Human rights or sinning rights? Homosexuality in Malawi

Homosexuality is one of the scrofulous issues worldly discussed today. The Human Rights Organisations have found a project to pursue and gain recognition. UN and other organisations are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that homosexuality is legalised in all countries with homosexuals being respected like any other person.

I am writing with a deep concern to those involved and promoting this immoral behaviour. I am concerned that meetings with abundant funding are held seducing countries to ratify it as if it is the pressing issue to people’s problems today. I, just as other reasonable Malawian citizens, would like to in strong standing discourage this behaviour to maintain the decency of our country.

Meaning of homosexuality

To begin with, let us understand what sexuality is. Levey (1993, p.1105) defines sexuality, in two ways, “the condition of being distinguished by sex, sexual quality.” it also defines it as the possession and expression of sexual feelings”. For the sake of understanding this article better, we will go by the second definition of sexuality. Sexual feelings are not immoral but the ways one satisfies such feelings may sometimes be immoral. For example, satisfying sexual feeling by rape, masturbation and homosexuality may be considered immoral.  “Homosexuality is a sexual attraction toward members of one’s own sex.”(Levey, 1993, p. 595). This definition makes it clear that homosexuality is when a man is sexually attracted to another man or a woman to a woman. Such people are called homosexuals. The opposite of homosexuality is heterosexuality, people who are sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex. These are referred to as heterosexuals. To understand more about homosexuality, let’s look at its major types below.gays

History of homosexuality

Though homosexuality has a long history in the western world, in Africa, it is new and somewhat strange though we find the concept of homosexuality in the bible. “Many early western societies tolerated it. Surprisingly, they even celebrated same-sex relationships.” (Kulkarni, 2011). This tells us that same sex relationships and marriages started long time ago and what is happening now is the promotion of it so that it can spread to the whole world. “Proofs of same-sex marriage are not clear, but there are some evidences, of same-sex marriages in ancient Rome. They can also be traced in ancient Greece, and even in medieval Europe. There are also some other evidences of same-sex unions among Native Americans and somehow Africans” (Kulkarni, 2011).

This is just to emphasise that homosexuality is not a today’s issue only that back then it was the secrete thing which is different from today when homosexuals are trying to fight for its legalisation is their countries. South Africa is the only country where homosexuality is legalised in Africa. This does not mean that it is only practiced in South Africa but that, there, people do it openly and as the right. Some states in America such as Los Angeles, New York and Sun Francisco also legalised homosexuality. “The first known Homosexual Political Organization in the U.S. was the Mantachie Society, founded in November, 1950 in Los Angeles. This underground emancipation movement was the brainchild of Harry Hay, a young musicologist” (University, 2011). In United Kingdom homosexuality is also legalised but I have not heard of any country in Asia where homosexuality is legalised though this may not mean that homosexuality is not practiced there. Maybe it is because of their conservative culture.

Information on relationships among women in ancient times is very rare, may be it was because women were not afforded equal status with men, so that, while men were free to pursue sexual and romantic pleasure both within and without marriage, women were not.

In Sodom and Gomorrah, “the gang rape scenario exemplifies the wickedness of the city, but there is nothing in the passage pertinent to a judgment about the morality of consensual homosexual intercourse” (Siker, 1994, p. 5).

Types and Causes of homosexuality

In commonality, there are two major basis of homosexuality and these are gayism and lesbianism. Gayism is the type of homosexuality that is done by men, thus men having sexual attraction towards fellow men. On the other hand, lesbianism is associated with women, thus women having sexual attraction toward fellow women.  In a case of gayism, a man satisfies his sexual desires by having sexual intercourse with a fellow man through the anus (Sodom). That is anal sex. On the other hand, the case of lesbians is totally strange and hard to really tell what happens. Bisexuals are those people who have sexual attraction towards people of the same and of the opposite sex. According to Ammahforum (2003), these are the people who are responsible for the highest transmission of sexual diseases including HIV/AIDS.

The question of what causes homosexuality is one of the questions that people may be anxious to get answers as opposed to what causes heterosexuality because it is believed to be biologically determined. This is because homosexuality is interpreted to be an illness or sexual disorder.

