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Found 202 results

  1. Portia not only surprised her wife with an unexpected appearance on the show, she also gave her one of the most incredible birthday gifts Ellen has ever received.
  2. A gay couple have been arrested and charged for forcing their three children to eat dog feces as punishment. Amanda Wright, 29, and Besline Joseph, 25, are accused of repeatedly beating the children aged 8,9, and 10. The children were reportedly beaten with extension cords, belts, sticks and other objects, and they had bloody noses, bruises, and cuts as a result of these beatings. Police believe that the innocent children were also locked in closets and a basement, and fed only bread, water and oatmeal. Amanda and Besline are also accused of forcing the children to eat dog feces and threatened to kill them if they told anyone about what was happening. Both women were each charged with three counts each of first-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a minor, stalking, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, false imprisonment, and one count each of causing ingestion of a bodily fluid, preventing/interfering with report of suspected child abuse or neglect, and conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse. The two women were arrested at their Wicomico County home Wednesday after an investigation by Maryland State Police. Source
  3. Popular Nigerian television reality show, Big Brother Naija premieres on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7p.m. The premiere of the third edition of the highly anticipated show came after the housemates of the second edition gathered for a special reunion show to the excitement of their fans. The General Manager, Sales and Marketing for MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, speaking on the return, said: “Without a doubt, this promises to be the most exciting edition of the Big Brother franchise on the African continent. The last edition of Big Brother Naija was incredibly successful and we see just how much the show continues to resonate with fans in Nigeria and around the continent. “We can hardly wait for Sunday, and we guarantee not only that our viewers will enjoy the premiere show, but that they will stay tuned for three months until the show’s finale when the winner is revealed,” he said. Viewers on DStv can watch the show on channel 198, while GOtv viewers can tune in to channel 29 to watch all of the excitement as contestants battle for the grand prizes of an SUV and N45 million. Source
  4. So you have a harness, a dildo, and enthusiasm. What’s next? A strap-on blow job can be part of foreplay, a main sex act, or part of cleanup. No matter where it fits in, build excitement by making out, grinding against each other, dirty talking, or whatever your sex pregame usually looks like. If you’re the one giving the blow job, start by being a tease with touches that get close to or lightly brush over the strap-on, without really engaging with it yet. When everyone is ready to go, move into position and go to town. “An easy way to start is by slowly licking up the shaft and around the head of the dildo. It’s hot and useful, since more saliva makes everything glide smoothly. You can also use this in between sucking and stroking with your hand if you need a break or more lubrication,” says FemmeCock. Then, take the strap-on into your mouth. If it’s long, or if you don’t want it too deep, wrapping your hand around the base can keep it from going too far back in your mouth and can give your partner a firmer surface to grind against if they want one. Resist the urge to bite down to control the depth — the dildo won’t notice, but your teeth will. Then, start to move slowly, and build up to a rhythm as you pay attention to your partner’s responses. A lot of your focus will probably be on the dildo, but don’t forget about your partner’s body. “Bring one of their fingers into your mouth right alongside the dildo so they can feel exactly what you’re doing. […] Reach for their body, hold their hands, grab their thighs, involve their butt or whatever is under the strap on, if they like that. Use your hands,” says Sexsmith. If your partner is into vaginal or anal penetration and is wearing a harness that allows for it, you can finger them during the blow job. Start with fewer fingers and add more, use lube if you need it, and use the same rhythm with your fingers as your mouth for extra bonus points. Finally, remember that the best strap-on blow jobs are noisy and messy and embrace it. “Noises are inevitable and can enhance the experience, since strap-on blowjobs rely on sights and sounds, so don’t be embarrassed of slurping or sucking noises. You can also add more intentional sounds, moaning intermittently to show you’re enjoying what’s going on,” says FemmeCock. How To Receive A Strap-On Blow Job If it’s your first time receiving a strap-on blow job, spend some time in advance getting used to wearing the strap-on. “Think about it as part of you. Touch it yourself, get a sense of its edges and shape and weight and size. Let it become part of your body’s proprioception,” says Sexsmith. Then, in the moment, try to relax and concentrate on what you see and feel. Stay present and connected with your partner via touch. Try resting your hand on their shoulder or stroking the back of their neck or the side of their face, but don’t grab their head, pull their hair, choke them, or more forcefully fuck their mouth unless you’ve discussed it. Use sounds or words to let your partner know they’re doing a good job, check in by asking questions your partner can answer by nodding or making a noise, and let your partner know what you’re into. “It can feel like a lot of pressure to have someone watching you go down on them, so it’s important to let your partner know they’re doing a great job through sounds or verbal affirmation. Make sure they’re on the same page as you by asking questions that can be answered with a gesture or short response, like ‘how’s that’ or ‘are you enjoying my cock?’ Communicate what you want and like; if you find something to be super hot, you can say things like ‘that feels so good’ or ‘I love when you go a little slower,’” says FemmeCock. Use non-verbal expression, too. “The way a lover can tell that you like things is by your movement, sound, and breath. Let those things out,” says Sexsmith. Source
  5. Let's Play - Pick One

    Which one will you 1) Take on a date 2) Propose to?
