Anti-Gay News from Nigeria and Russia

An interesting article in the Lagos Vanguard gives a bit of cultural context to the pending anti-gay law in Nigeria, which I blogged on a few days ago:

…Beyond Christianity, homosexuality has been a taboo subject in Africa for mostly cultural reasons. It is a closet issue nobody wants to confront…[T]hat homosexuality is a closet issue is no reason to believe that the practice is totally alien in these parts. Like in South Africa where HIV positive men sleep with under-aged girls in the mistaken belief that sex with virgins cures HIV/Aids, homosexual acts are, in certain cases, believed in our part of the world to confer mystical powers on its practitioners. In some cases, it is seen as the harbinger of great wealth.

…It is a known fact that one of the reasons adduced for one of the bloodiest coups in Nigeria’s history was the alleged overwhelming presence of homosexuals in the government that was to be displaced. The April 22, 1990 coup, announced/led by Gideon Orka, was partly staged to oust the ‘homosexual’ regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Likewise, homosexuals supposedly populate the Yan Dauda cult.

“Yan Dauda” is a Hausa term for male homosexuals and transvestites, rather than the name of an actual “cult”. The author of the article, Rotimi Fasan, concludes with a pretty obvious question:

It would seem to me that many of us did not have to learn to be attracted to the opposite sex. Rather we simply came to such realisation. Could the possibility that homosexuals have no control over their sexual preferences lead to such sympathetic understanding of their situation as might allow for a generally acceptable response to it?

Meanwhile, Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola’s support for the new legislation has the backing of the Roman Catholics:

[The Director of Social Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Rev. Patrick] Alumuku condemned any attempt by anybody or any group of persons to make same sex marriage a lawful practice in the country.

…”If we allow same sex marriage because some people say that they should have the liberty to do whatever they like, we should also allow rapists and armed robbers to have their way because they think they have the freedom to do so,” he said.

…”Because of his consistent opposition to this move, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Peter Akinola, was last year given an award as belonging to the first 100 most influential people in the world,” he added.

The authoritarian views of Akinola and Alumuku are currently being echoed far away, in Russia:

[Pentecostal] Bishop Sergey Ryakhovsky, a Russian Protestant leader and a member of the Public Chamber of Russia, refused tolerance for gay parades’ participants.

‘The tolerance our sexual minorities mention so often, does not in reality correspond to the concept of ‘right.’ The fundamental human rights as formulated by the UN General Assembly in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, do not include anything like a right to vice and or a right to moral crime,’ Ryakhovsky said in his statement received by Interfax on Tuesday…He also regretted that heads of European capitals ‘miscall the aggressive propaganda of moral corruption “a spirit of respect of the universal human rights”.’

(Ryakhovsky, whom I’ve blogged before, owes much of his status and authority to Putin)

And, as ever, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has a predictable perspective:

‘Nobody is urging to judge these poor people (gays – IF), or to discriminate against them. But the question arises, whether Churches can insist on having protection from gay propaganda, and the gay parade is such propaganda…propaganda of sin is allowed, while propaganda of religious values in multicultural societies is reduced to private life.’

According to Metropolitan Kirill, now it is time for Christians to consolidate stating their common position regarding the issue.

‘Otherwise the Moslems may stay alone to defend the traditional values, and due to a number of reasons their voices will be heard better, than the voices of Christian Churches,’ Metropolitan Kirill added.

(Nigeria links: hat-tip to Political Spaghetti)