African leaders counter Obama's 'ideological colonization' in Kenya
US president Barack Obama speaks at Georgetown University, May 12, 2015. Credit: Matt Hadro/CNA.
“Even if people don’t like us for it, our Church has always said homosexuality is unnatural and marriage is between a man and a woman,” Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja told the News Agency of Nigeria July 26.
He stressed that “there is no question of the Catholic Church changing its positions on this matter.”
Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, a Ghanaian, also weighed in on the U.S. president’s comments, emphasizing that for the Church, homosexual activity is both contrary to the law of God and “anti-human,” Breitbart News reports.
He said that although the Church respects homosexual individuals since they are created in the image and likeness of God, it cannot support homosexual acts and is committed to upholding “the fundamental truth about marriage and family life.”
Cardinal Onaiyekan and Archbishop Palmer Buckle’s comments fell the day after Obama advocated for gay rights during his two-day visit to Kenya, after which he travelled to Ethiopia.
In his July 25 speech at a joint news conference with his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama spoke out about the importance of gay rights, despite requests from Kenya’s leaders to not address the issue. Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya, as well as several other African countries.
“With respect to the rights of gays and lesbians, I have been consistent all across Africa on this,” Obama said. “I believe in the principle of treating people equally under the law and that they are deserving of equal protection under the law and that the State should not discriminate against the people based on their sexual orientation.”
Prior to Obama’s visit, 700 evangelical pastors wrote an open letter asking the president not to use the trip as an occasion to push the homosexual agenda.
Mark Kariuki, who leads of an alliance of 38,000 churches and 10 million Kenyan Christians, was the primary author of the letter.
“We do not want (Obama) to come and talk on homosexuality in Kenya or push us to accepting that which is against our faith and culture,” Kariuki wrote.
In response to Obama’s comments, Kenyatta noted that while the U.S. and Kenya hold many values and goals in common, such as democracy and entrepreneurship, gay rights is not one of them.
“It is very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept. This is why I repeatedly say for Kenyans today, the issue of gay rights is generally a non-issue. We want to focus on other areas.”
Both Kenya's deputy president, William Ruto, and the speaker of its National Assembly, Justin Muturi, spoke publicly against same-sex marriage in the day's leading up to Obama's visit.
Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo, who is Nigerian, responded to Obama's advocacy saying, “Most Africans care about religious values, about the family, about the complementary nature of man and woman and the culture that makes us Africans. Why can we not choose what 'benevolence' to accept from the West? Why can we not just be helped to fight corruption, terrorism, unemployment disease and illiteracy?”
“Nobody should be killed for private wayward or immoral behaviors that do not compromise other people's lives,” the bishop affirmed, “but that does not mean all kinds of exotic sexual adventure must be foisted on other nationalities in the name of rights.”
“America claims to be a great democracy and the proof of that fact will be found in her capacity for sincere dialogue and readiness to respect the legitimate values and world view of other peoples,” Bishop Badejo concluded.
The negative response to Obama's advocacy come amid other responses to what Pope Francis has called the “ideological colonization” of poorer countries by wealthy Western nations.
Pope Francis has frequently spoken out against aid and humanitarian organizations which make support of gay rights, abortion, and birth control a condition for receiving assistance. Speaking in Manila Jan. 16, the Pope decried the “new ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family,” warning against efforts “to redefine the very institution of marriage.”
A few days later, Pope Francis again cautioned against this new form of colonialism: “A people enters with an idea that has nothing nothing to do with the nation … and they colonize the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure," he said Jan. 19 during a press conference on his return flight to Rome from the Philippines.
The Pope's statements have been echoed by bishops across the developing world.
At the beginning of July, the Nigerian bishops conference issued a statement reacting to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ireland and the U.S.
In their statement, the bishops re-emphasized that “marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman for the begetting and care of children.”
The Nigerian bishops voiced concern that countries such as Canada, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, and the U.S., which have approved such unions and which hold profound influence over Africa, will begin to influence people’s opinion on the matter.
These countries, they noted, “also give generous humanitarian aid to various establishments and projects in our country and continent.”
Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila has noted that foreign aid given to the Philippines is oftentimes is linked to some measures that the receiving country is somehow forced to accept … some of the conditions for the aid seem to be an acceptance or a welcoming of some views regarding marriage, or sexuality, or what, which could be alien to the vision of the receiving country or culture.”
And Bishop Badejo, the Nigerian who chairs communications for the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), said in a February interview with Aleteia that the U.S. has made its help in fighting the radical Islamist group Boko Haram contingent on the Nigeria's support of homosexual acts.
“The United States actually said it would help Nigeria with Boko Haram only if we modify our laws concerning homosexuality, family planning and birth control,” he said.
“It’s very clear that a cultural imperialism exists. In fact, I think that Africa is suffering greatly from a cultural imperialism that threatens to erode our cultural values.”
Bishop Badejo called the U.S. decision “criminal,” saying that if the West boasts of the value they place on human freedom, they shouldn’t try to impose values on Africa with which its people do not agree.
