While in America, Western Europe and other places, some of the prominent Protestant churches have advocated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) inclusion, this hasn’t happened in a majority portion of Africa.

Leaders of major churches in Ghana in West Africa have strongly opposed LGBTQ rights, and have come together to denounce homosexuality as a “perversion.” They have also united to endorse legislation that would impose harsh anti-LGBTQ policies in Africa if it is enacted.

Same-sex relationships are depicted as an evil by the umbrella body for Christian churches in Nigeria.

“The mainstream churches are totally against it,” said Caroline Omolo, associate pastor at the Cosmopolitan Affirming Community in Nairobi, Kenya, which is a rare example of a church in Africa that serves a predominantly LGBTQ congregation, reported Associated Press. Omolo added that they (mainstream churches) have always organized a group to maybe silence them or make the church disappear, and they don’t want it to appear anywhere.

Ghana is in spotlight due to a bill in Parliament that would impose jail sentences that ranges from three to 10 years for people identifying as LGBTQ or supporting them. Even as Ghanaian religious leaders rally behind the bill, human rights activists have denounced it.

Abena Hutchful, a Ghanaian who identifies as queer and helped in organizing a recent protest against the bill in New York City, said, “Their role in perpetuating queerphobia and transphobia is clear and it's very troubling and dangerous."

Graeme Reid, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Rights Program, said that the bill’s strongest endorsers claim to be supporting it in the name of religion, and called the measure “a case study in extreme cruelty.”

Influential religious leaders were consulted while drafting the bill, said the lawmakers proposing it. The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the country’s chief imam and the Christian Council of Ghana are some of the supporters of the bill.

Catholic teaching “recognizes in the dignity of every human person," said Catholic Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins in Nigeria, but said that LGBTQ people are leading “a disordered way of life.”

In entire Africa, South Africa is the only nation that has legalized same-sex marriage, but even there, lesbian and gay couples usually struggle to be accepted by churches, according to ABC News.

Indonesian church
This is a representational image. PIXABAY

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