Gay rights in Africa?

The other week we had a high profile visitor to Zambia. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon himself payed a state visit. In his speech he mentioned, in true spirit of the UN, that we must remember that human rights apply to all, regardless of ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. This has started a debate in the country over gay rights, or rather the lack of them as it is illegal to be gay in Zambia. The debate quickly took a very ugly turn. Since Zambia is a Christian nation Bible verses that condemn homosexuality in one way or another was of course used , respected pastors have been preaching hate instead of love, people have called the UN colonialists who want to control Africa when their only interest is that everyone should have the same rights. I could not help but add my opinion and, besides commenting here and there on various Facebook pages and blogs, I wrote down my thoughts in a letter that I sent to some of our newspapers, unfortunately it has not been published (to my knowledge) but I‘ve copied it here:

(Härom veckan hade vi fint besök i Zambia. Självaste FNs general sekreterare Ban-Ki Moon kom på statsvisit. I hans tal nämnde han i riktig FN anda att vi måste komma ihåg att de mänskliga rättigheterna gäller alla, oavsett etnisk tillhörighet, religion eller sexuell läggning. Detta fick igång en debatt i landet över homosexuellas rättigheter, eller snarare bristen på dem då det är olagligt att vara homosexuell i Zambia. Debatten tog snabbt en väldigt ful vändning. Då Zambia är ett kristet land användes självklart bibelverser som dömer homosexuella på det ena eller andra viset, respekterade pastorer har predikat hat istället för kärlek, folk har kallat FN för kolonialister som vill styra Afrika när deras enda intresse r att alla ska ha samma rättigheter. Jag kunnde inte låta bli att lägga mig i och förutom att kommentera här och där på diverse facebooksidor och bloggar skrev jag ner mina tankar i en insändare som jag skickade in till några av våra dagstidningar, tyvärr har den inte blivit publiserad (vad jag vet) men jag har kopierat in den här:)

Dear Editor,

I would like to make my voice heard on the issue of homosexuality in Zambia. I keep hearing the argument that we are a Christian nation, and that it is not of God. But as Christians should we not preach love rather than hate? Now pastors and fellow Christians are saying “to hell with homosexuals, to hell with Ban Ki Moon”. Is that of God? There are so many things in this country that are not of God, far worse than homosexuals wanting to live a decent life. Let us not condemn like the Pharisees that crucified Jesus, but pray and lead people to the Lord.

I hear the argument that it is not in our African culture, it is from the west. Let me tell you that it is not from the west. Homosexuals are everywhere, but the ones in Zambia have had to leave the county or are living in hiding. Besides, it is not a valid argument to say we should not accept it because it is from the west, just look around and see how many things we already have accepted from the west. The English language, the movies, the education system, the list goes on; even the gospel was brought here by the white man.

I hear the argument that HIV/aids will sky rocket if homosexuality is accepted. But it is rather the opposite. Now, in hiding, they are not getting the counseling that they have the right to get.
I have heard things said about UN, that they are colonizing us. All they are looking at is the right to human dignity, for ALL humans, regardless of religious believes, sexuality and ethnic belonging. UN is not a nation; it is all our nations united for the benefit of humanity. Let us not become like the high priests, we should be more like Jesus, he who sat and shared meals with those most in need of his love. Let us not discriminate homosexuals, let us accept them for the choice they have made, and let them live a life of dignity.


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