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Opinions of Sunday, 15 March 2020

Columnist: Florence Ozor

Refusing homosexuality: The crime of orgasm

For descriptive purpose only For descriptive purpose only

On 10th of March 2020, a video surfaced on social media where a young man was lured by another man to establish that he is gay, questioned and berated, the young man was eventually murdered by those who are intolerant and hateful but not before making a video as if to justify the crime. The video generated a lot of reactions with more justification than the condemnation of the actions of the murderers.

The Nigerian police have reportedly arrested the persons responsible.

In 2014, Nigeria passed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, a law prohibiting gayness and gay marriages with penalties of imprisonment for the couple and any officiating minister, this is beside the prohibitions by the Criminal Code Act and Penal Code Act both applicable in the south and north, respectively. The fact, therefore, is that homosexuality is not permitted within the territorial boundaries of Nigeria; this force into hiding persons who identify as gays not only for the stigmatization but also for the criminalization of the act.

A reason for unleashing vileness on gays in Nigeria by citizens may be explained that religiously and somewhat culturally, we have been groomed in the norm of sexual relations between a man and a woman and not between people of the same sex, being a very religious group (not necessarily because of godliness), I can, therefore, understand the shock and absurdity of accepting this new normal particularly with “it’s in your face” push by the West and the shoving down our throats by gay rights activists.

None should, therefore, force anything on you, it is well within your right not to subscribe to gays and their sexual orientations, it is within your right not to advocate for their rights, it is within your right to you to pray for their redemption but it is not within your right (even if you have the means) to exert your intolerance by executing any punishment you deem befitting, it is not your right; that is what the law is provided for, to restrict you from carrying out your intolerance no matter how compelling.

So, what if I find out someone is gay?

How did you find out? Did you conclude because of mannerism, suspicion or you lured them to give away their vulnerability? Do not let your intolerance get the better part of you, the law does not empower you to lure someone to be investigative, it is not within your scope of civic duty. Do not do this. You cannot kill to justify your intolerance or hate, hand the person over to the nearest police station, after all, it is within your civic duty to report crime and within the context of the law today in Nigeria, homosexuality is a crime. Any contrary act on your part other than taking or reporting the person to the police (if you are so inclined) shows your uncontrollable capacity for evil. More so, you become a criminal, eligible for prosecution and punishment.

What exactly do you owe a gay person?

Simple old-fashioned etiquette, civility. Civility as a human being, not luring their vulnerability, shaming their identities, or stigmatizing their preferences. As a society, the least you owe is to be civil to all humans you come in contact with, barbarism must be alien to your nature.

I have heard justification on the grounds of religion, the Sodom and Gomorrah tale as justification before God repeats his response. We can very well go into interpreting scriptures to argue all sides but I will stick to the answer Jesus gave to a question by a lawyer who asked in Matthew 22 verse 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Commandment 1: Matthew 22 verse 37-38.

Jesus said unto him, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

Commandment 2: Matthew 22 verse 39-40.

And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The wisdom of this scripture in commandment 2 is that Jesus did not describe who your neighbour is. Not by race, not by gender, not by the intellect, not by age, and certainly not by sexuality. You are commanded by the one whom you profess as sovereign to love whoever is your neighbour. There is no discretion in the matter.

By the standard set by Jesus therefore, the least you owe a gay person is LOVE. so, you cannot go killing, shaming or hurting because you are averse to who you neighbour is, you cannot be an instrument of pain or death if you claim sacred your religion; to do otherwise is, without doubt, saying to Jesus, I do not trust your wisdom and mine is better. Is your wisdom really better?

But I cannot stand the acts you say, then sit and ask for grace in a place of prayer to love beyond your own sense of perfection. Is there anything too hard for God? Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?

Jesus did not ask you to kill any gay person? Is there such a command, he asked you to love. Love, simple old love. You owe love, your incapacitation is a good course for prayers, if he commands it, you can do it, if you cannot, ask him for help. Loving anyone whose orientation you dislike does not mandate you to sit with them forcibly, but it, however, requires you not to bring them harm or be a means in any way possible.

There are also those who sit in judgment of the actions of others, particularly on religious morality, I often find this a dicey area to dabble into. This is because you are overtly or inadvertently inclined to benchmark another’s morality against your own morality, which is flawed.

Who is morally upright truly? That your immorality has not made its way from a bill of the parliament to law does not make it moral, that you do not feel the need to show your immorality publicly does not confer you with sainthood, that your immorality is not criminalized does not make it right. Whose morality shall we then use as the barometer for morality, even religious morality?

If you so consider homosexuality a sin, who made you a judge? Being immoral yourself, how can you under a cloak of religiosity sit in judgment? Judgment is mine saith the Lord, how then can you in your limited wisdom judge or fight for God? The powers and duties are defined, your duty (command) is to love, God’s duty is to judge, he is the one to determine morals, rights, and wrongs, not you, not me. You cannot fight for God, do not make him seem incompetent, he is not.

Sometimes, I wonder at our shock when we all stand before God and watch his judgment. People you condemned will probably stroll into heaven and you go into hell for what? Judging them because you had the means! Let us discard foolishness. You cannot be more righteous than Jesus.

As a religious person, you are subject to the commandment of God and as a Nigerian, you are subject to the laws of the land whether you like it. The law is there to protect and prosecute all the people living in Nigeria, law enforcement authorities are not allowed to pass judgment of guilt on any alleged gay, only the court can.

The law that criminalizes homosexuality is subject to the constitution that guarantees homosexuals all the fundamental rights accrual to everyone one else, so what is your own? I do not care, frankly, how two consenting adults decide to have an orgasm within the privacy of their lives, why should you care? The decency of one is not subject to the morality of anyone. How much time could you possibly have to make this a focus? Do not lose your track by the distraction of the path of another. Stay in your lane and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

God is love, are you of God?