Monday 3 February 2014

Opinion: These Narcissistic Religious Homophobes

You don’t know me now
I just got on the train in London, and there I recognised an old friend from secondary school, this was 13 years after we left school and 8 years after I last saw him in Nigeria.
We had hardly exchanged greetings before he asked, “Where do you church?” it was a Sunday, and I was not coming from church nor going to one. As I answered, that I was not going to one, the conversation ended there, and it was like I had become a nobody, invisible and inconsequential.
Now, this was someone who in secondary school was not just a friend, there was much else that happened between us, that is another story.
A fiend of a friend
However, today, that memory was revived when my friend who is somewhat like a kid brother too, Bisi Alimi shared on Facebook a letter he received from a ‘friend’ who he had not seen for nigh on 20 years and on seeing Bisi’s appearance on CNN with Christiane Amanpour wrote an atrocious missive questioning Bisi’s sexuality and much else.
This was my contribution to the commentary that followed on Facebook:
This is what tires me about people who profess to be Christians, they ignore the person for the purpose of their religious pomposity. I have no time for people who having not seen me or interacted with me for ages think they suddenly can begin to impact any aspect of my life in anyway.

The effrontery of intrusiveness is not only disrespectful, it negates whatever purpose they have in mind and it is utterly annoying to think we all think the same deluded and blinkered way.

These hardly travelled ignorant nonentities who suddenly think they know the world and the expressway to heaven make me sick. Very sick indeed.
Whatever I am is not your business
I make no bones about the fact that I love gays, anyone who has followed my blog or the catalogue of my writings over the last decade would have noticed that I write a lot about homosexuality, amongst other things as child sexual abuse, the abuse of women, religious abuse, heinous cruelty, intolerance within humanity, human rights and else.
Yet, I do not believe my sexuality is for public discussion, it is my business alone who I decide to love and share my sexual favours with, it should be of no concern to anyone but myself and whoever in a consensual liaison decides they want to spend intimate and quality time with me.
The pursuit of happiness, my happiness, is mine and mine alone to pursue, I do not subscribe to the communal or society view that I should be assimilated into certain cultural or traditional norms to satisfy those with familial, filial or some other relational affinity to me.
I am human, first
It is no secret that I am not married, I have never married, I do not have children and well, basically, I cannot have children after chemotherapy. I have made peace with myself about what my life is, I am blessed, and I am a survivor.
Most importantly, I am human first, I celebrate humanity, I celebrate diversity and seek to be a better person with thoughtfulness, understanding and knowing that if I have not walked a hard, long mile in another’s person’s shoes, I am far from pretending to the full knowledge of their experiences.
The marriage debate
After that Anti-Gay Bill was signed into law in Nigeria, I have been quite enamoured by the greater tolerance and reasonableness amongst many straight Nigerians who have elevated their core humanity above beliefs, traditions and altars of gruesome impugning accusation of others to embrace diversity, justice, fairness and human rights. They have displayed a very rare example of Good Samaritan humanity recognising that difference is no excuse to persecute, prosecute and execute.
On the matter of marriage, I am quite open-minded, much as I have never experienced one for myself, I have no qualms about whatever pairing of sexes decides to consecrate their union and have that recognised by civil law with all the civil rights that accrue to respecting that that relationship is in and of itself unique and separate from every other partnership.
We all know that there was no advocacy for same-sex marriage in Nigeria, a society where homosexuals are hardly expressive, talk less of seeking the kinds of freedoms of expression that we freely enjoy in Europe, in particular.
Same love celebrated
However, at the Grammys last month, the rapper Macklemore performed his amazingly unifying gay-rights activism song, Same Love and Queen Latifah conducted a mass marriage ceremony of 34 couples, many of whom were same-sex couples.
Earlier this evening, I read that Bizzle, a ‘Christian’ rapper had given the lyrics of Same Love a typically contemporary homophobic Christian rehash with all the traditional railing, vituperation and stereotypes trotted out by those who subscribe to such beliefs.
He thinks he knows best
Slate, the magazine did an analysis of this corruption of Same Love in the broader context of attitudes to homosexuality from those of a particular religious persuasion with the title - Bizzle’s Response to “Same Love” Reflects The Narcissism of Today’s Homophobia.
I would excerpt parts of the write-up liberally in the following paragraphs, but I beseech you to read it in its entirety, without prejudice and with an open mind, then reflect.
Homophobic people seem unable to see past themselves, to transcend their most rudimentary emotions and arrive at a place that’s often reachable only if we apply a modicum of reason—often spurred by empathy—to challenge old mental habits.
“The late philosopher and psychoanalyst Elisabeth Young-Bruehl once wrote that those with narcissistic prejudice ‘cannot tolerate the idea that there exist people not like them.’”
“Borrowing another concept from psychoanalysis, homophobes may be especially likely to project their own narcissism onto others as a way to deflect taking responsibility for their own issues.”
They know nothing of the other
“The fixation of some straight people on the sex acts of gay people is another incarnation of homophobic narcissism.”
“But gay advocates are not asking for any and all relationships to be validated as marriages, just same-sex ones that otherwise meet state criteria. And gay people don’t claim equal rights based on our desire to have gay sex; we claim equal rights based on the argument that there is no good reason to treat us any differently from straight people, that granting such rights harms no one and helps millions.”
Usurping God’s place
What I found most profound in that article was this indictment of the narcissist, “It also reflects the narcissist’s limited capacity for empathy—an exercise in stepping out of the self to imagine the feelings of others.
That is why I have found myself writing this blog, I have been always intolerant of intolerance and mostly, I cannot countenance those who lack the capacity and proudly demonstrate their incapacity for empathy.
These are the many who have hardly walked an inch in the shoes of another and already presume they can dictate, prescribe, proscribe, censure and control the lives of others because they know best, believe better and are secured in their holier than thou tents to look down on the ‘dregs’ of humanity passing God’s judgement from on high.

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