Kenyan gays, lesbians and advocates wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a rare protest, opposing many African nations’ tough stances against homosexuality in Nairobi, Kenya, on Feb. 10, 2014. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya petitioned the High Court on Feb. 22, 2018, that sections of the penal code are in breach of the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Conservative faith leaders worry Kenya will repeal ban on gay sex

Kenyan gays, lesbians and advocates wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a rare protest, opposing many African nations’ tough stances against homosexuality, in Nairobi, Kenya, on Feb. 10, 2014. The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya has petitioned the High Court to say that sections of the penal code are in breach of the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) – In Kenya, where conservative Christian and Muslim leaders often preach passionately against gay relationships, a court could soon overturn the national ban on gay sex.

“We are concerned about move to legalize the acts. We still believe in the Bible. The Bible is above our cultures and does not allow it. So we must stand for that truth,” said retired Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu of the Mombasa Diocese.

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Kalu and many other faith leaders in Kenya, which is 83 percent Christian, fear their country could this year follow South Africa and become the second on the continent to decriminalize gay sex.

Muslim leaders and other non-Christians in Kenya — and across most of Africa — also generally hold gay relationships in contempt. But the country's increasingly vocal LGBT groups are hoping the High Court of Kenya will rule favorably on a 2016 petition that calls the criminalization of gay sex discriminatory. The court is due to pronounce a date for the ruling on April 26.

Christian groups prepare to march against homosexuality in Nairobi, Kenya, in July 2015. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Some religious leaders have lobbied against the law, which carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. They say repealing the ban — which they call a vestige of British colonialism — is a matter of protecting gay Kenyans' health and dignity.

While few are actually imprisoned under the law, it has been used as a justification for harassment, violence and discrimination against gay people — at the hands of police, but also relatives who believe a gay person shames a family.

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“It is particularly disturbing when religious values are used to justify persecution of selected groups,” said the Rev. Kennedy Mwita, district superintendent of the United Methodist Church in South Nyanza. “Christians proclaim that all people are God’s children and deserve protection of their human and civil rights.”

Said the Rev. John Makokha, of the LGBT-welcoming Riruta Hope Community Church in Nairobi: “A repeal would give LGBT people their freedom, which many are yearning for.” 

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The many religious and government leaders who want the ban to remain in place say it upholds not only biblical values and natural law, but separates African from Western societies they deem culturally debased in their acceptance of gay sex and marriage.

“I think it’s a delicate matter of concern to the church. Our churches do not exist in isolation, but we fear the secular forces will always be against the church,” said Kalu, adding that he won’t be surprised if the ruling is in favor of repeal.

Religious conservatives also fear the petition's success in Kenya would spur other African nations to repeal their bans, and they are aware that LGBT advocates in Kenya have already had some success in the courts this year. Last month a court in Mombasa outlawed forced anal examinations in sex crime cases.

Comments

  1. Unbelievable how horrible conservative religion can be !!

    -> “The Bible is above our cultures and does not allow it….”

    …Typical missionary mentality. This sums up everything wrong with Christianity…it practices hate and evil in the name of a poorly written book — patched together by ignorant authors, Roman era apocalyptic zealots and medieval translators.

    -> “Religious conservatives also fear the petition’s success in Kenya would spur other African nations to repeal their bans …”

    Is that so…Yes, conservative religious leaders should be very afraid of their sheep having rights!

  2. I bet they’re worried about it.

    Nothing says christian love like putting people who aren’t harming anyone into prison because they are committing a purely theological offense against your purely theological concerns.

  3. “Sections of the penal code are in breach of the constitution” of Kenya. ‘Nuff said.

    “The criminalization of gay sex [is] discriminatory.” Also ’nuff said.

    “Give LGBT people their freedom”. ‘Nuff said here, too.

    Apparently, though, for some people that’s not enough. WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY PEOPLE OF FAITH? What – “the Bible is above our cultures and does not allow” LGBTQs in “our cultures”?! WHERE DOES IT SAY THAT?!

    Truth be told, “the Bible … does not allow it” – NOT in “our cultures”, BUT RATHER IN OUR BIBLE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES.

    Know the difference. ‘Nuff said.

  4. I guess this ban is in effect because Homosexuality is a sin. How long before more bans are enacted for other sins? For instance it’s a sin not to be a Christian.