  6. I met my future fiancée, Aisha, at Fourth of July celebration, in 2016. At that time she was residing in Chicago. She was to be here in Atlanta two weeks prior, but due to other circumstances, she had to postpone her trip. Thankfully she hadn’t visited because during that time I had been traveling in California. The universe clearly had things in store for us. Because even on the day we met, I was supposed to have left before she arrived. But my plans got canceled and I ended up staying at the BBQ. Neither of Us Knew What It Was The moment we introduced ourselves, there was a connection. At the time, neither of us knew what it was, but it was definitely something special. She was in a situation when we met, but her heart was already feeling that wasn’t something she was supposed to stay in. As our friendship grew, our hearts grew fonder. Learning that we feel the same way about what love should be and how it should be respected and honored, Aisha took the jump and moved to Atlanta. And we could not be happier. It was clearly the biggest life-changing moment for her, me as well, but she moved her whole life. She had been intending to move to Atlanta long before we met, just not in the manner she did. When we started dating, I knew that this is the woman I was looking my whole life for–the woman I would spend the rest of my life with. The Proposal She’s hard to surprise because we are so open and always know where one another is. So to plan a proposal without her knowing, was a little bit more difficult than I had expected. I wanted to make sure we had a beautiful view and a photographer. (Check out the awesome video below!) I told her we had a holiday party to go to and had to be there at a certain time. On our way to this “holiday party,” I asked that we stop at the Jackson Street Bridge (where I had the photographer set up and where I was proposing) and take selfies with the skyline in the background. She had been upset with me from earlier in the day, but still trusted in going along with the plan. For moments like that, I am so grateful for her and her trust in me. I Knew she Would Say Yes, But… I had never proposed before but was absolutely sure she was going to say YES. So, I didn’t understand why I was so nervous. I would always assume people’s nerves came from whether the person being asked would say yes or not. Clearly, I was mistaken. I think a majority of my nerves came from making sure all went as planned. And it did! I am so grateful for her and so grateful to the universe for bringing us together! This is why I regularly say: “Dear Universe, Thank you!! Love, Me” Source
  7. The events reportedly unfolded on Jan. 7 in Lagos when *Kingsley [not his real name], a budding actor, went to have his hair cut. At the barber shop, he met a man who recognized him from Facebook and, after a brief conversation, they exchanged phone numbers. Kingsley said the stranger started calling him, saying that he was interested in acting and asking that they meet and talk. When Kingsley visited the man at his residence at Igando-Ikotun in the Lagos area, the man quickly locked the door and requested that they have sex, but Kingsley declined. The stranger said that he knew Kingsley was gay because he had been following him on Facebook. The two men argued and fought. The man, who was older and stronger than Kingsley, overpowered him, forcefully pulled his clothes off and started taking pictures of him while he was naked. He then said that if Kingsley did not have sex with him, he would alert friends who he said were already waiting outside and tell them to enter the home, rape Kingsley and publicly disgrace him for being gay. If Kingsley did not give him N50,000 the stranger said, Kingsley would be outed publicly as gay and the photographs would be circulated online and sent to his family and police. Afraid, Kingsley called a friend and convinced him to pay the money. Once he received the money, the stranger stole Kingley’s phone and set him free. Under Nigerian law, blackmail and extortion are punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Nigerian LGBT rights activist Noble Charles Samuel said such cases are common in several parts of the country. No one has been able to rein in the gangs of blackmailers and extortionists who operate in Nigeria, he said. “We have similar gangs in Ibusa, in Delta state and in Aba, Abia state,” the activist said. Source
  8. What are your thoughts on the interviewee's response?
  9. Comment Away...

    As seen on twitter. Comment away...