The proponents of homosexuality have supported homosexuals arguing that to other people it is not a choice but their biological make up. They say that in some people, “some fetuses didn’t receive the proper amount of hormones while at the developmental stage where science has shown that the brain structures of gay men are not the same as normal heterosexual men”(Ummahforum, 2003).  This means that the left hemisphere of gay men is smaller than the right, making them resemble that of female brains. They say this makes men get attracted to men because their makeup is as that of women, but no clear explanation is given to the case of women. In this case they argue that these people still have the right to satisfy their sexual desires by involving in homosexuality.

Homosexual proponents also argue that some people’s hormones are not well combined. This is to say that some men have hormones which are for female and vice versa. However, Caplans (2009, p. 66), crushes the belief that there are male hormones found in females and female hormones found in males. He also denies that behaviour is harmonically driven but that a man at times behaves as a woman and vice versa depending on the upbringing environment not hormones.

Cultural and Christian perspective of Homosexuality

To most religions and cultures, homosexuality is the sign of moral decay. Nowadays moral decadence is not regarded as it should be but as a human right as a result people are doing it without conscience because it is becoming normal. Today one can be lambasted for suggesting that homosexuality is abnormal. In countries where homosexuality is legalised, one can be arrested for speaking against it. That’s how worse this issue is becoming. “For thousands of years, marriage has been defined as the union of one man and one woman” (Zorn, 2012). This disqualifies the union of man to man and woman to woman as marriage. This has been the tradition from the beginning. God created Adam and Eve for companionship, sexual satisfaction and procreation (homosexuality defeats this purpose). If God wanted, he would have created Adam and Adam, no need for Eve, but we hear Adam recommending God for creating a companion suitable for him, meaning another Adam would not be suitable to Adam (Gen. 2:23).

From Genesis 1, the scripture repeatedly affirms that God had made man and woman for each other and not the other way round. The bible in Romans 1:18-32 shows that, homosexuality was a sign of sin domination which should not be celebrated or promoted in any way. I would like to admit that, atheists and those who don’t regard the bible as authoritative would not care about what the bible says about homosexuality but the truth has to be told.

Lev. 20:13 says that “whoever lies with a man as with a woman, they have both done an abomination.” Whatever is abominable before God is sinful and needs to be obviated. In Leviticus 20:10-16, homosexuality is also listed as one of a series of sexual offences alongside adultery, incest, and bestiality that are punishable by death. This tells us that homosexuality is a very serious sin before God. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 19:1-29 gives us Christians a glimpse of homosexuality though it does not show that homosexuality was really practiced there.

We know that Jesus did not speak about homosexuality, the base others use to argue that since Jesus didn’t speak about it, he indirectly condoned it. It should be noted that Jesus directly confronted “porneia” (often translated either fornication or sexual immorality) which include all sexual behaviours outside of the bond of marriage between one man and one woman. The fact that Jesus accepted the social outcast does not mean condoning sexual immorality but to give them a chance to be brought to the light of truth and change. It is very unfortunate that some so called Christians are in forefront condoning homosexuality. Sexual sins are to some extent too often practiced or condoned by religious leaders. “In England men like Bishop John Robinson, in his book honest to God made a play on the term “The new morality,” which in reality was a plea to open the sexual immorality”(Strauss, 2013). Anglican Church today is divided with others supporting the ordination of homosexual priests while others have remained conservative to the true Christian values on sexual life.

Promotion of Homosexuality in Malawi, the Sign of a Rotten Society

I am not in support of homosexuality not only because I am a Christian and a pastor, but also because it is unnatural even to animals. A male dog knows and follows a female dog for sexual satisfaction, what about humans. Should we be worse than dogs? No! God created a man and a woman with compatible sexual organs for sexual satisfaction and not the other way round. As a Christian and a pastor, I know that homosexuality is one of the sexual immoral acts which is abominable before God and should not be tolerated. To me, homosexuality is not a human right issue because any right that goes against the God’s design and will is sin.

Homosexuality is even a violation of human right of is living as a human distinguished from animals. In addition, “more children living in gay homes mean more children living lives absent of relationship with at least one biological parent” (Forman, 2011). It is because of being enslaved by sin that people would like to make others believe that, to others homosexuality is natural. Romans 1:24-27 shows us that such desires are as a result of sinfulness and neither natural nor biological. Gay couples cannot reproduce but they can adopt. This does not mean that the child has parents living with him/her. It is worse than being adopted by a heterosexual couple or being brought up by a single parent.

