According to an article in the New York Times Monday, President Obama’s full-court press for homosexual rights in Africa has backfired, resulting in increased hostility toward gays rather than greater acceptance.
When the president visited Africa last summer, he made the LGBT agenda one of the centerpieces of his message, comparing discrimination of gays in Africa to the treatment of blacks in America prior to the civil rights movement.
“As an African American in the United States I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law,” the president said.
According to a Nigerian university student identified only as “Mike,” the U.S. pro-gay push in Africa “is making matters worse. There’s more resistance now. It’s triggered people’s defense mechanism.”
The Times article claims that the U.S. government has invested more than $700 million into supporting the gay agenda globally and that more than half of that money has targeted subSaharan Africa.
Nigeria’s 2014 law criminalizing homosexual activity “is widely regarded by both supporters and opponents of gay rights as a reaction to American pressure on Nigeria and other African nations to embrace gay rights,” the article said.
Immediately after Obama’s visit, a number of African bishops as well as other leaders lashed out at the president for his western “cultural imperialism,” and requested that the president learn to respect Africa’s values rather than imposing his own.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese in Nigeria, said that the position of Catholics against homosexual behavior is irrevocable and that the Church will continue to maintain its stand against gay marriage.
“Unfortunately, we are living in a world where these things have now become quite acceptable but for the fact that they are acceptable doesn’t mean that they are right,” he said. “The Catholic Church considers itself as carrying the banner of the truth in the world that has allowed itself to be so badly deceived.”
“In the same way that we don’t try to impose our culture on anyone, we also expect that people should respect our culture in return,” said Theresa Okafor, a Nigerian activist.
Obama’s alliance with the LGBT cause earned him more than a little opprobrium back home as well, with American black leaders furious that the president should compare the gay agenda to the civil rights movement.
Black leaders were irate when Obama compared the civil rights movement to the same-sex marriage platform on the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march, when black American citizens were beaten for demanding voting rights they were being denied.
“I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News.
“They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison,” he said.
“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”
One Texas pastor, Rev. Voddie Baucham, vocally rejected the claim that “gay is the new black,” highlighting the significant differences between race and sexual orientation. Baucham insisted, for instance, that “ethnicity is innate and unchangeable. So-called sexual orientation is not innate and is changeable.”
Baucham said that some of the confusion stems from mistakes made in the civil rights movement itself, which used the political language of “constituencies,” resulting in debates about special interests rather than the common rights of all.
When rights are reduced to privileges for certain constituencies of people, then their true meaning is lost. “We’ve embraced a hyphenated understanding of ourselves as opposed to a view that sees us as one people,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome