Tag: bishop

Joe Biden invited to Nigeria to ‘marry a man’ by raging homophobic bishop

Bishop Emmah Isong of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria

An anti-LGBT+ bishop from Nigeria has suggested that if Joe Biden wants the country to decriminalise homosexuality, he should take a Nigerian man as his “second wife”.

The angry tirade comes after Biden vowed to advance the cause of LGBT+ rights around the world, threatening financial sanctions on regimes deemed to have infringed on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people.

A memo signed by Biden on 4 February instructed US government agencies to “strengthen existing efforts to combat the criminalisation by foreign governments of LGBTQI+ status or conduct”.

It added: “When foreign governments move to restrict the rights of LGBTQI+ persons or fail to enforce legal protections in place, thereby contributing to a climate of intolerance, agencies engaged abroad shall consider appropriate responses, including using the full range of diplomatic and assistance tools and, as appropriate, financial sanctions, visa restrictions, and other actions.”

Preacher says Joe Biden should come to Nigeria and marry a man

Speaking to African outlet Sahara Reporters, bishop Emmah Isong of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria hit out at Biden in the wake of the memo, defending Nigeria’s laws criminalising homosexuality.

He said: “I personally take it as a rumour that America wants to sanction governments that are anti-gay. The US has not communicated officially with the government of Nigeria.

“Let there be an official gazetted letter signed by the Secretary of State of the United States telling us to become gay, then we invite the president of the US to come and marry a man in Nigeria as his second wife.

“He must practise what he’s preaching, if the president of America wants Nigeria to practise gay, he should come and marry a man from here so we will know he means business.”

US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden (Getty/SAUL LOEB)

He added: “Every nation is equal in the comity of nations. America is a country that believes in the tenets of democracy which is freedom of speech, and I believe that Nigeria is an independent nation, we are not a nation under America.

“We are not among the states under American nation. We have the right to be anti-gay, I believe no one can sanction us for that.

“If they sanction us for being against gays, we can sanction them for believing in it… the worst thing they can do is raise their visa fees and we raise ours too and they reduce it and apologise and we also reduce ours and apologise.”

Nigeria maintains strict anti-gay laws

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria and is punished by up to 14 years in prison.

A law passed by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014 bans same-sex relationships, and also makes a person who “registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly make public show of same-sex amorous relationship” liable for 10 years in prison.

In October, a judge threw out charges against 47 men arrested under the country’s anti-gay law after a raid on a hotel.

Polish bishop claims conversion therapy fears are ‘a misconception’

Polish bishop claims conversion therapy fears are 'a misconception'

A Polish bishop dismissed fears that the Catholic church wants to force LGBT+ people into conversion therapy (Artur Widak/NurPhoto/ Getty)

A Polish bishop has insisted it’s a “misconception” that the church wants to force LGBT+ people into conversion therapy, despite calling for the creation of conversion therapy clinics just days earlier.

After a three-day Polish Episcopal Conference, bishops in Poland produced a 27-page document outlining their stance on LGBT+ issues. It included the claim that it is “necessary to create [conversion therapy] clinics… to help people regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation”.

“These clinics also make sense when complete sexual transformation is too difficult,” it continued, “as they can still help psychosexuals to deal with significant challenges.”

The document was the latest in a string of attacks against the LGBT+ community by the Polish Catholic church, and prompted considerable backlash.

But in a September 2 statement, Bishop Józef Wróbel, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Lublin and chairman of the bioethics committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland, said that it was a “misconception” to suggest that the bishops wanted to coerce people into “therapy”.

According to the Catholic Herald, he said the recommendation was aimed only at those “who seek such help and ask for it, because they experience suffering because of their inclinations”.

So-called ‘conversion therapy’ refers to the dangerous and discredited practise of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organisation for decades, is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

The fact that conversion therapy is “clearly in contradiction” to scientific evidence was acknowledged in the Episcopal conference, yet Bishop Wróbel maintained that it is effective.

He said: “In rare cases, transformation is possible under two conditions, namely that the LGBT person must really desire such a change (usually making an outright heroic effort in this direction) and there is as yet no homosexual sexual experience.

“Such help is not possible if, at the starting point, a person adopts the attitude that this inclination is natural, willed by the Creator, and should be accepted.”

The United Nations has compared conversion therapy to torture and has long called for a global ban. But the bishop opposed this, insisted that a ban on such therapies does not “make sense”.

He said: “In practice, such a position does not make sense, because it means that the UN demands to control who goes to a psychologist and for what purpose, or who goes to the Church, who confesses and what they confess.”