Don’t we all wish from time to time that life was much simpler and less complicated?
Figuring out the challenges and questions of everyday living can be a tedious if occasionally rewarding exercise.
The fundamentalists in every religion, however, have no such problems. They are certain about their beliefs for they know God’s will and you may well end up beheaded in this life or condemned to eternal damnation in the next one if you don’t subscribe to their list of certainties.
Wherever fundamentalism reveals its ugly head, it is recognisable by its simple, attractive message and its exclusiveness. It is self-righteous elitism. ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab and the like don’t have a monopoly on fundamentalism as every faith has had periods when they resorted to extreme violence to affirm their righteousness.
Pope Francis has given a major makeover to the Catholic Church by his simple, inclusive and merciful style.
He has revamped the model of the Church from that of a border crossing point with strict conditions for admission to that of a field hospital where the injured, broken and excluded are welcomed with mercy and compassion.
But that Christian approach has not been replicated everywhere nor applied to everyone. The decision of the High Court to permit registration of a gay lobby group has not only been challenged by the Attorney-General but resisted by Christian leaders on the grounds that it is ungodly, unchristian and un-African.
A few years ago a coastal religious leader said that gays were a greater threat to the country than terrorism.
Of course many may feel disgust and outrage at the very notion of homosexuality and remind you that God made them male and female, end of discussion.
The gay culture then is seen as chosen deviance and a threat to society and the family.
Regretfully, life is not that simple. In fact all the evidence suggests that despite treatments, counselling and therapy to reverse homosexual tendencies, gays continue to be attracted to people of the same sex.
It is as normal for gays to be drawn to people of the same sex as it is for the rest of us to enjoy the sights and shapes of the opposite sex.
To condemn, exclude, criminalise or do violence to gays then will not make them disappear nor alter their orientation. It will probably make them go underground, where they seek refuge in gay bars in a sub culture where they feel safe.
There they will not only be excluded from everyday society but may lead a life of promiscuity and loneliness that only feeds the narrative of the majority who have rejected them.
Pope Francis responded to questions on the matter of gays by saying, “Who am I to judge them?” Who among us can throw the first stone, or condemn another?
Jesus said nothing to condemn any group but welcomed the outcast, the rejected and the lonely. He then called all of them to live lives of integrity, love and fidelity. He did not condone any sin, but called all – gay and straight presumably – to be his followers and build his kingdom.
[email protected] @GabrielDolan1