African gays make simple request to pope: preach tolerance

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African gays who often face persecution in the streets and sometimes prosecution in courts have a simple plea for Pope Francis ahead of his first visit to the continent: bring a message of tolerance even if you will not bless our sexuality.

Reuters

Francis travels to Kenya and Uganda, where many conservative Christians bristle at the idea of the West forcing its morality on them, especially when it comes to gays and lesbians. He also visits conflict-torn Central African Republic on a tour that starts on Nov. 25.

While Francis has not changed Catholic dogma on homosexuality and has reaffirmed the church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, his more inclusive approach has cheered many gay Catholics while annoying conservatives.

“I would like the Pope to at least make people know that being LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) is not a curse,” said Jackson Mukasa, 20, a Ugandan in Kampala who was imprisoned last year on suspicion of committing homosexual acts, before charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

“Being a gay in Uganda is a challenge. You expect mob justice, you expect to be killed, you expect to be arrested,” said Mukasa, who also goes by the name Princess Rihanna.

Homosexuality or the act of gay sex is outlawed in most of Africa’s 54 states. South Africa is the only African nation that permits gay or lesbian marriage. The Catholic church holds that being gay is not a sin but homosexual acts are.

Uganda, which is about 40 percent Catholic, has been seen as a bastion of anti-gay sentiment since 2013, when it sought to toughen penalties, with some lawmakers pushing for the death penalty or life in prison for some actions involving gay sex.

The law was overturned on procedural grounds, but not before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry compared it to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany. Other Western donors were outraged.

Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and one of the country’s most outspoken advocates for gay rights, said he hoped the Pope would bring a message that gays and lesbians should be “treated like any other children of God.”

“If he starts talking about rights, then Ugandans are going to be very defensive,” said Mugisha, a Catholic. “But I would think if the Pope was here and talking about love, compassion and equality for everyone, Ugandans will listen.”

A government spokesman, Shaban Bantariza, said: “We hope the Pope’s message will not diverge from the core beliefs of Ugandans.”

“We don’t view homosexuality as a normal lifestyle but also we have chosen not to persecute those who have fallen victim to it,” he said.

While gays feel ostracised by the Catholic church’s teachings, Africa’s evangelical protestant preachers are often among the most strident opponents of homosexuality.

“LOVE EVERYONE”

The lightning progress of gay rights in much of America and Europe, where same-sex couples can marry and adopt children, has encouraged gay Africans but hardened attitudes of those who object to the idea on religious grounds.

U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, likened discrimination against gays to racism, speaking during a visit to Kenya, where about a third of the population is Catholic.

Francis’ ascent to the papacy in 2013, replacing the more conservative Pope Benedict, has heartened gay Africans. They welcomed Francis’ comment early in his papacy that: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

Although many Kenyan Christians are deeply conservative, the country has been comparatively tolerant and now hosts about 500 gay refugees from neighbouring Uganda. Kenyan law calls for jailing those involved in homosexual acts but rarely prosecutes.

David Kuria, a well-known Kenyan gay rights activist, did not hesitate when asked about the message he would give to the pope ahead of the visit.

Recalling that his mother, a devout Catholic, was kicked out of her village prayer group because she had raised a gay son, he said he would say that parents of gays should not be victimised or made to “doubt themselves as parents or as Christians”.

“I hope the Pope would say, ‘Love everyone,’ especially those who are still coming to church.”

33 COMMENTS

  1. ‘They are worse than pigs and dogs’ said President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. That is the only thing I agree with him. A despicable lot.

  2. If i was in the power to endorse some laws i was going to give death sentences to anyone caught in gay actions. Zvimwe zvinhu hazvingoiti mhani

  3. Who are we to judge? We have got murderers, rapists, baby dumpers, robbers, drug users, prostitutes etc, WHY is it, nothing bad is not said about them? Who knows? Your son, daughter, niece, nephew, sister, brother, father might turn out to be gay. What will you do?

  4. All these gays and lesbians must not be given any chance to do what they want in Zimbabwe. Once they are identified, they must be KILLED. We don’t need such behaviour in Zimbabwe

    • we do not judge but the act of homosexuality invites the wrath of the Messiah. Sodom and Gomorah would have been spared. We cant be the same. we have the knowledge we should not perish because of stubbornness. Mwari havazvide, tsika dzedu hadzizvitendere, chivanhu chedu chinoti kwete zvoti isu savanhu tinoti bodo. so who is for homosexuality????? Ngavasungiwe vakabatiwa vabiswe muvanhu nokuti vanonyudzisa chikepe sajonah. vanoda kukandiwa mumvura ava, makarwe awane usavi.

