Monday, May 21, 2012

LGBTI SEMINAR HELD FOR NAIROBI CLERGY by Rev. John Makokha as posted in Other Sheep Africka-Kenya, Facebook on May 21


Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya held a one-day seminar for 30 Nairobi clergy drawn from diverse denominational backgrounds. The dialogue and engagement seminar on human sexuality and faith was held on May 5, 2012. The purpose of the seminar was to reduce religious homophobia that has caused a lot of suffering, persecution and stigmatization of the LGBTI persons in our respective communities in Kenya.

At the opening of the dialogue, the pastors had come with the background believe that the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is sinful and an abomination. One participant argued that gays must be healed and transformed because God created man and woman.

Rev. Michael Kimindu. President of Other Sheep Africa guided the participants on the importance
Rev. Kimindu
of proper interpretation of the Scripture within any given context. He said surface value interpretation of scriptures has caused a lot of suffering to minorities throughout history.

Kimindu said that the passage that is most frequently cited in book of Romans, speaks of men
committing indecent acts and inflamed with lust for one another. The correct hermeneutical view of this passage is the idolaters who worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator.

The participants were engaged dialogically that the Bible rightfully condemns homosexual rape, sexual promiscuity, sexual slavery, and temple prostitution and the sexual exploitation of young boys that was the prevalent practice in the Greco-Roman culture at the time. There is nowhere in the scripture that condemns gays who faithfully commit themselves to long term loving relationships.

The reality of the clergy is a call to be wounded by the reality of the threat and suffering, and make present the unconditional love of God. “Stop, think and pray before you start fighting, pastors should not be lions but Daniels in the lion’s den”, he advised.

Rev. John Makokha, Chief Executive Officer of Other Sheep Afrika-Kenya said that throughout the
Rev.. Makokha
history of the church, gays have always been perceived as outcasts and sinners. By contrast, the most striking part of Jesus’ ministry was love for outcasts. ‘ Dear brothers and sisters, I think Jesus would rebuke the church today for rejecting and stigmatizing gay persons”, he said.

He said that the world is full of bad news when it comes to the human dignity, rights and spiritual nurturing and mentorship of LGBTI persons due to religious homophobia. This has caused great and unjust injury and suffering to the LGBTI community.
Many men involved in prostitution are almost poor, it may be their poverty, rather than their sexual orientation that puts them at risk of HIV infection.

Research has shown that many adolescent men, who are involved in homosexual prostitution, do not necessarily identify themselves as gay men. It is unfortunate that crimes against gay men and women are felt mostly among the poor. Structural social forces have created extreme suffering and structural violence for the minorities in our communities. Indeed our society enjoys an equality that in fact does not exist.

There is no doubt that the only correct way to love the LGBTI will be to struggle for their liberation. It will be worthy to fight for change. What is at sake for many LGBTI is physical, emotional and spiritual survival.

The clergy were required to preach against sinful practices, but not against people whose practices exhibit love, peace and kindness. There are gay persons who are compassionate, caring and faithful Christians and law -abiding good citizens of our beloved country Kenya.

Wendy Wanja, a lawyer from Law and Social development Trust said that we all have equal human rights irrespective of our sexuality and gender identity. “We are equally entitled to our human rights without any form of discrimination. All means all”, she stressed.

She said that God is not a book, God is not the law and God is justice.

Soraya Wanjiru, a psychologist from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology facilitated on the psychological position of gay persons. She said that various credible researches have shown that being gay is not illness or madness. “Sexual orientation like the color of our skin is innate”, she affirmed.

The participants were given more reference materials on human sexuality and Christianity for further reading and knowledge.

This seminar was made possible with support from Foundation of Open Society Institute.

4 comments:

  1. This is really encouraging. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

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  2. Hi all,

    This is very inspiring. I hope that you were able to change some hearts and minds. We just need to keep teaching this stuff until everyone can read it this way for themselves.

    God Bless

    Rev. Cecilia Eggleston
    MCC Newcastle, England

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cecilia,

      Just happened to read this article and saw your comment! It is indeed encouraging work, which I'm very grateful for, especially in the context of the hectic homophobia in so many African countries.

      I hope you're well otherwise.

      Toni Kruger, South Africa

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  3. Great blog!!

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    Thanks,
    Pablo from Argentina

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