By Joseph Karoki
Long before the white man set foot in Africa bringing with him Christianity, Africa was largely a religious continent and had been for a long time. Traditional religions, beliefs and Islam held long standing beliefs against homosexual behavior and lifestyle. Africans have always believed that marriage is between a Man and a Woman.
It is therefore no surprise that this amongst many other traditional beliefs and practices have been a bedrock of not only strong marriages but resilient family units that have largely extended to the globally admired sense of community in Africa. Africa has one of the lowest but rising rates of divorce in the world. Our children are raised to value education, financial freedom, entrepreneurship, culture and a sense of community.
So here is the question, why are we so quick to fold under the pressure of LGBT (lesbian, Gays, Bi sexual and Transgenders) rights organizations?
According to The New York Times on December 6th 2011, the Obama administration announced that the United States would use all the tools of American diplomacy, including the potent enticement of foreign aid, to promote gay rights around the world. This included $3 million program to finance gay-rights organizations many of which are working in Africa.
What was more disturbing was this quote by the Secretary of State Hillary at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, “the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights” of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people “rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs.”
Fellow Africans, while the Obama administration knows too well that many regions in the world traditionally oppose the homosexual lifestyle, they are willing to not only pump millions of dollars in LGBT organizations working in Africa but use aid to penalize countries that oppose homosexual lifestyle.
Not many in President Obama’s administration have towed the line when it comes to the promotion of homosexuality in Africa. As a matter of fact it is widely believed that the American Ambassador to Kenya, Ret General Scott Gration resigned from his position, citing ‘differences with Washington’ over his ‘leadership style and certain priorities’. A rather interesting coincidence is that on the same week of his resignation, the American Embassy in Nairobi held a LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bi sexual and Trans Genders) pride celebration party. It is said that the former Ambassador, a son of missionary parents, and who was known for his strong Christian values refused to attend the said event.
Many in Africa believe that Human rights and Gay rights are separate and distinct. Already the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) is already promoting gay rights in Kenya. There is talk that many non-profit organizations in Africa cannot receive foreign aid unless they have a LGBT board member or employee.
They Gay and Lesbian movement and agenda is powerful and has already seen strides here in the United States for example many states now allow Gay and Lesbian families to marry and adopt children. As a member of the Armed Forces in the United States serving in the United States Marine Corps, the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell has affected unit cohesion and despite opposition from rank and file military leadership, Don’t ask Don’t Tell was repealed. Africa has the power to refuse a new colonial power and stick with long held traditional beliefs that have been a pillar to our communities. We can still protect gays and Lesbians from prosecution, discrimination in the workplace and ensure that their safety is not jeopardized because of the sexual orientation without selling our souls. Make no mistake about it legalizing gay marriage, gay adoption and promotion of gay pride will irreversibly affect African Society.
Joseph Karoki is a freelance Kenyan-American writer residing in Dallas, Texas and a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps.
The views in opinion pieces and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of Jambonewspot but rather those of the guest writer.