“It is part of human freedom … if the West cherishes freedom for gays and homosexual unions and abortion and contraception, suppose Africans are not wired that way,” he said.
“There is a diminishing sense of the respect for the sanctity of life. And all of this is to be imposed on Africa, at whatever cost: we think that it is immoral and that it is unjust.”
Once again, all true insofar as it goes (except perhaps for the criminalization of homosexual acts, which is contrary to the CCC). Thus, when Pope Francis speaks out against colonization in these forms, he is lauded. But when he speaks out against other forms, he is chastised by many commenters on this blog and elsewhere as some kind of know-nothing or communist. Well, for those who won’t pick and choose a la cafeteria style, here again are salient extracts from his speech in Bolivia:
“The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain “free trade” treaties, and the imposition of measures of “austerity” which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor. . . . The bishops of Latin America denounce this with utter clarity in the Aparecida Document, stating that ‘financial institutions and transnational companies are becoming stronger to the point that local economies are subordinated, especially weakening the local states, which seem ever more powerless to carry out development projects in the service of their populations’. At other times, under the noble guise of battling corruption, the narcotics trade and terrorism – grave evils of our time which call for coordinated international action – we see states being saddled with measures which have little to do with the resolution of these problems and which not infrequently worsen matters.
Similarly, the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism. It is ideological colonialism. As the African bishops have observed, poor countries are often treated like ‘parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel’. . . .
Colonialism, both old and new, which reduces poor countries to mere providers of raw material and cheap labor, engenders violence, poverty, forced migrations and all the evils which go hand in hand with these, precisely because, by placing the periphery at the service of the center, it denies those countries the right to an integral development. That is inequality, and inequality generates a violence which no police, military, or intelligence resources can control.
Let us say NO to forms of colonialism old and new. Let us say YES to the encounter between peoples and cultures. Blessed are the peacemakers.”
Oh, sorry, I forgot – that’s just prudential stuff as opposed to matters of faith and morals (convenient distinction, that, especially when morals are narrowly defined) so we are free to ignore the Pope, who clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about, all those other forms being good and American and everything.
Anon 2 - Aren't you supposed to be on vacation...?
You quote Pope Francis:
"At other times, under the noble guise of battling corruption, the narcotics trade and terrorism – grave evils of our time which call for coordinated international action – we see states being saddled with measures which have little to do with the resolution of these problems and which not infrequently worsen matters."
> Where is our current president on this? I guess he has been too busy lauding and supporting the likes of Planned Parenthood or attending events put on by wealthy donors.
"Similarly, the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism."
>The US has to plead guilty on this one when one considers the seductive, demonic, execrable "entertainment" we have been exporting. It's not just the US being a dominant player. Satélites Mexicanos (Satmex) for instance, a Mexican satellite company, services both North and South America with broadcast, telephone and telecommunication services to 37 countries in the Americas. Through business partnerships Satmex provides high-speed internet to ISPs and Digital Broadcast Services. Of course a big problem historically in countries south of the border has been the monopolization of the communications media by those in power, either directly or indirectly.
Summer Scripture Series Lecturer:
You are correct. I am certainly on vacation from work (well, mostly at least). None of the family has cell phone service, except for my wife because she has Verizon not AT&T, but I do have internet and email. So, my days and evenings are spent mostly sitting on the screened in porch of the cabin listening to the rapids of the Coosawattee River near Ellijay in North Georgia (where they filmed the movie Deliverance) and dozing or reading, with occasional forays to the computer to follow the latest developments on Southern Orders. =) It is all quite relaxing and enjoyable!
Yes, George, I quote Pope Francis, who transcends political categories as of course he should.
I would have thought that a Spanish-speaking Argentine of Italian parentage might have been wary of condemning colonialism. The same applies to most of the inhabitants of North America. Or indeed to the inhabitants of virtually every country in the world. The Romans did not invade Britain because they wanted a peaceful encounter with the Celtic people and culture - and the Celts were originally themselves invaders.
Throughout human history people have been on the move and the weaker are inevitably absorbed by the stronger.
'Placing the peripheries at the service of the centre'. Yet another aphorism which doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The centre can only be defined in terms of its centrality, and if it were at the service of the peripheries it would no longer be the centre and the peripheries (which can only be understood in relation to the centre) would no longer be peripheries.
'Inequality generates a violence which no police, military or intelligence resources can control.' Another highly dubious assertion. The violence of the have-nots against the haves is inchoate, frequently arbitrary and irrational, and often marked by unspeakable acts of cruelty. It can only succeed if the state loses a)its nerve and b)its control of the armed forces, and if it can be harnessed by revolutionaries with clear political objectives who will have no compunction about suppressing it by force once it has outlived its usefulness or has started to threaten the new order.
In an age of globalization all countries, not just poor ones, are 'cogs on a gigantic wheel.' And if rich countries welcome foreign investment, poorer countries depend on it. Kenya's problems, in common with many other African countries, are home-grown. A recent Times report highlighted the endemic corruption - only 1.2 per cent of government spending is properly and legally accounted for.
Post a Comment