FEATURE ARTICLE

E O EkeTuesday, January 21, 2014
eoeke@aol.com


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REJOINDER: WHAT GAIN HAS HOMOSEXUALITY BROUGHT TO THE NATIONS THAT HAVE LEGALIZED IT? ...NIGERIANS SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH

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From: Alphonsus Nwadike (fcnwadike@hotmail.com)
To: eoeke (eoeke@aol.com); femi07 (femi07@hotmail.com); basieffiong (basieffiong@gmail.com)
Sent: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 6:05
Subject: My article continues to enjoy wide publicity

Gentlemen, my article has received a publication on nigeriaworld.com. I sent it to nigeriaworld.com yesterday (1/19/14) for publication, but I was not sure it could be published by nigeriaworld because of my experience with that medium last year. Last year, I sent an article to nigeriaworld, but it was not published probably because the name NWADIKE was irritating to the Publisher. So, this time around, I did not disclose my last name, NWADIKE to the publisher. I only disclosed my first and middle names to him/her and it was published. My middle name is UGOMBA while my first name is ALPHONSUS, so the article is published in UGOMBA A UGOMBA without my last name NWADIKE. Continue to read it for better re-education and re-enlightenment. I also sent the same article to Nigerian TELL Magazine, and my nephew in Lagos has just called to inform me it has been published in that magazine. My article is an open letter to the whole world, and it has generated better debate on homosexuality.

Thanks

Alphonsus U. Nwadike

ay I take the liberty to respond to the above article claimed to be written by One Ugomba A Ugomba. Who claims to be an Attorney at law and a certified legal nurse consultant living in Maryland USA.

The problem I have with the article is that it is exactly the same article sent to me by Alphonsus Nwadike few days ago, in fact, before it was published on Nigeriaworld, asking for my comment. You will remember that Alphonsus Nwadike, Basil Effiong and Femi Adebayo were the Nigerians who have been sending me hate mails misrepresnting my views because I oppose the criminalisation of a sin which only God can punish.

I am concerned that Mr Alphonsus Nwadike is peddling his sophistry under a false name. Why is he not using the name which he uses to abuse people he does not agree with in the internet? It says something above his motive, which I would leave people to form their own opinion.

Below is my response to Mr Nwadike’s request and I hope that this will enable Nigerians to be better informed and form a balanced opinion about the issue.

Dear Alphonsus,

Thanks for sending me your article (What gain has homosexuality brought to the nations that have legalized it?) for comment. I have read it. It is a welcome perspective on the very human and contentious issue of homosexuality, which as you know, divides opinion and can leave the victims persecuted and marginalised by the society.

However, if I am to offer a critique of your view as you requested, it would seem to me that you argued the issue of homosexuality form a position of belief and deep moral and religious convictions and avoided the main question which is: what is the right way of treating homosexuals in a secular democracy, where the fundamental human rights and liberty of all should be respected and protected irrespective of ethnicity and religious beliefs?

Again, I noticed that you based your position on opinion of prominent people and not on empiric facts about homosexuality. The problem with this is that it invariably leads to fallacious arguments. In fact, you went along and made several fallacious arguments to justify your conviction or should I say prejudice against homosexuals. I noticed the invalid or error of logic, ‘Ad verecundium’, the appeal to sapiential authority, or wise judgement throughout the article. As I read your article, the fallacy of your argument became obvious in the way you misattributed comments, favouring one authority over the other, ignored relevant points of difference among expert authorities and lack of direct evidence to buttress the many assertions you made about homosexuality, which we are not true.

As you know, fallacious argument is popular with lawyers. ‘Ad verecundium, affirming the consequent and Post hoc ergo propter hoc, (Which is making a complex family of related fallacies to infer an incorrect causal relationship between two events) are the commonest fallacies I noticed in your article and they are prone to errors like irrelevance, Misattribution, inappropriateness and lack of direct evidence and favouring one authority. These errors are very prominent in the way and manner you used the views of Albert Einstein, Edmund Burk etc., to support your beliefs about homosexuality.

In addition, your articled focused on the morality of homosexual and claim falsely that non-criminalisation of homosexuality will lead to opening of flood gate of immorality, which is not true. You also used psychiatry to argue the negative effects of homosexuality by claiming that it is a mental illness and that the circumstance that led to its removal from the DSM by American Psychiatrist Association is dubious. Again this is not true. It was its inclusion in the DSM as a psychiatric disorder that was dubious, and when it became obvious that it was wrong to use morality as a basis for classification of a condition as mental illness, it was removed. Moreover, homosexuality, does not meet the criteria for a disorder, disease or an illness. In fact those who claimed that homosexuality is a mental illness did not answer the question of what difference it makes if it is an illness. The psychiatric argument is no longer valid. I am afraid; the way you used it may suggest lack of deep and objective knowledge and understanding of homosexuality.

