Christianity is un-African, homosexuality isn’t

The Christian Council of Ghana has declared homosexuality un-African. A statement issued by the Council said: “same-sex marriage was unbiblical, unchristian and un-African.” In his address to the congregation at the Ridge Church in Accra, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong said the following:

“Marriage is between a man and a woman. This is supposed to be the foundation of every family as prescribed by God. Therefore, for a man to marry a man, and a woman to marry a woman is very ungodly and unnatural. The family is the bedrock of every nation. This means that if we compromise on our Christian and cultural family values, then the nation will virtually have no values to sustain her. This will ultimately lead to a weaker, chaotic and morally decayed nation.”

First of all, if anything is un-African in this situation, it is Christianity. Before the slave traders and colonialists arrived with the Bible, Africans had all kinds of sex. Sexuality among many groups on the continent was more fluid before the arrival of Victorian ideals and the Quran.

Records show that same-sex marriages existed and were accepted among the Nzemas of Ghana. The Italian anthropologist Italo Singnorini (1973) states that agomwole agyale, marriage between people of the same sex, owes its essence to agomwole kpale. Based on his interviews, agomole agyale was not considered strange or deviant by the Nzema, who considered it a sublimated expression of friendship. A Ugandan law professor, Sylvia Tamale, asserts that ancient cave paintings of the San people near Guruve in Zimbabwe depict two men who appear to be engaged in some type of sexual ritual. In precolonial Uganda, effeminate males could marry men and were treated as women. In Boy-Wives and Female Husbands, Will Roscoe and Stephen Murray demonstrate that there were formal homosexual relationships in which female husbands and boy-wives paid the bride price to the parents of their partners.

I believe that labels such as Kojo Besia and Obaa Barima indicate that most Akan groups were aware of gender differences and were bound by the gender binary. The lack of gender-specific pronouns in most Ghanaian languages suggests that may have been a variety of genders and sexualities before colonization. This is not to imply that there were no groups in precolonial Africa that were intolerant of homosexuality. Marc Epprecht (2008) found, however, that colonizers and Western missionaries were responsible for the introduction of homophobia into African culture. It would appear that our ancestors (at least in this particular area) were kind, considerate, and tolerant in many ways. The truth is,  the arrival of Christianity and Islam impacted African cultural, religious, political and even sexual practices.

Secondly, If any group is qualified to declare anything un-African, it should be the Wulomei or the Sumankwahene and the other traditional priests of the land.

Homosexuality is the one issue that unites the religious front in Ghana. It is considered, as reiterated by the preacher, foreign and ungodly. Every now and then, triggered by happenings elsewhere, the religious crowd will fervently agitate against the rights of gays.

Never mind that no Ghanaian has ever advocated for gay marriage or gay rights. This new rage was sparked by the legalization of gay marriage in the United States of America. Ghanaians have taken the ruling personal.

They have earmarked America for God’s destruction. For ‘redefining marriage’ to include gays, God is expected to destroy America like the Bible says he did in Sodom and Gomorrah. Some threatened to beat up people they suspect to be gays. The government has been warned against granting gays any rights. The Christian Council’s statement is just an affirmation of the rage.

Christian leaders need to focus on the real problems facing the nation. Ghana is a profoundly religious country; it was even ranked the world’s most religious nation twice. About 70 percent of Ghana’s population are Christians.

New Churches are springing up every day, and the church ‘planting’ business is undoubtedly booming. There is a church on every corner and services are held every day of the week. All churches are filled to the brim on Sundays. We wear our religion on our sleeves. The Christian God presides over all national and private events.

In spite of all the religiosity, nothing here suggests a fear in any God. We are corrupt and dirty. Ghanaians spit, urinate and litter at will. Our towns and cities are buried under filth. Liquid waste is dumped into the sea. Recently a study found South Sudan, a country that had been at war for years was cleaner than Ghana.

Ghana always makes the list of the most corrupt countries in the world. According to the Ministry of Finance, Ghana loses GHC 30 billion to corruption every year. GHC1.8 billion was lost in the SADA/GYEEDA scandal and dubious judgment debts in the last three years alone. The Opportunities to ‘create, loot and share’ are created by Ghanaians who go to church every day of the week.

These are ‘un-African, unnatural and unbiblical.’ They are threats to our national cohesion and development. The Christian Council should be troubled and concerned because Jesus would be appalled by this. How can people be so religious, yet so corrupt? And dirty? To be fair, the Council has been vocal about corruption, the economy, and the state of the nation. But it’s not enough to criticise.

