The United States government has announced it will support the UN resolution concerning decriminalisation of homosexuality.
This is a resolution that the Vatican did not support, but about which it did say:
“The Holy See appreciates the attempts made in [the declaration] to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge states to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them.”
Savitri Hensman has written at Comment is free that Nigeria’s attack on human rights has no virtue. She writes:
…Yet several church leaders have spoken in favour of the bill, including Rev Patrick Alumake, who claims to represent the Roman Catholic Church, though his stance appears to defy Vatican policy. While hardly gay-friendly, this opposes criminalisation. It will be revealing to see how Rome reacts.
Another champion of the bill has been Archbishop Peter Akinola, though the international Anglican Communion, to which his church belongs, has repeatedly called for human rights for all, including homosexuals.
In a statement supporting the bill, Archbishop Akinola starts with his own (contested) interpretation of the Bible, and warns, “Any society or nation that approves same sex union as an acceptable life style is in an advanced stage of corruption/moral decay. This bill therefore seeks to shield Nigeria from the complete annihilation that will follow the wrath of God should this practice be accepted as normal in this land.” He goes on to make further extraordinary claims: “Part of the purpose of God is to ensure that human existence is sustained through procreation. God blessed them ie Adam and Eve and told them, multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1: 28). Same sex marriage is a violation of this divine injunction and will only endanger human existence.” The fact that these dire predictions have not come to pass elsewhere in the world does not deter him.
Despite the major historical contribution made by Africans (including Nigerians) in winning recognition for and defending human rights, he is dismissive of these: “We must take note of the various stages of pernicious western influence in our nation and continent … The present clamour for unrestricted human rights especially in relation to same sex union is yet another ploy to unleash more mayhem on this nation.”
The Archbishop’s portrayal of the threat posed by gays and lesbians would appear to justify even the harshest measures: “Same sex marriage… is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this county. It is also capable of existincting (sic) mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria.” In this apocalyptic worldview, it can be too risky to love one’s neighbour as oneself…