US’ Rainbow of Moral Decadence -By Dele Agekameh

Filed under: Global Issues |
Dele Agekameh

Dele Agekameh

 

If Nigeria, through the legislature or judiciary, were to legalise homosexuality and same sex marriage as has been done in some other countries, then the fallout may be too severe for any sitting government to handle.

By the Supreme Court decision of June 26, 2015, the United States (US) became the 26th country to fully recognise the right of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT) to enter into state sanctioned marriage. This has obviously triggered off yet another wave of debates on the issue of same sex marriage.

Quite amusingly, on the day the Supreme Court made the decision, the White House was covered in rainbow lighting to celebrate the ruling with the ‘triumphant’ LGBT community. The rainbow colours, as the media has shown, now represents the symbol of ‘gay pride’. The very phrase brings a bad taste to the mouth, a taste that reminds one that our deep dark secrets as humans are now coming to the fore. Years of quiet tolerance has stoked the appetite for disdainful immorality and it has grown to become a brazen affront to the foundations of organised society.

Same sex affairs have been a feature of human sexual relations for ages. However, never has it garnered such public support or been so openly canvassed. For us as Nigerians, widely considered to be intolerant to the LGBT community, the news is largely unwelcome. It is rather appalling that today, countries like the US have indirectly worked gay rights into their foreign policy by exerting pressure on other countries, particularly those dependent on US handouts, to be more tolerant of the LGBT community. Even countries not dependent on the US, are not spared. A country like Mozambique had been forced to reverse its ‘anti-gay’ legislations, even at a time gay marriage was not legal in all parts of the US.

The US Supreme Court decision and its endorsement by President Barack Obama will only toughen the US’ gay rights drive across the world, much to the disapproval of religious conservatives everywhere. This is because religion, which is at the root of the opposition to same sex marriages, is not always in tandem with legal realities. However, it constitutes a major foundation for the law in many countries, including the United States. For others, religion and law are one and the same thing, especially in the Muslim countries.

This kind of verdict in the US is not unsurprising. What is, however, surprising is the level of opposition to it. In fact, the US Supreme Court justices were evenly divided on the issue until the swing vote of Justice Kennedy assured a 5-4 majority in favour of the verdict. The said Justice Kennedy has been known to give verdicts in favour of gay rights in the past. One of the dissenting opinions was from Justice John Roberts, the US Chief Judge, backed by traditionally conservative justices.

We are what has been referred to as ‘social traditionalists’ and the current sexual liberalisation being driven by other secular states – yes, for all our religious conservativeness, we are yet a secular country – must be rejected in order to protect our society and maintain whatever order we have left in the country. If Nigeria, through the legislature or judiciary, were to legalise homosexuality and same sex marriage as has been done in some other countries, then the fallout may be too severe for any sitting government to handle.

So far, a large number of Americans are unhappy with the ruling. The Republican states have been at the forefront of opposition to gay marriage and Gregg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, was swift in passing a bill to allow religious leaders to legally refuse to perform same sex marriage ceremonies. Abbott stressed that it is important for the clergy to be assured that religious freedom is “beyond the reach of the constitution”. This means the White House may have gone overboard with its support of the ruling without giving thought to the teeming number who feel their religious and personal convictions have been eroded.

While Abbott may be right, the opinion of the dissenting judges rather show that the US constitution still guarantees religious freedom, but the majority judges trumped that freedom with a right which the constitution never contemplated. As they suggested, it should rather have been left to the states to determine whether they wanted to recognise same sex marriages or not, as had been the case.

Coming back home to our deeply religious but largely corrupt country, one thing is clear. Unlike in the US case where the right of consenting adults to act as they choose is widely recognised, as it is the right of two individuals of the same sex to legally enter into marriage, with its attendant benefits, that was at issue, here, homosexual acts are illegal. So also, are same sex marriages.

There is so much Nigeria needs from the US. But the US’ meddlesomeness in the affairs of foreign countries is well documented. With the aftermath of the US Supreme Court decision still hot in the media, one only hopes that when our President, Muhammadu Buhari, meets with President Obama in Washington on July 20, the issue of the recognition of gay marriages does not come up or, worse still, become a bargaining tool for receiving the much needed assistance from the US government.

As with our ‘Muslim North’ and predominantly ‘Christian South’, we are unashamedly religious, and in the same vein, very conservative in our religious beliefs. Even with religion removed, our cultural and moral fibre drives us to be conservative about many things, including sexual matters. Yes, polygamy is culturally accepted, even religiously sanctioned, it seems, in the north, but that is part of our culture. Homosexuality is not.

We are what has been referred to as ‘social traditionalists’ and the current sexual liberalisation being driven by other secular states – yes, for all our religious conservativeness, we are yet a secular country – must be rejected in order to protect our society and maintain whatever order we have left in the country. If Nigeria, through the legislature or judiciary, were to legalise homosexuality and same sex marriage as has been done in some other countries, then the fallout may be too severe for any sitting government to handle.

This rainbow of moral decadence celebrated by Mr Obama contains no pride. It is an affront on traditional society and a symbol of immorality. Now is not the time to lift the lid placed on immorality, rather, the West should realise that this is one door which should not be open more than a little crack or at all. President Buhari must carry this message to the White House.

Homosexuality has been illegal all these years but quietly tolerated just as prostitution has been. The tricky thing about this sort of vice is that human beings are morally weak and state action in respect of moral failings of the human mind and body must be tactical. A secular state can hardly enforce virtue; neither should it endorse immorality. It is unfortunate that the US and many countries have taken steps to allow age-long taboos, bringing human civilisation into a backward spin.

Some unsettling developments in recent times include the German National Ethics Council, in late 2014, calling for the decriminalisation of incest between siblings and a district court in Tokyo, Japan, ruling that adultery, when it is for ‘business purposes’, does not constitute an extra marital affair. The UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland, already recognises same sex marriages. South Africa’s Constitutional Court had approved same sex marriage in 2005 and Colombia is set to follow suit.

No one is calling for the lynching of homosexuals. Even if some African leaders like the despotic Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and others are overzealous in their protection of traditional values, we cannot emulate the Islamic State in its barbarism. Remember that IS executed some homosexuals in response to the US Supreme Court ruling. But that is their own modus operandi; they are killers.

Bestiality, incest and all manner of ungodliness now lurk dangerously in the corner. This is the time to pull out our Bibles and Qurans, we the ‘Muslim North’ and the ‘Christian South’, and make good on our ‘religious’ reputation by praying for the salvation of mankind, as it is now beginning to descend down a slippery slope into Sodom once again.

This rainbow of moral decadence celebrated by Mr Obama contains no pride. It is an affront on traditional society and a symbol of immorality. Now is not the time to lift the lid placed on immorality, rather, the West should realise that this is one door which should not be open more than a little crack or at all. President Buhari must carry this message to the White House.

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