E O EkeTuesday, May 22, 2012



hen the Nigeria Senate criminalised homosexuality and made it a crime punishable by 14 years imprisonment, I wrote against it, condemned the bill and defended the liberty of homosexuals. I was subjected to a barrage of abusive emails from a Nigerian who claims to be a Christian.

He called me a homosexual and rained all sorts of abuses on me for defending the right of homosexuals to choose immorality. Every attempt to make him see the distinction between the morality of homosexuality which I share with him, and the liberty of homosexuals which I defend, proved abortive. He said I must be a homosexual and an immoral person who is destined to burn in hell. He then started stalking me on the internet and I had to contact the British police to stop him. President Obama’s voicing of support for same sex marriage has once again brought homosexuality into the headlines. Majority of people have taken the same stand they took on the criminalisation of homosexuality.

Many preachers have quoted from the same chapters in the Bible they quoted from when homosexuality was criminalised to condemn same sex marriage. As a Christian and psychiatrist with good experience in general medical practice, I have come to see and view homosexuality in a way that enables me help my homosexual patients in a none judgemental manner, condemn the criminalisation of homosexuality, and stand against the normalisation of same sex marriage; while holding on to my Christian faith and teaching that tells me that homosexuality is an abomination which God will punish when he will bring an end to sin. My position remains that the criminalisation of homosexuality is an act of discrimination and regularisation, legalisation or normalisation of same sex marriage amounts to redefinition of morality which I cannot support. Unless one separates the liberty of homosexuals from the morality of homosexuality and same sex marriage, clarity of thought on this issue would be impossible. Jesus taught that it is possible to hate sin and love the sinner and defend the right of a sinner not to be punished unjustly and still retain revulsion for sin. This is what has been lacking in the attitude of many religious people and leaders who have been involved in this debate. The Bible teaches that homosexuality as a sin is repugnant to God and constitutes an immoral act. However it is wrong for a government to discriminate against people on the basis of morality because there are other sins which are also capable to separating people from God which are not so punished. Therefore, since there are no justifiable reasons to exclude other sins from the same treatment mated to homosexuality, it constitutes discrimination and a violation of individual liberty. Therefore it is wrong to criminalise one sin since all sins are repugnant to God. This does not mean that homosexuality should then be regarded as morally neutral and therefore normalised by according such relationship marriage status. I have discussed why crimes like muder should be punished because they constitute a violation of other people's right to life else where.

However, I would rather live in a developed country full of homosexuals, who are kind, honest, considerate, respectful, tolerant and uncorrupted, than in a an undeveloped and corruption ridden country, full of churches, mosques and bigoted, prejudiced and adamant saints, who aid and abate corruption; think that there is nothing more to learn about God: and misconstrue the persecution of sinners as act of righteousness. History has been a battle between liberty and tyranny, and often men have hidden behind religion to perpetrate injustice and wickedness.

It is often forgotten that When Lord Acton made the statement that contains his famous but frequently misquoted statement that "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely that" he was talking about the abuse of power by religious leaders of his day. In the paragraph from his letter to Mrs Gladstone from where the quote came, he made it clear that he was talking about popes and bishops. The tragedy of history is that religious power is often abused to persecute those whose rights are guaranteed by liberty. Therefore if history has taught us anything it is that religious dogma is never a sufficient reason to deny men that which liberty may allow. Liberty does not open the flood gate of immorality as religion often argue, but enables men to live their lives without pretensions and hypocrisy. However, it does not give the people who it enables to do as they please, the right to redefine morality and impose that which society regards as immoral as normal. This is where the attempt to normalise same sex marriage exceeds that which liberty allows. Therefore the attempt to normalise same sex marriage is not an attempt to exercise liberty, but to redefine morality.

Having said these, the people that should get 14 years in jail in Nigeria are the corrupt politicians who loot the treasury and the criminals who set up churches and mosques to exploit the poor and ignorant in the name of God and perpetuate ignorance, magical thinking, religious prejudices and intolerance. Only a people empowered by knowledge and embolden by freedom can truly worship God and reflect the image of their maker. Nigerian should free itself from mental slavery and religious intolerance and ignorance. Homosexuality is the least of Nigeria's problems. We should not waste further time with homosexuality and same sex marriage.

Obama can support whatever he likes because of votes. He cannot redefine morality on the basis of equality or liberty. This is a distraction. It is sad that while homosexuality a life style that has no negative impact on the economy of Nigeria attracts 14 years in jail, politicians who loot the country and drive it to oblivion, enjoy immunity from prosecution and have the audacity to condemn those who are no different from them before God. Nigeria has indeed missed the road. If a man must say what the majority will like to hear, he should keep quiet, for we know that there is no worse tyranny than the tyranny of the majority.

Once again I say, whatever false, misconceived and mischievous conclusions my detractors may be forced to draw from my defence of the liberty of those who practice amorality, I hope they will be magnanimous enough to note that, I neither approve, nor condone, the immorality of those whose right to practice immorality I defend. When good men for whatever reasons, fail to defend the liberty of immoral men, they weaken their integrity, undermine their moral authority and strengthen the power of tyranny. A wrong does not cease to be a wrong because the people wronged practice immorality. As they say, two wrongs cannot make a right, and a murderer who gives one choice of how to die, is hardly showing kindness. It is wrong to criminalise homosexuality and polygamy. We now know enough to understand that it is not caused by the devil but by choice, nurture and nature, and that those who are mindful of what the society wants can change. However those who choose not to change should not be criminalised.

On same sex marriage, I cannot not support its legalisation because it would be an attempt to change morality and normalise what is unnatural. If the parents of homosexual were in a same sex marriage, the homosexual would not have been born. The society should simply refuse to give homosexual relationship the moral flavour it craves. Homosexuality is an unnatural way of expressing sexuality which should neither be criminalised nor normalised. It must remain an immoral act which men are free to engage in but cannot force the society to accept as normal. To my not very informed mind, this is one of the ways to resolve this madness.

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.