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.” This was reportedly part of a sermon preached by the General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong at the Ridge Church in Accra.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman. This is supposed to be the foundation for 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. Africans were here having all kinds of sex before the slave traders and colonialists arrived with the bible. And Victorian ideals. And the Quran. Before them, sexuality was more fluid on the continent.
Homosexuals (lesbians and gays) were found and tolerated on the continent. They were found among the Asantes and Nzemas in Ghana, the Bagandas in Uganda, the Zandas in Sudan, and the Khoikhoi’s in South Africa. Some of these relationships were formalized, with the female husbands and boy-wives paying the bride price to the parents of their partners. Research by Will Roscoe and Stephen Murray in Boy-Wives and Female Husbands confirms this.
Asante chiefs were given the best of the men during wars. Soldiers had gay sex all the time. I suspect the tag Kojo Besia and the like were not derogatory but were coined for the transgendered. Some traditional priests only slept with men in some parts of the continent. The original graffiti on ancient buildings confirm this.
Studies in Marc Epprecht’s Heterosexual Africa show that the arrival of Christianity and Islam changed everything. Honestly, our ancestors were kind, thoughtful, and tolerant (at least in this one particular area). No one was threatened or banished for their sexuality. Ever.
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 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. But 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.