So a few days ago, I listened in on a long conversation in a Whatsapp group that I belong to. Someone (a straight man) was telling the story about his friend and church member, this friend happens to be gay and somehow, word got out (still in the realm of suspicion anyway), and subsequently, the church banned him from teaching Sunday school. He’d been a Sunday school teacher at this church that he grew up in, but following the chugging of the rumour mill, many parents approached the head pastor of the church to complain about being uncomfortable with him being around their children. The pastor promptly responded by asking him to stop teaching Sunday school.

Everybody in the Whatsapp group started weighing in on the conversation, each giving his or her own perspective on the matter, with many arguing that they would feel uncomfortable with a gay man teaching their children Sunday school. Now in very un-Dennis fashion, I was mute for the most part, just observing what everyone was saying and taking in their arguments. I did this because recently, many people have being calling me a bully who doesn’t allow others hold dissenting opinions or express them around me. So I have taken to learning to chill a bit and make some sense of your argument (no matter how stupid it is), and maybe when you are finished outlining your points, I’ll pull out my ever-ready Mack truck.

Now most people in the group know that I am a left wing liberal and were expecting me to pull out my guns, but I held my peace until they were all done talking. Then I responded to all the different arguments raised. I shared a few perspectives on the issue, and I want to repeat them here for you people to weigh in on them.

First of all, I told my group members that I’m not entirely on the side of the gay man in this matter. Here’s why. A church is a private organization. It is not a publicly-funded entity like a university or hospital, which then makes it your entitlement as a citizen. A church is free to set its rules, regulations and doctrines whatever way it deems fit, and if you cannot abide by them, you find another church whose doctrines you can abide by. Asking him to stop teaching Sunday school classes was the church’s right.

The very bitter truth is that biblical Christianity (especially the Nigerian kind) will NEVER be accepting of homosexuality. So why put yourself through the agony of trying to fit into a place you will never be fully accepted and/or included as a gay man? You may sing in the choir, be an usher, hold all sorts of positions in the church, but the minute word gets out about your sexuality, watch how fast these responsibilities will be stripped from you and you will be practically ostracized. To be honest, I don’t see the point in forcing inclusion when it is not offered. This is why I only go to mass (yes, I am a Cafeteria Catholic) whenever I feel like, which is not often by the way, because there is just no point.

Another person raised a point that if the church will not penalize their members who engage in fornication, some of whom are brazen about it, where then do they find the moral high ground to punish a gay man. I played the devil’s advocate a bit and told them that the fornicator realizes that he is committing sin and can look forward to restitution, but many gay people (myself included) do not see homosexuality as a sin, therefore it’s not something to be repented of. The church is therefore within its rights to ask that you leave if you are not going to align with its doctrine. Which again is why I say, sit in your house and pray by yourself if you must, because hypocrisy and double standards live in the church.

Now it often seems that people blur the lines between homosexuality and pedophilia so much that they cannot tell them apart. When a man abuses a little boy, the media often runs with the headlines: “Homosexual man abuses little boy”, and the Homosexual part is what screams at you and eventually what you take away from the article, which really is how propaganda works. While this conversation was still going on, a girl remarked that when she ran the children’s department in her church, they had a very effete male teacher whose sexuality she wasn’t sure of and really didn’t mind because he was exceptionally good with children. However she said that a parent later came and complained to her that her son had started behaving like a girl ever since he joined that class in the children’s church and she was afraid that the said teacher was influencing the boy. The girl used this analogy to buttress her opinion that children are impressionable and can easily glean things. She also continued that many boys who were abused by older men eventually become gay, opining that it was the abuse that turned them gay.

