You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2016 03 20Article 424637

Opinions of Sunday, 20 March 2016

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis

President Mahama and the powerful gay lobby

MARTIN SCHULZ ON LGBT RIGHTS AND FOREIGN AID

“Imprisoning gays and lesbians for their sexuality is a ‘disgrace’ that should disqualify offending countries from EU aid…It is a disgrace that in far too many places, one can be imprisoned for their sexual orientation, and it is even more abhorrent that in some countries people are put to death because of their choice of who to love…This highlighted ‘the need to redirect aid to civil society and other organizations that fight against exclusion and discrimination based on sexual preference’….Appropriate measures should be taken against countries who continue to criminalize homosexuality or pass even more repressive laws. LGBT rights are human rights!”

THE DILEMMATIC ILLUSION OF AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE

The afore-cited statement attributed to Mr. Martin Schulz, the President of the European Union (EU), positions us to question why African leaders have consistently refused to rethink the noble idea of freeing itself from this foreign-aid tangle. This is a serious question which international economist Dambisa Moyo has eloquently, forcefully, and authoritatively defended in her bestselling book, “Dead Aid.”

Thus, we shall not belabor the essential outlines of the constructive generality of her thesis here except to borrow or appropriate it and even more importantly, use it to critique African leaders’ continued tendency to allow others from without to impose their calculating will and strategic agenda of self-interest on a wobbling continent when, actually, this strategic agenda of self-interest clashes with Africa’s own strategic interests.

Yet, the dilemmatic illusion of Africa’s independence and the political economy of foreign aid and the emergence of homosexual or same-sex politics, particularly in the 21st century, are delicate subject matters in the sphere of international relations and public diplomacy. This is truer in relations of economic diplomacy between Africa and the West. In Ghana, for instance, much has been made of President Mahama’s complicated friendship with Mr. Andrew Solomon, a well-known international gay activist, as the “New York Times” reported a few years ago. We quote:

“President John Dramani Mahama has been fingered to be in bed with one Mr. Andrew Solomon, a gay activist…Andrew Solomon reportedly gathered a few affluent people from the gay community to raise campaign funds for President Mahama with the understanding that when President Mahama won the elections, the president would push the gay rights agenda…I was reported to have paid $20,000 for copies of the book…”

This eye-opening article authored by Mr. Solomon himself provides useful insights into President Mahama’s possible links or access to the power and influence of the international gay lobby, represented by Mr. Solomon’s influence and charisma and social-political connections in America, yet a view the former seems to debunk in his article. If this allegation of Mr. Solomon’s helping President Mahama to raise campaign funds via garnering public commercial patronage for the latter’s book, “My First Coup D’état,” has any iota of forensic validation, then it makes sense for leaders of the gay lobby to expect a quid pro quo in this strange if turbid network involving the two men.

This purported quid pro quo, Mr. Solomon eloquently seems to reject for obvious reasons. Whether or not Mr. Solomon’s nuanced rejection of the purported quid pro quo has any political validity is beyond the scope of this essay, much the same way with the question of whether or not homosexual or same-sex has scientific or genetic foundation. But, African societies have every right to address these tough questions the way they see fit, a strategy more in tune with the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, for instance.

We make this bold concession because the West is not shoving the gay agenda down the throats of theocratic nation-states such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran…Why the double standards then? Next, we move to summarize some useful lessons Ghanaians and President Mahama can draw upon should they decide to take another hard look at the homosexual question on a national level!

SOME GENERAL OPINIONS ABOUT SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

THE CABLE NEWS NETWORK (CNN)

“Pew has also found that, across the globe, majorities in many countries still believe that society should not accept gay relationships. Of those countries surveyed, the strongest support for acceptance of homosexuality came in Europe—especially Spain (88% believe it should be accepted) and Germany (87%)—and Latin America. In the Middle East and Africa, in contrast, clear majorities in all but one nation believed homosexuality should not be accepted, including South Africa, where same-sex marriage is legal…”

EX-ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU (SOUTH AFRICA)

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how I feel deeply about this…I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I am passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”

PRESIDENT YAHYA JAMMEH (GAMBIA)

“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not aggressively.”

