The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, years ago granted an interview to a foreign media house in which he correctly predicted that homosexuality will eventually be legalized in Ghana. This prophetic statement was soon followed by another offer from then British Prime Minister, Theresa May, that her country will help Ghana get rid of her anti-gay laws which she implied were the relics of colonialism. The President’s prescient statement and the British Prime Minister’s subsequent offer, like a bell to the Pavlov’s dogs, elicited a strident cackle of negative responses from the generality of hypocritical Ghanaians who gnashed their teeth like the predatory Pharisees at those they consider sinners.
It is the position of this writer that with or without the support of the Ghanaian hypocrites, the Brits or even the Americans, it takes a brave and wise President, far more mature and better experienced than any of his predecessors, to declare with courage something that should be obvious to all realistic people: Homosexuality is legal in Ghana. Period. And in spite of all the bombastic condemnation by these cuckolds and purveyors of moribund ideas, it is the requirement of the democratic dispensation that all citizens are accorded equal protection of the law, no matter their sexual orientation.
The first principle to keep in mind is that there is nobody serving any jail term in the country for having sex with the person of the same gender. If you think carefully about it, even if you construe those clauses in our criminal law books stating crimes against people that have unnatural canal sex with others, you should be humble enough to admit that nobody has been arrested and charged with that offense, and nobody is in our jails who are gays or lesbians or transsexual or queer or experimenting. In other words, those laws, if any, in the statute books are all desuetude. That means they are lazy laws that are pretty much dead in the books for lack of application.
The second point is that when debating the issue of homosexuality, we must focus on how that issue really impinges on our national development objectives. We want to grow our economy and have a very healthy educational system capable of endowing our citizens with the critical mind to help resolve our national issues. We want to create jobs and build hospitals and solve the incessant fluctuation of electricity in the country, the flooding and filth in the cities, the corruption and cronyism and theft and bribery and sheer evil bedeviling the society………….
But how does Ghana resolve these serious problems if all of its people banish the habit of homosexuality but keep to a life of jealousy, greed, selfishness, tribalism, dishonesty etc.? Stated succinctly, how does it really matter to the commonweal and wealth and worth of the people of Ghana that some of the citizens choose to have sex in a certain way with a certain gender type?
That type of illogical linkage is akin to the risible action of a chief in Ghana who banished goats and dogs with the aim of resolving the tragedy that befell his people. And it also adumbrates our attitude of engaging in prayer and fasting and speaking in tongues just to solve our social and economic problems. We are a nation that is incapable of addressing the true causes of our problems and are merely engaging in crinkum crankum just to purge ourselves of our guilt in order to feel emotionally good and spiritually correct.
Nobody is forced to participate in a sexual act without his or her consent under any law within the civilized world. So we should leave this LBGTQIA+++ community alone insofar as they have not endangered anybody or caused harm to their fellow citizens in any conceivable way. And even if they want to marry one another, let us bless their union en masse without any compunction.
After all, what measures can the government realistically take to abolish or even discourage those who are bent on practicing same sex and these other unions? Enter people’s bedrooms and begin killing them or putting them in jail for sleeping with their gender kind in a certain way? To what compelling purpose will that persecution be? Or so that the society achieves what in terms of its national goals and aspirations?
And to all those incessantly quoting the Bible or the Quran and other religious books to condemn homosexuality, there is nothing wrong with sharing their knowledge of those archaic scriptures, but those books have nothing to do with our laws in our times; they are for these people’s own personal edification, and they have nothing to do with another person’s choice of sexual orientation, be it descended from Lord Byron or Marquis De Sade or Okomfo Anokye. Those books were written at a time when people stoned each other for not worshipping God properly; or even crucified others for blasphemy. They were also burning good meat for sacrifices to their God while starving in the wilderness. The God that asked them to perform all these foolish acts must be long dead, and his words don’t apply to us. Our times are different and we should think intelligently in accordance with our times.
The boundaries of our faiths, just as the human nose, must end where another’s rights begin. Ghana is neither a Christian nor Muslim nor Hinduist nor religious state; it is a strict secular state endowed with a republican constitution and the freedom to either believe or not to believe in any God or in any message presumed to be from God; and thus no one has the right to impose a belief system on anybody in the country. After all, if we indeed have eyes, we should by now have seen what the so-called believers are doing to the country and found their behavior to be rather abhorrent. If you think of Obinim, Obofuor, Kumchacha, Kyiri Abosom and all these mountebanks as rather repugnant, note that they merely represent the archetypes of the religious fervor wherein all of us have lost our reasoning!
