By Vera Marion
Picture this, a gay couple (yes, a gay couple) approaches a bakery owner and asks him/her to bake a cake for their wedding. The baker refuses. The gay couple asks why they have been turned down. The baker says he/she is a Christian and cannot bake the cake as it would be enabling/ agreeing with homosexuality which is against his/her faith. The gay couple sues the baker for discriminating against them. The gay couple wins the case.
Now, stop being furious because the above scenario actually happened… in America (the land of the free).
We live with them. We associate with them. We eat with them. We drink with them. Yet we do not want to be seen with them. Yet we do not want to hear anything concerning them: the irony of it all. A gay rights activist a Mr. Eric Gitari who has worked for and with LGBTIQ (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans, Inter and Queer), wanted to register an NGO that fights for the rights of these group, yet his request was not granted and reason were given. The church was in an uproar about it, yet when he took the matter to court and the court ordered the registration board to register the NGO. This is just a short version of the story. But deep down there are many unanswered questions and issues regarding this subject.
The gay community or LGBTIQ (such a fancy acronym) have for a long time demanded for their rights. In some countries they are accepted yet in others they are frowned upon. And Kenya is no exception. But the issue of LBTIQ is more than just their sexual orientation. This is about religion. When Christians do not accept or tolerate what the LGBTIQ do, then the latter say that they are being discriminated against.
This brings the case of the American couple to the fore. They refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding and they were taken to court for discrimination. So where then is the right of the Christian? Do Christians even have rights in the first place? Granted, they are given ‘freedom to worship’ but does it narrow down to only that? Doesn’t these couple have a right to say no? To begin with are they not American citizens then Christians? Are they not also being discriminated against? All these rights issue has encroached into every other issue and now we call it modernity, therefore losing our own identity and equating our lives to our sex orientation.
Our lives are bigger than sex. Our lives have to have meaning. What do we intend for our lives? What do we want to achieve in our lives? Our lives have to have a purpose. What drives us? What do we wake up to every day and find satisfaction in it? What do we do every day to reach that goal/objective that we have set out to do? Our lives have to have a destiny. What road are we travelling to reach to that destiny? Is it the road less travelled? Is it a road that many have walked on before us? Is it a destiny that we want for ourselves or has it been imposed on us? Our lives have to be filled with dreams. Dreams stir us up. Dreams motivate us to make it a reality. Dreams are like stepping stones that compels us to the next level. No matter the dream, they are all valid. But dreams will only remain as dreams unless we actualize them through our actions. All these things can never be achieved by having laws written or organizations registered. We have to have an introspection of our lives and see how we can make them come to reality.
As a society we have made this a religious battle where the LGBTIQ are in the wrong and the Christians are in the right. And so Christians feel like this is a battle that they truly must win at all costs. I don’t know how Muslims handle this issue of LGBTIQ, but as Christians we seem to take the wrong approach. What would Jesus have done? He mingled with the sinners; he went to their celebrations, accepted their invitations and did not in any way condemn them; unless where it was necessary. As Christians what we are lacking is compassion. Christ’s compassion. Instead of fighting tooth and nail to win this battle, we need to understand these people. We need to know them better beyond them being LQBTIQ. Then maybe, just maybe, we can know how to deal with them because we cannot ignore that they don’t exist in our society.