Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Recap: The Issue of Homosexulity Made Headlines Again; What Did Malawian Religious Leaders Say?

Our Concern

The Daily Times of Monday 10th October 2011, headlined ‘ACCEPT GAYS OR FORGET UK AID’, reported by Madalitso Musa, that:
‘Poor African countries including Malawi must abandon their rigidity against
same sex marriages as a condition for receiving British.’
‘Britain’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is quoted in UK’s The Daily Mail of yesterday through his spokesperson that Britain has resorted to cut aid to African countries that are against gay marriages.’
‘The British Government said it had cut aid of about 19 million pounds (MK4.8 billion) to Malawi because of government’s position regarding homosexuality particularly the conviction and sentencing of gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza’.
Our Mandate
Malawi Council of Churches (MCC) is a fellowship of 24 Protestant Member Churches and 20 affiliates which is committed, faithful, transparent, accountable and financially sustainable in the advancement of God’s mission, transforming humanity after the image of Christ, promoting holistic human development and fostering communities in the communion of peace, justice and love.
The Council, in this regard, has engaged itself in socio‐economic development issues including the thorny issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) as a global matter that needs sober and serious attention.
Our Stand
Seeking to address the controversial issue of homosexuality, the Malawi Council of Churches first engaged national church leaders and other stakeholders to a consultative workshop gathered at Sun ‘n’Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi from the 15th to 18th March 2010, to deliberate on the Contemporary Issues Affecting the Church and Society including Homosexuality.
From this gathering, it was agreed to:‐
1. Affirm the authority of the Bible to regulate the belief and practice of Christians and the Church
2. Recognize the divergent interpretation of the Holy Scriptures
3. Trust on the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the meaning of Scriptures
4. Recognize the universality of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings that go with corresponding duties and responsibilities
5. Note the fact that homosexuality is influenced by a variety of factors
Pursuant to this, members of the Malawi Council of Churches agreed to:‐
1. Hold that homosexual acts and or practices, are a violation of the revealed truth of the complementarily of males and females (Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:18‐25)
2. Uphold the current penal code provision that criminalizes homosexual acts and or practices, in as far as they bring about reform
3. Hold that the Church should treat practicing and self affirming homosexuals as sinners just as any other persons engaged in persistent unrepentant acts of sin. They should be loved and ministered to. The Church therefore must accompany the homosexuals in their struggle to transform their lives.
Our Call
The Council, as it earlier stated in its Press Statement of 18th March 2011, fully and strongly calls against legalizing homosexuality because the practice is a defined contradiction with the teachings of the Lord; a threat to the family unit which was institutionalized by God; and a contradiction to Malawi’s rich traditions and culture.
We wish to call on all stakeholders to the Scripture:‐ Leviticus 20:13; "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable,” and 1 Corinthians 6:19‐
20 (NLT); “Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?”
Our call to all Christians, Malawians at large and all stakeholders is to take part and convince upon proponents of homosexuality to exercise reasonableness in calling for cultures that will only alienate the general citizenry. The Council understands and believes that Malawi needs aid, and therefore asks that homosexuality should not be used as a benchmark to penalize and put to risk the lives of millions of
innocent Malawians.
3 We therefore call upon all donor partners to reconsider their demands for poor African countries,including Malawi, to embrace homosexuality as one of the tenets to accessing the much needed aid, and pray that development partners refrain from using aid to enforce negative lifestyles in poor countries.
In Conclusion
The Malawi Council of Churches therefore wishes to categorically state that the Christian Church, in line with the revealed Scripture, advises that homosexuality should not be made legal in Malawi. This is an alien and immoral culture that denigrates human dignity, contradictory to God’s teaching – and in itself,
a human rights violation where poor people are denied an opportunity to realize their full potential.
God bless Malawi.

Bishop Dr. Joseph BVUMBWE Rev. Dr. Osborne Lukiel JODA‐MBEWE
Board Chairperson General Secretary

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