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Zambian church rejects donor pressure to back gay rights: The Church of England Newspaper, May 14, 2010 p 6 May 22, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Central Africa.
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The Rt. Rev. Robert Mumbi of Luapulu at Lambeth 2008

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Pressure from overseas governments and NGOs to drop the “Christian Nation” clause in Zambia’s constitution, has drawn sharp protest from church leaders in the Central African country.

The former Executive Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, Bishop Paul Mususu, told the Times of Zambia last week that it was wrong for foreigners to dictate the terms of the constitution and promote a secular state that would support gay rights.

“It is not proper for us to get rid of what we have cherished over the years. We shall be sinking so low if we allow things like homosexuality and pornography in the name of freedom of expression,” Bishop Mususu said.

Sweden and a number of NGOs working in Zambia have urged lawmakers to adopt a secular constitution and Bill of Rights that would grant civil protections to homosexuals.  The preamble to the 1996 Constitution of Zambia “declare(s) the Republic a Christian nation while upholding the right of every person to enjoy that person’s freedom of conscience or religion.”

Bishop Mususu warned Zambian political leaders not to abandon their beliefs in return for Western cash, urging civil society leaders to “promote our culture as a country and strengthen our values. We must not support wrong things just because we are getting a dollar or people are supporting our project.”  The president of the Zambia Anglican Council

Bishop Robert Mumbi of Luapulu stated the homosexual lifestyle that was being promoted by the West violated Christian beliefs and African values.  Traditional morality was under the twin assault in Zambia of Western pressure and the breakdown of society through the country’s rapid urbanization.  “The world is not static and the more urbanized we become, the more secular we shall be,” Bishop Mumbi said.

However, God’s truth was unchanging and the integrity of the Anglican Church in Zambia was not for sale.  The church would not take Western cash to support its development projects if required to endorse the campaign to mainstream homosexuality, the bishop said.

Sweden has provided financial support for the country’s nascent gay movement.  Ambassador Marie-Andersson de Frutos said “as a donor country, we offer moral support to such groups of people and we hope countries like Zambia would recognise them and allow them to enjoy their rights.”

Comments

1. N T Emmoc - May 23, 2010

Why should Zambia be required to have a polity which is secular?

Any why do these organizations feel compelled to *start* executing their program of secularization with Zambia?

There are many states which have draconian religious laws, imposing extreme penalties on any refusal to follow one religious path? Which countries? Why, in many states which consider themselves Islamic states, conversion is punishable by death, and behavior violating laws about sexual relations — adultery, for instance, as well as homosexual conduct — are not just not constitutionally protected, but punishable by floggings or, in some cases death.

That being so, why start with Zambia?

What’s the set of principles — any principles — by which pressure should first be brought against Zambia? Why not, instead, try to get Saudi Arabia (for instance) to be a secular state, and grant civil protection to homosexuals? For whatever principles might make changes desirable in Zambia would seem to dictate that Saudi Arabia — and many other Islamic states — are, on those principles, far more urgent cases.

Could it be because the religion enshrined in Zambia’s constitution is Christianity?

Could it be because Zambia used to be a Western colony, and is still regarded in colonialist terms?

The West has many problems of its own. These include that about 40% of children are born out of wedlock. All studies show that this is very destructive for children, since often they are deprived of stable families. This rise of births in families not committed to live their lives as families goes together with rejection of Christianity, which strongly enjoins permanent marriage, and strong, committed family life.

Why not fix the problems of one’s own society before trying to dictate to others?


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