Written by Courtesy Identity Kenya
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 09:38
The Mombasa Anglican Bishop rightfully exercised his constitutional freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion last Sunday when he warned Christians to be wary of the ‘gay threat’ to their faith.
While that right is not contested, Bishop Kalu did err in law, faith and intellect when he compared homosexuals with terrorists by stating that homosexuality is a greater threat to Christians than the recent church targeted terrorist attacks.
Simple intellect would inform anyone that a gun wielding terrorist who opens fire and tosses grenades to innocent congregants is an apparent murderer with malice aforethought and savage intentions. It insults every victim of terrorism and every individual in this country who has to live in constant fear and watch over their back when entering public places that a sensitive matter of national security can be belittled by a senior bishop.
In an age of insecurity, terror threats and daily news of terror attacks, it is irresponsible that any leader, Christian or otherwise, would use religious fora not to preach love, but to incite vilification of homosexuals by portraying them as criminals, worse than the terrorists who savagely murder our mothers, brothers and compatriots.
It would be interesting to hear how love between two consenting adults in their privacy jeopardizes our national security compared to kilos of explosives and other forms of terrorism. The Bishop rightfully exercised his constitutional right in articles 32 and 33, but he did offend the rights of homosexuals in Kenya as protected by article 33 (2) which prohibits using the freedom of religion and expression to incite, spread hate speech, vilify and advocate for hatred towards others.
I categorically state this because preaching that homosexuals are enemies of Christianity who are more dangerous that Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda is to paint homosexuals as worse than murders who must be surveilled upon, shunned and imprisoned.
Let us assume that Bishop Kalu intended to phrase homosexual conduct as a sin in line with his theological inclination. It then surprises me that he and other religious leaders who preach the anti gay rhetoric do not passionately preach ill against other sins such as corruption, negative ethnic stratification by presidential hopefuls, mpango wa kando, lying and such other grave sins such as coveting and lusting.
If we are intent on using the bible and Quran as the yardsticks of making criminal laws in this secular state, then let us as well imprison everyone who eats pork, lies, cheats on their partners, masturbates, lusts, fornicates, covets, etc. The same religious leaders who spread hatred on gays are on record supporting presidential ambitions of persons accused of crimes against our very humanity.
When our nation needs to heal and heed to careful wisdom on reconciliation, it is irresponsible to fault it further along any lines, be they sexual, religious, ethnic or otherwise.
Putting it in easier perspective for the Bishop, Christ, the man from Galilee who Christians follow, never felt threatened by any sinner. His best pal was a prostitute; his hang out buddy was a corrupt tax collector. Yet Christ spoke of the Pharisee, the Sadducees, and other holier than thou hypocrites who abused the law of God to maintain the status quo against a suffering congregation.
Jesus said come to me all ye, he never asked his followers to shun or be wary of certain groups of people. He said, we all are sinners, he never asked us to judge and label anyone as a threat.
I am a Christian, and my pastor affirms a biblical truth that I learnt from Sunday school and hold as divine and evident; that is, whether you are black, white, gay, straight, latino, male, intersex or otherwise, Jesus loves us all equally and requires us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves and our God, not shun or hate them. Let our dialogue be grounded on that love…and some respect.
© Eric Gitari, 2012
The writer is a human rights lawyer and a co founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission