View Full Version : LGBT Oppression in Nigeria in the name of "Christianity"
Steven E. Webster
06-15-2006, 07:48 AM
This link (below) to my blog directs you to other abundant information (and more links) about the oppression of LGBT Christians in Nigeria and how it is connected to our struggle for equality in the U.S.
I believe we need to recognize the global nature of the struggle for LGBT rights. Both the Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church are affiliated with African units of their denominations and right-wing, neoconservative Republicans are cynically manipulating the "homosexual issue" to achieve their own goals in U.S. culture and politics. Lesbian and Gay Africans are among the most vulnerable victims of this cynical game of politics.
06-15-2006, 11:58 AM
Where to even start on the subject of GLBT rights in Africa -- oy.
My trip to Sierra Leone presented me with a country of wonderful people, people with love and joy and a deeper faith than I'll probably ever have.
It also presented me with the picture of a country that is still deeply entrenched in patriarchal structure, heavily laden with superstition and witchcraft, scourged by the ravages of hunger, lack of medical care, illegal drugs and a history of a bloody and violent civil war. (Going back even further, the effects of colonialism and, even earlier, the slave trade, have all made their mark.)
Some of the women in our group were aghast at the patriarchal attitudes encountered. Women's rights are, in places, unheard of -- at least women's rights as we know them. Many of these countries still practice female genital mutilation.
I think there are some countries in Africa that may be ready for GLBT rights, but it's probably a very few. I wish I could say that it's as easy as going there and just explaining our point of view, but that's difficult enough here, let alone in a place where the culture and history is so different. We have a women's rights movement in our past, and a civil rights movement -- they haven't had that to grow from.
Christian missionaries spent years teaching local Africans that their cultures were "wrong", that polygamy was unacceptable, that they must adhere to the rules of the Bible - - especially the sexual morality as they interpreted it. Now that many Africans are Christian, we are asking them to once again change their belief - -don't follow the Bible as we taught you to. It's crazy and confusing to people who embraced what they were taught would "save" them. Islam is prevalent all over Africa, too, and it preaches against homosexuality, too.
This could end up being a treatise, and I'm certainly not educated or learned enough to present all the possibilities or ramifications of GLBT rights in Africa. I wish we could do it. But we probably should start feeding Africa first, fighting AIDS and curing disease (malaria being the biggie), building wells and homes and schools, educating children, growing sustainable agriculture, creating jobs. Then, perhaps, the idea of and a greater respect for GLBT rights will be more feasible there.
Steven E. Webster
06-16-2006, 06:52 AM
I believe I understand what you are saying.
My younger brother (now age 51) has given his life (since the early 80's) to work in the Peace Corps and now as a United Methodist Ministry. His specialty is sustainable agriculture and he is operating a working experimental/demonstration farm in Zambia just south of Congo (where he and his late wife were doing this same work before the civil war got so bad there.)
He's described all of the horrible conditions you have in your post and more.
However, South Africa became the first country in the world to guarantee civil rights to LGBT people in their constitution. A lot of that had to do with the role some LGBT people played in the struggle against apartheid. African countries certainly are not helped to solve their economic, health, education and other social problems by continuing the oppression of any segment of their population.
The oppression of women in particular must be a real drag on solutions to economic, health and education problems. I believe the oppression of women and the oppression of LGBT people are closely related in that they are both related to the same patriarchy, the same gender ideology.
It is a huge, overwhelming problem, but that should not prevent us from moving forward to do SOMETHING. I believe if more LGBT people in America and Europe would take an interest in Africa and make some commitment to relieve the suffering there, we could build relationships and a movement that would improve things in Africa for everyone and for LGBT people too.
You, Susan, have done more than many of us by taking such an interest in Africa. This is truly a small world, and we cannot afford to ignore suffering and oppression in any part of it.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.