One top candidate to replace Pope Benedict XVI, who the week shockingly abdicated the papacy, is a Cardinal who has publicly supported Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who is everything the Vatican would want now: young enough to lead for decades, from an area the church sees as rapidly embracing Roman Catholicism, energetic, speaks at least six languages, and as an African, he would become the first Black pope.
But his hugely anti-gay stance is especially disconcerting.
“Turkson is so anti-gay that he actually defended draconian laws that criminalize homosexuality and gay sex, including Uganda’s notorious “Kill the Gays” bill,” writes John M. Becker at Bilerico. “Speaking last year to the National Catholic Register, Turkson opined that while the penalties imposed by such laws are ‘exaggerated,’ the desire of many Africans and African leaders to incarcerate or even execute their gay citizens is actually perfectly understandable, and that the ‘intensity of the reaction [to homosexuality] is probably commensurate with tradition.’”
“Translation: demonizing and persecuting gay people shouldn’t be condemned. Rather, it should be understood because in many nations, it’s traditional.”
Becker adds that in “January 2012, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered an address to the African Union Summit in which he called on African nations to repeal laws that criminalize homosexuality and end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; the Secretary-General said that doing so was the only way to live up to the ideals of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”
Cardinal Turkson rebuked him:
We [the Church] push for the rights of prisoners, the rights of others, and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights? [Ban Ki-moon] needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.
Homosexuality is illegal in more than thirty African countries and punishable by everything from fines and whippings to incarceration and execution. Yet according to Cardinal Turkson, the cultural values that gave rise to such barbaric laws deserve respect and understanding. After all, it’s only fair.
One curious note.
Cardinal Turkson actually seems to be campaigning for the job.
Noting that Benredict XVI has “expressed his admiration for the church in Africa,” Turkson said in a recent interview, “If you go on from there and have an African pope, that would be a great recognition of a church that has come of age and a church that is able to contribute to the universal church.”
Universal, except for the gays.
Image via Wikipedia
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