I later started debating this issue with one of the group members outside the group. (He knows I’m gay). His reasoning was that Nigeria is extremely homophobic, so gay people are often loners and are often not able to find sexual partners, so they turn to children to satisfy their urges because they can easily influence the children. I laughed and told him that that was the dumbest argument I’d ever heard in a long time. First of all, gay people do not necessarily find it very hard to meet people in Nigeria. Maybe 20 years ago, but not now. The social media and technology has changed all that. I told him that I am a gay man, and what that means is I like MEN. I like a man’s body and a child does nothing for me (you people should not make any silly jokes about twinks o, I have never shagged anyone below 19). In fact, the American Pediatric Association has put forward data showing that there are way more heterosexual pedophiles/predators than homosexuals. So this propaganda about children not being safe around gay people is just disgusting and puerile, because homosexuality is homosexuality and pedophilia is pedophilia. They don’t necessarily mix.

Now, back in the group, another person said that she believes that people do not chose their sexuality, and so gay people really have no choice in the matter, but that they also don’t have to act on their feelings since the bible has condemned it. I told her she was right somewhat; being gay and having sex with people of the same gender are not always the same thing. You can be gay and not be sexually active. However, what is very sad about this is that the church is against gay marriage, and we know that the church insists that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Now the heterosexual person can abstain from sex, get married and finally acquire the biblical license to have all the sex he/she wants. What happens to the gay person? You will not allow them get married and yet you insist that for you to accept them, they should not explore their sexuality even if they feel it. So they should just keep quiet and sit in the pews and be grateful that you even allowed them into church and not ask for anything more? Is this a fair thing to ask of gay people?

I recognize that religion plays a strong role in our lives and sometimes, it centers us and helps us not lose our minds in a crazy world. However, I really won’t throw myself so deep into something that will never accept me, something that will ask me to become another person so that I can be allowed in. I am not making a case for atheism and all what may; I am even too lazy to be an atheist (too much reading is required and I don’t have power abeg). However, churches have a right to their doctrines and rules of engagement; so ask yourself a question: “Why am I unnecessarily putting myself through torture to be let into a place where I will never be accepted the way that I am?”



PS: I used “Church” here in the Nigerian context, because I realize in many countries, there are churches that embrace and accept LGBT people.

Also ‘Cafeteria Catholic’, is a phrase I saw Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (one of my personal deities) use, which she says describes a person who is fundamentally Catholic but disagree with many doctrines of the Catholic Church.

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  1. Absalom
    September 07, 06:48 Reply

    How interesting that churches have the RIGHT to discriminate whereas other (secular) organisations don’t. Ha!

    • Pink Panther
      September 07, 06:53 Reply

      I know, right? It’s like human beings. Individuals are private organizations too. They are not publicly aided like hospitals and schools. So they must have their right to discriminate, right?

      • McGray
        September 07, 07:09 Reply

        Deeper Life church does not believe Christians should dance. Why then do i have to continue attending d church if dancing is my middle name?? Exactly wat Dennis was trying to say.

        • Dennis Macaulay
          September 07, 07:12 Reply

          Or go to Deeper life as a lady and start fighting to wear trouser and make up! It’s just no use! Its the sad reality!

          I am not excusing or justifying homophobia, god forbid I do that. I am just saying how these things are set up

        • Pink Panther
          September 07, 07:16 Reply

          There’s no dancing in Deeper Life?! :O Not even a little shimmying of the waist?

          • Absalom
            September 07, 07:51 Reply

            Homophobia is telling a class of human beings they are second -class or outright worthless the way they are.

            We can’t compare this to inconsequential doctrines on music/dressing/diet.

            • Dennis Macaulay
              September 07, 07:58 Reply

              The nuances are not on an equal pedestal and I agree but understand what I am saying. There is the world we want to see, the world we wish we live in and then there is the world we have.

              If you are denied admission to univeristy, or denied housing because you are gay, in Countries with full equality that is very actionable and you can push a strong case.

              However these countries still have churches that won’t embrace gay people as they are, because churches are private organizations who really can decide their doctrine. I can open a church today and say that I don’t want men there, only females and it is what it is.

