July 9, 2021
By: Winstanley.R.Bankole. Johnson
Successive governments in this country have always maintained a zero-tolerance stance against same-sex relationships, that is to say: as between a man and another man (Gays) or between a woman and another woman (Lesbians). As a matter of fact unlike as in same sex relationships between the female specie which the Law would seem more lax about, our Statutes dating back to the Offences Against the Persons Act of 1816 (Re: Sec.61) clearly criminalizes same sex relationships between the male specie to wit: “Whosoever shall be convicted ……..or such abominable deeds……shall be kept in penal servitude for life” – Unquote.
Homosexual/same-sex relationships is so reprehensible that all orthodox religions consider it “an abomination”. In fact in the Holy Bible no fewer than seven (7) scriptural passages and texts out rightly condemns the practice such as in the Books of Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Mark 10: 6-8; Romans 1:26; 1.Corrinthians 6:9 and 1. Timothy 1:10.
The fact that such relationships are described as “abominations” means indulging in them is synonymous with indulging in some of the most heinous of contemporary sins like idolatry and witchcraft, lasciviousness, sorcery and debauchery. But within the last two decades African governments’ inability to cater for the welfare of their own citizens, and their insatiable appetite for donor support to balance bloated expenditures have engendered greater social compromises bordering on the promiscuous, oft justified with misquoted or misconstrued scriptural passages and social references to suggest it is an infraction of Constitutional Rights to question or criticize anyone’s sexual orientations.
Given all above you can imagine my revulsion when I heard over Radio Democracy one recent morning that in the absence of any repeal to Sec. 61 of the Offenses Against The Persons’ Act of 1816 proscribing such lascivious practices among and between the male specie, this government has allowed for the HIV/AIDS sector within the Ministry of Health to have included in their list of beneficiaries for supplies of preventives, Male Prostitutes engaged in homosexuality.
Well I’m blowed!!
The immediate question that rushed through my mind was, which direction is this administration actually leading us through? Did they do thorough baseline surveys/research analysis to convince themselves that-:
I can’t imagine I was the only one to have caught that one-liner news intro from Radio Democracy 98.1FM on that day, which is a usual government ploy when attempting to introduce anything they know the public will not easily accept. They restrict their introductions to one-liners over a period of time so that by the time the public becomes aware of it, it is already too late. But the most disturbing aspect to me about it is that to date, our Prayer Houses and Religious Leaders would seem some of the most complacent in this affair. Whether it is because they do not wish to halt grants from parent Churches overseas or are too scared to ruffle feathers of those in authority that will cost them a National Accolade or two I cannot say. But for something so challenging, they are too mute for comfort.
It was in 2014 that the UK enacted their Same Sex Marriages Act. In that same year the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Head of the Anglican Communion was alleged to have calmly reacted that since the Law had been enacted, Anglicans would have to comply. But the Law was enacted in and for the UK, not for global implementation or a local domestication of it. So immediately thereafter a furore for its outright rejection arose within the Anglican Communion across Africa from Uganda to Nigeria, with most threatening to secede from Lambeth. I am given to understand that before the demise of the late Bishop Yambasu the United Methodist Church S.L was also in discussion with their parent Church in America to also break away because of that.
But since over seven years ago it was only last week that I saw the very first openly documented opposition stance against recognition of same-sex relationships per a Presser from the Methodist Church of Sierra Leone dated 30th June. Other denominations of the Church Militant would need to openly take the same position on the same matter failing which we should not be surprised to hear Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists clamouring for Parliamentary representation as of their own right. There are valid scriptural references and reasons why Christians are referred to as “Militants” and as “Christian Soldiers Marching As To War”, our Religious Leaders therefore cannot afford to relent on account of “timidity” in the face of the growing social decadence and brazen immorality engulfing our nation.
It wasn’t too long ago that (after much prevarications and possibly until after the right price was paid by the donor community) that this government sank another rung lower on the social ladder by consenting to the admission of “Pregnant “Women” and “Lactating Mothers” into regular public schools classes as of their constitutional rights, to freely mingle with the rest of those girls who have chosen to wait for the right time to become “Mothers”. But because none of their own children attend government (public) schools, fair is foul and foul is fair. And the political class continues to doggedly believe that such social mismatches will not adversely compromise our educational standards.
But as the issues of the state now seemingly condoning same-sex relationships and already allowing “Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers” admissions into regular public schools impact morality and spiritual growth, our Religious Leaders ought to have proactively made it their concern, to sufficiently guide the government through the Ministry of Social Welfare on how both subjects could be managed without rupturing existing moral standards. But regrettably whatever views our Religious Leaders have against both vices have been disparate; not consensual.
The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), the Pentecostal Fellowship in Sierra Leone (PFSL) and the Inter-Religious Council (IRC) working in concert with all other leading Islamic Organizations such as the National Council of Imams, would need to address these malaises from a consensual standpoint, if our nation is to halt its rudderless social drifts.