  10. Slay or Nayy?

    Slay or Nayy?
  11. Former aide to ex president Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said Christmas is an abomination and a blasphemous festival. Reno Omokri says Christmas is European holiday and a commandment of man not from God. In a series of tweets, he wrote, “Christmas is an abomination and a blasphemous festival and the Bible warned us about it in 1 Timothy 4:1. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. “Christmas is a European holiday, not a Christian holiday. It is celebrated in Nigeria and much of the world not because The Bible says so, but for the simple reason that it was Europeans that brought modern day Christianity to Nigeria, Africa and much of the world “The first Christmas was in the year 336 AD when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, converted the celebration of a pagan Mass to mark the winter solstice which glorified European deities. That festival was marked on December 25. Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. “You and I know that Jesus condemned the Pharisees. Now ask yourself why Jesus condemned them? Matthew 15:9 gives us the answer: ‘But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’. Christmas is a commandment of man “If satan asks true Christians to celebrate a pagan satanic ritual festival, they will never do it. So he just transformed a satanic ritual festival by giving it a new name-Christmas and voila, Christians begin to celebrate what Jesus didn’t command us to celebrate.” Source
  12. "Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he (Yuval Noah Harari in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year), reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature... ..To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority... .. (Even) Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible... ..So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace... ..But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed?.. ..For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas... ..When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior..." These excerpts and many more inspired facts about homosexuality was tendered in the very powerful and already vastly criticized keynote address - THE IMPACT OF CULTURAL, TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS IDEAS ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF SEXUAL MINORITIES IN NIGERIA –by CHUDE JIDEONWO, the CEO of Joy Inc at the annual Human Rights, Sexuality and the Law Symposium organized by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) on 13 December 2017, in Lagos, Nigeria - in commemoration of the International Day for Human Rights. See full speech below. (You can't argue with this!) *** One of the tragedies of human progress is this constant tug between two stubborn binaries: progressive and conservative. People often camp in front of their worldviews, either progressive or conservative and refuse to move from thence, ensconced comfortably in a space where they believe they are inexorably right and everyone else ignorantly wrong. The constant battle between these two perspectives is why much of modern human progress has been slow and bitter, rather than accelerated and joyful. But because reality is not discontinuous, reality is almost constantly found in a midpoint of a spectrum between conservative and progressive, where the best of binaries converge to create a space where humans can commune, advance and make progress. “When we look at the history of life,” said the British essayist, Paul West. “We see two complementary forces at work that, together, lead to healthy evolution. The first holds onto and preserves the learning and contributions of the past. This is the conservative impulse. The other explores new possibilities by pushing beyond the status quo to ever-wider circles of inclusion. This is the liberal impulse.” To advance the human evolutionary epic, it is important to respect the past, to treasure its gems, and to preserve its essence, just as much as it is crucial to march boldly into the future, to embrace the uncertain, to find peace with the fact that humanity inexorably discovers and advances. However, in maintaining the past – and its custodians are often tradition, culture, history and laws – we must ask ourselves: why? Why are we preserving the past, and to what purpose? That it is our past is not enough. In the march towards progress, the past must always justify why it must join the future. There are parts of our past as Nigerians that have resonance today. For instance, the fact that our traditional religions were intrinsically open to a variety of experiences. As Ama Ata Aidoo reminded us at the Ake Festival this year, our past had intrinsic respect or all humanity, many of our tongues having no binary gender pronouns, allowing us to respect people not for their penises or testicles but simply cause they are human. This convergence of openness, would have been, some have argued, our most important contribution to global cosmology. Unfortunately, then came the British in their white robes, and their religion. These guys, who were still trying to figure out their own cultural insecurities, came into our space, interrupted our evolution, and then forced their binary views of the world on us, leaving us with what