Across Africa, Major Christian Churches Strongly Oppose Gay Rights
Homosexuality is not a human right and we reject it in all uncertain terms, African Christian churches' leaders declared.
In Ghana, home to a diverse array of religions, leaders of major churches have united in denouncing homosexuality as a “perversion” and endorsing legislation that would, if enacted, impose some of the harshest anti-gays policies in Africa.
In Nigeria, the umbrella body for Christian churches depicts same-sex relationships as an evil meriting the lengthy prison sentences prescribed under existing law.
And in several African countries, bishops aligned with the worldwide United Methodist Church are preparing to join an in-the-works breakaway denomination that is refusing to recognise same-sex marriage or ordain gay clergy.
A bill in Ghana's Parliament allows to impose prison sentences ranging from three to 10 years for people identifying as gays or supporting that community.
The lawmakers proposing the bill said they consulted influential religious leaders while drafting it. Among those endorsing it are the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the country’s chief imam.
We don’t accept murderers, why should we accept somebody who is doing sex in a sinful way? Archbishop Philip Naameh, president of the bishops’ conference, told media.
The Christian Council — whose members include Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Anglican churches — considers homosexuality “an act of perversion and abomination,” according to its secretary general, the Rev. Dr. Cyril Fayose of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
"The church can never be compromised"
Homosexuality is not a human right and we reject it in all uncertain terms, he declared earlier this year.
Such acceptance will never happen, Methodist Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the association’s director of national issues, told media.
Asked about Nigeria’s law criminalizing same-sex relationships with sentences of up to 14 years in prison, Adegbite said there are no alternatives.
The church can never be compromised, he declared.
In Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, Catholic Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins told the AP that Catholic teaching “recognizes in the dignity of every human person.” However, he said gay people who enter into same-sex relationships are leading a disordered way of life and should change their behavior.
The Rev. Keith Boyette, a Methodist elder from the United States who chairs the Global Methodist initiative, said the African bishops’ views reflect societal and cultural attitudes widely shared across the continent.
Same-sex orientation is viewed negatively, he said. That’s true whether a person is from a Christian denomination, or Muslim or from a more indigenous religion, he added.
In 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a harsh anti-gay law that, in its original version, prescribed the death penalty for some homosexual acts.