|Kenya and Gays|
In end Nov 2010, the Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for gays and lesbians to be rounded up and jailed. In public, he said that “it is madness for a man to fall in love with another man while there are plenty of women ….”, and “there is no need for women to engage in lesbianism when they can bear children”. Having gay sex is currently illegal in Kenya with up to 14 years jail, and so the call by the Prime Minister is at least consistent with their current laws. However,
- Gays fall in love with those of the same sex as a matter of their innate sexual orientation not because there are plenty of women to have sex with as implied by the minister.
- The notion that women are for bearing children rather than being free to love in his comment on Lesbianism is essentially reducing the rights of all women not just lesbians.
- In many countries, this would be considered as a hate speech, and the Prime Minister as a representative of the whole country reflects how badly the GLBT population has been discriminated and persecuted in Kenya.
The Gay population in Kenya has responded in “shocked and fear”, told the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya to the “Mail & Guardian” newspapers. Although, homosexual sex is illegal in Kenya, the law was hardly used. However, Lesbian relationships are not prohibited under the law. The CNN reported “We Live in fear, says gays in Kenya” in an article on May 15, 2008, and writes about gay Kenyans being arrested on charges such as “loitering”, and disturbing the “peace”. It was said that a gay man “was beaten so badly outside a nightclub in Nairobi that he had to be taken to Hospital. There is no way to corroborate such incidents with the police because homosexual Kenyans are just too afraid to report them”.
Prime Minister Odinga’s crusade against gays is likely motivated by his strong Christian background. Baptised as an Anglican in his youth, he later became “Born Again”. The increasing fundamentalism in African Christianity has also been played out in Kenya where 80% are Christians. In particular, there is a rapid rise of Pentecostal believers in Kenya, now reaching more than 4 million adherents with over 5,000 churches. The anti-gay agenda is also reflected in the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project which shows 96% of Kenya being anti-gay.
Gays are routinely harassed by the Police and held in remand for long hours on false charges. The Police often demanded for bribes in exchange for release. This appears contrary to biblical Christianity. When a Kenya Gay couple, Charles Ngengi and Daniel Chege were married in London, UK, in Oct 2009, there was very strong condemnation back in Kenya. In Feb 2010, when two gay men attempted to hold a gay wedding, the National Council of Churches of Kenya organized the “Operations Gays Out”, and sent violent youths to attack the couple who were rescued by the Police. The prophet Isaiah once lamented how God would not hear our prayers when we are a party to violent acts on injustice against the weak, for God sees the blood in our hands when we raised it to worship God.
How Kenyans persecute and treat their GLBT citizens is perhaps an internal matter for the country despite it being a gross human rights abuse. However, their actions should not be condoned indirectly by Europeans by visiting Kenya for the wild life tourism. The services industry such as Tourism particularly from Germany and United Kingdom make up 63% of the GDP attracted to the Tsavo National Park game reserves and to the coastal beaches. The British and the Germans should stay home.
The Pastor of Parklands Pentecostal Church, a Patrick Kuchio, was quoted in CNN as saying that “the practice must have been imported into Kenya”. Perhaps it is Christianity who have been instead imported into Kenya with the first Anglican missionary in 1844, a Dr. Johann Ludwing Krapf. Just as he was able to convert the locals into good Anglicans, there must be another change of heart in Kenya for basic humanity and justice to truly distinguish us from the dangers of religious fundamentalism.
(Heb 3:14 NKJV) For we
have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our
confidence steadfast to the end,
With more than 80% Christians, where would the church go next, to persecute the GLBT community rather than preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We who are partakers of God's grace and mercy through Jesus Christ receiving weekly in the communion of remembering Christ.
Have we so soon forgotten that Jesus suffered and was persecuted under the law. We now persecute the least in the community using Jewish religious laws and Holiness codes that we do not follow ourselves. We have hardened our hearts against the voice of God uable to continue the ministry of Christ! Do we see Jesus crusading after the gay community. His greatest angst was against the religious self righteous community which we now have become part us.
Be steadfast to the truth, rather than be tossed around by those who seek to replace the Grace of God by the Law which leads to death. Lest the hand of God be found against us in order to protect the innocent and for justice sake.