Opinions Wed, 18 Apr 2018

Homosexuality will be legalized in Ghana some day

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, recently granted an interview to a foreign media house in which he implied that homosexuality will eventually be legalized in Ghana. This statement was followed by another offer from the 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 statement and the British Prime Minister’s offer, like a bell to the Pavlov’s dogs, have elicited a massive albeit negative response from the generality of Ghanaians. But with or without the support of the Brits, 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 will be legalized in Ghana soon because that it s the right thing to do.

And it is the requirement of the democratic dispensation that all citizens are accorded equal protection of the law, no matter their sexual orientation.

But the first principle to keep in mind when debating the issue of homosexuality is how that matter 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………….

But how does Ghana resolve these serious problems if all of its people banish the habit of homosexuality but keep to a life of corruption, jealousy, greed, selfishness etc.? Stated succinctly, how does it really matter to the commonweal and wealth and worth of the people 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 if we view the matter this way, we will see that there is no compelling reason to even give any of our quality time to debate the issue of homosexuality. This is because that practice has nothing to do with how we fare as a nation or as a people. Thus, the matter should not occupy the time and interest of the leadership in our society unless they aim to impose a subterfuge on the people as a result of their crass ineptitude. We have repeated elsewhere that what two consenting adults do in their bedroom is a matter of their personal choice.

And 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 homosexuals 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, let us bless their union 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 union? Enter people’s bedrooms and begin killing them or putting them in jail for sleeping with their gender kind in a certain way? All to what compelling end? 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 scripture, but those books have nothing to do with our laws; 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.

The boundaries of our faiths, just as the human nose, must end where another’s begins. 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; 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 as rather repugnant, note that he represents the bottom line of the religious fervor wherein all have lost their reasoning!

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 belief 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 also those abhorring the insertion of the genitalia into certain anatomical hole in a man but would not mind doing the same with a woman. That is also hypocritical. But even that has nothing to do with breaking any law. There are those who do not consider that even some men can never experience erection and must become mere receptacles to others’ 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.

There are also the situations where certain 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, we will begin by being sympathetic to all the afflictions that lead others to prefer their own gender types, and 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. We can never do otherwise without exposing our true characters as mean-spirited, inconsiderate, selfish 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. 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.

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 toward all people, and it will not matter whether somebody is black or white or yellow or gay or transsexual; we will express unqualified love 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 heaven 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.

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 prosper or advance in any way merely because we exterminated the practice; we will rather perish 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 British Prime Minister’s offer to help purge our nation of anti-gay laws. Inherent in the intelligent responses 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!
Columnist: Samuel Adjei Sarfo
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