I had intended this article to be entitled “We Will Not Bow Down To Idol.” After careful reflections, I changed my mind because I felt that readers might misunderstand me and give the write-up a religious mindset. I then settled for “Obama” rather than “Idol,” because, come to think of it, this write-up is actually about Barack Obama and his American posturing.
Before I delve into the subject matter, permit me to prelude this discourse with the word that was common with us in my newsroom days thirty-something years ago.The Daniel book of the Bible tells the story of King Nebuchadnezzar (605 – 562 BC) of the Babylonian empire who built a gigantic idol and commanded the peoples, nations and men of every language to bow down and worship the idol, failing which the defaulter would be thrown into a blazing furnace to be roasted to death. Three young Jews – Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego – refused to bow down to the idol and they were promptly thrown into the blazing furnace. But by divine intervention, the furnace disappointed Nebuchadnezzar and the young men came out unhurt. Eventually, King Nebuchadnezzar’s empire crumbled and collapsed, just like empires have been known in history to rise and fall.The history of the rise and fall of empires may be repeating itself in the world of the high and mighty America.
On Friday, June 26, 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court put the finishing touches on the idol that the American society been constructing over the years – the same-sex marriage conundrum.
On that fateful day, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US Constitutional provisions of due process and equal protection under the law actually means that States cannot ban same-sex marriage. With this ruling, same-sex marriage became legal in all the 50 States of the US. Very unfortunate.
A Wikipedia source states that the movement to obtain civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s. In 2011, the Obama Administration took over the movement and started constructing the idol of same-sex marriage legalisation officially when it declared as unconstitutional, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was enacted by the Congress in 1996 and which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for all Federal purposes. And on May 9, 2012, President Obama, this time, personally made a public statement in which he advocated that same-sex couples should be able to get married. As I have said above, the June 26 Supreme Court ruling was the icing on the cake of same-sex marriage, the idol Obama has been building since 2011.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, Barrack Obama, looming large over the American world power of today, is commanding the peoples, nations and men and women of the world to bow down to the idol the society has constructed and worship it. As at June 26, 2015, eighteen countries had bowed to idol of same-sex marriage. These are the US, the UK, France, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Argentina, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay, New Zealand, Brazil, Iceland and Luxembourg. The entire African continent, with the exception of South Africa, has not bowed down to Obama’s idol.
On Monday, January 13, 2014, the then Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan signed the anti-gay bill into law and Nigeria joined the 34 other African nations with strict anti-gay laws. The Daily SUN editorial of January 21, 2014 quoted Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry of lamenting how “deeply concerned” the US was with the new law in Nigeria. On his own part, the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power, another member of Obama’s cabinet, described the law as “a big setback for human rights for Nigerians.”
My take on human rights is premised i both the religious and social ethics matrix. It is not human rights when same-sex marriage, or any act whatsoever, negates and insults the religion, culture and tradition of the people. The Bible and the Koran which are the supreme guide-books of the majority of the people of the universe are unequivocal in their condemnation of homosexuality and other obnoxious sexual practices. The cultures and traditions of most peoples, particularly those in Africa are against homosexuality. Yet imperialistic America is talking of our law, made in response to the demands of our religions, culture and traditions, as being against human rights. There is no right that is absolute. The charter of human rights has its limits and limitations. It is not human rights when a person carries out an act that runs contrary to the sensibilities of a people in a given environment. It is an offence as it offends the norms of that given society.Having said that, let me return to the issue of Obama’s idol. Through the strategies of intimidation, arm-twisting and the carrot of foreign aid, Obama is putting pressure on Nigeria and other African nations to de-criminalise same-sex marriage.
The Thisday edition of July 20, 2015 published a report entitled “CAN, Group Urge Buhari Not To Succumb to Pressure on Same-Sex Marriage as He Meets With Obama.” The appeal, which was in reference to President Buhari’s visit to the US which began on Sunday, July 19, 2015, was prompted by the public apprehension arising from the suspicion that Obama was going to pressure Buhari on the matter. The suspicion was not uncalled for at all. It had been reported that the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield had said that America would continue to pressurise Nigeria until it legalised same-sex marriage.
Obama is applying the same arm-twisting strategies on other African countries, notably Kenya, Cameroun, Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique. Africa may be poor in our pockets, but we definitely are not poor in our religious and moral intellect and responsibilities. We stand by these and will not bow down to the Barrack Obama idol of same-sex marriage. It is a great relief to hear that President Buhari has outrightly rejected the gay marriage offer by Obama during his US visit. If Barack Obama’s promised assistance to Nigeria in battling with our economic and security challenges has the overt and covert design of making us to legalise same-sex marriage, Buhari’s blunt rejection should assure him that we will never trade off our conscience for a morsel of food. Somebody should tell Obama the story of Nebuchadnezzar. Empires rise and fall, particularly when they dare God as Nebuchadnezzar, Hitler, Nero, Napoleon, etc, did. Obama and his mighty America are daring God with the same-sex idol. Beware America!
•Rev Eme is spokesman, The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Aba