Two weeks after the United States president, Barack Obama, announced he supports gay marriage, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that his announcement – politically – looks to be a wash. In the poll, a combined 17 per cent says it makes them “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” they will vote for him. That’s compared with a combined 20 per cent who say the announcement will make them more likely to vote for his opponent, Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.
Perhaps more importantly, 62 per cent say the president’s support for gay marriage doesn’t make a difference in their vote, including 75 per cent of independents, 76 per cent of moderates, 81 per cent of African-Americans, and 65 per cent of residents in the Midwest who say that. It’s not clear that this is where people will be by election day on the issue. But it is worth remembering that the other metric that matters for Obama on this is the one in the recent New York Times/CBS poll, where 67 per cent of voters viewed Obama’s comments as political.
Since the article, Much Ado about Same-Sex Marriage, TELL, January 16, 2012, many people have e-mailed this writer with their views. The magazine has also published several rejoinders. The question of homosexuality reaches home when (God forbid!) your child comes home with the announcement that he/she is gay. As a parent, what will you do then? Homosexuality has existed from the beginning of time. Parents with children in single sex boarding schools should be wary because places like that breed homosexuality. Across Nigeria, people need only to open their eyes; they will find that they are surrounded by a small army of closet homosexuals. Those who oppose homosexuality should be open enough to understand it from another point of view. Here is the summation of my views.
It is accepted that homosexuality is a sin but the question is, if Jesus lived in today’s Nigeria, who would be his friends? Would Jesus mingle with the religious elites? Or dine with our corrupt politicians? Or perhaps, the ambivalent multitudes (who desire crumbs or leftovers) would be his friends? In his own day, Jesus was friendly with pub landlords, prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers. It seems rather obvious that if Jesus lived in Nigeria’s 2012, he would seek the homosexuals out and perhaps even heal them.
The condemnation by most Nigerians on homosexuals is disgraceful. Jesus was tolerant. He loved the sinner yet condemned the sin. Our approach in Nigeria seems to be, crucify the homosexual. They deserve to die. This ought not to be so. We need to have a national conversation about the way we treat the minorities within us. It appears like, everything else, Nigeria is not mature enough to handle its own diversity. Let us consider the scorn we mete out to the physically challenged, motherless babies, orphans, the beggars, the ‘mad’ men and women who roam our streets, among others. How about our indifference to single mothers, maids, servants, widows, older people? Simply put, we are a nation who does not sympathise with the weak. ‘Dog eat dog’ (everyman for himself) is the best way to describe our national etiquette. Sad but true. If you have no money or social standing in Nigeria, you are more likely to be ‘rubbished’. You are ‘nobody’ and treated as such.
Obviously, the test should be, ‘if you are without sin, cast the first stone’. Let us allow the gays and lesbians the right to ‘crucify’ all people if they are without sin. Realistically, the outcry against the gay community is hypocritical. People act as though it is the worst of all evils. When newspapers report paedophilic incidents, there is no such public outcry. People want to sweep such cases under the carpet and pretend it never happened. Or even rape, many men say ‘it is the woman’s fault’. Or perhaps even lustful men who are serial polygamists, no one bats an eyelid. Yet, these same people think it is okay to be intolerant towards homosexuals. The writer is sure that rich homosexuals have the support of the establishment. The problem is the financially challenged gays and lesbians.
The idea that Nigeria would be a better place without homosexuals is nonsense. This is because the country itself is corrupt. Our people worship money. We ignore our values. What about transsexuals? People who have changed from either being a man to a woman or a woman to a man? Those ones should stay abroad possibly as Nigeria is a harsh place. The Pharisees and Sadducees of Nigeria have spoken. The writer and all homosexuals are in danger of hell fire! Here are some of your reactions.
Kingsley Omose who wrote from his gmail account said, ‘Why do Western nations have an aversion [to] polygamous marriages or marriages where two or more men take a woman as their wife? Why is it worldwide that a man cannot marry his daughter or, a woman marries her son or siblings wed one another? What about a man or woman having sex with an animal, except you believe that the interest of the animal deserves to be protected as there is no evidence of consent? Does this not breach the fundamental rights of those who want to engage in such relationships, and what do you think will become of human society if these restrictions were removed, and society was one of indulgence? Let us learn to classify what is right or wrong so that these men and women who wrongly class themselves as homosexuals and lesbians can get the help they rightly deserve.’ The writer does not seek to justify homosexuality but to argue that they are also humans with rights as Mr. Omose himself. Bestiality and homosexuality are not similar issues.
Mrs. Akinpelu sent in a lecture on Homosexualism: Gays, Lesbians – What Lay Behind It. In her essay, she linked homosexuality with evolving stages of spirituality. Mr. Ifiok Ene wrote in, ‘It may interest you to know that the above named article has been the most interesting and perhaps the most controversial article ever published on the Reflections column. I have read the reactions of co-readers and have also found them interesting. I must state here categorically that I am not impressed by that write-up. I am a baby in the Christian faith but I deem it fit to caution anyone I see backsliding. Tundun, gaiety is and will continue to remain a sin. God wouldn’t have created woman if he had thought otherwise. I beg you, please fall on your knees, ask God sincerely to forgive you for misleading the masses in Nigeria… and, take a step of faith by retracting that infamous article. Lest I forget, your Bible scholars would do well to inform you that the ancient Roman Empire fell partly because of this same sin. Also, try reading Leviticus 18:22 and I Corinthians 6:9-10. Try reading the reactions of other columnists too. Thank you.’
I am grateful to Mr. Ene for writing in. The nutshell of the New Testament is love. Mr. Ene – a baby Christian – would do well to learn what that word means. I am aware of all biblical verses that relate to homosexuality, but still submit that we ought not to discriminate against people based on their sexual preferences. Our anger should be channelled at corrupt politicians who are milking our country dry, at Boko Haram and their multiple acts of genocide and at all people who give or take a bribe. Nigeria’s woes are not predicated on the actions of a few even though your holy book condemns it.