US Wrong to Use Aid Money to Force Acceptance of 'Sinful' Gay Practices

Churches in Zambia are unhappy with the stance that the United States has taken regarding the procurement of foreign developmental aid being tied with individual countries’ domestic policies regarding homosexual rights.

Many Christian organizations in the country including the Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Pentecostal Church's Bishops' Council of Zambia and the Zambia United Christian Action said that it was unwise for the U.S. government to use international funding to force other nations to permit "ungodly practices" in their land, according to the Catholic News Service.

Father Paul Samasumo, Zambian bishops' conference spokesman, said it would be wrong for Zambia to accept gays and lesbians simply because of donor aid.

"Donor aid should not be tied to promoting immorality," Father Samasumo said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a speech given in early December, stated that the United States would use the supply of aid as well as various diplomacy tactics as tools to improve gay and lesbian rights around the world.

Rev. Gibson Nyirenda, spokesman for the Pentecostal bishops' council, urged Zambia to reject any donor aid that comes with conditions.

"For us as a nation, we cannot go in that direction because it is indecent and can erode our morals as society. Let's remain a Christian nation by ignoring such assistance," Rev. Nyirenda said.

Clinton said that a country's cultural or religious traditions were no excuse for discrimination and directed U.S. government agencies to use foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance non-discrimination while working with international organizations to promote gay and lesbian rights.

Bishop John Jere, Zambia United Christian Action president, said it was shocking that Western nations were continuing to use development aid to coerce poor countries into accepting practices that were against traditional norms.

"Homosexuality is a sin and as a country we are a Christian nation, so I don't think we should even spend time to consider it despite pressure from anyone," he said.