Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Rulers of nations that are bashing gays and lesbians can go to hell.

Let me state right from the beginning of this article that I am not gay. I am married to a beautiful woman, have two daughters and five grandchildren. However, I do recognize the rights of gays and lesbians to live their lives in the manner they have chosen. Unfortunately, there are still backward countries who think otherwise.

Nigeria's parliament pushed ahead with a bill on December 8, 2011 that would harshly crack down on gay rights despite moves from US President Barack Obama's administration to counter such legislation.

The bill was introduced into Nigeria's House of Representatives on that date after the Nigerian Senate the previous week had approved the measure that would outlaw gay marriage and ban public displays of affection between homosexual couples.

Gay organizations would also be made illegal, leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channeled through non-governmental organizations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy.

A spokesperson for the House of Representatives and a cabinet minister were defiant in the face of Western criticism over the measure. Zakari Mohammed said, "We have a culture. We have religious beliefs and we have a tradition. We are black people. We are not white.”

What does being black have to do with this issue?

He said same-sex marriage “is alien to our culture and we can never give it a chance. So if Western nations will hold their aid to us, to hell with them”. What this dummy was really saying was the hell with the people of Nigeria. Let’s face it. If the Americans cut off its aid to Nigeria, many Nigerians will suffer the consequences. Nigerian authorities really don’t want to piss off the Americans.

The United States last year imported 44 percent of Nigeria’s oil exports, making Nigeria the fifth largest foreign oil supplier to the United States. The U.S. ability to help Nigeria combat public health shortcomings contributes directly to good governance, societal stability, economic growth, and confidence in U.S. concern for the well-being of the Nigerian people. The challenges are considerable. Nigeria has the world's second-lowest rate of immunization coverage, is the global center of transmission of wild polio virus, and has the world's second-highest maternal mortality rate. Malaria causes the preventable deaths of 300,000 children and 7,000 women each year, and Nigeria has the fourth-highest tuberculosis (TB) burden in the world, with 100,000 deaths each year. Nigeria's low contraceptive prevalence rate of 8.9% and high fertility rate of 5.7 children per woman drives an annual population growth rate of 3.2%, which imposes an unsustainable burden on health care delivery services that are already taxed to the limit. U.S. Government maternal and child health efforts focuses on immunization, polio eradication, birth preparedness, and maternity services.

Why would that political mental dwarf tell the Americans to go to hell? That’s easy to figure out. He and his family personally don’t need US assistance. It’s the people in Nigeria that need the help. Their problems are not his problems.

Information Minister Labaran Maku said, “We reserve the right to make our laws without apologies to other countries.”

Well actually, that isn’t quite so. There is the International Criminal Court in The Hague that deals with political criminals who make cruel laws and carry them out — laws that offends the minds of decent people whom these political hacks have to concern themselves with.

The Americans put the fight against gay and lesbian discrimination at the heart of its foreign policy, but stopped short of warning transgressor nations they could be stripped of US aid. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the US won’t stop foreign aid to offending countries.

Obama ordered all government agencies that play an active foreign policy role to take steps to encourage foreign nations to put a premium on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. Let’s face it, those countries whose leaders abuse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights of its citizens are too stupid to fully grasp the consequences they face if they continue abusing the rights of their citizens.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has already warned offending countries that his country will consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognize gay rights.

The Nigerian bill passed by the senate would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for the couple and 10 for anyone abetting such unions. It also sets out a 10-year sentence for “any person who directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships”.

Maku told reporters after a routine weekly cabinet meeting on December 8th that foreign nations had the right to comment on any Nigerian laws they were unhappy with. He then blurted out the following mantra; “We live in a democracy, we live in a free country, we live in an independent country.” He added some of the things that are considered fundamental rights abroad can be very offensive to African culture.

What he was saying was that those countries such as Canada and parts of the United States that recognize gay and lesbian rights are offensive to Nigerians. If we are offensive, then why is Nigeria accepting our Aid?

The house has to vote in favour of the bill before President Goodluck Jonathan ascents to or vetoes the legislation. If he gives his approval to the passing of the bill, he will do his fellow Nigerians real harm.

Senate President David Mark said last week that if any country was unwilling to "give us aid or assistance just because we want to hold on to our values, that country can keep her aid and assistance.” Obviously those are the words enemating from another political mental dwarf.

