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Distortions of the truth regarding the anti-LGBTQ bill

LGBTQ 12345 The LGBTQ+ issue has returned to the forefront of the national conversation

Mon, 15 Nov 2021 Source: Jonathan Mensah

The world has become such a complex, dangerous and unsafe place. To minimise or prevent problems is the best strategy to have a safer and fulfilling life.

We can almost guarantee that disappointments, heartache and trials will afflict our lives at times because we dwell in a sin-filled world. Therefore we need knowledge to overcome ignorance.

There is general acceptance that the ideas,beliefs, and values people learn as members of society determines human nature.People are what they learn.There are no limits on the abilities of human beings to do or to be whatever they want.

Many anthropologists suggest that there’s no universal right way, of being human. Right way is almost always our way, that our way in one society almost never corresponds to our way in any other society.

Proper attitude of an informed human being could only be that of tolerance. This theory postulates that human nature being infinitely easily influenced, human beings can choose the ways of life they prefer.

The ongoing debate in the Ghanaian parliament on the private member’s bill entitled Promotion of Proper Human sexual Rights and Ghanaian family values is rather confusing as the proponents of the bill claimed that it has the support of the wider Ghanaian populace and so it should be passed into law. The Ghanaian populace has not had a referendum which is the best way to claim that it is the will of the people.

Surveys can be unreliable and so the whole population cannot be represented by surveys. The sample obtained maybe too small and the method of data collection can be biased.

We can not be certain that the bill is what Ghanaians want. The scaremongering, intimidation and bullying suggest a system of totalitarianism. We have intellectuals in Ghana who should make their voices heard.

I applaud those academics and the other professionals for their bravery in opposing this bill.

They are doing so in the interest of the country and in the interest of social justice and human rights. Infact they are defending our hard-earned democracy.

It is scandalous that our religious leaders are misinterpreting the scriptures misleading the public of the true reason why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed

Why is homosexuality the reason and not other transgressions, such as the act of sexual assault, murder, theft, adultery, idolatry, power abuse, or prideful and mocking behaviour?

The answer is because the truth has been concealed from the public as homosexuality is not the principal reason for God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah It is rather shameful that the same people who preach against adultery indulge in adultery and as such they are silent about it.

How can Ghanaians promote family values when adultery and fornication are excluded in the bill? Why is power abuse or prideful and mocking behaviour not a moral issue? The truth is that many people in Ghana commit adultery and fornication and so they are silent about it.

Children are born out of wedlock. These children struggle to have proper meals and reasonable shelter while their fathers hide in luxurious homes and drive expensive cars.

If there are members of parliament who care about their constituents and family values such inhospitality cannot happen. If the religious leaders are not hypocrites, they should be brave enough to condemn inhospitality or adultery in Ghana.

The term sodomy was not coined until the eleventh century and even then it was widely used to refer to all non-procreative sexual acts including heterosexual acts and not same-sex relations specifically.

The earliest Christians read the Sodom and Gomorrah story as a parable about inhospitality,arrogance and violence and not same-sex behaviour. The Bible never teaches that same-sex behaviour was even part of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin.

There are more than twenty references to Sodom and Gomorrah in scripture after Genesis,only two of them mentioned sexual sins.Ezekiel chapter sixteen verse fifty says “They were haughty and did an abomination before me.So I removed them when I saw it “. The word abomination is used one hundred and seventeen times in the Old Testament,one hundred and eleven of those uses have no connection to same-sex behaviour.

Second Peter chapter two verse seven says that Lot was greatly distressed by sensual conduct of the wicked.This phrase is not a specific reference to same-sex behaviour.Jude chapter seven says that Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.Some translations render this as unnatural desire, but it literally means different flesh (sarkos heteras).

In the rest of the scriptures,out of more than twenty references to Sodom and Gomorrah none mention same-sex behaviour as even part of the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not understood by christians to be same-sex behaviour because it was not the original interpretation of the Sodom and Gomorrah story,which dates back to the fourteenth century BC.

Isaiah chapter one equates the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah with oppressing marginalised groups,murder and theft.Jeremiah chapter twenty three verse fourteen links the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah with adultery,idolatry and power abuses.Amos chapter four verses one to eleven and Zephaniah chapter two verses eight to eleven compare it to the oppression of the poor as well as prideful and mocking behaviour.

The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter ten verses fourteen to fifteen led to the argument that Jesus Christ is implying that the grave sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and of any other towns that refuse his disciples,is that of inhospitality.

In the twentieth century,theologians like Juergen Moltmann,John Robinson,Bishop David Jenkins,Doncupitt and Bishop Jackspong challenged traditional theological positions and understandings of Bible.Following these developments,some suggested that passages have been mistranslated or that they do not refer to what we understand as homosexuality.

In 1986,the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus passed a resolution stating:”Whereas homosexual people are children of God, and because of the biblical mandate of Jesus Christ that we are all created equal in God’s sight, and in recognition of the presence of the lesbian minority in EEWC,EEWC takes a firm stand in favour of civil rights protection for homosexual persons “.

Liberal Christian scholars,like conservative christian scholars accept earlier versions of the texts that make up the Bible in Hebrew or Greek.However,within these early texts,there are many terms that modern scholars have interpreted differently from previous generation of scholars.

There are concerns with copying errors,forgery, and biases among the translators of the later Bibles.They consider some verses such as those they say support slavery or the inferior treatment of women as not being valid today and against the will of God.

These issues are cited when arguing for a change in theological views on sexual relationships to what they say is an earlier view.They differentiate among various sexual practices treating rape,prostitution,or temple sex rituals as immoral and those within committed relationships as positive regardless of sexual orientation.

They view certain verses which they believe refer only to homosexual rape,as not relevant to consensual homosexual relationships.

Former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and a Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu was right when he described homophobia as a crime against humanity and every bit as unjust as apartheid.

I quote his own here:”We struggled against apartheid in South Africa supported by people the world over,because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about;our very skin.

"It is the same with sexual orientation.We treat gays and lesbians as pariahs and push them outside our communities.We make them doubt that they too are children of God, and this must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy.We blame them for what they are."

Fellow Ghanaians let the words of Desmond Tutu touch our hearts and let the past guide us because we struggled under the Preventive Detention Act and those parliamentarians who made the law ended up being victims of the law.Our gallant armed forces rescued us.

Infact we were our own enemies and it was through bloodshed that we have reached where we are now. There are alternatives to this bill and we should listen and learn.Let us defend our democracy because it is the only thing that unites us as one people in a one country.

Columnist: Jonathan Mensah
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