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THE CHRISTIAN PERCEPTION ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE (CASE STUDY OF KADUNA METROPOLIS)

THE CHRISTIAN PERCEPTION ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE (CASE STUDY OF KADUNA METROPOLIS)

 

Abstract
The criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria has partially been inspired and acclaimed by a number of religious schools of thought, including Christian opinion leaders. Such an influence of religion on politics has been seriously questioned. Using observations and literary sources, this paper underlines the unconstitutionality of Christian antigay proselytism at the political sphere of the Nigerian State, anchoring its claim on the constitutional provision stipulating the secular character of Nigeria. It however interprets such a move (the “influential” Christian anti-gay proselytism) as an inevitable expression of the religious character of Nigeria’s social and cultural spheres. Furthermore, the paper argues that the Nigerian Federation is “fully secular” only on paper and not in practice. Secularity is partially observed at the political sphere of the State. Religion and populism continue to shape major
socio-political schemes (as seen in the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria). With such a socio-political influence of religion, legislative projects such as the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act and political strategies such as the Nigerian Government’s resistance against western gay-proselytism can only be massively celebrated. In line with this, (Christian) anti-gay proselytism at the Nigeria’s political sphere is logically viewed less as an anathema, and more as socio-political heroism.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1    Background of the study

 

The place of religion in a secular world has variously been perceived by critics and
scholars. Some highly fundamentalist religious organizations, religious opinion leaders and
scholars have cultivated or supported the tradition of decrying the rapid and “alarming
secularization of the most (leading) countries of the world, a secularism which is partly signaled
by the legalization of contentious phenomena which run contrarily to core Christian values and
are arguably viewed as abominations. Some of these decried anti-Christian values include
euthanasia, syndicated motherhood, cloning, abortion, capital punishment, gambling and a wide
range of “deviant” sexualities among which must be mentioned homosexuality. The
legalization of these traditions (particularly LGBT rights) and more, in most capitalist countries
are often so abhorred (by conservatist observers) that some fundamentalist Christian even
presumptuously associate them with the “mark of the beast” or with the awful signs of the
Armageddon specially announced in the book of Revelation[in the Bible] (Awake, 2015).

It has, in effect, been argued that Christianity (religion in general) has always longed
and labored to influence world politics, human civilization and social
transformations/revolutions in various subtle ways. Such efforts have, to an extent, been fruitful
as such values as humanism, libertarianism and equality among others – forming the bulwark
of most western capitalist civilization – partly have their roots in Christianity and other major
religions. However, despite the potentials of religion (as a whole) to boost development, most
capitalist countries have preferred to adopt the secularist model or paradigm in their nation building efforts. As O’Dea (1966:81) insightfully explains, secularism is seriously antithetical
to religion as a system. Secularization discards the traditions which strongly stipulate that a
religious worldview is – or should inevitably be – the basic frame of reference for thought. It
entails the de-sacralization of attitudes towards persons and things and the rationalization of
thought. In O’Dea’s words, “[in secularism] , there is first the ‘desacralization’ of the attitude
towards persons and things – the withdrawal of the kind of emotional involvement which is to
be found in the religious response, in the response to the sacred. Secondly, there is the
rationalization of thought – the withholding of emotional participation in thinking about the
world”.

Secularism also paves the way for subjectivism, liberalism, rationalism, materialism and
the like, which are systematically unfriendly to faith, thus to religion. Secularism, in this
respect, is viewed as a catalyst of the creation of a common ground which may facilitate the coexistence of both atheist and theist. It enable a conducive environment for the survival of binary
opposites notably homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, the prevalence of secularism does
not totally or always silence religious fanaticism. As Foret quoted in Trimmer (2014)
beautifully puts it, “secularization is not the disappearance of religion, but rather the mutation
of religion”. Religion is weaker in today’s world politics, but it is also far more visible. Indeed,
at the political spheres of most developed and developing nations like the USA, Europe and
Nigeria among others, religion (particularly Christianity) unofficially remains a cardinal
censorial and controlling force. In the USA for instance, the Republican Party – which is
recognized as conservatist in nature – has some of its ideals grounded on religious philosophy.
Still in the USA, religious lobbies (notably the evangelical Christians under their banner
Morality Majority) continue to be strongly felt in the political life of the nation. Their influence
is vividly perceived in socio-political revolutions or campaigns. According to Barber (2013),
evangelical Christians under the banner of the Moral Majority have been making sustained
efforts to influence political leaders since the 1970s and to inject religion into political debates.
This broad agenda animates contemporary right-wing media including talk radio personalities
such as Rush Limbaugh and TV channels such as Fox News. Barber further underscores the
tendency by the two main political denominations to exploit religion for political gains and the
religious undertone/coloration of a good number of American political actions.

The religious propensities of immigrants mean that they are receptive to the
conservative religious message and can be induced to vote across class lines. In doing so they
support a [political] agenda that favors the wealthy and makes them even poorer. Given this
threat from the religious right, Democrats feel pressure to emphasize their own religious
credentials, or risk losing a chunk of the poorer immigrant population who make up their natural
constituency.
So religion is embroiled in American political life and that magnifies the apparent
significance of religion in people’s everyday lives. According to wits, U.S. conservatives went
to war in Afghanistan to separate religion from politics abroad while striving to unite religion
and politics at home. American politicians talk a lot about religion. Yet, they have no more in
common with theocrats like the Taliban than ordinary Americans have with the religious fervor
of ordinary Afghanis. (Barber 2013:34). The influence of the Christian religion on American politics is also seen in the fact that despite the constitutional firewall between church and state, national politicians hardly ever give a major speech without invoking religion directly or indirectly. The president – for instance– is forever asking God to bless America in his political addresses to the American nation. Additionally, he is fond of sending his prayers to victims of disasters, hosting religious leaders,
and extolling a variety of religious values.
Similarly to the USA, religious lobbies and political opinion leaders are still influential
in a good number of European countries. Though not as strong as in America, religion remains
a strong motivational force for political action, notably by EU parliamentarians (Trimmer
2014). A symbiotic relation has been created between religion and politics so much so that,
Christianity is virtually not acting independently in places like Europe or North America.
Instead, “it forms inseparable part of the regime, of the Empire. Or more precisely, the Empire
is fully constructed on Christian doctrines” (Wlcheck 2014). Considering this symbiotic
relationship between religion and politics, it has been argued that religion often subtly dictate
or inform the positions of politicians and political leaders on certain vital socio-political issues
in a good number of both western and African states. A case in point is the demonization,
condemnation and criminalization of homosexuality by most African politicians and states,
partially on religious, moralist and cultural bases. Such acts (which are visibly informed by
religious dogmatism) have often inspired a thorough questioning over the legitimacy of religion
– notably Christianity – in the conduct of political affairs in constitutionally secular states.

 

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