As we fight this particular culture war here in the US, let’s not forget things are as bad or worse elsewhere. Uganda’s persecution of gays is notorious. A gay Malaysian pastor makes global headlines by getting married (which is both politically and religiously courageous of him). And it’s not just right-wing evangelical Americans forcing people to try to pray away the gay. This fawning article in an online journal called Peace FM in Ghana, West Africa details the plans of “man of God” Prophet Dominic Ackah Manlenzie, who is setting up a “rehab” center for gay and lesbian Ghanaians. This man preaches that homosexuality arises from satanic influence and urges people to “do something about the problem.”
I’ve never been to Ghana, and I don’t know how robust their marketplace of ideas is. Manlenzie is quoted as saying it’s wrong to think homosexuality is genetic, and it reassures me that he feels the need to bring that up–it suggests that the idea has currency there. (It’s heartening, too, to see that six of the eight comments posted on this article call Manlenzie out, one of them citing the American Psychological Association and the LA Times‘ coverage of its condemnation of ex-gay therapy.) But I have lived and worked in parts of the world where there are no cultural countercurrents to oppose ideas like his, where there’s hardly any Internet access and virtually zero books. Lots of gay people live their entire lives in places where they never even hear about progressive ways to view themselves. When I think about that, I have more sympathy for plans to saturate the developing world with laptops. I imagine some gay Ghanaian reading about Manlenzie, then clicking away from Peace FM to that commenter’s link. And then maybe deciding he doesn’t have to listen to every man of God he meets.