Editi Effiong approached me to write a blog my #YourBlogOnMyBlog Series, having no clue about what he intended to write about, since we do have a good rapport on Twitter, I was quite grateful for the offer.
This piece one after my heart, it pertains to the struggles of a now visible community that has always existed in Africa, but have been denigrated, maligned, prosecuted, persecuted, harangued, abused and murdered by fellow Africans.
Our religious leaders and politicians have fanned the embers of barbarous lynch mobs to take the laws into their hands to find justification in acts too heinous for words.
I am so grateful to Editi that the email below was my response to him on receiving his contribution to commemorate my Decade of Blogging.
Thank you very much for the blog you have written for #YourBlogOnMyBlog Series, I am really touched by your sense of justice, compassion and humanity. Not many people out there are able to speak for minorities so diametrically opposed and different from them in more ways than one, especially a straight man speaking up for the right to life and the pursuit of happiness of gay people.
Before your eyes glaze over with unaffected indifference, please hear him out.
Dear religious people, let's kill all the gay people
Last week, we got the news that two men were murdered somewhere in Nigeria, having been caught having homosexual sex.
Apart from a small bubble from a minority corner of Nigerian social media, the event was hardly reported in mainstream media. This was unsurprising. After all, gay people got killed doing what, according to Nigeria's Parliament, is an unforgivable sin. It is not hard to see how big a national priority the gay problem is - it has been fast tracked through the National Assembly, in order to protect “our culture and way of life”.
As it happens, the “Gay Marriage Law”, which has NOT yet been signed into law by the President, has already claimed victims. Instead of the suggested 14-year jail term the law prescribes, our people may have decided to cut the process short, and take the law into their own hands by eliminating the ‘evil’ people from our society.
Before making any arguments on this unfortunate issue, I have to state a few facts: I am a heterosexual man, married with child, a practicing Christian, and a teacher of children. I also hold the belief that marriage is a union between man and woman - this is based on my religious beliefs.
I am also a believer in the right of adults to make personal decisions, as long as those decisions do not affect me, or my own rights. As such, if two men or women decide to have consensual sex, then so be it. Is it against God’s law?
I know exactly what the laws of the Bible say, and it is that judgement belongs to God. If gay sex/marriage is against the laws of God, then people engaged in it will be served their judgement along with everyone else on the last day, just like the rest of us imperfect souls.
Aside from the above, I am friends with a few gay people.
That manifesto done, I will ask the question: Why do we think attacking gay people (and even murdering them) is in anyway humane, righteous, or even regarded as a considerable action in a modern society? What have gay people done to us? Isn’t the right to life fundamental?
Gay people just want a right to life. Just like the one we've granted the actual criminals in our government.
They want a right to just live and exist in their own country. And they are not queuing up on the streets with placards asking to be allowed to marry (and even if they were, don’t they also have the right to?).
They aren’t even asking for decently reasonable pieces of the national cake like armoured BMWs, or presidential pardons. They're not threatening to burn down the country if one of their fellow homosexuals isn't made president by 2015.
Gay people aren't asking to be allowed to have sex with 8 year old kids, and marry them.
Gay people are not the ones stealing one-third of our oil resources in the Niger Delta, or asking for the right to operate illegal refineries. They are not skimming off billions of dollars’ worth of national wealth in form of falsely tendered oil sales balances.
No, those rogues are not gay people. Those demands and outright takes are from God fearing ‘straight' people, most of them ministers and prominent people in local churches and mosques. And before you claim homosexuality is a Western import, remember that our prisons are filled with people having sex with same gender. By our prisons, I mean Nigerian prisons.
But we must kill all those gay people. Because they're the sole, significant source of our national problems. What's more? The Holy Books say we should kill all the gay people. Or don’t they? Because God, in all his might, can't make judgment on his own anymore, and needs our help. And God had also recently declared that we should stop loving our neighbours as ourselves, as that's just old school stuff.
Luckily, that part of the Christian holy book that said "Thou shalt not kill" survived the new world order. A prophetic rewrite left that verse completely whole, with just a tiny clarification clause added. For our pleasure, Genesis 20:13 now reads "Thou shalt not kill, except if gay".
We are a holy people, Nigerians. We are so holy, we could have stoned Jesus for not being holy enough. So we have decided to fight God's wars for him. Since God has decided to not exterminate gays, we will show Him how it should be done.
One of grand inquisitors confronted me on Twitter with a couple of tweets, after I wondered in my tweets how much allowing gay people to live as they choose has affected the economies of Western countries. I decided to save this gem:
@eseblogger: @EditiEffiong We Shld therefore allow them to have their in humane way of live? Wht is the correlation btw nations Prosperity and being gay
In English - We should therefore allow them to have their inhumane way of life? What is the correlation between a nation’s prosperity and being gay?
I have no disagreements with Mr Ese. I’m only begging for mercy. Just like he was shown mercy, after he was dropped on his head as a child, leaving him per viable, with clear danger of growing up brain damaged. But he was shown mercy, and allowed to live. Look at him today! He's not only overcome his early life misfortunes, but is even able to construct complex phrases like "inhumane way of life".
(Disclaimer: my highly prejudicial investigation of Ese’s life history comes from nothing more than a disdainful glance at ONE tweet from him. Sort of the way we pronounce people guilty and deserving of death, only on account of being perceived as gay).
Ese, you represent the moral pillar of our generation and I applaud you for keeping the torch burning. I hope His Incorruptible Eminence, Rt. Hon. David Bonaventure Mark, is proud of you.
Before we all rush out with flame torches and pitchforks, knocking on door to door to execute God’s judgement, remember that the next gay person to be ‘brought to justice’ may be your own blood. How strong will your convictions be then?