Proponents of homosexuality sappily argue that homosexuals harm no one. This is a giddy. In our country, homosexuals harm cultural values, constitution, country’s dignity and go against God’s plan. We are to celebrate marriages between a man and a woman as it has been all along not otherwise.

Though others argue that they practice homosexuality to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, the reality is the opposite. The fact that homosexual act is done paranormally, it is healthy risk.

In 2010, the late Bingu wa Mutharika alleged that some NGO leaders received money from international community to drive them influence Malawi government to legalise homosexuality. If this was true, then it is thwarting to Malawians. Why not use that money to deliver street children from their ineffable situations and prostitutes to start businesses. I mean those prostitutes who are in business due to desperation. Or buy food and give to the poor. Recently, we heard that sex workers formed an association to promote their rights. What an abomination! Is this a right or sin? This is because they see prostitution as lesser evil. It is incredible to hear that some Human Rights Organisations are pushing to know, President Banda’s stance on this dirty issue. Why? Don’t you have better rights to promote than promoting immorality (sin)? Doesn’t president Banda have more on her table to bail out our ailing economy than wasting pen and papers even tax payers’ money to ascent to sinful acts.

Anyway, if these NGOs wish, call for referendum to hear the voice of Malawi not only president Banda. Don’t work towards legalising homosexuality through the backdoor! Thank God, President J. Banda realised that she cannot make laws. However, the question remains, why did, PP government through former Attorney General Ralph Kasambara suspend laws which criminalise homosexuals against Malawians? The answer is “fear of unknown and tolerance of sin, or let me say immorality just in case the government does not understand the language of sin. “Very irking again to hear that even Kwathu drama group has joined the evil dance.

We have touching problems such as hunger, poor infrastructures, shortage of drugs in our hospitals, shortage of teachers and teaching materials in schools, poor civil servants’ salaries, frequent power outage leading to development retardation, shortage of universities and lecturers, embarrassing dusty capital city, Lake Malawi row, poor communication networks, HIV/AIDS leading to increased street children, high unemployment rate leading to increased robbery, prostitution and marriage breakups, the issue of Nsanje Inland Port, few loan opportunities for starting small scale businesses, weak GDP which is as a result of low exports, high inflation rate, high cost of living which has come as a result of currency devaluation which are supposed to draw the attention of government and concerned NGOs to discuss about. If anything, NGOs should prioritise these issues and make sure that they are solved before spending large amount of money in petty senseless issues which will not even put food on Malawians’ tables or add any value to our culture, values and tradition.

It was consternating   to see the whole UN Secretary General jetting in Malawi in 2010 to pressurise late Prof. Bingu wa Muthalika to exculpate Tionge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza against Malawi’s constitution, culture, faith and the court which found them censurable. The amnesty to these two sent signals to the world that Malawi is weak in conserving its culture, tar-marking for many Human Rights Organisations and prospective homosexuals to racket for the legalisation of the so called right(sin). To prove that some Human Rights Organisations Heads are doing that for money, they are respectfully married to an opposite sex living a happy life. Why not disband their marriages first and marry fellow men or women? They in their hearts know it is wrong, but they are selfish.

What are we afraid of? Are we the only country in Africa which has not legalised homosexuality that we should be pushed to the corner on this issue as a condition for aid? Nigeria tightened the law that even those who just try to talk in favour of this issue (just talking) are jailed. They told off the waste “to hell with your aid!” Uganda has the harshest punishment against homosexuals in the world. Just our neighbour, Zambia, one government official openly said, “we have pressing issues to discuss about, we can’t waste time discussing rights of homosexuals. It is not a pressing issue for Zambians”? Are these countries sanctioned? Talk of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is irrefrangible of the west. To show that, Malawi is a weak society, when other countries in Africa are tightening laws against homosexuality, Malawi is sympathising and suspending laws which criminalise homosexuals for fear of sanctions. Malawi is taken advantage of because of its show off desperation for economic recovery.

Malawi government, please check out some of these Humiliating Rights Organisations to preserve our dignity. My fellow Malawians, I plead with you to pray incessantly so that in May 2014, God will give us a government that fears Him and not the government which can easily be blackmailed. Christians, let’s rise up to preach the truth, in season and out of season against homosexuality for the glory of God.

God have mercy on Malawians!

*Pastor, Robert Masikamu is a Malawian Master of Arts Student at Africa Nazarene UniversityNairobi, Kenya.

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