Rather than berate adults for their sexuality, the Council needs to tell all the corrupt people sitting on the right hand of pastors to repent – tell those who have been made elders to return the monies stolen from the state. They need to stop rewarding the corrupt with seats on church boards and committees. They need to use their considerable power to force the government to stop dumping liquid waste into the sea.

I am a Christian. I’m used to these sermons. I know what the bible says about homosexuals which is nothing. And Romans 13: 8 also says: “Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.”

Ghanaian homosexuals are not asking for marital rights. It’s not like straight couples get any privileges from the state, anyway. Why are we hounding them? They are only asking for the space to live openly and freely as citizens of the land. They are not hurting anyone. Can we treat them with love and respect and leave the condemnation and judgment to God?

Both Jesus and Paul preached love and tolerance amidst great persecution. The Christian Council of Ghana and all the other Christian religious bodies ought to start asking themselves ‘what would Jesus have done?’ I know for sure, he would have looked out for the oppressed.

Works cited: 

Heterosexual Africa? by Marc Epprecht

Boy-Wives and Female Husbands by Will Roscoe and Stephen Murray

Signorini, Italo. “Agɔnwole Agyalɛ : The Marriage between Two Persons of the Same Sex among the Nzema of Southwestern Ghana.” Journal de la Société des Africanistes 43, no. 2 (1973): 221–34. 

31 thoughts on “Christianity is un-African, homosexuality isn’t”
  1. This is the TRUTH I pray every Christian could hear. Today’s Christian is more righteous than Jesus…,So holy, they keep taking offertories and planting more Churches – without paying any TAXES.

    Such a privilege.

  2. Fantastic writeup . Glad that someone finally spoke up . What is the benefit of marriage in Africa , passports are worthless and there are no state benefits so there are no gays looking for gay marriage here .

  3. While i don’t agree with you, I am quick to add that those who don’t agree with you need not get insulting. Its not an emotional thing here so i would like to suggest to those who post such insulting comments to be tolerant.

    Nana Ama, your points are well taken but probably what you fail to realise is that no society can progress without some form of control and the Christians believe that the Creator God has indicated some controls in creation with what is allowed and what is not. allowable sexual activity in God’s plan is heterosexual and that within marriage. While I don’t condemn homosexuals, because there are people who due to hormonal imbalances etc find themselves attracted to the same sex, I don’t believe it legitimizes the practice of homosexuality. The Christian takes this stand because the bible calls it a sin. The fact that Africans were practicing it some time past does not necessarily make it right! From the Christian and religious point of view the practice is wrong.
    which is why Jesus came to die anyway – for our sin, including homosexuality, lies, adultery, murder and everything else that does not acknowledge God’s standard.

    And i wholeheartedly agree with you that Jesus would not have taken the judgemental stand that most ignorant people, including some Christians are taking to condemn, insult etc. Jesus would rather have stretched out his nail-scarred hands to the practicing homosexual to receive salvation and the New Life he (Christ) died to give. This new life would not necessarily mean an automatic conversion to a heterosexual life (All men are not born equal and there are some who may find deeper solace with the same sex but IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SEXUAL) It would be freedom from the bondage to the practice and an ability to live without yielding to the sinful practice.

    I challenge pastors and well-meaning Christians to preach the true love of Christ – which is forgiveness for the sinner and liberty from lifestyles that do not glorify God – indeed let him who is without sin cast the first stone of condemnation. God loves the homosexual but hates the sin of practicing homosexuality because He, as soverighn God declares it as a sin

    1. Thank you. That’s all I am asking for. A conversation and re-think of the way we practice Christianity here. We should be kinder.

  4. A very lengthy write up without a single [research] source quoted to support your proposition that Africans and African chiefs were practicing LGBT before the arrival of Christianity. Unless you’re older than Methuselah and was alive during those times and saw these things you so boldly claim were happening in Africa ‘feeeelifeeeli’, please state some resources so that we know that at least you did a little credible research on this before posting it. It makes this whole thing sound like it was written ignorantly when you were on ‘heat’ – [in Blak Rasta’s voice].

    Yes I do believe Christians should do more to make the society a better place. We should also love all those we consider ‘evil’; we wouldn’t advocate that they should be destroyed or anything in that manner; but we’ve loved we’re draw society’s conscience to how wrong it is, and must be avoided.

    and oooh!…..who said Christianity is un-African? Ever read about the story of Zipporah….in the Bible? and the several Cushites/Nubians… the Bible?

    Read wide Nana Ama, there’s actually a lot of there to learn.

    1. I have quoted two books: Marc Epprecht’s Heterosexual Africa and Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe’s Boy Wives and Female Husbands. If you buy copies, you will find the proof you need.