American-Nigerian anthropologist, John Uzo Ogbu, has called ‘secondary differences’, a confused cultural milieu developed both in opposition to and assimilation of the cultural references of the dominant group; in this case, our colonial masters. This ‘culture’ – or better put, traditions – that we have forced upon us in the infancy of our consciousness by thoughtless trading Europeans is not ours any more than the iPhone is a Nigerian invention. Unfortunately the network of our historical and contemporary realities as Nigerians – including religion, mores, norms, dominant attitudes, and of course our system of archaic laws – came out of this mishmash of confusion and oppression. We acquired a way of life that was not ours, inefficiently adopted it into a way of life we were still evolving, and have ended up with confusion as the norm for our legal system. It is the reason why Nigeria’s ‘culture’ has often been a cooking pot of inane debates, like the ones we used to have conscientiously in the 90s: should women be allowed to wear trousers? Neither first lady Aisha Buhari nor first bank chairman Ibukun Awosika would seriously entertain this debate today of course. But such is our culture that many women were actually called prostitutes in the 80s and the 90s because they wore what some religious leaders – ignorant of the non-binary, constantly evolving category-boundary history of male and female attire – called ‘men’s clothing’. When you mix a confused culture with an insecure and badly thought out system of laws, kept in place by clueless politicians and maintained in stone by religious leaders who have not read and understood enough of the world, what we have is the Nigeria of today: where minority rights are tramped upon, inane rules guide our conduct, and lawyers still wear ridiculous attire to represent clients in badly ventilated courtrooms. It is from this same conundrum of ambiguity that we have that most oppressive of all Nigerian laws: that which stops two consenting adults from having a legitimate, non-criminalised relationship, simply because they have the same reproductive organs. For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas. When you ask people why they insist on this restrictive legal and cultural regime even though the global body of research across the world pinpoints homosexuality as a legitimate stop in the evolutionary epic, they say either of three things: a) it is not part of our culture; b) it is not natural; and c) our religions forbid it – by which mostly they mean the imported Christian and Muslim faiths, because there is nothing in the canon of Ifa, Ogun or any of the Igbo pantheon of gods that speaks against the freedom to love irrespective of gender and sexual organ. I believe I have already addressed the question of culture, so let’s turn our minds to the question of nature. Is it true that men having sex with men and women having sex with women is simply not natural? The preponderance of biological and anthropological evidence begs to disagree. And really it’s embarrassing that people are still making that argument in 2017. “Sex-linked biology and gender relations, as well as the concepts of race and ethnicity, require conceptual clarity in order to determine the interactive influences of each in giving rise to health differentials. To narrowly focus on such concepts impedes an appreciation of the rich variety among humans.” People of same gender have been having sex with each other for, as long as I know, the five thousand years of recorded history, everyone from Alexander the Great to Virginia Woolf. And, of course, everything from paintings of the San people of Zimbabwe to evidence from the Nzima people of Ghana shows proof of not just African homosexual sex, but also homosexual marriage. Indeed, there is absolutely nothing sensible about the accusation of unnatural as the Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari reminded the world in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year. Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature. But let’s still investigate the word ‘natural’. Is there anything intrinsically positive about the Natural? In the first few centuries after Christ, it was very natural for a man to have 14 children and to lose more than a dozen of them to disease, and it was very natural for bacteria to wipe off millions of people because there was none of the medicines we have now. Those were very natural. And yet here we are now, as a race, having overcome those challenges, because we found ‘unnatural’ ways to fight nature through medicine. Indeed, humanity has spent the past two million years, since man discovered fire, fighting and running away from ‘nature’. We build houses to escape the rain. We buy shaving powder to get rid of the natural hair that grows on our chins and armpits. And we have unnatural caesarian operations because sometimes nature is careless, thoughtless and pointless. Nothing about how we live our lives today is ‘natural’. Indeed, if a man from ancient Greece woke up today and saw a world with stock exchanges, female presidents, iPhones, and Twitter threads, he would scream and rave at the unnaturalness of it all. But that is how humanity advances. We move forward. We leave the past behind, not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with the past, but because the past is limited. We now know so much about our universe and ourselves than people of the past knew. Indeed one of the most fascinating things about human nature is how many of us are here, free, today because of the ways that society has advanced beyond what was natural many decades and centuries ago, including slavery, segregation and female circumcision, and yet we want the world to stop moving because we have now arrived. To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority. Ridiculous, isn’t it? And this is where religion has played a villain’s role. As Ali A. Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim, presciently points out, “Culture is always evolving. But religion freezes culture in time. Religion dogmatizes culture and arrests its evolution.” I am going to stick today with the Christian faith, not just because that is my tradition and the one I have studied extensively, but also because our criminology in Nigeria is founded on a basic, prudish, British protestant Christianity, the word ‘sodomy’ in fact having a biblical etymology. Religion takes the innate human fear of change and a misappropriation of the word natural as it has calcified into culture and gives it the dubious stamp of divine approval. There lies the link between all the three elements in the theme of today’s event: we take culture, we freeze it through religion and we mummify it through the law. Now of course, I say this as an active, excited, declaratory Christian. As I often remind people, I am not just a Christian but I am a tongue-speaking, bible-toting, loud-praise-and-worship-singing Pentecostal. And so how can I be a Christian, and yet be so clear-eyed about the dangers that this religion has unveiled in being deployed to oppress, repress and suppress people who act differently from what our Holy Book say? My answer is simple really. When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior. Of course first, I align with historians who find deeply suspicious the fact that Moses and Paul had very plenty to say about homosexual sex, which was obviously personally abhorrent to them, and yet Jesus who was God from the beginning of time according to John the Beloved writer of the fourth gospel, had absolutely nothing to say about the matter. Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible. This cancelling of the gay experience certainly proves that homophobia is a historic reality for the origins of the Christian faith. Just as Apostle Paul telling women to shut up in the church and the burning of witches at the stake by bible-toting Europeans (and many Nigerians) is also a historic reality. My reading of Jesus is simple on this matter therefore, since the recorders of history have silenced his perspective. He covered all of these broadly in two crucial pillars of his theology: a. Love and Acceptance b. Zero tolerance for judgment. People often say, love doesn’t mean acceptance. But I fundamentally disagree. For Jesus, Love was acceptance. As Archbishop John Shelby Spong brilliantly noted in his remarkable book, Jesus for the non Religious, Jesus’ idea of love was radical (which is perhaps why he probably went too far on homosexuality and the gospel writers couldn’t take it anymore). He accepted all kinds of unsavoury characters, who were hypocritically cast aside by the religious leaders of his time just as they are by the religious leaders of our time. And he not only accepted them, he went to their houses, he drank wine with them, he broke Sabbath rules with them, he had a blast embracing them without any record of condemning them. Matthew 9: 10 – 13 brilliantly captures his radical (or what the author and pastor, Brian Zahnd, calls the scandalous) theology of acceptance. It reads: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11: When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12: On hearing this, Jesus (my guy!) said, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call (you) the righteous, but sinners.” I like the Luke 19:27 version even better. It says: “Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was. He looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay at your house today.’ So Zacchaeus came down at once and welcomed Him gladly. All the people saw this. They began to whisper among themselves. They said, Just look at this: ‘Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’” People often say that Jesus promised hell for sinners. But it is perhaps important for them to go and read the bible again. Jesus promised hell for the wicked. He made a very clear distinction between the legally-defined idea of sin, for which he had nothing but affection and acceptance for the likes of Mary Magdalene, and the Jesus-defined idea of wickedness, as he saw in the lives of the Pharisees and scribes. Indeed, in the Matthean parable of the sheep and goats, he makes it clear those who he said “will go away to eternal punishment”. Go read it yourself in Matthew 25, in the oldest Revised Standard Version or in the original Koine Greek. He directed his angst always not for personal weakness, not for the kinds of people religious people then and now tend to thumb their noses at, but to those who he called “wicked”, the selfish, the greedy; those who would not help those in need, but would rather judge harshly and pray loudly. Of