A delegation of Religious Leaders who convened at Peters Lodge in Zomba on Wednesday have issued a rousing call for action on Sexual and Reproductive Health as well as Reproductive Rights.
Some of the members present at the meeting conceded that indeed time has come to open up and accomodate Minority Groups include the LGBTI’s (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) or otherwise Homosexuals.
“Church needs to open up and welcome homosexuals with an aim of helping them to change. However, we need to understand that while others can change from homosexual to heterosexual, others cannot change as it has been scientifically proven” said one of the religious members during his presentation at the meeting.
But the leaders put a strong emphasis that this does not mean that the Faith Community is accepting some of the practices that according to our culture are tamed as a taboo but to bring change to lives of lost souls.
“Opening up for homosexuals and embracing them in Church should not be confused with legalization of homosexuality as other wrongly think and conclude. By accepting them in the Church it does not necessarily mean that the Church has legalized homosexuality. Take them, love them and give them pastoral care,” he said.
MANERELA+ officials who facilitated the meeting Harold Kachepatsonga and Allie Mwachande hailed the Religious Leaders for their current stand.
However, the two officials told Nyasa Times that the objective of the orientation and dialogue meetings MANERELA+ conduct across the country is not to promote homosexuality.
“The purpose of the meetings and MANERELA+ as a network is not to promote homosexuality bu to mitigate HIV and Aids related issues, stigma, silence, denial, discrimination, inaction and misaction (SSDDIM) both within and outside the faith community through the empowerment of religious leaders affected by HIV/Aids as agents of change at both congregational and national levels,” said Mwachande.
In complementing Mwachande’s sentiments, Kachepatsonga said: “As far as the responce to HIV and Aids is concerned, we need to work collectively with all the love. We need to do something in our capacities as Religious Leaders, CSO’s and Malawians in general. According to the bibilical texts presented during the meetings, I think it is high time everyone of us change his or her mindset. We
shall not judge but let God be the best judge and we should know that no sin is bigger than the other.
MANERELA+ has taken a stand against HIV/Aids rate being fuelled by discrimination against Key Population which include LGBTI people by calling for Laws that recognise the existence of these groups.
Sectional 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi clearly states that discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are under any law, granted equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national ethnic, origin, disability and other statuses.
Some of the MANERELA+ projects including the orientation and dialogue meetings with the faith community are funded by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
Meanwhile, the organization is continuing conducting meetings with Religious Leaders on Human Rights, Sexuality and Sexual Reproductive Health across the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :