Friday, January 31, 2014

Nigeria Anti-Same-Sex Relationships Law: The Tyranny of the Majority

President Goodluck Jonathan recently signed a bill into law that criminalizes same-sex relationships. Of all the problems we have in Nigeria, same sex relationships are the least of them.  This law has become an unwanted distraction and it has shifted focus temporarily from the herculean tasks before us.
President Goodluck Jonathan
It's a sledgehammer against the mosquito. At Center for Modern Nigeria, we do not support this kind of law as it violates the civil rights and liberties of the targeted minority population concerned.  This law legitimizes an unjust and jungle justice against those who are the minority among us.  Our President is a  politician and he would have committed a political suicide if he had failed to sign this bill into law regardless of his moral values or religious stand on this issue. Mr. President has chosen to stand with the majority of Nigerians that supported this law. It is more a political decision under the cloaks of moral and cultural values.  But as the president, he has the veto power to stop all illegal and unjust laws, even if he has to pay the political price at the ballot box. A president has the moral authority to protect the least among us. But what do we expect from politicians?
Sometimes, we need men and women of deep-seated principles and probity to lead us (as president and legislators).  Those that are ready to stand up for the middle-class and the minority among us regardless of the political consequence. I could have been part of the majority that supported this law some 15 years ago. For many years ago, in spite of my level of education, I could not comprehend the nature of these kinds of relationships between a man and a man and between a woman and a woman. My beliefs were deeply rooted in my naivety and religion, and I still do. The scriptures represent the guiding principles for all Christians just as Qur'an is for the Muslims. The Scriptures are crystal clear about homosexuality. But the scriptures also talk about many other issues termed immoralities.

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination". Leviticus 18:22. "
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The scriptures are crystal clear about other transgressions such as thieves (political treasury looters, armed robbers, kidnappers, oil bunkerers): greediness (wealth accumulation at the expense of the poor masses, the electorates), swindlers (coup plotters, email scammers, 419), adulterers, idolators (cultists, ritualists), revilers (the contemptuousness of Boko Haram for lives of others) etc

The scriptures also tell us that "...........any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10

"There is only one lawgiver and judge, HE who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you (Mr. President and Nigerian Legislators) to judge your neighbor?" James 4:12.
Our scriptures also talk about the sanctification of the unrighteous by the blood of Jesus Christ

By this anti same-sex relationships law we have become the prosecutors, the judges and the executioners.  .
The Tyranny of the Majority
By this law, our democracy has failed the minority among us. This is an evidence of the 'tyranny by the majority' that dictates how other must live their lives even in the privacy and when the rights of others or their neighbors are not violated by them (the minority).
We will embrace this law as it is for now.  But that does not stop us from talking about it, to educate the majority and the religious and moral purists among us, so they can see the love of God and to accept those who are different; so long as the rights of others or neighbors are not violated.

There was a time in America and in many other nations of the world, when these type of laws were the in-things. The civil rights struggle in America and the extermination by the Nazis in Germany are still in our memories. The blatant violation of the civil rights and liberties of the minorities in America and Germany were justified by the scriptures and nationalism.

Nigeria should learn from older democracies so that we can move forward quickly on more important issues that are more relevant to our social, political and economic equality, justice and progress.

Boko Haram kill more people in one operation than AIDS does in 5-10 years in Nigeria. And when they are arrested, they get a slap on the wrists and let go without trials and prosecution.  More Nigerians die in the hands of armed robbers, kidnappers, ritualists and cultists.  Nigerians are dying from substandard health care system and hunger.  This law is a distraction.

Nigerians would  like to see progressive bills signed into laws by the president that criminalize and impose stiff penalties for economic frauds (stealing of public funds) and greediness by the politicians with obscene salaries; armed robberies and kidnappings, fraudulent banking practices, terrorism by the Boko Haram etc.
We will like to see the president and legislators push through bills that limit their salaries, promote  investments in education, health care system, infrastructures, job creation, energy production etc.

The beauty of democracy is that in many years ahead, this law will be antiquated and obsolete and Nigerians will demand a more liberal laws that are inclusive and that are more tolerant of those who are in the minority.  It is a natural social evolution.

"America has never come easy, sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress." President Obama intoned at the SOTU (State of the Union Address) on January 28, 2014.

As we stumble and make mistakes, frustrated and discouraged because of this misplaced law and other gaffes by our elected; our democracy will and must move FORWARD.

This anti gay law has become the law of the land; for now.  Those affected will respect this law and abide by it.  The majority have spoken.  This is a tyranny by the majority.

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