Church, African leaders oppose Obama's gay rights 'ideological colonisation' bid

Anti-homosexual rights protesters chant slogans as they march in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 6, 2015.Reuters

Leaders in both religious and political spheres in Africa panned US President Barack Obama's move to promote gay rights as he visited Kenya this weekend, an attempt that Pope Francis has described as "ideological colonisation."

Nigerian Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo criticised Obama's advocacy, saying African nations should be able to select which "benevolence" should be accepted from Western countries, the Catholic News Agency reported.

"Most Africans care about religious values, about the family, about the complementary nature of man and woman and the culture that makes us Africans," Badejo said. "Why can we not choose what 'benevolence' to accept from the West? Why can we not just be helped to fight corruption, terrorism, unemployment disease and illiteracy?"

"Nobody should be killed for private wayward or immoral behaviours that do not compromise other people's lives," explained the bishop, "but that does not mean all kinds of exotic sexual adventure must be foisted on other nationalities in the name of rights."

"America claims to be a great democracy and the proof of that fact will be found in her capacity for sincere dialogue and readiness to respect the legitimate values and world view of other peoples," Badejo said.

One cardinal maintained that homosexuality is an aberration and that union should only be between two people of different sexes.

"Even if people don't like us for it, our Church has always said homosexuality is unnatural and marriage is between a man and a woman," Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja said, emphasising that "there is no question of the Catholic Church changing its positions on this matter."

Another church official, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra in Ghana, commented on Obama's remarks on gay rights, saying homosexual activity is against the law of God and "anti-human."

Palmer-Buckle said while the Church respects members of the LGBT community since homosexual individuals, just like other people, are also created in God's image and likeliness, it cannot support homosexual acts, underlining the Church's commitment to "the fundamental truth about marriage and family life."