EX-CATHOLIC PRIEST SIMOM LOKODO (UGANDA)

“They are beasts of the forest…There is no definite gene for homosexuality…Excretion is through the anus, like the exhaust of an engine. The human body receives what it takes from the mouth. They’re twisting nature the wrong way. Homosexuality will destroy humanity because there is no procreation; it will destroy health because the backsides will not hold….When I heard the US saying they will cut aid, we said fine. Will they be comfortable if we come to America and started practicing polygamy? Homosexuality is strange to us and polygamy is strange to you. We have divergent news…”

POPE FRANCIS (THE CATHOLIC CHURCH)

“If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge…It is not right to interfere spiritually in the life of a person…Tell me: When God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting with their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy…”

SUPREME CORT JUSTICE THOMAS CLARENCE (UNITED STATES)

“The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves (homosexuals) did not lose their dignity because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those (homosexuals) held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those (homosexuals) denied government benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them (homosexuals) those benefits…” (our emphasis)

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN (RUSSIA)

“It seems to me that the law [anti-gay law] that we have adopted does not hurt anyone…Moreover, individuals of non-traditional orientation cannot feel second-rate humans in this country because they are not discriminated against in any way…It has nothing to do with persecuting people for their non-traditional orientation…My personal position is that society must keep children safe.”

ABDUL MALIK KWEKU BAAKO, JR. (GHANA)

“…When it comes to these things, I am Illiberal, I don’t think we should do anything to promote that lunatic behavior, in my candid opinion, it’s a personal thing…I’m not progressive when it comes to these things. I am highly conservative, I am against it [homosexuality]…”


FOREIGN MINISTER BALA GARBA JAHUMPA

“As an independent Muslim country, we will not be tied to any bloc that promotes decadence and ungodly behavior (Lesbian, gay, homosexuality, and bisexuality.”

LAWYER MOSES FOR-AMOANING (GHANA)

“We cannot trust our politicians on all other issues because there have been several matters where this country had been sold off by our politicians, but on the issue of homosexuality, we would not allow our politicians to sell us off…Why is polygamy a criminal offence in the United States, but it is normal in Ghana, so what right has anyone got to tell us not to criminalize homosexuality?...”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

In the final analysis, both Foh-amoaning and Tutu raise a number of interesting yet extremely difficult questions. Elsewhere, though, the latter makes pontificates: “But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only one God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever…” The former, in contrast, promotes the pontifical view that “there was no scientific, theological and legal or any psychiatric basis for homosexuality…” A closer look at the views of both men, however, does not seem to point to any major philosophic contrasts in their thoughts regarding the political and biological question of homosexuality and its causes.

More fundamentally, though, “love” as Tutu may have used it can go either way, heterosexual or homosexual. In other words, Tutu seems to suggest that the basis of “love” is inspired divineness, neither science nor genetics. In this sense he may appear to make complete nonsense of vasopressin, oxytocin, testosterone, and estrogen, all four hormones play some role in love-making and attachment of sorts. On the other hand we also cannot be too sure if Tutu may have been exclusively referring to platonic love, though we are directly making non-platonic love or romance our point of reference. Could it then be that Tutu, fundamentally, sees homosexuality as divinely inspired since he appears to have replaced Foh-Amoaning’s absence of “scientific, theological and legal or any psychiatric…” with “only the love of God”? On the surface, this does not seem an easy question!

Yet, further complicating the dialogue is the fact that Tutu speaks in the present tense (“is”) while Foh-Amoaning, National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values’ Executive Secretary and Spokesperson, does so in the past tense (“was”). The “was” of Foh-Amoaning gives the impression that there could be some possibility for contemporary existence of scientific evidence to help frame homosexuality in a genetic context, per se, in addition to theological and legal and psychiatric ones. But the tone of his entire speech seems to contradict this interpretation.

All things considered however, it still does seem possible that journalists who were reporting Foh-Amoaning’s presentation that day may not have properly or necessarily presented his pontifical ideas in a way that exactly fits the format of our exegetical or explanatory context. And if “was” what he used then we may as well point to a necessary corollary which directly undermines or calls his assumptions into question. That is, the fact that there existed “no scientific, theological and legal or any psychiatric basis for homosexuality” in the past does not necessarily mean one cannot exist today, thereby defeating or undermining the purpose of cause and effect in any meaningful rational analysis of the facts.