    • Mubvumbi, homosexuality is going against the law of God. God had already outlawed it and we are not afraid to speak against the practice and those who do so.

  5. We are the judges. Iwe Mubvumbi ndakabvirakare ndichikusaspekta hungochani hwako. It’s good wabuda pachena manje.

  6. One has to understand that we are not judging by saying homosexuality is wrong. If we say that then stealing, murder, prostitution will soon have people fighting for it. The Bible says it is wrong and indeed it is. The problem with these people is they are under a powerful demonic force which causes them to do it and to them it now appears ‘normal’. This is why they don’t understand how disgusting it is. It is a practice from which one has to be delivered rather than to fight for it. It is wrong, fullstop!

  7. l’m not here to judge, bt l have got question to those lesbians, Why do GOD created Adam & Eve in the first place. l don’t thing GOD loves such a practise

  8. Who knows? Your sister, brother, aunt, niece, nephew, father might turn out to be gay. What will you do? In Harare, i heard there are GALZ offices. The fact that there are gay offices shows that their rights are recognized. We have got in our midst, murderers, baby dumpers, mbanje smokers, rapists, whor*s, robbers etc, what action are we taking against them? Only God should judge.

    • Vanosungwa. Chakaipa hachinatswi nekuti chaitwa nehama yako. Saka iwe hanzvadzi yako ikati ndoda kuroorwa mwozoona kudi waanoti anoda kumuroora mukadzi unotenda iwe? Mugogamuchira pfuma imwi? Pagoitwa vana vaunozoti vazukuru? Ko sei vachitsvaga kubvumidzwa kuita chingochani?

  9. one discourse we have a conjecture with the entire cabal here. Gays and lesbians are doomed, they are filthy, the act is evil as it is abominable. They merit the worst form of ridicule ever to be meted on a living human being. For if a dog knows where to slot its reproductive machine, why would a whole human, with all his superior cerebral and a sophisticate medulla oblangata choose otherwise. I do agree with you on this one but differ with you fundamentally on other discourses. But to fellow penny writer, Wonder, are you not one of them? And shame to you South Africa, we pity your lack of control over the affairs of your own state.

    • well said mate. why would a normal human being reduce himself or herself to do what even dogs don’t do. it is not a human right to be gay, neither is it a human right to be a prostitute or a thief. such things are abnormal and should be condemned by any sensible human being.

  10. just as Micheal responded I am amazed that any body able to get paid $4334 in 4 weeks on the internet
    ——————– w­w­w.b­u­z­z­n­e­w­s­9­9­­.­c­o­­m

  11. Sodom committed all kinds of sins but why would God angrily respond to homosexuality?… its my prayer that zim gets a like minded successor after Mugabe especially on a ‘no to homos in zim’

  12. Robati is a hypocrite. He says he hates gays but his govt allows GALZ to operate and it is him who made Canaan Banana president. Anyway, to hell with gays.

  13. hate the basterd mugabe but gays gats to go.gays gats to get extinctinct.fuck americas gay rights.gays gats to die.morgan get the money but gays gats to die

  14. gays gats to die maan.no gays in zim. gay in your own toilet we dont wanna sees it.we see you gaying we gats to beats yu up maan.africa no gay zone. gays gat to get exticnt. im off the block and me no see no gay gangster ever since .gays we destroy in da ghetto

  15. The gays and lesbians need Holy Ghosts Fire. An act of satanism hw can a normal human (Man) given dominion over everythn on Earth find his own penis via e other man’s anus yet God created e right hole (Woman) thats intolerable. We support e move by Uganda govt tht lesbians shld be killed because they are mocking GOD. I repeat HOLY GHOST FIRE.

  16. Vanosungwa. Chakaipa hachinatswi nekuti chaitwa nehama yako. Saka iwe hanzvadzi yako ikati ndoda kuroorwa mwozoona kuti waanoti anoda kumuroorwa naye mukadzi unotenda iwe? Mugogamuchira pfuma imwi? Pagoitwa vana vaunozoti vazukuru? Ko sei vachitsvaga kubvumidzwa kuita chingochani?

  17. This Willard guy also a gay……Mwari havazvidi hama dzangu vakadzi hobho iwe woita gay uri murume …imbwa yomunhu

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