  5. Homosexuals harm everyone, but themselves most of all.
    Children are not taught a respect for authority – Christ.
    Children are not taught a respect for themselves – sexual sin is actually a sin against oneself
    It lowers the standard of morality where they live – it is a sin.

  6. Proverbs 14:34
    ESV
    Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

    Isaiah 60:12
    English Standard Version
    For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste.

  7. Your ignorant bigotry harms everyone, including yourself. Bigotry is immoral. Did someone drop you on your head as a child? Start praying for forgiveness.

  8. Being a raging religious bigot with the intelligence of a hambone harms everyone, but mostly, the raging religious bigots themselves.

    Because It prevents you from seeing that just because your gay daughter told you to get stuffed, your desire to take it out oneveryone else that isn’t just like you are does nothing for you, your daughter, or anyone else.

    Being raging religious bigot with the intelligence of a hambone lowers the standards of morality, faith, freedom, kindness. Decency, honesty, and intelligence for everyone.

  9. 1 John 2:11
    “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

    You walk in the darkness.

  10. Galatians 3:28
    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    I guess this is lost on you.

  11. …we fear the secular forces will always be against the church…..said a retired Anglican Bishop.

    That’s because the church is always against the secular, which the church has a hard time realizing that it can’t exist without it.

  12. Ok. Tell the CDC that homosexual sex is not harmful:
    ” Overall, MSM account for:
    • 56 percent (estimated 615,400 persons in 2014) of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States.
    • More than two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year (70 percent, or an estimated 26,200 infections in 2014).
    While CDC estimates that four percent of men in the United States are MSM, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among them is more than 44 times that of other men (rate ranges from 522 to 989 per 100,000 MSM compared to 12 per 100,000 other men).”

    HIV is not harmful. Got it.

  13. You should tell that to the CDC. I’m sure they are waiting with bated breath to hear your opinions.

    Meanwhile, perhaps you could propose legislation to ban guns, seeing as so many people are killed by them.

    Ban overeating, because it clearly kills so many people.

    Ban smoking, because we know what smoking does,

  14. “Jesus prayed….” He was speaking of His Father’s will
    Luke 6:37? John 7:24 – English Standard Version
    Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
    Luke was discussing judging on appearances if you read further down.

  15. Not at all. It is discussing salvation Canis

  16. Not at all, Canis. I help people to know what pleases Christ.

  17. Also ban cars and trucks because about 35,000 people are killed in the US each year in accidents. Plus, far more people are seriously injured each year.

  18. You’re helping your fearful ego, that’s all.

  19. Ohhhhh this is where the “gay daughter” came from! lol……you really must be obsessed with me Ben to try to come up with that! hahahahaha
    Don’t be obsessed with me. Turn to Jesus and be saved from your sin. That is more important. Homosexuality will keep you out of the Kingdom of Heaven. As much of a twit that you are, we still don’t want to see you die in Hell.

  20. When are you going to turn to Christ Canis.That should be your concern.

  21. They are trying to protect you from your right to spend eternity in Hell, Damien.

  22. As usual, the most prolific anti-gay zealot among commenters here at RNS, sand•in•windsor, is polluting the air with her Fictional Assertions Rationalizing a Christian’s Enmity (FARCE).

  23. Well, it was Christ who gave me my spouse. So there.

  24. When are YOU going to turn to Christ? That should be your concern.

  25. Let’s not forget that American Evangelicals stumped for various laws outside the US to have gays imprisoned or executed. Their intent was always murderous but they could not get away with it here. So thru went abroad preaching atrocity.

  26. You told me all about it. A close relative, you said. It may not be your daughter, though that is the obvious choice. Just as your psychology is obvious.

  27. I don’t remember saying a close relative. Instead of fixating on me Ben, try Jesus;

  28. you don’t remember, but I do. You did, and there is no doubt in my mind that you did.
    Instead of fixating on gay people and our alleged sinfulness, Miss “I don’t have anything to be forgiven for”– another direct quote, I would suggest you TRY JESUS.
    It’s what he commanded you to do.

  29. Well, as I said, I’m flattered, but instead of fixating on me, perhaps you should fixate on Jesus

  30. According to the USCCB commentary, Gal 3:27-28 is “[l]ikely a formula used at baptism that expresses racial, social-economic, and sexual equality in Christ (cf. Col 3:11).”

