I am not a fan of ‘Good Morning America,’ one of America’s most influential television morning shows. My mornings are well spent in Canada, and not America, where it is a fad for celebrities to periodically ‘come out.’ And by now, we all know what it means for a popular and well-paid person in the western hemisphere to ‘come out.’ It means they want the world to know that they are either homosexuals or lesbians. Since his ‘coming out’ last week, K. Darkwa Kyei-Darkwa, son of Ghanaian fashionista, KKD, has dominated social media, inviting critical and biting comments about his dad’s lifestyle.
Gays on our fence
On the other side of the world, the legislature of Uganda has finalised a bill criminalising homosexuality and slapping a life prison sentence on the offence. Ugandans have no room for behavioural excesses that challenge the natural order of things. A respected clergyman, Pastor Dr Martin Sempa, has in popular public lectures assured Ugandans that the legislation is to ensure that “sodomy and homosexuality never see the light of legality in this part of Africa.” It is a disease that should not be romanticised in Uganda.
In Ghana, homosexuals and lesbians are not celebrated when they ‘come out,’ but they are not also made to see themselves as criminals. The laws of Ghana talk about “unnatural carnal knowledge” (itself a slippery concept) but the application of the provision has been as active as any anti-corruption legislation in our jurisprudence. Ugandans have shown that we should not be sitting on the gay fence; we should make a proclamation of our real position on the practice and properly codify that position into law. Gays are in our midst, and we know where to find them. Let’s tell them something.
In very dramatic terms, Ugandans call homosexuality a sickness. Is it really a sickness? In Canada, the couple on the other side of my street is gay. They don’t appear sick to me; in fact, they are very intelligent young men who work for the Canadian government. Incidentally, we purchased our cars from the same Buick dealer in Ottawa. They have not travelled to any part of Africa but they are knowledgeable about the continent. Beyond a few pleasantries, we keep a respectable distance, occasionally meeting on the field when we take our dogs for a walk.
KKD and his son’s husband
I had always mistaken the guys in that condo to be roommates or brothers until one of them ‘came out’ to me that the other guy was his husband. Initially, I found the use of the term husband by one man in reference to another was very unsettling. Husband? What is our world turning into, I asked the traditional Christian man in me?
There were no answers. The answer was right in front of me: a very nice and clean professional who, like all of us, has decided to exercise his right to choose. Should anybody be bothered that his choice is a little different from what we are used to, when he is not bothered about the choice other men have made in beautiful and curvaceous women? That is what it means to be gay. Thiers is a choice, an audacious choice that they insist must be respected, not tolerated or accommodated.
Well, being gay is a little more than a choice and a sexual act between two people of the same gender. There is more to it than Ugandans may think, and any country that hurries to criminalise or decriminalise the act should pause to reflect and consider factors and developments that are consistent with the exigencies of our times. When somebody we admire and respect suddenly comes out as gay, we should be able to deal with it and parry his sexuality aside as a very private matter, as KKD has done.
Gay bishops for God’s love
Anderson Cooper remains my favourite CNN journalist. I still love Don Lemon. I have nothing against Samantha, a coworker and a rather smart individual who insists on life and happiness, rather than society and ethics. I also respect my neighbour on the other side of the street. But I was not immediately able to process the coming out of Allyson Abrams, a Detroit Baptist Bishop who resigned in October last year after revealing her marriage to another female pastor, Bishop Emeritus Diana Williams of the Imani Temple of African-American Catholic Congregation in Washington DC.
These are no control freaks or freethinkers who may have joined a bandwagon of sexually expressive nonconformists in permissive America; they are trained and intelligent preachers who may have some important reasons for their positions. Abrams holds a PhD in Ministry and a degree in Mechanical engineering while Williams is an emeritus professor and a bishop. They say the Bible supports same-sex relationships, quoting Luke 7: 1-10, which talks about the love a man has for his male servant. She told the Detroit Free Press: “We all know that we have been made in God’s image, and so no matter what you look like, no matter who you are, no matter what your orientation is, people should be free to love who they want.”
Hate the sin, hate the sinner
We do not anticipate that two Christians in Ghana would follow the example of the American bishops any time soon. The Ghanaian Christian community has demonstrated their abhorrence for homosexuality. The society abhors it, too. At the same time, there are civil society groups who are pushing for the ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ agenda in respect of the human rights of gays.
Where do we go from here: Uganda or Iowa? We can’t sit on the fence for too long. Let’s take a decision now and tell our gay friends what future awaits them. Thankfully, we have a bold example in Uganda to learn from. Otherwise, we can always go to Iowa to see how men marry men while everybody else goes about their private business privately. Like journalist, Stephen Anti, I dread the day my son will announce that he is gay (he has three sons; I have two). KKD has only one. And he is gay.
There are many events in the womb of time. While they are still in time’s womb, let’s kill the baby anon or induce an abortion with whatever we can find. Once it is born, we may be forced to throw the baby away with the bathwater. By Jove, I will do just that.
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