I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to mexicans, but not Canadians. Why can't i own Canadians? I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
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And why only her? Can it also be a him, a divorced man? Does this gender insensitivity, as indeed many other prejudices and chauvinisms that abound in the bible, reflect the historical context of homework the time of Jesus work? And just to advert to one more instance of the folly of biblical literalism, who in this day and age, calling him or herself a devout Christian, would faithfully follow the many prohibitions, taboos and injunctions of leviticus—the same that together with Genesis. But dont take my word for. Here is the response of one james. Kauffman, an emeritus professor at the University of Virginia with expertise in the fields of curriculum, instruction and special education, to Dr laura Schlesinger, a well-known conservative radio talk show host in the United States, on the question of homosexuality and Gods unchanging word. Laura: Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, i simply remind them that leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.
And, second, because jesus spoke mostly in parables. Does anyone believe, for instance, that Methuselah lived for 969 years—unless, of course, they are not earthly years? And would even the diary most fanatical literalist here actually pluck out his right eye, hack off his right arm, if either would lead him to hell as Jesus commanded in Matthew 5: 29-20? And why only the right eye or arm? What if it is the left eye or hand that gives offence, that would lead the believer to hell? A verse earlier, jesus revises the Old Testament definition of adultery by expanding it such that it becomes a thought crime as well. Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart, jesus says. And just to take one more example of the pitfalls of literalist constructions of the bible, would any reader here agree that whoever marries a divorced woman committeth adultery?
The catholic church even devised a whole liturgical practice of presentation the confession to further implant the idea of sex as sin. I touched on this aspect in my essay sex and the Churchs Missionary position. So what, then, is biography natural? And how can a desire that emanates from a human being, who is part of nature (we often forget that!) be deemed unnatural? Mind, this is not an argument for promiscuity (however that may be defined i am only here concerned with the definition of the word natural, especially in the absence of a clear or any attempt at explication by my interlocutors. As I hope to have shown, it cannot be defined by resort to ends—procreation—given that that end is not guaranteed, but I would welcome further light on the subject. This brings me to the question of how to read the bible—literally, that is by taking every word and phrase at its surface meaning, or as is inevitable with every literary document (one composed of words literarily, thereby requiring of the reader the full array. That the bible lends itself to easy interpretation, precisely due to the plain and repetitive diction of the king James version, and yet remains one of the most frustratingly complex texts ever known to humankind is proved by the fact that hermeneutics, the study. We can easily show the danger of a literalist approach to the bible, first, because its language is very literary (that is, poetic or metaphorical, or put another way, figurative).
What is more, the overwhelming majority of humans are heterosexual. First, this argument disdains science which shows that its proponents do not believe in evolution or rational argument. Yet, as has been shown, creationism, which traces the origin of human life to the mythical Garden of Eden would put the age of the earth at approximately 6-10,000 years—a clear absurdity. But even so, why then are some heterosexuals barren—some incurably so? And does every act of copulation lead to procreation? How then is intercourse that fails to meet that goal, which is the case in the astronomical majority of the time, to be described—nature misfiring? How shall we, for that matter, deal with couples or partners in heterosexual relationships, even married ones, who practice anal sex? The truth of the matter is that sexual desire remains to a large extent a grey and nebulous area of human experience. And because sexual desire comes encrusted with the strictures, taboos and mysticism of the judeo-christian civilisation that governs for the most part our attitudes to the very natural act of sex, we are geared to the point of being hard-wired by now to view anything.
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For his part, mandela presided, as the first democratically elected president of south Africa, over a constitution that blazed the trail in protecting the rights of persons of same-sex orientation. Bringing his great moral stature earned by three decades of incarceration and analysis an almost inhuman capacity for tolerance and forgiveness to bear on the solemn task of fashioning a truly representative constitution, mandela approved a basic document that includes a clear and unambiguous protection from. Chapter 2, section 2 of the south African constitution states, tritely, that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. Then it takes the unusual step, in Section 3, to clarify the term everyone is equal before the law by stating that the state (government) may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital. There you have. So in the light of the first two heads of my summary of the anti-gay position—to wit, that same-sex relations are foreign to African culture and that they are an unnatural practice, what does that make mandela, tutu, and the south African people who made. Was Mandela an African?
Should Nigerians be ashamed or proud of both men? Did those giants of Africas liberation struggles sacrifice their hard-earned reputation as freedom fighters, as icons of equality and justice, on the altar of defence of an unnatural, un-African practice? What, indeed, constitutes natural sexual intercourse when evidence abounds in the animal world, in particular among the apes, of same-sex practice? I cited a book-length study in my essay homosexuality, biology and the bible, but a quick internet search would reveal a trove of material. Those who argue that homosexuality is a choice, and so unnatural, say only that God intended sex for procreation, which is possible only with opposite sex mating.
I particularly like that expression, god catching one by the neck, to speak truth to power, as with Jonah who sought to evade an unpleasant duty in Nineveh. If Tutu reminds you of the rev. Martin Luther Kings famous words in his Letter from Birmingham jail, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, then rightly. Which is why i find it rather cold-blooded that some have justified their antipathy to gays by saying simply that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians (99 it is claimed) approve of the anti-gay law. As if that alone a good law or act makes! I made a subtle quip about this by reminding that it was the majority that elected to free barabbas, a condemned murderer, and to crucify jesus in whom Pontius Pilate could find no wrong-doing, but that seems to have made no impression.
