08.03.2021 Opinion

LGBTQI rights in Ghana: The moral discourse

By Gertrude Aputiik
LGBTQI rights in Ghana: The moral discourse
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The first time I heard about the LGBTQI movement was when I started my studies in Europe, Holland to be precise. I was part of the counseling team in my school, and since my school particularly had a strong stand on diversity and inclusion, I was confronted with many programmes organized by the counseling team in support of this movement. Back then, I was indifferent about it not until it became a heated discourse in my home country, Ghana.

The discourse on the LGBTQI rights of course has witnessed two opposing sides: those in favor and those against its endorsements. But what informs each argument? Unlike the Western world whose stand on Gay rights is informed directly by their values – A mostly atheistic society that believes there is no God and therefore humans, being masters of themselves must be allowed to live, act and do things as they feel.

The Ghanaian community on the other hand is mostly theistic society – a society whose culture is largely informed by their belief in the existence of God. But there is a minority in the Ghanaian society that has registered their support for Gay rights. So what informs their support for Gay rights? With the exception of those who argue from a legal perspective, it has been a matter of Logic and Empathy! I have followed the discourse closely and one line of argument is common with supporters of Gay rights: the idea that Gay people are human beings and must be allowed to exercise their sexual preference.

There are those who also do not see the differences in what Gay people are seeking to do and what their critics are already doing. For instance, how is it that people who are living in sexual sin – fornication and adultery have openly castigated homosexuals for their sexual preferences?

Supporters of Gay rights have interpreted this as hypocritical – that these group of people also lives in sin yet they point fingers at them. But the truth is that what they are seeking to pursue is not only sinful but defies our very identity as image-bearers of God so that a person who did not create himself believes he has the right to assume an identity that he desires.

Here again, homosexuals lament on the fact that they were created with such feelings and since they did not decide to feel the way they do, why then can they not be allowed to indulge their feelings. This is perhaps the part that gets many to empathize with them. This brings me to a much crucial concern: If at all we have taken time to listen to homosexuals, how have we responded?

For a person who believes he was created in a certain way and with certain feelings he did not particularly choose, is it enough to tell him it is not right to express his feelings?

Perhaps the manner in which the anti-Gay community has registered their stand against the movement is what makes it look more like an act of hate rather than a condemnation. Here are two practical events I witnessed a couple of weeks ago: I listened to a religious leader on TV who was asked to share his opinion on the subject of LGBTQI rights in Ghana. Obviously, given his religious values it was not surprising that he took a stand against it. But I was shocked and disappointed at the tone with which he registered his displeasure. While he quoted some good scriptural texts that clearly vilified the act, his tone and choice of words were rather not “scriptural”. Again, a friend posted an article on Facebook in support of LGBTQI rights. I personally disagreed with his line of argument, and was not surprised that many others did too. However, the comments were rather combative.

The way in which a message is delivered is as important as the message itself. When Christ talked about rebuking a brother when he is wrong, he stated that we should do that in Love because he knows admonishing the person is not the goal. The goal is to cause a change or redirect the person’s path and it is only love that has the power to do that. This is exactly my perspective: I believe we need to rethink the manner and tone with which we address this issue. If we are against it because God is, then we must do it God’s way! The way to change a person’s heart has always been through love and this is God’s way. So how do we respond in love?

I recently listened to an ex-gay who is now a great preacher. She tells her story about how she was received by the Christian community. What she kept hearing was that homosexuality was wrong and sinful. But no one told her she needed God, that she needed a change of heart. Her problem was not just being Gay, but her whole nature which was a life devoid of God. The only thing that caused a change was when she found God. Turning away from homosexuality became a byproduct.

Finding God does not mean the feelings towards same sex or any type of sin would not haunt you. It definitely will. But what becomes different is that this time, you recognize that God is far greater than your feelings and you trust him to help you overcome sin.

Indeed, we are in an era where the world believes everything can be redefined; A world that believes there are no “absolutes”; A world that has learned to justify everything; a world that believes there is no such thing as “evil”.

This however is not the case. There is indeed “good” and “evil”. Most people however are not able to behold this eternal truth because they have not fully embraced the very foundation of their existence – which is God.

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