              Personally I think there is no point in picking some battles. Find the church where you are welcomed and embraced and if there is none like in Nigeria, Ushe siddon for house on Sunday and watch devious maids mbok.

    • Mandy
      September 07, 06:54 Reply

      I find very galling arguments that give homophobia an excuse to thrive.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      September 07, 07:08 Reply

      Absie Sadly it is what it is. If I set up a club tomorrow I could write its consituition and requirements for membership. It is a private organization and I can ask you to leave if you will not abide by its rules.

      Its sad but that’s just how it works. The church can insist that homosexual gay men who are sexually active have no place within its fold and here is not much you can do about it.

      I personally would not stay fighting to be a part of a family that will not accept accept me. Its no use!

  2. Mandy
    September 07, 06:51 Reply

    Gay people are so lonely and can’t find sexual partners, and so they turn to children to satisfy their urges???

    Un-frigging-believable! Everyday, you get to read another demented belief about us that makes you just wanna relocate from this world to Mars.

  3. Kenny
    September 07, 06:55 Reply

    “I recognize that religion plays a strong role in our lives and sometimes, it centers us and helps us not lose our minds in a crazy world. However, I really won’t throw myself so deep into something that will never accept me, something that will ask me to become another person so that I can be allowed in.”

    This is where I’m at in my life right now. I just can’t be bothered. Life is hard enough as it is without adding the problems of religion.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      September 07, 07:10 Reply

      The other Macaulay is a committed Catholic so sometimes I go to mass with him. Other than that I’m chilling with some coffee and a good book most Sunday mornings

      • pete
        September 07, 07:38 Reply

        Wait!there’s a new Macaulay? When did this happen? The family wasn’t involved

        • Dennis Macaulay
          September 07, 07:40 Reply

          Ministry has moved to permanent site since January na! This is what happens when you are a cafeteria catholic and you don’t attend mass as often so you miss all the major announcements ???

        • Pink Panther
          September 07, 07:44 Reply

          Ah ah, pete! You just exposed the fact that you haven’t been following up on DM’s past entries. Ees not today he has dropping tidbits of the new Macaulay.

  4. McGray
    September 07, 06:57 Reply

    Lol, Dennnis, u neva change. Just like d way u reason things

  5. chuck
    September 07, 09:02 Reply

    It will be interesting to see how much push back your idea – that homosexuals should not force themselves into churches – gets. I remember many arguments here about the viability of a Christian homosexual’s beliefs.

    I’m worried about your buy in to the idea that atheism requires too much research, or that we’re living in a crazy world. I disagree with both opinions, but then I believe in acquiring knowledge and understanding when I can. Your mileage may vary.

    • Dennis Macaulay
      September 07, 09:36 Reply

      There are a gazillion articles I have dropped in my pocket account all alluding to provide proof that God does not exist or that Jesus was made up. I honestly don’t have strength to read all of them neither will I even have the time to, I am constantly reading literature in my spare time.

      I don’t identify as a atheist, probably will never do so and I will continue to believe in the existence of the divine.

      The world really is crazy, and I am not talking from a moral point of view. I mean crazy in terms of the pressures of human existence; we have worries, the world is falling apart, bad news left right and center that sort of thing and religion can work like a feel good potion. Like somewhere there is a big guy looking out for you, which you may argue is placebo-esque but even that is not necessarily a bad thing.

      • Chuck
        September 07, 10:37 Reply

        You’re welcome to choose what you read, of course. I was just worried about the implication that some knowledge was too onerous to seek.

        If you study history then you’ll recognize that there have been several periods of instability that were far more dangerous to the well being of humans than this moment. We’re all able to read the bad news on twitter and not starving through invasions. I think we have it pretty good.

  6. Bloom
    September 07, 09:15 Reply

    Nice piece.

    New Macaulay? So the ones that have been admiring you before should take several seats, abi? Weldone, you hear me. Clap for yourself.

  7. Kainene
    September 07, 10:47 Reply

    beautiful beautiful beautiful piece

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