Zambia's Religious Leaders Upset Over Tying Aid To LGBT Rights

Published: December 23, 2011

It should not be surprising that many churches and church organizations in Africa are angry over the decision by the US Government to tie foreign aid to assurances of LGBT rights. Homosexuality is illegal in almost every African nation, and some have extremely stiff penalties for those who are convicted of being gay. In Zambia, the Episcopal Conference, the Pentecostal Church Bishops’ Council of Zambia and the Zambia United Christian Action have all blasted the US for this stance.

Father Paul Samasumo, the spokesman for the Zambian Bishops Conference, stated that it would be wrong for the nation to accept lesbians and gays in order to get donor aid. He stated that “donor aid should not be tied to promoting immorality.”

Reverend Gibson Nyirenda, the spokesman for the Pentecostal Bishop’s Council urged Zambia to reject the donor aid if it comes with any conditions. He stated “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.”

Bishop John Jere, the president of the Zambia United Christian Action, was shocked that Western nations would put this condition on aid saying “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 also commended Zambian President Michael Sata for saying that the nation would be ruled under the Ten Commandments. It should be noted that the Ten Commandments say nothing about homosexuality.

Given Lubinda, the government’s information minister, has assured the nation’s leaders that they would not bow to pressure from outside with regards to their respect or toleration of homosexuality. He apparently reminded the West about the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda of Action and how they did not mention acceptance of LGBT rights for the basis of offering aid to the poor nations.

Of course, many people would point out that many of these nations have squandered billions in foreign aid on corruption and projects that were ill-advised and did little to alleviate the poverty in these nations.

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