It was unclear why lawmakers decided a ban was necessary, with gay marriage not known to be prevalent in Nigeria and homosexuals already harshly discriminated against. Perhaps they think of homosexuality as a disease that will spread across Nigeria not unlike malaria and other diseases that have plagued the people of that nation. Perhaps these political mental dwarfs believe that if unchecked, the entire nation will become homosexuals.

Nigeria isn’t the only country in Africa that abuses their homosexuals and those who are transgendered. If you are gay or lesbian and wish to travel to Africa, it is wise to do a little research before you plan your trip. Homosexuality is illegal in almost every African country (bar South Africa) and is considered a criminal offense in several top tourist destinations like Egypt, Morocco and Kenya.

In Africa, homosexuality is illegal for gay men in 29 countries and for lesbian women in 20 countries. The legal status in many ways mirrors the widespread homophobia on the continent.

Zimbabwe is more known for its homophobia and extreme statements made by president Mugabe, including various claims that homosexuality is not an African phenomenon but rather a Western decadency. Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and some individuals have been prosecuted and convicted for their sexual orientation, including the countries first president, Banana.

On the other hand, there are very active and very visible gay and lesbian organizations in Zimbabwe that have succeeded in creating a (not always too fruitful) public debate on the issue. Even if homosexuality remains illegal and condemned by state officials, these organizations have won several law suits against the Government, trying to silence them, and the matter of homosexuality is coming out of the taboo closet.

In Namibia, the legal situation is even more confusing. ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, states that the legal position in Namibia is "uncertain", as there are contradictive statements coming from the Government. In April 1999, Namibia's deputy home affairs minister, Jeremiah Nambinga, was seeking to criminalize gay sex because he believed it is evil. This would, however, imply that gay sex was not illegal. On the 25th of June, the High Court ruled that lesbian partners have the same rights as heterosexual couples in a legal suit were a lesbian foreign women fought for her right to stay in Namibia based on her relationship with another woman. Some Government statements, however, have been extremely homophobic, such as a statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Jerry Ekandjo he made in September 2000to graduating police officers urging them to “eliminate" gays and lesbians from the face of Namibia”. Local gay and lesbian organizations, however, are present and visible and contribute to the national discourse. In Uganda, homosexuality is illegal and persecuted. Uganda has been the last country were gay and lesbian rights groups have been attacked by the Government.

The Uganda parliament is debating an anti-homosexual Bill that would criminalize same-sex relationships. The Bill divides homosexual behavior into two categories: aggravated homosexuality (which I presume means homosexual rape) in which the offender can receive the death penalty and simply being a homosexual in which the penalty is life in prison. The Bill would also include homosexuals who commit homosexual acts while outside of Uganda. Does this mean that an American homosexual who visits Uganda and is discovered by the Uganda authorities as being a homosexual can then be arrested and sent to a Uganda prison for life? At present, anyone in Uganda who is living in a same-sex marriage can be sent to prison for 14 years.

In Malawi, sex between men is already forbidden but now that leaders of that country want to include sex between woman as also being a crime, Gay marriage is also illegal in that country and one such couple was sent to prison for 14 years after they were discovered going though a same-sex marriage ceremony.

The other following African nations have made homosexuality illegal. They are:

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameron, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Leviticus 18:6 reads: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination." A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: "A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed."

Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many of the outdated sexual laws we mentioned earlier, and a lot more. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. There goes football!

But there are also other writings in the Old Testament that may make you wonder why everything in the Bible should be accepted as the absolute guide to proper living.
They are:

If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.

If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.

MARK 10:1-12
Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.

The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.

MARK 12:18-27
If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.

If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king's having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures.

While there are some people now living in heterosexual marriages who once perceived themselves to be gay, there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God's law for human beings in this day and age.

As I said it earlier in this article, those nations that condemn people who are gay or lesbian and who wish to live together as sexual partners are backward countries. Further, they don’t really understand many of the writings in the Bible. For example:
Jesus said nothing about same-sex behavior.

The Jewish prophets in the Old Testament were silent about homosexuality. Only six or seven of the Bible's one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it's understood today.

Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don't know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven't read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don't know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven't tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous.

Over the centuries people who misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible have done terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan.

It is time for those in this day and age who would condemn homosexuals to get with it and recognize that human rights really supersedes outrageous laws, be they biblical or man-made that would do harm to other human beings and interfere with their own beliefs.

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