In the aftermath of President Obama’s pro-gay push in Kenya, a series of African bishops and other religious leaders have responded forcefully, reminding the President that the Church’s stand against homosexual acts is not going to change.
During his visit, Obama condemned Kenya’s outlawing of homosexual acts as “wrong—full stop,” comparing Kenya’s policy toward gays to the treatment of blacks in the United States 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.
Blacks in the United States have consistently rejected the President’s parallel of gay marriage to the civil rights movement, calling the comparison offensive.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese in Nigeria, said on Sunday that the position of Catholics against homosexuality is irrevocable and that the Church will continue to maintain its stand against gay marriage.
Onaiyekan acknowledged changing trends of public acceptance of homosexual practice, but stressed that public opinion doesn’t translate into morality.
“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.
“The Catholic Church considers itself as carrying the banner of the truth in the world that has allowed itself to be so badly deceived,” he said.
The Cardinal also noted that the Catholic Church is one of the few religious groups in the world that has maintained its stance against an anything-goes sexual libertinism, and insisted that homosexuality is against God’s will.
“Even if people don’t like us for it, our church has always said homosexuality is unnatural and marriage is between a man and a woman. There is no such thing as marriage between two men or marriage between two women, whatever they do among themselves should not be called marriage,” he said.
“There is no question of the Catholic Church changing its positions on this matter,” he said.
Charles Gabriel Palmer Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Ghana, also weighed in on the President’s words Sunday, noting that the Catholic Church is against homosexual practice as contrary to the law of God, and that homosexuality is “anti-human.”
“We will not respect homosexuality but have respect for homosexuals because they are created in the likeness of God. We are against them adopting children because it is difficult for homosexuals to raise a child to be responsible in the society,” he said.
In his Sunday sermon, Buckle urged Christians to stand up and affirm their belief in the unchangeable truth that marriage is the stable union of a man and a woman ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.
“The Church cannot but uphold the fundamental truth about marriage and family life and within the role of sex and sexuality in the whole of the human and social ecology,” he said.
Prior to President Obama’s visit, 700 Kenyan evangelical pastors wrote an open letter asking the president not to come to their country to push the gay agenda.
Mark Kariuki, the leader of an alliance representing 38,000 churches and 10 million Kenyan Christians, was the main drafter of the letter.
“We do not want him to come and talk on homosexuality in Kenya or push us to accepting that which is against our faith and culture,” Kariuki said.
Kariuki said he welcomed the president’s visit but suggested he leave “the gay talk” in America.
In May, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria, said that Africa’s position on homosexuality had proved an obstacle to American assistance in fighting Boko Haram. He said the United States had made clear it would not help Nigeria fight Boko Haram unless the country modify its laws regarding homosexuality, family planning and birth-control.
“Homosexuals are God’s children,” Badejo said. “They have a right to be respected. They have a right to compassion. They have a right to be accepted as human beings. But there is a distinguishing factor between human rights and human behavior. I don’t have to accept homosexual behavior, just like I don’t have to accept drug addition, robbery, and terrorism.”
African American Christians have opposed Obama’s characterization of gay as the new black, noting that homosexuals have never been enslaved or oppressed.
“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.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome