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By Alphonsus Nwadike
“I do not dishonour the Bible. I honour it above all books. The New Testament alone, since I have been able to read it humanly, has to me outweighed all the literature of the world.”—James Anthony Froude.
On 7th of January this year (2014), the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Nigerian Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into a law. Since the enactment of that Act, some Nigerians and nationals from Western countries have expressed their displeasure and opposition to the President and Nigerian National Assembly.
Some of these opponents of the new law have described the statute as draconian and obnoxious while others among them, including the American and British Foreign Secretaries, John Kerry and William Hague respectively, see it as a direct encroachment upon the fundamental rights of Nigerian gay community and a contradiction to the provisions of Nigerian 1999 constitution and international conventions.
To some of these opponents, the new law is repressive because, according to them, nobody is supposed to suffer any discrimination on the grounds of his/her sexual orientation and they have even expressed fear that the Act will cause untold violence, persecution, and prejudice in Nigeria. Others among them have even described millions of Nigerians who support the criminalization of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in Nigeria as barbaric and slaves to tradition, religion, and morality.
Without mincing words, these negative reactions against the new Act, at best, represent obvious naivety, ignorance, western hypocrisy, enslaved western mentality, wool-pulling defense mechanism, and agnostic philosophical chicaneries on the part of the critics. In the first place, these opponents, who usually proclaim themselves as gay-rights activists or defenders of the civil liberties of homosexuals, must be re-educated on the following truisms: In 1795, a legendary Anglo-Irish political philosopher and theorist, Edmund Burke, who was also the father of modern liberal conservatism and representative democracy, taught the whole world a remarkable socio-political lesson to this effect, “THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING.”
The lesson Nigerian self-made gay-rights defenders and their western backers should learn from Edmund Burke is that the prevalence or luxuriant growth of an evil, an immorality, a behavioral disorder, an illegality in any nation is an indication of the dormancy and inaction of good men and women in that country. Burke’s teaching equally means that if good people in a country do something, any societal evil or disorder that crops up in that nation will abate, but if they do nothing, it will increase and continue to multiply in enormity. It further implies that it takes the failure of good, honest, God-fearing country men and women to take positive and purposeful actions for political, social, moral, and behavioral corruption to thrive in any country. It also means that anything done by good men and women in a society to eradicate a particular societal malady or moral corruption which fails to curb or uproot it, is futile and as good as nothing. This eloquent and world-widely accepted wisdom of Edmund Burke was given an added stamp of authority and endorsement by Albert Einstein, a Jewish great scientist and a superlative mind in intellectual philosophy who won the 1921 Nobel laurel in physics, in the following words, “THE WORLD IS A DANGEROUS PLACE TO LIVE, NOT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE EVIL, BUT BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.”
In simple analysis, these two great men of history wanted the world to know that it does not take thieves, homosexuals, gays, pedophiles, public property looters, or fraudsters, murderers, prostitutes etc. to mitigate the rampancy of stealing, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, pedophilia, prostitution, murder and corruption in a society; it rather takes the practical interventions, passionate actions, and conscious vigilance of honest, good people to keep such evils, such behavioral disorders, such social anomalies at bay.
Another great wisdom handed down to humanity in the 19th century is the classical teachings of James Anthony Froude, a quintessential English historian, novelist, biographer, and editor, who in 1849 advised human persons and societies in this manner, “ACTIONS ARE GOVERNED BY MOTIVES. THE POWER OF MOTIVES DEPENDS ON CHARACTER AND CHARACTER ON THE ORIGINAL FACULTIES AND TRAINING RECEIVED FROM THE MEN OR THINGS AMONG WHICH A PERSON IS BRED” According to this teaching, those who commit evils, immoralities, or illegalities do so as a result of the nature of their mental breeding, learning, nurture, and/or environmental influences.
Froude continued, “OPINIONS ALTER, MANNERS CHANGE, CREEDS RISE AND FALL, BUT THE MORAL LAW IS WRITTEN ON THE TABLETS OF ETERNITY.” According to this message, the bedrock, the anchor, the engine, power, the meat and marrow of human life, any society, and any legal rules is the moral rules. This further implies that human life which is devoid of moral scruples has no essence and no meaning. By necessary extension, it means societal development or civilization is no development or civilization without morality.
Continuing, Froude mused, ” OUR FAILURES ARE ERRORS, NOT CRIMES — NATURE’S DISCIPLINE WITH WHICH GOD TEACHES US; AND AS LITTLE VIOLATIONS OF HIS LAW, OR RENDERING US GUILTY IN HIS EYES, AS THE ARTIST’S EARLY BLUNDERS, OR EVEN ULTIMATE AND ENTIRE FAILURES, ARE LAYING STORE OF GUILT ON HIM.” The understanding in this teaching is that what fails or ruins a man, a woman, a society, a nation is lack of nature’s discipline. This further means that disobedience to natural/moral rules of life and conduct is more destructive to a nation than crimes. It also means that crimes are the essential by-products of lack of natural discipline or control. It further implies that for a nation to survive and grow, it must instill natural/moral discipline in its citizens.
I must equally take recourse to Confucius, a legendary Chinese philosopher whose wise teachings more monumentally influenced modern Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many western countries’ thought than any other sage of the old. In 479 B.C and in his approach to social harmony, prosperity, and defined moral obligations between individuals and social systems, Confucius said, “TO PUT THE WORLD IN ORDER, WE MUST FIRST PUT THE NATION IN ORDER; TO PUT THE NATION IN ORDER, WE MUST PUT THE FAMILY IN ORDER; TO PUT THE FAMILY IN ORDER, WE MUST CULTIVATE OUR PERSONAL LIFE, AND TO CULTIVATE OUR PERSONAL LIFE, WE MUST FIRST SET OUR HEART RIGHT.”
According to Confucius, to effect a positive change in a nation, the citizens of that country must start at its bottom or basis, which is the individual persons living in families governed by natural rules of life. He taught that the citizens must organize and tame their individual lives well and set their hearts in order. This means that once the bottom of a country (the persons in individual families) is well organized and tamed in morality, the top of that country ( the government) will automatically be well tamed in natural discipline without which there will be no legal, political, economic etc. discipline in the society. This further means that if the families in a nation are made up of thieves, pedophiles, gays, prostitutes, lesbians, those who have sex with animals, with their children, with their sisters, brothers etc., the civil leadership of that society will be constituted by thieves, homosexuals, pedophiles, prostitutes, bestial and incestuous human beings and the country will be drowned in immorality and illegality.
This therefore means that what people do (whether adults or non-adults) in their private lives, homes, bedrooms should be a source of interest and concern to a right-thinking human society because people’s private breeding/life determines their public/official or communal behavior. I don’t know of any Nigerian, any American or British today whose intellectual and philosophical teachings and thoughts are as legendary, as world-widely respected, honored, as world-widely accepted and embraced as those of Confucius.
In the light of the aforementioned teachings and lessons, one may now ask: What gain can humanity derive from homosexuality and same-sex marriages? Are homosexuality and same-sex marriage breaches of Nature’s discipline? If yes, should Nigerians condone or acquiesce to their practice in Nigeria? Can human right enure or exist in acts which are violations of Nature’s discipline or in illegality? Are homosexuality and same-sex marriage threats to human procreation? Is human race in danger of extinction if all nations decide to adopt same-sex marriages? Who actually is to blame for the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria? Is sodomy not a homosexual act?
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