By Given Mutinta
We greatly appreciate the visit of the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to Zambia. On the other hand, it is heartrending that Ban Ki-Moon used his visit to promote gay rights. Since the Secretary General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations that endorsed the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBST), he is surreptitiously asking our government to promote the protection of homosexuals in our new constitution in the process of being drafted.
Homosexual or should I say ‘yakumbuyo’ behaviour that is, acts intended to arouse a sexual response regarding a person of the same sex should be condemned in our country because they violate both divine and natural law.
In addition, ‘yakumbuyo’ behaviour should be denounced because President Michael Sata promised that his government will be informed by Biblical principles. The Bible unreservedly condemns ‘yakumbuyo’ as grave wickedness against the Creator. We hope this is going to be the first promise Sata is going to deliver on.
‘Yakumbuyo’ desires, however, are not in themselves wicked. As human beings we are subject to a wide variety of wicked desires over which we have little direct control, but these do not become wicked until we act upon them. People tempted by ‘yakumbuyo’ desires, like people tempted by improper heterosexual desires, are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some way.
‘Yakumbuyo’ acts are unnatural, are not open to life, are outside of marriage, and are between persons of the same gender. To be moral, sexual relations must be natural and open to life and within a marriage and between a man and a woman. ‘Yakumbuyo’ offends against all these moral requirements in the natural law and in divine revelation and in the very nature of our humanity. Therefore, ‘yakumbuyo’ is much more gravely disordered and much more wicked than heterosexual acts outside of marriage. The greater the disorder, the greater the wickedness. The more moral principles an act violates, the more wicked that act is.
Sata and his government should be reminded that the Bible unsparingly condemns ‘yakumbuyo’. In Genesis19, two angels in disguise visit the city of Sodom and are offered hospitality and shelter by Lot. During the night, the men of Sodom demand that Lot hand over his guests for ‘yakumbuyo’. Lot refuses, and the angels blind the men of Sodom. Lot and his household escape, and the town is destroyed by fire ‘because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord’ (Genesis19:13).
It is recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s ‘yakumbuyo’ behaviour. However, today, certain ‘yakumbuyo’ activists promote the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality. Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly ‘yakumbuyo’ behaviour of the Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism in the account of their city’s destruction.
If one reads Jude7 records that Sodom and Gomorrah ‘acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust’ which refer to ‘yakumbuyo’ and heterosexual acts of sin. Lot even offered his two virgin daughters, just imagine virgins, in place of his guests, but the men of Sodom rejected the offer, preferring ‘yakumbuyo’ to heterosexual sex (Genesis19:8-9). So ‘yakumbuyo’ acts and a lack of hospitality both contributed to the destruction of Sodom, with the former being the far greater wickedness.
However, the Sodom incident is not the only time the Old Testament deals with ‘yakumbuyo’. An explicit condemnation is found in the book of Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. . . . If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them’.
To mark-down this, some ‘yakumbuyo’ activists are arguing that moral imperatives from the Old Testament can be written off since there were certain ceremonial requirements at the time such as circumcising male babies that are no longer binding.
While the Old Testament’s ceremonial requirements are no longer binding, its moral requirements are. God’s moral requirements are eternal and are binding on all cultures whether in Zambia or United States of America. Confirming this fact is the New Testament’s forceful rejection of ‘yakumbuyo’ as well. In Romans 1:26–28, 32, Paul attributes ‘yakumbuyo’ desires to a refusal to acknowledge and worship the Creator. Thus, though ‘yakumbuyo’ is approved by those who practice it that does not stop it from being unnatural and heretical to the Creator.
For Jesus himself, read Matthew19, citing the natural law and the divine plan revealed by nature, said, ‘Have you not read that he who made man from the beginning, made them male and female?’ And he said, ‘for this reason, a man shall separate from father and mother, and he shall cling to his wife, and these two shall become one flesh.’
In other words, the Bible Sata said will guide his government teaches the unacceptability of ‘yakumbuyo’. However, the rejection of this behaviour is not an arbitrary prohibition. It, like other moral imperatives, is rooted in natural law the design built into human nature.
As human beings we have a basic, ethical intuition that certain behaviours are wrong because they are unnatural. We perceive intuitively that the natural sex partner of a human is another human, not an animal.
Whether one likes it or not, the same reasoning applies to the case of ‘yakumbuyo’. The natural sex partner for a man is a woman, and the natural sex partner for a woman is a man period! It is therefore unarguable that natural law reasoning is the foundation for almost all standard moral intuitions.
Many people who engage in ‘yakumbuyo’ told me that they did not chosen their condition, but that they were born that way, making ‘yakumbuyo’ natural for them, nonsense! Simply because something was not chosen does not mean it was inborn or natural. Some desires are acquired by habituation instead of by conscious choice. For example, there is no person who chooses to be a chain smoker, but one can become habituated to chain smoking. Just as one can acquire desires to smoke without consciously choosing them, so one may acquire ‘yakumbuyo’ desires by engaging in ‘yakumbuyo’ fantasies without consciously choosing them.
Even though there is a genetic predisposition toward ‘yakumbuyo’, the behaviour remains unnatural because ‘yakumbuyo’ is still not part of the natural design of humanity. It does not make ‘yakumbuyo’ behaviour acceptable. Our behaviours are not rendered acceptable simply because there may be a genetic predisposition toward them.
Some scientific studies argue that some people are born with a hereditary disposition to smoke, but no one would argue someone ought to fulfil these inborn urges by becoming a chain smoker. Chain smoking is not an acceptable ‘lifestyle’ any more than ‘yakumbuyo’ is.
‘Yakumbuyo’ activists often justify ‘yakumbuyo’ by claiming that ‘yakumbuyo’ is a common phenomenon even in highly religious countries and communities and thus acceptable behaviour. This is total rubbish! Not all common behaviours are acceptable and even if some people were born angled to ‘yakumbuyo’, this does not justify and make ‘yakumbuyo’ natural.
The contemporary arguments in favour of ‘yakumbuyo’ have thus been inadequate to disable the evidence that ‘yakumbuyo’ is against divine and natural law.
The sacred Scripture presents ‘yakumbuyo’ acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘yakumbuyo’ acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no conditions should they be approved in our country guided by Biblical principles.
In spite of this, it is our duty as a nation to show love to men and women engaging in ‘yakumbuyo’ activities. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Unjust discrimination against them should be avoided.
Let us help those who have fallen to the aberrant practice of ‘yakumbuyo’ to overcome this disorder for them to be able to gradually and resolutely approach our human and natural perfection.
*The Author is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal; Health, Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division, South Africa.