President Yoweri Museveni, when he was signing into law the controversial (at least in the West) Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, broke new ground on the homosexuality issue in Africa. The law was among the most prominent legislations to deal with the issue, granting hefty punishments for those engaging in queer activities.
But, apart from breaking new ground, the cow-herder from the Pearl of Africa did something else; he commissioned scientists to do some research into why somebody, in his right mind, would “leave something good for something really bad.” In doing this, he threw the gauntlet to the West, which has been arguing that homosexuals deserve to be given the freedom to pursue their queer mannerisms.
Of course, scientists cannot answer this without straying from their firm empirical ground. You see, as much as science tries to explain the causes of things, it can only explain the proximate, or secondary, causes of things, not their ultimate causes. To try to explain this would make a scientist to journey out of the realms of science, at which point he would cease to be a scientist, as that would involve some really subjective rationalization.
So, to save the scientists some trouble, I think I should contribute something to this debate. I will begin with something I know should be right at the forefront. When I was in primary school, I was taught that the family is the basic unit of society. As such, without the family, society cannot exist.
That means, in extension, that all tiers of human interactions – villages, hamlets, towns, nations, international communities, wouldn’t exist normally if the family didn’t exist. Now, we all know that a society has rights, the most basic of which would be to protect itself from disappearing off the face of the earth.
A normal society, concerned with it survival, would understandably be allowed, or even expected, to do all it takes, without harming other societies in its turn, to keep out all elements which might undermine its integrity. One of these things is homosexuality. So Uganda shouldn’t be faulted by the West for the new law – it had every right to enact the legislation.
A man who decides to have sexual relations with a fellow man does not do so in the best interest of society. Now, his intention might be just to get some pleasure, or to gain some affection. This is a morally neutral motive. But the method through which he goes about gaining such goods is intrinsically evil. As such, the protection of the family would be used as a very legitimate ground for passing legislation aimed at curbing homosexual practices.
But the protection of the family is not the only reason we have to curb homosexuality. Sexual orientation, much as self-labeled ‘liberal’ people would like to claim it’s a human right, is not something within the deciding range of a human. It is much like being born. You don’t get to decide where, when or how. You just know you were born, period. In the same way, there is only one sexual orientation, and that is to have sexual relations with only people of the opposite sex.
Trying to take into your own hands the matter of deciding that you are attracted (sexually, mind you) to persons of the same gender would be like trying to change such things as your race, age or first language. In these matters, the furthest you can go is to give a semblance of what you want to appear like, but not the intrinsic qualities which are part of you so long as you exist.
The trouble with the people who advocate for gay rights is that they do not grasp the full meaning of freedom, which is more than just having the leeway to do what one likes. To quote an old friend of mine, “freedom and independence are different… a train has to stay on its rails to be free.” If it leaves the rails, it might be independent, but not free to do its job, which is to travel from one place to another. In the same way, as long as a human being does what is in accord with human nature, that person is free. Once he goes out of his moral bounds, he loses his freedom. So a drunk man is not free, a person addicted to crack isn’t free, a man who has sex with another man isn’t free.
Yet the gay rights advocates claim that gays also have rights. Yes, they do. Even murderers have rights, thieves have rights, rapists have rights. But we don’t go around clamoring for them to be freed from jail so they can go on killing, stealing and raping. That’s because they don’t have more rights than the rest of us. The fact that one does something wrong does not make doing that thing a right. A person’s sexual orientation is not in his hands to decide. Otherwise it would even become normal to allow people to have sex with animals. One is called a man because women exist, and vice versa.
The next time somebody tries to tell you that a person is free to decide his sexual orientation, ask him this one question; why are you a man/woman? If we go around being complacent about this issue, it will only get worse. Museveni’s law might be too extreme, but things have to get worse before they get better.
And finally, to go back to the scientists – they haven’t been able to prove that homosexual dispositions are genetic. No, these are acquired habits, much like we come to love beer and tobacco, which are really dreadful at the first taking. The fact that they are acquired habits implies something, that they can be un-learned. Gays can stop engaging in their unnatural practices if they want to, and are ready to submit themselves to being helped. It might be tough, but it can be done. They just have to accept that they have a problem.
This is my voice, however small, on the gay issue.
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