Feature Article of Friday, 22 July 2011
Columnist: Bannerman, Nii Lantey Okunka
Religion is not an Excuse for Incompetence: Homosexuality (Di wo fie asem)!!
I read with titillating horror, the directive by the Western Region Minister, ordering the round up of all gays in the region. My initial reaction was that of fury. First, the order centers on delusion. No one can arrest all the homosexuals anywhere. It is impossible and surely a waste of precious little time. Secondly, it is obvious that the minister has nothing better to do. If he did, he will be worrying about creating jobs and building infrastructure for the great people of a region that is endowed with so much resource but often neglected by the powers that be in Ghana. Third, this gassy effusion, tantamounts to blatant abuse of power and I am wondering if the minister should not be arrested instead. As the good people of Ghana continue to suffer under the tyranny of armed robbery and other troubling societal vices, our police is being deployed to arrest innocent citizens because of their sexual orientation? This minister ought to be condemned in the strongest terms and his ignorance exposed for what it is. Shame on you! Di wo fie asem!!
The gay persecution agenda by the religious right and their political minions must be halted immediately. This is a human rights issue! No Ghanaian must be arrested in his country of birth because of his sexual orientation. None! Let me say unequivocally that I don’t condone homosexuality nor do I make any excuses for it. However, I don’t in any way, shape or form, condone a government that is obsessed with regulating morality. For once, I have flashes of the morality police in Iran whipping women in the streets. I also envisage nightmares of the Taliban, gleefully shooting a woman at a stadium as the so called righteous men watched on. Are we getting ready to stone our women for adultery or chop off the hand of men who steal? All this nonsense is being done in the name of morality? Is this what we want in Ghana? If our sexual freedom is taken away, what next will we lose? Where are those who vociferously opposed the PDA? Why are they not marching for the rights of gay people to be free? Should the fact that we hate or dislike something be a motivation good enough to persecute innocent citizens? What really is the crime in homosexuality? Where do we get off ignorantly linking homosexuality to demonic inducement? Can we link the evil deeds of these churches to demonic inducements too? Who is really robbing the people, gay folks or pastors?
I believe with every sinew of my soul that we a treading a very treacherous slope. It appears as if religion is now an excuse for incompetence. Our politicians promise a lot and deliver very little. To close the gap between lofty promises and zero deliverables, morality and religion are being used as red meat for the unsuspecting and often misinformed public. We ought to follow the money in this trail as usual. Why is homosexuality all of a sudden a huge problem that is going to drive us off the cliff?
Ghana has so many pressing problems. I just don’t see how homosexuality can catapult to the top of our priority list. A sample of our pressing needs include an address system, sewer system, waste (solid and liquid) disposal system, a computerize motor vehicle system, credit system, modernized police and military, patient focused healthcare system, realigned education system and property registration system. The latter are where our priorities should be. This is where we need to hold our politicians responsible. We need to stop this distraction and keep our eyes on the prize.
The causes of homosexuality are open to debate. No one at this moment has the corner on the root causes of homosexuality. Out of ignorance, some are fingering causes that are speculative at best. How speculations become prescriptive beats me. Some claim they are born that way and others perhaps acquire it. We don’t know or understand enough about nature to make some of the rush and irresponsible judgments that we continue to make. Do any of these do nothing proselytizing and consistently pontificating politicians know for sure what causes homosexuality? And while they are at it, why don’t they explain the natural phenomenon of being a transvestite. When people are born transvestite, can we link it to demonic inducements? Who is in charge of nature? Is it the demons or God? Are these misinformed pranksters Christians? If so, are we not supposed to leave judgment to God almighty? How long should we tolerate ignorant men playing God? How long?
Even if people choose homosexuality deliberately, we still don’t have a right to arrest and jail them. Is it not true that we will each be held accountable before God? As adults, are we not responsible for our own actions? Why should what people do in their bedroom be a source of worry for our inept and feckless politicians? When was the last time morality put food on the table? The most we can do is to advise, counsel and convince. We go too far when we start rounding people up because of their sexual orientation. After all, homosexuality has been with us since day one and occurs among royalty just as it does among lay people. Homosexuality is not going anywhere! Is homosexuality all of a sudden such a grave issue because the right wing nuts from the west have found clever ways to introduce it into our politics? They are trying to do in Africa, what they can’t do in their own countries. As usual, the bought and paid for elite and politicians in Africa are swallowing the bait, hook, line and sinker. What a stinking shame!! Perhaps, the more repugnant part of this is the push by some these corrupt and holier than thou church leaders. I hope they cast the beam in their eye first.
The greatest danger to our democracy is the virulent upswing of religion. In the midst of poverty, despair and hopelessness, we’ve resorted to religion as the answer. The latter syndrome has led to the insurrection of false prophets, emasculated politicians, a fairly ignorant public and re-colonization. We are selling our souls to wolves in sheep clothing. Some are exploiting the vulnerability of the people and pushing toxic agendas that eat at the rights of our people and create an incendiary landscape that can only breed crippling conflicts. The appalling nature of this confusion is seen in the fact that the real business of the people remains unattended even as we are distracted by the ignorance of these religious zealots, sometimes referred to as right wing nuts in the west.
If we are really serious about sexual deviancy, why do we have the Catholic Church operating in Ghana? Just today on the BBC website, the Irish premier said the following in condemning the sexual deviancy and crimes of the Catholic Church. He said, “the report exposed the elitism, dysfunction, disconnection, and narcissism that dominated the Vatican”. And this is coming from a predominantly Catholic nation? The deviancy of the Catholic Church is common knowledge. We all know of the gay imbeds in the Catholic Church and some of their nefarious activities in our secondary schools and other institutions. Why are we not rounding the Catholic Church up? Oh what blasphemy!
I think we should do all we can to stop this insidious courtship of church and state. We should do all we can to strengthen the separation of church and state. Religion ought to be a personal thing. Making religion a national agenda risks marginalization and domination. The government has enough to worry about and should not be assuming the role of the morality police. If we don’t speak up, we will have our rights taken one at a time. Gay folks are just as Ghanaian as any other and have something to contribute. Enough of the distractions and hate mongering! Your religion ends at my nose and it is time to take a stand against this regime of hate, engendered by the Churches and our misguided politicians. Whatever happened to “di wo fie asem”? Enough already! Stop it!!
Nii Lantey Okunka Bannerman
Also known as the original Double Edge Sword (Da Double)
I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell—Harry Truman