- (Reuters/Dario Pignatelli)
The archbishop of Jos and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria has accused the Western world of forcing secular values on homosexuality and condom use "down the throats" of Africans. He called on believers to stay faithful to their religious heritage.
"In Africa, whether it is about population control, use of condoms, homosexuality, etc sometimes, the views of the West are forced down the throats of Africans through financial inducement. Africans must not be copy cats, believing that whatever comes from the West is ideal," His Exc. Mgr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said at a seminar in Jos on health care and Catholic social teachings, Agenzia Fides reported on Wednesday.
"We must not be swallowed up by the tyrannical imposition of some governments or international non-governmental organizations who wish to dictate the moral trend of the world based on their secular values" he added.
Kaigama noted that the Roman Catholic Church is often attacked by secular organizations because of its pro-life stance, its support for traditional marriage which finds homosexuality sinful, and its objections to promoting condoms as a means of birth control.
The United Nations has harshly criticized Nigeria's laws when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, in particular a recently-signed law that threatens a 14-year prison term for people who enter into a same-sex union and a 10-year sentence for anyone who aids a same-sex marriage ceremony.
"Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights," said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement in January.
"Rights to privacy and non-discrimination, rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, rights to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention: this law undermines all of them," Pillay added, calling Nigeria's anti-gay marriage law "draconian."
The UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the UN-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have also spoken out against the law, saying that it may prevent LGBT people from receiving HIV services.
Kaigama argued, however, that without cultural or intellectual discernment, Nigerians run the risk of losing their values and becoming "neither Africans nor Westerners."
The archbishop of Jos concluded: "We must be faithful to our religious heritage even at a time when some of the people who introduced Christianity to us have become its ardent critics and some of them nurture a pathological hatred for Church directives or moral judgments."
Christians make up around 40 percent of Nigeria's population, and other churches have also spoken out strongly against gay marriage in the past.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Lagos, Nigeria, which also has 6,000 parishes around the world, warned in 2013 that same-sex marriage has the potential to wipe out the human race within the next 20 years.
"How can a man who marries a fellow man produce a child? How can a woman who marries a woman produce a child? If this evil is allowed to stay, there will not be new born babies again in the world. As the older generation dies, would there be new generation to succeed them? Even plants and animals have new generation to succeed them," Adeboye said.