There is, surely, an atmosphere of unease with the growing consciousness of minority rights. At the centre of these minority communities is that of homosexuals whose plight seems to appear in every document that exchanges hands between government and its Western cooperating partners.
Demands by these partners sounded heavy on the previous government because the issue was one of the items to be addressed if the donors were to resuscitate the much needed aid.
We are anxiously waiting to see what the current government is going to handle that particular issue in the light that aid has started trickling in.
In the midst of that tension, churches have taken their own specific stands some of which are too extreme to be taken by men of God.
Some months ago, CCAP Nkhoma Synod made scathing remarks on homosexuality and made it clear that as a church, they are going to organize a protest march to parliament if the lawmakers decide to bring the issue of gay rights under discussion. An acceptable move because it is biblical that homosexuality is evil but isn’t it the church’s prerogative to minister to sinners?
This issue needs to be looked at from three perspectives, legal, cultural and religious.
It is within government’s jurisdiction to consider legalization of homosexuality by weighing the pros and cons of such an action.
Culturally, homosexuality is labeled as a taboo such that verbal tirades such as ‘homosexuals are dogs or animals’ and many more unpronounceable phrases are common.
It is thereby surprising to see the church trying to play the roles of state and cultural institutions at once.
Christianity, just like all religions, is defined by love, a virtue that is at the core of all undertakings of such institutions.
It, therefore, remains disheartening to note that religion nowadays has become divisive in nature whereby personalities are segregated and condemned on so many platforms, sexual orientation inclusive.
Painful is the fact that, the more the Christian fraternity sidelines the gay community, the more their intent defeats the whole purpose of spreading the gospel as commanded by Jesus Christ before he ascended to heaven.
To this day, any Christ-centered church should base its principles on that command. The spreading of the gospel is therefore an endeavor that should not be undertaken with emotional strings attached.
The approach taken in preaching Christ should not magnify one sin and blow it out of proportion because the bible tells us that we are all sinners (Romans 3:12).
Outlining all sins would be a frantic and endless struggle but to single out one from that long list is surely misplaced egoism and self justification.
The moment any Christian starts pointing out other people’s sins, that is when love starts to fade away.
The big question is “How does Christianity embrace gays and lesbians?” The notion does not arise from a blank page.
In a country which has deep roots in culture and religion, there is need to answer the above question in relation to these two institutions.
Having received cold reaction from other institutions relief would have been sought in the Christian spectrum due to the element of love that defines the creed.
Sadly and unfortunately, in a country where it is estimated that 80 percent of the population are Christians, the approach towards homosexuals has been a contrast to the ideals that circumscribe the creed.
Much as homosexuality has “rightly” been highlighted as sin, it is the treatment of human beings who have homosexual orientations that brings tears to an objective heart.
Whether we accept them or not in the body of Christ, it does not change the fact that homosexuals exist. Denying the act does not mean denying their existence.
Have you thought about it that the person sitting next to you in church might be gay? What about the beautiful lady who all guys at church think she is a senior spinster yet she is lesbian? At the point of knowing their sexual status, do you boot them out of the church system or handle them with love so as to show them the way to Christ? Isn’t coming to church the consequence of our inborn sin?
If we are to take a look at our filthy pasts, don’t we think we would have deserved the same condemnation, if that was to be endorsed as the right approach towards any sin?
As government is still contemplating whether to legalize homosexuality, it is the Christian community that can offer a solution by showing love to the gay community thereby offering them insight on the will of God in their lives.
Only when the church becomes sober to look into gay rights critically then the issue will be broken down into smallest pieces. Some aspects can be taken on board thereby bringing the church into right perspective in as far as homosexuality is concerned.
There is a Christian idiom which says, “What Would Jesus Do?” It then exposes the most fundamental question, “If he were to be in our generation, would he have condemned homosexuals as we do? I beg to differ; surely he would have embraced them to show them the truth.
By “embracing” we might be dealing with issues of semantics but no matter how diverse our perceptions may be, it is high time Christianity found a way of dealing with homosexuality except “ignoring it”.