  5. Your assertion that homosexuality was practiced by the Asantes is an utter falsehood. They have always abhorred homosexuality. People were banished for that act. It was an abomination (musuo).

    read T. Bowdich book on “mission from cape coast to asante”

    Further read C.C. Reindorfs book on “history of Gold Coast and Asante.

    Let God and His word be the judge of us all.
    May God have mercy on all of us.

    1. i agree with you! Only the gullible will believe in this crap from whatever her name is!!

  6. Your assertion that homosexuality was practiced by the Asantes is an utter falsehood. They have always abhorred homosexuality. People were banished for that act. It was an abomination (musuo).

    Men who accompanied chiefs to war were either soldiers or armour bearers. They were not “sex companions”. As C.C Reindorf says in his book, some chiefs went on war journeys even sccompanied by their wives.

    Stop throwing dust into people’s eyes. Homosexuality has never been African.

    read T. Bowdich book on “mission from cape coast to asante”

    Further read C.C. Reindorfs book on “history of Gold Coast and Asante.

    Let God and His word be the judge of us all.
    May God have mercy on all of us.

  7. Nana, please change the background colour or the text colour. The colours are not contrasting enough so reading this is very hard on the eye. Maybe just me…

  8. We as Ghanaians will not accept GAYISM Whether you reference or not. Even animals understand the concept of male and female, if you are brave and think it is your right so up or go to the US

    1. The world will end so badly as nothing soon . As his stepping in the jail house all know what coming . Put inside more when they out after Jesus done all see god power on earth .
      About gay all are doing it is why is so .

  9. Excellent article. Nana can I have your baby?
    On a serious laid out all the pertinent points and your point on the fake Christians was particularly good.
    I see that people are still clinging to the argument that the Animal Kingdom has no homosexuals. That argument has already been debunked and if you want graphic proof..go on Youtube. I will add this blog to my favorites. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  10. I think we are continuing this debate on a wrong footing, which is where custodians of white supremacy want us to be. If you make a political issue human right ones and you keep people who as a collective can’t even fend for themselves on it for a lion time, they start to believe and propagate it, and you simple achieve your aim of world domination without even having to move a finger.

    As Runoko Rashidi said, “by now, white people have put so many structures of destruction in place to the extend that they can sleep and the oppressed people would simply further their agenda”.

    I see your posits as propagation of white supremacy, beside the many erroneous interpretation of African cultures found in this piece. For now, let’s forget the fact that your very very few sources are also very very questionable and continue.

    There has never been a debate in Africa about whether people who prefer same-sex relations existed in Africa or not.

    To take your most prominent and somehow generalized example, which could be misleading, Ashantes generally as a state of a people were never in approval of same sex relations as you claim in your piece, but they are known to allow all kinds of taboos to be broken if wining a war is at stake. Throughout Africa, they are known for their Machiavellian, conqueror mentality and “ends justify the means” approach to relations with other tribes. What the article also did not mention is that most of the people they satisfied their sexual desires on battle grounds with, were captives soldiers of tribes they had conquered, which goes to show that they did not want it known. Conventional wisdom will say it is a way of demeaning the captives.

    While all kinds of Africans/blacks are bandwagoning on the Eurocentric position of imposing the legalization of it on grounds on human rights when nobody is persecuting anybody on the issue in the first place, I can to some extent, understand those blacks like Obama who have slowly consolidated positions where refusing to endorse white agendas mean losing their position (this is not to condone people who give up their principles just to maintain a position in white settings).

    These things are forced down the throat of people without giving them time to debate it, and if you have accepted it does not mean the Christian Council should. The Christian Council position is a sound debate that need not be vilified. It is important to understand that most Africans did not persecute same-sex relation preference, but while most tribes saw it as a mental condition before the coming of white people, most people did not like it but refrained from persecution simply because in almost all African cultures, autonomy, supremacy and sovereignty are implicitly related to judgement, which in turn belongs to God and therefore most tribes refrained from judging and persecuting, which did not mean they condoned it.

    White supremacy, of which most Africans on the continent have no clue how it works, is a continuous phenomenon capable of metamorphosing, changing faces and engulfing black and other colored people’s families.

    This debate is one that started in the 1920s with an active attempt to biologically modify the genes of black people to get white dominance all over the world. They resorted to active mutilation of wombs of black women in the Americas and in Australia and castration of men as well as injecting healthy people with diseases, all in the name of reducing colored people population on earth, which is a syndrome of the fear of their extinction. Their fear is based on the premises that as black genes are dominant to white ones if inter-mingling continues and whites are allowed to mix with blacks, the white population will be extinct. This act, which is called biological eugenics, came to pass with Europeans not succeeding.