Similarly, my observation that among the Africans who killed twins (mostly in south-eastern Nigeria the majority believed in the practice as good and necessary for the well-being of the society appears to have had no effect as well. Well, then, how about this: that it was the majority in Europe who, under the spell of stereotypes of the jew, either watched or actively participated in their persecution and slaughter known as the holocaust? Does anyone here doubt that racism as the ideology of colonialism—and we mustnt forget that a cheap anti-imperialist nationalism is a major premise for the general approval of the draconian measures contained in the new anti-gay law—is a function of the stereotypes and prejudices that. Albert Schweitzer, one of the good Europeans who assumed the burden of civilising the savage Africans, famously said, The African is my brother, but my junior brother. Are we now emulating him, in the second decade of the 21st Century, to say that The gay person is my brother or sister, but my junior brother or sister? In which case, his or her rights are not equal to mine?
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Then he zeroed in on the specific danger of speaking up for people of different presentation sexual lined orientation thus: It isnt that its questionable when you speak up for the right of people with different sexual orientation. People took some part of us and used it to discriminate against. In our case, it was our ethnicity; its precisely the same thing for sexual orientation. People are killed because theyre gay. I dont think, what do i want to do today? I want to speak up on gay rights. Its God catching me by my neck.
As you all doubtless know, tutu, the retired Archbishop (Anglican Communion) of Cape town, is a titan of the struggle against apartheid and reassignment for justice in the world, a nobel peace Prize laureate to boot. And he is an indefatigable gay rights advocate. He has not only been gushing with praise for Pope Francis who is gradually softening the attitude of the catholic Church—I"d him in my article under reference—towards persons of same-sex orientation but also had something very remarkable to say about our common humanity, the. Asked what he considered the most pressing issue in which Christians need to relate their faith to power and injustice, he replied as follows: Anywhere where the humanity of people is undermined, anywhere where people are left in the dust, there we will find our. Sometimes you wish you could keep quiet. Its the kind of thing you heard the prophet Jeremiah complain of where he says, you know God, i didnt want to be a prophet and you made me speak words of condemnation against a people i love deeply. Your word is like a fire burning in my breast.
is opposed by the overwhelming. I think that two other matters arise from the above, so (6) whether or not the three holy books of the Abrahamic faiths—the torah/Old Testament and the new Testament, which together constitute the bible and cover Judaism and Christianity, and the koran for Islam—are. If Im right, broadly speaking, that this is the essence of the conversation so far, then I will proceed to respond to the questions, not necessarily one by one, as succinctly as possible. Before doing so, however, permit me a word. I have delved headlong into this controversy, even with the apparent risk of being dubbed, all of a sudden, as an enemy of the people (ah that! not to mention the more abusive name-calling (though, i am happy to report, not on this forum which has been by and large decorous) for a simple reason: I cannot abide oppression. This is what makes me who i am: from my secondary school days when I began to form an inchoate idea of voice to my days in the student and the human rights and pro-democracy movement. It is what led to my expulsion, along with others of like mind, from the University of Benin (though we won our case and were later reinstated my delayed admission to the nigeria law School and my detention for six months by general Abacha. Those in this forum who know me understand that I do not like to speak about myself, but I do so now because of the need to make clearer my motivation in being so outspoken on this matter when prudence or self-interest counsels otherwise. I was reminded, very powerfully (if at all I needed a reminder of this irrepressible impulse to take the side of truth and justice—what i know to be those two things—by the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu which I read on the plane two days.
Consequently, i decided to write a rejoinder to my critics on the said Facebook forum. I think that with the slightest of editing it will serve as well here where the original column ignited a similar flurry of responses, most of them, alas, ill-informed, the responders being, it seems to me, unwilling or unable to grapple with the intricacy. My aim, i should emphasise, is that some clarity, understanding or sense of perspective and proportion through further explication, would be gained by the reader of this rejoinder. i must begin by thanking you all, once again, for the stimulating responses to my op-ed article Are homosexuals Human beings? I have benefited from all of the responses, critical (mostly) listing and commendatory. Indeed, i can say without being disingenuous that I have learned more from the critical responses since they not only make clearer to me the standpoint of the opposing view(s) but also show me where my argument is need of greater exposition. As you will readily admit, however, the subject of sexual orientation and gay rights is so vast that not even a book would exhaust it, never mind an op-ed column! But I must also add that I had expected greater familiarity with the subject in general and my premises as laid out in the earlier essays I cited by many of those who have joined issues with. Though i am a tad disappointed that no one has quite (note my emphasis) picked up the gauntlet of my challenge to mount a proper intellectual engagement (not mere appeals to cultural or religious dogma) of the ideas and position that I have canvassed.
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Note: my recent column entitled Are homosexuals Human beings? Generated, predictably, heated reactions from readers, as indeed my previous interventions in this area of our public life. No doubt, the subject of same-sex relations excites deep-seated, emotional, even primordial anxieties in people not only in Nigeria but universally. It just happens to be the case that the attitudes to gay rights in the so-called Third World tend to be the ones most likely to be justified on the grounds of moral and resumes cultural exceptionalism: homosexuality is not african, for instance. This is also always inseparable from the religious ground of its alleged unnaturalness and that it is a disease (though it is never specified if it is a contagious one, and if so, how). My said column was widely shared on the Internet, among the many places it travelled to in ether being Facebook discussion group where the heat it generated was enough to rival the ever-flaming gas burning stacks of the oil companies that dot the niger Delta. Usually, i do not reply to my readers, but this subject has now delved into the heart of our public morality, given the unconvincing anti-imperialist and essentialist Afrocentricism now being touted as a premise to becloud the serious question of how to deal with difference.