Furthermore, most of your argument is based on the false premises; like non criminalisation of homosexuality opens the flood gate of immorality or increases prevalence of some diseases. These are not true and there are no evidence either empirically or in history to suggest that the assertions you base your argument on are true. There was no attempt to compare countries where homosexuality is not criminalised and where it is, to establish the evil effects of homosexuality on the society as an objective person would, in a matter as serious as this. Also the use of prevalence of disease like Aids to argue for criminalisation of homosexuality is a not appropriate and represents a misattribution of facts. Anybody who has unprotected sex with an infected person, homosexual or heterosexual, may contact aids. This is the truth you blurred in the way you used the facts. Your article would seem to be based on myths and religious convictions about homosexuality.

Your article raises various serious issues like, who is a good man. How do we define good men? Can a homosexual be a good man or woman? How do you define good in that context you used it? It would also seem to me that you assumed that those who are against a punitive and persecutory attitude to homosexuals approve of it and are seeking its normalisation. This is also not true as many of them understand that it is not morally neutral and are against gay marriage for many different reasons. Obviously, in a debate like this nature, objectivity and truth are always casualty. The tone of your article which suggests that those who oppose criminalisation of homosexuality are for its promotion or normalisation is dishonest. It is tantamount to saying that, a man who is against the cutting off of hands of thieves or extrajudicial killings, support stealing. This is perverse.

The more I look at the article, the more I see that it is a based on the assumption that good men are people who support criminalisation of homosexuality and punitive jail term for them. This is a dichotomous view of reality. I do not consider such people good men, and history and evidence do not see such people as good men. Many of such people are men, who as a result of their religious beliefs and convictions have developed intolerant attitude to people who are different. Was Jesus a bad man for opposing the stoning of a woman caught in adultery?

Your article may appeal to religiously prejudiced people, who already agree with the religious prejudiced position you argued. It may have escaped your attention that the witch hunters of 15 century saw themselves as good men and those they persecuted as dangerous to the society. Your article reminds me of the book, Malleus Malleficarum, the 15 century authority on witchcraft written by two monks, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger (1996). When you read how they justified the witch hunt, you will see the similarity to your argument and why it is dangerous to justify persecution of others, on the grounds of moral convictions alone, and why religious conviction is a dangerous and unsafe construct, on which to justify the restrictions of the rights and liberty of those who are different from us. I suppose you may have read John Mills on ‘On liberty’. If you have not, it is a book you must read. Enlightenment is more that our religious conviction and our university degrees.

The article is an honest attempt by a man with deep religious convictions about a behaviour to justify his intolerance and prejudiced attitude against those who choose such behaviour by the misuse of history, misattribution of facts, selective abstraction and arbitrary inference. Most of the arguments are fallacious and betray serious gap in knowledge and understanding of the nature, of the concept discussed. It shows that even though the religious perspective of the issue is not the only perspective, to you, it would seem to be the only and overriding perspective and every other perspective must be forced to yield to it. I think it is a dangerous, intolerant and very sectarian view, which cannot guarantee peaceful coexistence. It reminds me of Saul at Sanhedrin council trying to justify the persecution of Christians and Gameliel disagreeing and saying that they should be leave Christians alone. One does not need to respond with hatred, persecution and annihilation, towards people who he believes have made an immoral choice. Many religious minds fail to learn this lesson which Jesus tried for three years to teach the Jews.

I hope that the plurality of views being expressed in this issue will enable Nigeria to adopt the right attitude to people, who are different, become more tolerant of differences and diversity and evolve into a peaceful society where liberty and equality of all will be respected and people not allowed hide behind the law to enforce religious morality.

With kind regards

Eke

Mr Nwadike’s or Ugomba’s ‘article, or Ugomba as he identified himself in the article, is a very calculated attempt to misinform the public and sustain the intolerant and prejudiced attitude towards people who are different. He cleverly made it issue of whether one believes that homosexuality is immoral or not when the issue is about the right attitude to people who have chosen what we consider to be immoral. This is dishonest and does not show a man who is honest with his intentions. No one who is not a homosexual who opposes inhuman treatment of homosexual believes that it is morally neutral. The debate has always been about what is the best way of treating homosexuals and he did not answer it. Rather he wrote an article misusing and misrepresenting facts, to argue for the ill treatment of people because of who they are. I hope that Nigerians will learn.