    Decades later, the eugenic agenda metamorphosed from biological to political, by which through the Planned Parenthood Program (PPP), Europeans this time around used the UN as a platform (which they control anyway), to promote agendas of reducing African and black population across the globe. After decades of failure to make us believe that if we keeping giving birth we will have no food to eat, and that we needed to plan our families and reduce our birth rates, they resorted to social and lifestyle eugenics, by which they force anything that can lead to reduction of our population down our throat under false headlines.

    Lastly, to Claim “Kodjo Besia” isn’t derogatory is a completely false interpretation of the Asante culture and mainstream Ghanaian terminologies. At least each of us have known a kid in school who would fight tooth and nail not to be called that word.

    Please let us set our own agenda, prioritize issues according to pressing needs and stop letting others dictate to us….


  11. Oh, you have outlined all my criticisms about this piece. Before the US legalized gay marriages, dome argued; “but they’re hurting no one…” The moment it became legalized, how many suits against churches and some priests by gays have been recorded? They deliberately attack the churches cos they know they are opposed to it. Disapproving of a lifestyle doesn’t mean you hate or dislike the person engaged in that lifestyle. Truly, let’s leave all the judgment to God, the creator of all. Peace!!!

  12. Dear Nyamewaa,
    What an insightful, caring post! As a sociologist/documentary filmmaker who’s thought about conflicts over homosexuality in my own country, the US, and who’s done a lot of fieldwork and filmmaking in Ghana, my questions have to do with if and how what sex means in human relationships is any different in the historic instances of homosexuality you mention and in contemporary urban marriage, say, in Accra or Kampala. Its meaning certainly changed dramatically in the US, say in New York City, during the 19th century, by the time the term “homosexual” came into use, and then really among the urban professional middle class, opening the door eventually for conflicts between this and more traditionally minded rural and working-class folk. For more on my work including my recently released “African Christianity Rising” documentary film series shot mainly in Ghana and Zimbabwe, visit my website here:
    Look forward to being in touch. Meanwhile, all the best!
    Jim Ault

  13. I love this piece . I think the Christian council should mind it’s own business and let sleeping dogs lie, there are more important issues to tackle like how the church isn’t taxed and how these taxes would help the country. Also the church and the state are two different organizations, you cannot force your religious ideals on anyone, it’s yours and yours alone, if you break any laws because of your religion you will be punished, it’s so simple. State marriages are not church marriages, can some Christians drop the persecution complex already no one is forcing any pastor to do anything. Whether you agree to it or not people are and will still have homosexual relationships right here in Ghana, grow up, there’s nothing you can do about it. Leave people alone, no one is forcing you to take part in it. Honestly the whole thing looks like someone being on a diet and screaming Noone can eat whatever they want, they must join said person in his diet whether they want or need to or not. It’s sad that a religion that preaches love and compassion breeds some of the most hateful and intolerable people

  14. in writing such articles please be better informed. dont infect others with your ignorance. stopped reading in the 3rd paragraph

  15. Thank you for sharing this valuable information that is insightful with the researched references to back it up. I am passing it on to my ministers.

  16. Just came across this and whilst I appreciate the sentiments and the obvious westernization of Christianity, your point about Christianity being un-African is a tad problematic seeing us Christianity isn’t really the preserve of a particular group. Going by my bible, a variety of races were represented on year zero of the church.

    The points about the ideal role of the Christians and the fact homosexuality is almost as old as the human race universally could have been made without the seemingly misinformed digression that again perpetrates the idea of Christianity being a preserve of the West. That rubbed me the wrong way.

    Thanks for the time.

  17. I know I’m very late with my comment, but I want to commend you for being brave enough to write this piece.

    My first thought is that Christian leaders love to attack the vulnerable (like gay people) while they let the strong go (for example, corrupt politicians). They know it’s the strong in society who can give them the money and power they require to rule while the vulnerable can’t even protect themselves from the attacks for fear of being further attacked by all.

    I too have heard of various sex practices that were tolerated or even celebrated in pre-colonial times. It’s a pity that our history was passed on orally and so we’ve lost a lost of information about how our ancestors used to live.

    Finally, sexual orientation isn’t binary for most people. It’s not as if most people are 100% heterosexual while a few are 100% homosexual. Most people fall somewhere on the scale where they can be attracted to males, females or non-gendered individuals. If everyone is to be honest, they have been extremely attracted to a best friend of the same gender at some point. We are all humans with human tendencies and there’s no need attack our fellow humans for living life as they see fit.

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