CONCLUSION

The fact is that there seems to be a shift in scientific, psychiatric and legal positions on the question of homosexuality. The question of biblical theology may appear to be the only factor that conservatives can hold tightly to if the Bible is, indeed, divinely inspired as Paul put it in a letter to Timothy: “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…(2 Timothy 3:16). The so-called Mosaic Book of Genesis also mentions God’s fiery disapproval of the practice of homosexuality or same-sex romance. Paul mentioned God’s disproval of homosexuality in1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, Romans 1: 26-17, and 1 Timothy 1: 8-11! Ironically, and probably expectedly, William O. Walker, Jr., a Professor Emeritus of Religion at Trinity University, shows in his book “The Fourth R” (see the essay “What The New Testament Says About Homosexuality”) makes a very sophisticated argument that:

“There is not a single Greek word or phrase in the entire New Testament that should be translated into English as ‘homosexual’ or ‘homosexuality.’ In fact, the very notion of “homosexuality”—like that of “heterosexuality,” “bisexuality,” and even “sexual orientation”—is essentially a modern concept that would simply have been unintelligible to the New Testament writers. The word ‘homosexuality’ came into use only in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and, as New Testament scholar Victor Paul Furnish notes, it and related terms ‘presume an understanding of human sexuality that was possible only with the advent of modern psychological and sociological analysis.’ In other words, ‘The ancient writers…were operating without the vaguest conception of what we have learned to call ‘sexual orientation’…’”

Yet, Prof. Walker, Jr. fails to prove that the “New Testament” rules out the practice of homosexuality given that he finds synonymous conceptual replacements for the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality.” In other words, he finds injunctionary Biblical references to homosexuality practices in the New Testament. Now, if there is scientific or genetic basis for homosexuality as some leading influential scientists—for instance Dr. Francis Collins—seem to advance or suggest in regard to some unique hormonal triggers of the practice, then could the Bible be said to be wrong, the same Bible which Steele Pulse’s David Hinds says totally ignores the historical contributions of Black Africa to human civilization on the reggae track, “Not King James Version”? Has it not also been strongly suggested that King James was a homosexual?

Perhaps the most important questions for us are: How does President Mahama, a self-described Christian and a supposedly compassionate one at that, impose his views on homosexuality on a secular state such as Ghana? How can a country like Ghana, supposedly a religious body politic with a Christian majority, impose their will on the rest of the population as far as acceptance or rejection of homosexuality goes? Is Foh-Amoaning, an albino, going to devote more time to fighting for social justice and equality on behalf of albinos across the continent just as he has been doing with his political, religious, and social activism against practitioners of lesbianism, gayism, transgenderism, and bisexualism? Is President Mahama willing to reject foreign aid which is now tied homosexual (and LGBT) rights? If so, how is he (and African leaders) going to do it?

Is the West willing to accept polygamy as Foh-Amoaning directly asks? Is it politics or science to say homosexuality is no longer a psychiatric disorder? We ask the latter question because of Foh-Amoaning’s “there was no scientific, theological and legal or any psychiatric basis for homosexuality…”

References

Arthur Nelsen. “Schulz: Cut Aid To African Countries With Anti-Gay Laws.”EurActiv.com. April 1, 2014.

CNN Opinion. “How do gay rights look in your country?” June 26, 2015.

Martin O’Brien & Mags Gargan (2013).”Where Does Pope Francis Stand On Same-Sex Marriage.” The Irish Catholic Newspaper.

Andrew Solomon. “In Bed With The President of Ghana.” The New York Times. February 9, 2013.

Zeba Blay. “Why Can’t Even With The Irony Of Clarence Thomas Marriage Equality Dissent.” June 26, 2016. Huffington Post.

Kirit Radia. “Putin Defends Anti-Gay Law But Vows No ‘Problems’ in Guests.” January 19, 2014. ABC News.

Ghanaweb. “Homosexuals Should Not Have Rights—Foh-Amoaning.” March 16, 2016.

Maev Kennedy. “Desmond Tutu Condemns Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.” The Guardian. February 23, 2014.

Ghanaweb. “Homosexuality Lunatic Behaviour—Baako.” March 19, 2016.

William O. Walker, Jr. “What The New Testament Says About Homosexuality.” Vol. 21-3. May-June 2008.