  31. Our friend also walks in self-righteousness. Just as bad (Mt 7:5). As the USCCB commentary notes, “Hypocrite: the designation previously given to the scribes and Pharisees is here given to the Christian disciple who is concerned with the faults of another and ignores [her] own more serious offenses.”

  32. Don’t give these Fundies any ideas!!!

  33. You seem to know so much about the Bible.

    Figure it out if you can.

  34. if you want to talk, fine, but I don’t read minds.

  35. You’re not involved in my relationship to Christ, so stay out of it.

  36. Always fascinating to see how religion allows people to say “you can’t do that because it’s against my religion”. All religions are venomous. Some have been declawed to a more or less acceptable to degree. But where they wield influence, the virulence returns quickly. As one person once said, evil people will continue doing evil, good people will continue doing good, but for good people to do evil things, you need religion.

  37. Canis, are you in a homosexual relationship?

  38. I thought I mentioned that I have been with my partner and now legally married husband for over 30 years. And that Christ brought us together.

  39. You did. The manner in which you’ve answered and your responses to some of my comments make me think you are in a homosexual relationship. To understand you better, are you? Until just recently, I’ve ignored you. (edited)

  40. I don’t have HIV as a Gay Man. For years I received the CDC statistics and the fastest growing transmission category consistently was the Heterosexual. It isn’t that Gay sex per se is more dangerous. It is just that Anal Sex and to a lesser degree, Vaginal Sex, transmits HIV much more readily than does Oral Sex. That is one reason why
    Lesbians have far lower HIV rates than Heterosexual women- they don’t do either Vaginal or Anal Sex. Gay Men who do only Oral Sex or consistently use condoms with Anal Sex from start to finish also are at lower risk for HIV.

  41. You are playing with fire. All sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is dangerous. Consider: “MSM accounted for 80.6% of male P&S syphilis cases with information about sex of sex partners in 2016 (Figure 36(https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/figures/36.htm)). Of MSM P&S syphilis cases, 36.8% were White, 29.1% were Black, and 24.0% were Hispanic (Figure X(https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/figures/x.htm)). Relative to the percentage of the US population that is White (62.3%), Black (12.3%), and Hispanic (17.1%), this represents a significant inequality in the burden of disease for non-White MSM, which was also evident among MSW and women.30 In addition, among MSM P&S syphilis cases with known HIV status in 2016, 47.0% were also reported to be HIV-positive (Figure 41(https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/figures/41.htm)).
    In 2016, 44 areas (43 states and the District of Columbia) provided data to classify at least 70% of cases as MSM, MSW, or women. Among these areas, estimated rates of P&S syphilis cases in MSM ranged from 0 cases per 100,000 MSM in Wyoming to 861 cases per 100,000 MSM in Mississippi, with 26 states (59%) estimated to have rates between 200 and 400 cases per 100,000 MSM (Figure Y(https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/figures/y.htm)).
    When examining reported P&S syphilis cases over time, 36 states were able to classify at least 70% of reported P&S syphilis cases as MSM, MSW, or women each year during 2012–2016. In these states, cases among MSM increased 16.4% during 2015–2016 and 63.7% during 2012–2016 (Figure 35(https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats16/figures/35.htm)). However, the percentage of P&S syphilis cases that were attributed to MSM in those states fell slightly in 2012 to 68.6% in 2016.”

  42. Not sex between women, which is far lower risk than between a man and a woman, even in marriage. And if you are monogamous as a male couple, the risk is much lower, esp. if both are tested and anal sex if done is always protected. Even in heterosexual marriage, one partner can cheat and pick up a disease. Vaginal Sex DOES transmit diseases far more readily than does Oral, so the non cheating spouse could then get infected. The gay male figures reflect on how readily anal sex transmits diseases, far more readily than oral sex.

  43. I don’t call it a “homosexual relationship”; I call it my marriage. You will not likely ever understand.

  44. No. I probably won’t Canis, when God wants so much better for you, and has taught us that. Thank you for answering my question though.

  45. You don’t know what God wants. I can’t imagine much better than 31 years of love and happiness. If God is against love and happiness, then there is no God.

  46. I refer you to Romans 1:23. Talk with you another time.

  47. I’m not at all interested in talking with you — one of the most hateful people I’ve met on Disqus.

  48. It’s possible to be a Christian who believes that sexual relations between one man and one woman are God’s standard and support decriminalization of gay sex acts. What’s the big deal?

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