Saturday, January 02, 2010

Malawi & Uganda: The Religious Right's Wet Dream

Much of my blog for the past month has concerned the persecution of gays in a couple of African nations, Uganda and Malawi.

One reason I think it is important to cover this story in America is because it shows what happens when Christian fanaticism is allowed to shape governmental law, and when hate-filled brainwashing is allowed to permeate the populace.

These anti-gay statutes are not unpopular. They reflect the messages that have been willfully pumped out, not just from African preachers, but from imported American evangelicals, who are just as shrill in their anti-gay condemnations.

In the same way that people could profess Christianity and cite the Bible to justify slavery, Bible verses continually get taken out of context to justify the demonization of homosexuality.

I thought it would be illuminating to just show one batch of comments from a recent article in the Malawian newspaper, the Nyasa Times.

The article, "Rights campaigners says Malawi should legalise same-sex marriage," concerned comments from the head of the (chillingly named) Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation. (note: campaigner is the British term for 'activist.')

I linked to the story so that you can read it for yourself. While the story is not as horrible as the comments that follow it, it certainly is not exactly supportive of gay civil rights and makes some skewed points.

What I wanted to highlight today was the 'comments' section, so you can see what Malawian citizens think of gay civil rights. It should remind you of the same kind of hate you might see in an American forum on a conservative site, after an article on gay marriage. That fact is scary, in and of itself.

While America is behind the Western curve on glbt issues, at least we now have some protections in place. There are no longer anti-sodomy laws, for example.

More gays are out, as well, breaking down many of the old stereotypes. Visibility is an important weapon in fighting homophobia. Just ask Dick Cheney.

However, because of the rabid homophobia of American religious activists, we still deal with much anti-gay hate speech, anti-gay violence, and deprivation of full civil rights.

Thanks to a couple of decades of generally positive articles in newspapers on glbt issues, combined with positive media images, we now have a much better balance in America between pro and anti-gay speech. According to polls, the younger the individual, the more inclined the person is to support glbt civil rights. But it wasn't all that long ago that one would be hard-pressed to find a positive word about homosexuality.

African attitudes about gays is America just 40 years ago, before Stonewall. Today, in African newspapers, you will not find many stories, or reader comments, that speak out against the hate, though there are a few.

I want you to see these comments, because, in many ways, it shows what happens when religious zealots are allowed to unleash their hate speech, without much to counter it.

If we do not fight the religious right, and keep them in check, then our future will look more like Malawi and Uganda, than Denmark and Sweden.

Here are some selected comments. I will provide the link to both the story and comments section at the bottom of the page.

anastazia says:
Homosexuals will always defend thier pals. Dont be surprised with the lawyers they too are in it. I was just looking at the photo of fischer Kondowe and was imagining that there is some man out there admiring him for sex. Oh! God forbid!!!

Tom says:
For once I commend the reformed Malawi Police for taking appropriate action. To say the least, what were those homosexual fellows trying to prove when they fully knew that it was illegal to do so in the country? Malawians should be extra careful. How many people could profess to be truly homosexual? Some of the fellows are made to behave like that just because of economic benefits that they can get from the predator.

I recall sometime back in my college days when I was invited to a party organized by the big people at a Company that I worked for during the holidays. That party was only attended by men and I knew something was not right. One man came to me and started caressing my beard and my side whiskers then he went on to touch me where no one dares not to. I pulled his hand off and asked to be driven home. I do not know what happened to the other young men who were there but I would not be surprised if in this present age they turned out to be brides. At least I escaped that entrapment and am now married to my beautiful wife.

Vernon A.D says:
Man was created in the image of God and after His likeness. Man’s standard and reference is the Bible. The only opposer of the Bible as God’s word is ONLY Satan and his team of fallen angels. Human beings who support the fallen angels will work against the Holy book (Bible) also. No wonder some support Satan while some support God and His word in the Bible.
God is for multiplication of human beings on earth while the Devil is for no multiplication and condons same sex marriage.

Chipapwiche says:
Rights campaigners say Malawi should legalise same-sex marriageRights. Thank you so much for coming up with this proposal. My appeal! Before legalising same-sex marriageRights, or whatever you call it, can we legalise chamba first becos its smoked by so many people among us! Can we legalise all the sins committed by people because they are committed within us! I thought you learned people could assist driving our people the right way but alas! look at what you are asking the country to legalise. The same-sex whatever was there before the Bible was written, why was it not accepted in the Bible? You rights whatever groups, why are you there? What is a right? All the rights were already given to us by God. If He did not include same-sex whatever, how dare you? Watch out! there is another life after this one with so many human rights.

Ex Hon says:
No way Hosea. We Malawians will not accept legalisation of homosexuality in our country, because next they will be asking for beastiality (sleeping with animals) as a birthright. Let them (Europeans) first legalise Marijuana as our birth right then we will talk, but never accept homosexuality. We cannot be responsible for the Sodom and Gommorrah.

Mbonga says:
Its not about using GOD to oppress other people, it is GOD Himself who designed the laws of nature. Just read Gen 1:27-28, it is clear that God created man and woman for a special purpose of companionship and reproduction. You can also read Genesis 2:24 to understand more. On the surface, homosexuality behavior should be recognised as sinful becoz it violates God’s original plan for heterosexual monogamy.
Read Leviticus 18:22 to understand that any form of homosexuality is a sin before God. Also read Romans 1:27-32 in the new testamant.
Homosexuality therefore is a consequence of rejecting the creator order, no wonder God gave laws to the Israerites on how to deal with all perveted people who indulge themselves in homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13).
You get the picture.

To read the article, and all the comments, go here.

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