Barack Obama recently utilized his trip to Africa as a platform to urge the various nations and government leaders within the continent to decriminalize homosexual behavior.
During his visit to Senegal, a largely Muslim country, Obama praised the United States Supreme Court for its decision to strike down key parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, stating that it was a “victory for American democracy and a proud day for equal rights.” He called upon African governments to likewise work to make homosexuals equal under the law, comparing the “controversial” issue in Africa to the American civil rights battle of the 1960’s.
“When it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there,” he said. “But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally. I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort.”
According to reports, Obama had been urged by Amnesty International to speak up in support of homosexuals during his visit, as 38 African countries currently outlaw homosexual behavior, and some provide penalties for being caught in the act.
However, Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, rejected Obama’s remarks, stating that the country “is not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.”
“We are not homophobic,” he asserted. “Senegal is a country that respects freedoms. Gays are not persecuted, but for now they must accept the choices of other Senegalese.”
Now, Deputy President William Ruto of Kenya is likewise speaking up against Obama’s pleas, stating that the country would not abandon its beliefs about marriage, which stem from faith in God.
“No one should have any worry about Kenya’s stand as a God-fearing nation,” he said, according to the Daily Nation. “President Obama is a powerful man, but we trust in God as it is written in the Bible that cursed is the man who puts trust in another man.”
As previously reported, lawmakers in Uganda have likewise been working to criminalize homosexual behavior in the country, and has been under intense international pressure to back down from its efforts. However, Christians, Muslims and others in the nation have been urging parliament to pass legislation to protect social and personal morality in Uganda.
“Speaker, we cannot sit back while such [a] destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,” stated a petition presented to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga last fall from citizens supportive of the bill. “We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”
“The most impressive part of this struggle here is that even non-Christians — like Muslims — are also at the forefront of advocating for the passing of the bill,” Restore Uganda director Okumu Yudah Tadeo told Christian News Network. “According to Uganda’s cultural and religious values that have helped to keep morals in the country, it is in Uganda’s best interest to keep up the good morals and Godly values in this generation and the generations to come.”
Photo: Elizabeth Cromwell