminalized sex acts “against nature” is still in force.
Frank Mugisha is a prominent Ugandan gay activist. He described church leaders in Africa as “the key drivers for homophobia.”
Only one country in Africa has legalized the same-sex marriage: South Africa. Gay and lesbian couples in South Africa are often rejected by churches, let along having their marriages formally ordained by clergy.
“People tell me that I grew up in this church but now I’m not accepted,” said Nokuthula Dhladhla (a pastor with Global Interfaith Network), which advocates for LGBTQ rights in the religious sector.
She stated that some religious leaders privately support same-sex marriage but are reluctant to speak out openly in fear of being marginalized by more conservative colleagues.
Desmond Tutu is South Africa’s Anglican Archbishop. He is well-known for opposing apartheid and has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights.
He once stated, “I wouldn’t worship a God homophobic,” “I wouldn’t go to a homophobic heaven.” “No, I would rather say, “Sorry, but I prefer the other place.”
Caroline Omolo, an activist pastor from Nairobi, stated that some Kenyan religious leaders have blamed LGBTQ people for the coronavirus epidemic.
She said, “When they say that we are still serving God and don’t see anything that’s possible,” They think it’s unknowable and should be stopped.
She said that some students and faculty at Kenya’s theological school support her LGBTQ church of about 300 members.
She said, “The students, we refer to them as the future generation, leaders for tomorrow.” “When we have this population on our side I believe there is nothing that can shake us.”