Saturday, February 15, 2014

Anti-gay violence in Nigeria to "cleanse the community"

Flag of Nigeria
Flag of Nigeria
We are now learning that, late Wednesday, a mob attacked more than a dozen gay men in Abuja, Nigeria, the nation's capital.

According to the mob, they were “cleansing the community.” Apparently cleansing occurs when gay people are beaten with whips and nail-studded clubs. One victim was beaten nearly to death. When they were finished with the men in the street, after some of their victims had fled, they dragged four of the less mobile prey to a nearby policy station — where the police proceeded to further beat them.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is about 50% Muslim and 40% Christian. Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, is a Christian. Jonathan recently signed a law that prescribes prison sentences of up to 14 years for gay people. There have been recent episodes of similar violence in north of Nigeria which is Muslim dominated.

If we are honest about it, this horrific violence and the criminalization of homosexuality is a direct result of religion. Dominionist groups from the United States are responsible for radicalizing Christians throughout Africa. In doing so they have inculcated the populace with the superstition that people choose to be gay. It becomes easy to dehumanize a group of people after accepting ultra conservative Christian doctrine. American evangelists find it easier to accomplish their goals in the less developed African nations. Adult literacy in Nigeria hovers around 60% while the average Nigerian receives about nine years of education in total. Groups like The Family are doing in Africa what they cannot accomplish at home.

Similarly, Islam has spread from Muslim theocracies where religious doctrine is not subjected to critical thinking. Nigerian Muslims accept the Koran as the literal word of Allah as provided through Mohammad, God's messenger. They believe that homosexuality is an offense to God and punish it accordingly.

Perhaps if Nigeria's Christians remained critical thinkers, radical Islam would have been held in check.
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