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compares homophobia to apartheid
As a community,
we’ve become accustomed to attacks from religious leaders, especially
those hailing from Africa, so it’s heartening to hear that Desmond
Tutu has questioned the country’s treatment of gays and lesbians.
The Nobel Peace
Prize Laureate and former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, has
warned that a hysterical obsession with gay sex leaves African churches
in danger of ignoring more pressing issues facing the continent.
On a rather more contentious note, he suggested that the mistreatment
of lesbian gay people is akin to apartheid.
"I am deeply,
deeply distressed that in the face of the most horrendous problems
- we've got poverty, we've got conflict and war, we've got HIV/AIDS
- and what do we concentrate on? We concentrate on what you are
doing in bed," Tutu told journalists in Nairobi towards the end
of the World Social Forum (WSF) last week.
During WSF, a
gathering of human rights and peace workers, gay activists took
many Kenyans by surprise when they marched through Nairobi's streets
in black T-shirts proclaiming: "We are here, we are queer and we
boldly and quite rightly, tackled a taboo that has so far proved
"To penalise someone
because of their sexual orientation is like what used to happen
to us; to be penalised for something which we could do nothing [about]
- our ethnicity, our race," said Tutu. "I would find it quite unacceptable
to condemn, persecute a minority that has already been persecuted."
the acceptance of gays and lesbians have threatened to tear apart
the worldwide Anglican Communion, with some dioceses cutting links
with the Episcopal Church in the USA over the issue.
Three days after
the end of the WSF, which many Christian groups attended, the Reverend
Samuel Njoroge of the Anglican Church in Kenya joined Tutu’s voice
of reason. He hoped that greater tolerance from Christian leaders
might win back the gay community who’ve been understandably leaving
"We need to re-examine
our doctrine on sexual matters," he told Ecumenical News International
on 29 January 2007. "We have to find how we approach the issue,
but not throw them [homosexuals] out. As pastors, we are supposed
to minister to the good, bad and ugly."
were unimpressed by the brave, proud and loud gay presence at the
World Social Forum event. Sheikh Mohammed Dor, the leader of the
Islamic Preachers of Kenya highlighted the religion’s intolerance
of gays and lesbians.
community is against homosexuality because the vice is ungodly.
Both Koran and the Bible condemn the vice," he added.
Dor proudly showcased
his ignorance by claiming homosexuality should removed from society
as it fuels the spread of HIV/Aids. He then urged the State to enforce
the law and crack down on the gays who’d requested marriage rights.
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