The fool says in his heart, “there is no God” – Psalm 14:1; 53:1
With the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 10 February, the first such resignation in 600 years, throwing the Catholic Church into a mini crisis, it is appropriate that I should concern myself this month with church and Christian matters. Wasn’t it a divine sign that on the night following the papal resignation, the hallowed dome of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome was twice hit by lightning – two strikes on one night! It so happened that on either side of the Pope’s resignation, both the British and French parliaments (the British on 5 February, and the French on 12 February) voted massively for gays in their respective countries to have the right to marry, thus bringing the list of countries where same-sex marriage is recognised by law as follows: Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Argentina, South Africa, and now Britain and France. And, as one British MP cared to remind the House of Commons, “the president of the United States is in favour of equal marriage too”. Case closed? Not quite.
Despite the growing list, the Church of England, the Church of Wales, and the Catholic Church still maintain their objection to same-sex marriage. Which is what is at the core of my argument here, especially in the light of the oft-repeated fact (or is it fiction?) that the above countries, and particularly Britain, are “Christian countries”.
Christian in what sense? So, how “Christian” is Britain or France or Spain or Portugal? Or the others? Wouldn’t it be better for them to drop the pretence so they would leave Christianity to serious Christians and not disturb the peace of the Christian God or invite His wrath on the lip-service Christians who are now in charge of affairs in these countries?
Who is a Christian anyway? By any definition, a Christian, to me, is a follower of Jesus Christ, who lives according to the example set by Christ, and the precepts and commandments of God. So, tell me, if Christ were sitting in the British or French parliament when the same-sex marriage debate was going on, what would he have said?
Would he have agreed with Toby Perkins, the Labour MP for Chesterfield, who said: “I as a Christian have no worries about voting for this Bill. What greater example of the equalities agenda could there be than Jesus Christ himself?” Well. Buoyed by that salvo, and now feeling no compunction for dragging Jesus into the debate, Perkins continued, a bit mischievously: “As a Christian, I see Christianity as a tremendously generous religion. As I have said previously, I think that Jesus Christ led the way on promoting equalities. There are any number of stories in the Bible that make it absolutely clear that Jesus stuck up for groups that had been oppressed over the years. As a Christian, I feel entirely comfortable voting in favour of this Bill…”
Really? As a Christian? What type? So, Dear Mr Toby Perkins, what does Jesus or the Bible or God say about same-sex marriage? For an answer, there is no better place to go than what God Himself says in the Bible. So please come with me to Genesis 18:20-21. I am using the New International version: “Then the Lord said: ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
Genesis 19:1-29: “The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.” Lot manages to convince the angels (in the form of two men) to spend the night at his house. “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house. They called to Lot: ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them’.
“Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said: ‘No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof’. ‘Get out of our way’, they replied, [adding]: ‘This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them’.”
In the end, the angels struck the men of Sodom with blindness so they could not find the door to Lot’s house. “With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying: ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished… Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!’… Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah… Thus He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities…”
So, where are you, Labour MP Toby Perkins? This is just one of the several examples in the Bible where God spoke, and acted his absolute fury, against same-sex sex. Of course, I can hear atheists and non-Christians say, “This is utter nonsense, especially in this day and age!”. Well, since Toby Perkins is talking about Christians, and the Bible, and Jesus Christ, and possibly God, we can only meet him on that wavelength.
So here is another example in the Bible. At Leviticus 18:22, God commands: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Perhaps to emphasise the importance He attaches to that order, God repeats it at Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
And then at Judges chapters 19 and 20 (two whole chapters), there are more of these same-sex matters that led to a war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other 10 tribes of Israel. When the war ended, 22,000 Israelite men were dead as against 50,000 Benjamite men dead, in addition to the near complete annihilation of the whole Benjamite tribe and towns (which were razed to the ground by Israelite fire).
What is the moral of this story?: Because some men in the Benjamite town of Gibeah wanted to have same-sex sex with a Levite and his male servant who were staying the night in the town, it ended up with the tribe of Benjamin nearly wiped out by their own brothers, with the exception of “600 men who fled into the desert to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed for four months”.
In short, if our Labour MP Toby Perkins is still listening, this is what God and Jesus Christ and the Bible say about same-sex sex. So please leave God out of the debate in the House of Commons, and concentrate on passing your secular Bill to regulate your secular country. It is just a glorious pretence to call Britain a Christian country today. It may have been in the past, but not now!
For Africa, there was a salient point made in the House of Commons on 5 February by the minister for women and equalities, Maria Miller, who moved the motion for the same-sex marriage bill: “The introduction of equal marriage,” she said, “will not marginalise those who believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman – that is clearly a mainstream view – but neither will it continue to marginalise those who believe that marriage can, and should, also be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.”
The minister continued: “We will not allow one belief to exist at the expense of the other. No misguided sense of political correctness will be allowed to impinge on that. It would be deeply divisive if, in righting a wrong for some, we created a wrong for others. Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have; it binds families and society together, and it is a building block that promotes stability…”
According to Maria Miller and other supporters of the Bill, Britain is enacting this law because national surveys show that the majority of Britons now support same-sex marriage. Well, in Africa the majority of the people still do not support homosexuality. So, in the same vein, Britain, America and the others should respect the views of the majority of the Africans who don’t support same-sex liaisons. Therefore, Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama should refrain from trying to force homosexuality down the throats of the unwilling Africans, as they tried to do in late 2011.
As Maria Miller rightly pointed out, “It would be deeply divisive if, in righting a wrong for some, we created a wrong for others.” Africa, therefore, does not want to see Cameron, Obama and Amnesty International trying to use a “misguided sense of political correctness… to impinge” on African beliefs and values. Please leave the Africans alone; when the time comes for them to legalise homosexuality, they will do so out of their own volition – as Britain and France have just done, out of their own volition! The Africans don’t want it imposed on them by British prime ministers and American presidents! In fact, they resent that kind of imposition!