On August 8, 1955 white men brutalized and killed Emmet Till for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Anxieties about interracial sex in America often caused white men to beat, torture and kill Black people. The systematic brutalization of Black people in America was very much a part of the white supremacist Christian tradition. From state laws that banned interracial marriage (the District Court in Loving v. Virginia upheld anti-interracial marital laws because the judge theorized that God separated the races to prevent interracial marriages) to Christian college policies that prohibited interracial sex as late as in 2000, white Christians in America often maintained that interracial sex was an abomination to God. And this sentiment created a culture where mobs of white racist men could freely brutalize, torture, and kill Black people because they were confident that their actions were sanctioned by God. Similar to hateful homophobic people in Ghana.
Widespread Violence Against Gay and Lesbian People In Ghana
On February 10, 2015 disturbing images and a video showed a man who was attacked by a mob of men because they believed him to be gay*. The man is popularly known as Kinto. In a calculated effort to attack Kinto, an elaborate ploy was set up to lure Kinto into the neighborhood of his attackers. This is not the first time that people, perceived not to be heterosexual, have been physically attacked by mobs of men in Ghana. Boys in a Secondary School in the Volta Region sought help from faculty and police as a mob of other students sought to attack them, while women believed to be Lesbians were stripped naked and chased with sticks and whips. Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Ghanaians have been blackmailed and exploited for money, forcibly evicted from their homes, faced discrimination in the work place, and even driven to suicide by familial shame. Even journalistic reports on the attacks of Gays and Lesbians criminalize them by placing “suspected” before their identity, and speculating on their orientation. Despite the maltreatment of those who are not exclusively heterosexual in Ghana, many Ghanaians’ hyper-religious attitudes often leave little room for empathy or action.
Homophobia and The Anti-Christ
Any division that has the capacity to truly destroy a movement, idea, or philosophy comes from within. The biggest threat to Christianity is not Atheism.The biggest threat to this religious belief is a distortion of Christ’s word and actions such that people are unknowingly defying Christ’s commands in their attempt to practice and live up to it. Essentially,it requires the practicing of malevolence under the guise of Christ. It is using God to justify what could easily be the Devil’s work.Using Christianity for lynching, for raping, for enslaving Black people. Also for the colonization and decimation of L’Afrique. Using Christianity as a justification, in principle, to do the opposite of what Jesus asks of us to do. It is what makes it “anti-Christ”. It is not to say that one is the devil, rather that despite presenting oneself as Christian, one acts in a manner so deeply conflicting of Christ that it undermines and mocks Christianity.
As the above two tweets illustrate, people are comfortable expressing degrading and unsympathetic ideas about those they believe to be non-heterosexual. Under the guise of God, the above two tweeters still could not find compassion for a person that suffered a fractured skull from an unprovoked attack. Instead there was an unhealthy fixation on the supposed sexuality of Kinto, coupled with a perpetual desire to condemn. Ignoring that anti-homosexual laws and attitudes were inherited through British imperialism, insisting on maltreating non-heterosexual persons is anti-Christian, and it will haunt the already sordid, brutal, legacy of Christianity.
Brutal legacy aside, hatred of those who are not straight in Ghana defies Jesus’ instructions. Jesus specifically required that we love each other, (John 13:34), that we continue to love each other (Hebrews 13:1), that we treat the most vulnerable like we would treat Him (Matthew 25: 41- 44), that we refrain from attacking others unless we are perfect ourselves (John 8:7), and finally Jesus Himself was silent on the issue of same-sex relations.
The Anti-Christ is not some personified, human-like, demon. The Anti-Christ will manifest as manipulating Christians so they do the Devil’s work in Jesus’ name. And degrading human beings by referring to them as “barbaric animals”, because you believe them to be Gay, after they have been violently attacked, is Anti-Christ work. Furthermore, the assertion in Skuboye’s tweet is just flat out wrong. All animals that reproduce sexually have a varying sexual performance and partnering, much of which includes same-sex companionship and sex.
Jesus’ instructions are clear. I complete my post with a plea to Christians concerned about the unethical ways that their faith is used to justify brutality. The plea is to join in transforming traditional understandings of Christianity in Ghana that tolerate the dehumanization of those perceived not to be heterosexual. I plea for Christians to take upon the rebellious attitude of Jesus, and to defend those deemed unworthy by society. Or risk being another blemish in the increasingly violent, legacy of Christianity. #Justice4Kinto
* I am unsure about the complex and diverse ways that Ghanaians with romantic, emotional, and/or sexual attraction to persons of the same sex/gender identify. At the Humanist Conference of West Africa, some people revealed their identity to be marked by the phrase “indigenous African homosexual”.