Cameroon Catholic archbishop calls same-sex marriage a crime against humanity

December 26, 2012

(Pope Benedict XVI (R) leads a mass of Vespers at Mary Queen of the Apostles Basilica in Yaounde March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

One of Cameroon’s most senior Christian leaders on Tuesday called same-sex marriages a “crime against humanity”, ramping up anti-gay rhetoric in the Central African state.

As in most African nations, homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon. But a number of incidents have highlighted the clash between a largely conservative culture backed by draconian law and youth for some of whom it is less of an issue.

“Marriage of persons of the same sex is a serious crime against humanity,” Victor Tonye Bakot, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Yaounde, told followers at Christmas Day mass.

“We need to stand up to combat it with all our energy. I am particularly thankful to our local media that has been spreading this message of it as a criminality against mankind.”

The comments follow a three-year jail sentence handed earlier this month to 32-year-old Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, who was found guilty of homosexual conduct because he sent a text message to another man telling him he loved him.

At least 12 people were convicted this year of being gay in Cameroon, where jail terms range from six months to five years.

Other African countries have seen fierce debate over anti-gay measures, which are often popular in societies where homosexuality is largely taboo but have drawn criticism from rights groups and threats of aid cuts from donors.

Ugandan politicians are seeking to pass an anti-gay law that initially sought the death penalty for homosexuals before it was watered down in the faced of opposition.

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday the Roman Catholic Church’s leader in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, said the government’s plans to allow gay marriage were a “shambles” and had no mandate.

via Cameroon archbishop calls same-sex marriage crime against humanity | by Tansa Musa,Reuters.

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Dear brother Victor,

For 11 years I have lived with another man, whom I sometimes call companion, friend, lover or brother. We have our differences, but we value our likeness far more.

We met in what still feels like a paradoxically cursed and blessed moment, in the midst of promiscuity but, from there onwards, walking forward through the highs and lows of a search for our own self and mutual respect, honesty, trust, friendship, brotherhood and faith.

We’ve been through our own hells on earth, fears and guilt, more or less suffering and difficult teachings of life. Even when, like now, I find myself reading in your words that same-sex marriage is a “crime against humanity”.

While I could easily find some sense of hell in reading such words, I am left with a far-reaching and infinitely stronger sense of heaven in the knowing that you are somewhat right and somewhat wrong and that same sex relationships appear to have been a fact of nature and life well before the dawn of humanity, regardless of our limited understandings and misunderstandings of their purpose in the balance of all things.

In a time with a fast disappearing human population, “same-sex marriage” might be seen as something to fear, if not a warning sign for which I rather be thankful for. Why? For the very same reason one might worry about priesthood, in such extreme circumstances. Neither promote, in practice rather than speech, the continuity of life.

But in our current time, “same-sex relationships” are more likely part of a natural solution to balance out the exponential and unsustainable growth of humanity over our planet. And the genius of the solution? It’s completely painless, unless we consider the lows of every relationship or even our fears about it. No need for poisons, rifles, ropes, hateful speeches and other instruments of suffering and death.

For at least over two centuries, world leaders, including Christian leaders like Rev. Malthus, have been actively searching and praying for a solution to the fear of an unsustainable growth in human population and its eventually dreadful consequences.

Isn’t life beautiful and perfect in its imperfections?
Is isn’t it kind and gentle, whenever possible?
We both realise that we ought to be careful for what we ask for and that not all medicines in life are sweet, but we also realise that the taste of any given spiritual medicine begins in our hearts before eventually reaching and being thrown out of our tongues, just as a human is a conscience our soul manifested in a material world or just as “same-sex marriage” is more than the mere material expressions of it; the very concept, the words we speak, the papers we sign, the rituals we follow or even the news we read about it.

We know we are being guided and that life brought us together for a number of causes and effects and, trust, for a purpose. Even now, as your own life crosses mine in such circumstances.

This is enough.

Our bond is a simple blessing in a sometimes apparently difficult and lonely path. And even though we realise we are not alone, perhaps one of the most tiresome aspects of it is the tiring noise and flashes around and about it all. Through our own times and ignorance, we rather focus on our practice of reconciliation with our fears, others and ultimately life or even God, towards a time of peace and mostly free of suffering.

Until then, we’ve named our two adopted twin brother white cats Clara and Xico, perhaps so that, with their names, we remember more often the value and beauty of humility and brotherhood, as we climb over all the stones in our spiraling spiritual staircase.

We also call them “brothers and lovers”, in that order, projecting onto loved young brothers the feelings of brotherhood and love we receive and do our best to share with each other and those around us.

And that is also enough.

Be well, in peace and light.


Tiago Figueiredo

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