And to be fair to all, a religious sect may consider sex as simply for procreation while others may see the act as simply for recreation. There is nothing wrong here; and nobody should cross anybody’s space to interfere with the rights of the other. Some may adhere to the notion of polygamy, whereas many will abhor same. That is also okay. Only that even those who stick to monogamy will be found hypocritical if all they are doing is pretending to be married while playing games with their secret concubines.
But even here, that is their choice, and none of our laws can indict them! There are those men daily penetrating the butt-holes of their wives without considering their act “unnatural canal knowledge”. I also remember Lawyer Maurice Ampaw risibly urging all those women whose husbands have been licking their vaginas to report them to the police! I am yet to hear any report on that one.
There are also those who are so naïve and even stupid to consider that even some men can never experience erection and must become mere receptacles to other men before gratifying their own sexual urges. And some women are also created with too much testosterone to be truly women in the way we understand that biological designation. Surely, these cannot be barred from enjoying sex as “shemales”?
There are also the situations where certain monogamous groups just don’t have the numbers required for their members to each have a partner of a certain gender type. There are also those who just can’t stand the anatomy of the opposite sex for one reason or another…….And if we are truly righteous and compassionate, we will think about all these people and begin by being sympathetic to all those with these afflictions that lead others to prefer their own gender types. We will then refrain from the sanctimonious impulse to condemn them.
And for all the above reasons and many others, all must be embraced as the children of God deserving of our love and respect and compassion. We can never do otherwise without exposing our true characters as mean-spirited, inconsiderate, selfish, hypocritical and hate-infested people. Human beings cannot consider other human beings as sinful and inferior without first conceding their own inherent inferiority, meanness and wickedness. That is what we call grace. And the type of psychological mindset that would make us hate others for their sexual orientation is the same type that makes us racists and tribalists and sexists and misanthropes and ethnocentrists.
Moreover, if we are truly good people, our morality will have nothing to do with the idea of policing whatever perceived sin the other person is committing. I have stated repeatedly that our salvation will always lie in our own hands, and not in the hands of any other person. This is what all the good books are agreed upon.
If we eschew our self-righteousness and selfishness and hatred and covetousness, we would be more prone to be compassionate towards all people, and it will not matter whether somebody is black or white or yellow or gay or transsexual or bisexual or queer; we will express unqualified love and understanding for all people and refrain from judging others according to our self-conceited standards. This idea is what eventually leads people to the ludicrous notion that by killing certain “sinners”, they will book their own easy passage into God’s kingdom. There is a fundamental problem here if the path to your salvation lies in hating someone else or slashing his or her throat just because of how the person prefers to have sex.
Nobody has given us the right to judge anybody by dint of his or her sexual orientation; but we are enjoined by all the religions to love our fellow human beings unconditionally no matter their sins. We are advised by Jesus and the prophets to be kind, generous, charitable, responsible and modest. This admonition is also echoed in all the good religions like the African Traditional religion, Islam, Sikhism and Jainism and Zoroastrianism. Nowhere are we enjoined to make the condemnation of what the other person is doing our pathway to our moral rectitude. The edict has, and will always be the other way round: To love our neighbors as ourselves. Thus, the extent of our involvement in the other person’s spiritual life is to show love and understanding, not to judge and condemn them.
I have not yet seen any religious dogma that confers holiness on an individual merely on account of what his or her neighbor does or does not do. So those taking cover under religion to condemn homosexuals as sinful are doing what those Pharisees and Sadducees were doing in the past: Straining at the gnats in people’s eyes while swallowing whole camels.
And the camels we are now swallowing are our intrinsic laziness and corruption and hypocrisy and envy and selfishness and hatred. Those are the more important things we must purge ourselves of. Because even if there is not a single gay couple found in the whole of this country, our nation will never magically become holy and righteous and prosper or advance in any way merely because we exterminated the practice; we will rather perish or go extinct unless we learn to apply the correct antidote of promoting our own righteous conduct and best behavior. We must desist from pointing accusing fingers at those who want to be identified with how and with whom they have sex. Those have their own lives to reckon with, and so do we.
And these are the considerations that informed the President’s wise answer when he duly predicted that homosexuality will one day be legalized in Ghana. And this is also the thought that inhabits the then British Prime Minister’s offer to help purge our nation of anti-gay laws. Inherent in the intelligent assertions of these wise leaders is the sound implication that we, as a country, have no choice but to evolve with the rest of the civilized world!
I can understand that the President, like many other politicians in the country, is now capitulating due to domestic political pressure, but whether he orders the LGBTQIA+++ offices to be shut down or not, deep inside of him, he knows that two consenting adults can determine the nuances of their sexual intercourse, and no government on earth can criminalize their conduct.
Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Esq.