I was born into the 80’s in Nigeria and was indoctrinated in the moral views that held sway at the time. My experiences formulated me and made me what I am and what I profess today. Thus, I absolve myself from any cliches or labels that may be thrown in my direction as a result of my views.
Being a creature of such a time which I would tag the golden era (feel free to disagree. Makes no difference to me), life as a kid wasn’t bliss but it was exciting. Things were done in the manner which today, would be classified as “old school”, a term I favor greatly. Old school in the sense that there was still a great connect between who we were and what we were taught to be. Our traditional norms and religious values were in total control and for those of us fortunate to be so guided were properly molded according to an unwritten but highly accepted standard. Our guardians smacked the shit out of us for erratic and unacceptable behavioral traits we may have displayed at the time in order to steer us back into the right path. All forms of eccentricity and queerness were deeply frowned on. Some issues taking prominence today were alien to my vocabulary. I don’t think I ever heard some words until my later years as a teen. Makes you wonder about the kids of today…overdosed on information, both good and evil.
However, most worthy of note was the unconscious and deep moral value that was instilled as a result of such “close-marking”. We were properly tooled with the religious morals and traditional values to sustain us and the next generation. But something went wrong with the world somewhere…or did it? Little did we know that the protective cover of moral values instilled were to act as a sort of insulator, “shock-absorber” as we ventured albeit willfully to the unprotected world of adults. Here, we learnt the consequences of choice, the disappointments of expectations and the immorality of a previously believed moral world. What then is the probative value of these instilled morals and values? Simple. To assist us in choices we make.
This long and rambling introduction is an attempt to unravel the mystery behind the current clamor by more “civilized” parts of the world for the legalization of homosexual marriages and their insistence that Africa follow suit. A very volatile subject, I agree. One that has led to the occasional temper flare and in more primitive climes, tragic loss of life.
I would begin by saying that it cannot be ascertained with utmost certainty when homosexuality began but in biblical times, it was first recorded in the book of Genesis 19 and this aberrant behavior amongst many others led to the destruction of the city of Sodom with all its inhabitants save Lot and his children. It was spoken against also in Leveticus 18:22; 20:13, I Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; II King 23:7; Deuteronomy 23:17 and also in the New Testament of the bible by the apostle Paul in Romans 1: 27; I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10. As a result of the moral codes espoused by the doctrines of christianity, it is regarded as immoral and sinful.
In Africa, I doubt if the concept of homosexuality existed. If it did, our primitive ways would have most certainly discouraged it either by meting out the harshest imaginable penalty or total ostracism. Therefore, it was a Western corruption definitely introduced by colonization.
By the beginning of the 20th century, it was regarded as a pathology by the rest of the “civilized” world. Psychoanalysts viewed it as a result of faulty development and a deviant condition. No biological explanation was ever found and this fact lent credence to psychoanalysis.
However, attitudes began to change and it is claimed they came about as a result of the publications of two reports, Sexual Behavior In The Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior In The Human Female (1952) by American biologist, Alfred Charles Kinsey. Both reports contained inflated estimates of the homosexual behavior and the incidence of its behavior. This led to scientific discussions which eventually fostered the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 to delist it from its list of mental illnesses and in 1980, drop it from its list of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). What informed this change is still largely unknown.
In the late 1990’s and early 2000, the clamor increased for equal rights of homosexuals with heterosexual counterparts. Several countries legalized homosexual unions, including South Africa. In 2003, the Episcopal Church USA confirmed an openly gay man as the bishop of New Hampstead and this prompted other Anglican bishops, including the Nigerian diocese to withdraw from the Anglican Communion.
Today in 2012, Western Leaders have intensified campaigns to bring the ugly trend to Africa with David Cameron and Hilary Clinton threatening to withdraw aid from several African countries if homosexuality was not legalized. My heart fluttered with relief at the rebuffs to such attempts. The Nigerian Senate proceeded to criminalize it in order to discourage the trend that was gradually taking root in Nigeria.
Against this back drop, bearing in mind that Christianity, a borrowed religion is one of the major sources of moral values that I earlier spoke of, I often wonder what really changed? The inquisitive me would have loved to read the actual contents of Alfred Charles Kinsey’s reports but in this case, I believe my ignorance would serve me better. I’d only point out that homosexuality has been shown to have no biological basis as a sexual orientation but yet a biologist wrote a report that spurred “it” on. Strange, eh?
How about colonialism? One of its various aims as we are told was for religious propagation, economic exploitation and cultural exchange. Of course, there was no cultural exchange. Let’s be honest, christianity and western education were forced down our throats. Not that I’m complaining though. I just like to tell it as it is. As we absorbed both, we gradually lost our identity while we totally assimilated everything about our masters. The good, the bad and the terrible. Hence, “it” came into our culture. But wait a minute! Wasn’t this the same people who brought us the bible? The same bible that condemned homosexuality? Now, these western powers that be now tell us unequivocally to embrace it. When Obama recently declared his support for gay marriage, I was heart-broken. Heart-broken because Obama is a son of our dark continent. But then something I’m familiar with is what people do in the name of politics. Ask Reuben Abati. Whether this declaration will bring in any political windfall for Obama as he runs for a second term as US president remains to be seen. Ok…
The most shocking of all! How did “it” get into the church?! A gay bishop? So you are telling me when I’m in God’s presence, I gotta watch my “back”? My nation Nigeria may boast of many ills but at least, at that point in time, when it mattered, a solid decision was made. Going by the bible we were given by our colonial masters, we may just have averted destruction like what happened to Sodom.
The ideal definition of marriage for all purposes remains as defined in the old British family law case of Hyde V. Hyde and Woodmansee (1866) L. R. 1 P. & D. 130 where marriage was defined as follows by Lord Penzance.
“Marriage as understood in Christendom is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.”
Any talk of marriage of any two persons of the same sex in a church and following the rituals of marriage is bollocks! There…I said it.
I shudder at the thought of a world where homosexuality is viewed as normal. I fear mostly for my unborn kids. It appears as if the kids of the world have been subtly thrown into the fray. Two comic book companies I grew up reading, DC and Marvel Comics both resolved to reflect the uncomfortable homosexuality topic. Marvel Comics went ahead to lay the ground for gay super hero Northstar, a member of the famed X-Men to get married in its next issue! *gnashes teeth* This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic super heroes as role models?! This is an attempt to influence impressionable young minds! Anyway, I’m resolved Malcolm Jnr. will read no comics.
In conclusion, less than two days after Obama’s declaration, Jay-Z, one of the most influential rappers in the world followed suit in saying he saw nothing wrong with homosexual marriage. Shortly after, T.I. and 50cents followed. If y’all feel so strongly about it, put it in your rap lyrics. Give me a good reason to stop listening to rap. God, I miss 2pac!
Malcolm Onyeka Ifi.