All I need to add to the debate is this: Classification of behaviours on the basis of morality is just one way of looking at human behaviours. I do believe that there are moral and immoral issues. The problems are how the decision of what constitutes morality and immorality is reached.

Obviously, for many of us brought up with religion (Christianity and Islam), moral behaviours are what are approved in our holy books and we also believe that they were dictated by God. Therefore, we accept religious dogmas without critical thinking. We just believe them and are happy to be called believers oblivious of what it says about our rationality.

If a Philosopher looks at it, he will say that Religious people start from a position of error of logic called ‘Ad verecundium’, the appeal to sapiential authority, or wise judgement and as such would find the basis of their attribution of what is right or wrong fallacious. That said, I believe in morality, but the issue is not about morality. People keep making a moral and emotional argument. It is about the right way of treating people who have chosen immorality. It is about our attitude to others, which is the cause of all the problems in this world.

Is it right to lock homosexuals up for 14 years? If you think so, then state your reasons so that we can have an enlightening debate about the right way to treat our fellow human beings irrespective of who they are. Is it an act of persecution to punish sins like homosexuality in the Nigeria has decided? Would God want governments to criminalise all sins and punish them with harsh prison sentences? Did God give human beings the power to punish all sins? What or which sin should human beings punish and which ones should we leave to God to punish?

Is this law not exactly what Islam want, which was what the Israelites were doing under Moses, which is to have the power to punish sinners, cutting off the hands of thieves, stoning unruly children and adulterers or simply making them slaves? In north Nigeria, it is criminal to drink or sale alcohol because it is a sin according to the Quran.

The issue is really about our attitude to others, including those who are different or chosen differently from us. Those who follow Jesus knows that he would not apply punitive punishment as a response to sin, because he does not enjoy to see people suffer no matter what they have done. He believes in giving people time and chance and respecting their choice, because he knows that there is something called repentance. If God is like any of the religious bigots who believe in persecution of sinners, he would have killed Saul for persecuting Christians, but he allowed him until he repented. Jesus opposed those who wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery. Again, it is about sex. Why are intolerant religious minds so exercised about sex?

The homosexual issue shows one thing very clearly, that what psychologist, psychiatrist and philosophers say about religious people is true. They say that there are two types of believers, those who are differentiated in their beliefs and those who are not. People, who are differentiated in their beliefs, are tolerant and nice to all like Jesus, those who are not differentiated in their beliefs, are intolerant and are like the Pharisees. Their attitude to things they do not like is simply to destroy it. They are very intolerant and are extremists. Extremists are just people who are intolerant of what they do not approve of.

Lastly, anybody who is talking about sex, and has not read the 'Naked Ape' by Desmond Morris, really knows very little about sex. He or she needs to understand a little more about sex, before he can have both a rational and empathic understanding of the concept. Few people are only able to achieve a rational understanding of what they believe in, only a few gain both a rational and empathic understanding of things. This is explained better in the psychology of meaning.

The problem of majority of Nigerians is that we claim to religious and guided by the Bible or Quran in our morality, when in reality, we are simply ignorant and intolerant religious' hot heads' who think that the world is run on the Bible and Quran. Important as these books are, and I think they are very important, the world does not run on them and can actually get on very well without them. The world is made to run on, justice as fairness, tolerance, equality, honesty, liberty, rule of law and due process. (Doing unto others as you would like others to do unto you). In essence, these are the values religious is supposed to inculcate in people. Instead, it has turned many into sadists who derive joy by seeing others suffer and punished for something that has basic human explanation and bigots who cannot contain what they do not approve.

I believe as the Bible says, the truth shall set you free. No one who refuses to examine all the knowledge available to him can find the truth. When we know the truth, it will set us free from our intolerance and bigotry, which we mistake for sanctimonious attitude or holiness. Jesus said this much, to the Pharisees and when he saw how hard, ignorant, bigoted and intolerant they were, he called them sons of vipers. That is what all extremists are. Those who use religion to justify persecution are not different from members of Boko Haram, when you look at the issues involved closely. Let us use this opportunity to examine our attitude to others. I hope we can see others, more as Jesus saw them, instead of as the Pharisees saw them. I rest my case.

E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.

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