course, if this isn’t a theology many have been taught in their churches, it is because biblical exegesis is often coloured by the prejudice of the person who is preaching. As respected bible-believing theologians from Marcus Borg to NT Wright remind us, there have always been and always will be multiple interpretations on fasting, on divorce, on women speaking in church, on tithes etc. Rapture theology in fact is one such controversy, being a theology that originated in America only in the past 100 years, made centuries after Jesus’ death. I never knew the day would come that I would quote Apostle Suleiman, but just a month ago, in response to radio host Daddy Freeze, this mainstream Pentecostal preacher confirms in video that the Bible can be used to defend anything. But no matter the contradictions between the original gospel of Mark and the later interpretations of John, the one thing we know is uncontroversial is that Jesus was radical in his love, boundless in his acceptance and fervent in his warnings that no one should ever condemn anyone else for failing human standards of morality. It wasn’t because Jesus was permissive. It was because he clearly saw that human morality is a cultural construct (“the Sabbath was made for man,” he said, “and not man for the Sabbath”) that is situational, evolving and contextual. These ever-changing laws throughout Jewish history were simply not worth his time. He left that to Caesar, allowing the dead to bury the dead, and focused instead on teaching a transcendent message of love, service, and meekness. We see this radical theology again in Matthew 19. When a rich young man comes up to him to ask about the law, both of them make it clear that some of the laws are not as important as others. “Which ones,” he asks Jesus are the ones that would give him eternal life. “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]” It is important to note that Jesus – who called himself the fulfillment of Mosaic law – deliberately avoids, in his answer, the moralism of Moses and focuses on actions that hurt other people: lying to your wife, hating your neighbor. When the Sadducees came to him with small legalistic questions in Mark 12, he told them that they did not understand “the power of God”. Indeed this is perhaps why Apostle Paul was slightly schizophrenic in the conflicting laws he gave the various churches, commanding women not to speak in one and giving free rein to Priscilla to speak in another. Scholars, including Edwin Freed in his book, The Morality of Paul’s Converts, understand that Paul was giving administrative and not divine rules to different believers in different contexts. More importantly, and this is what most concerns me here today, Paul directed his moral laws (even if you consider them, for some reason, divine) to his congregations alone, and not to the wider world, telling his self-righteous followers in Romans 14 in one instance to “keep your belief between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” In short, if you think homosexuality is a sin against God, then YOU don’t be a homosexual. He reminded them, using the Old Testament example of the redeemed prostitute Rehab, that God’s love is so radical that it can love, accept and embrace a person who has not even renounced what we call sin. In so doing, he learned very well from the Master, Jesus, who famously told his disciples the same thing about forcing others to believe what they believe or act how they act or treat as sin what they treat as sin. Listen to Jesus’ very direct instruction in Luke 10:5-7: “And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” This makes sense, since according to Jesus, it isn’t human preaching and moralizing that draws people to God, but in John 6:44, 65 he says, “No man can come to Me [Christ], except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day…And He [Christ] said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” Instead, we are supposed to “let your light so shine before men” through our lives and work (Matt.5:16). Light does not make noise. But what do we find today? We find born-again warriors of the faith who insist instead on forcing others to live by their moral standards using the laws, the courts, the police, fear, oppression and intimidation to force others to adopt their own moral codes. Whereas Paul says it is the Christian duty to live peaceably with all men including – especially – those who disagree with them, we have a modern day Christian mainstream that chooses the opposite, fighting culture wars, going to court to stop sexual minorities from living peaceful, honorable lives. It makes you wonder, as we say here in Nigeria: where did they learn that one from? Where did Christians learn to create and perpetuate a system of laws that are discriminatory, oppressive and distasteful against people of minority sexualities and genders, even when the convergence of scientific knowledge across biology, ethology, anthropology, history, evolutionary psychology and even expansive divinity shows that these laws are in fact unfair, unjust and wicked? Jeremy Bentham, whose philosophy is the ground of much of our legal regimes, already gave us a more sustainable foundation for making laws: “The greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”, an elaboration of Jesus’ teaching that we should do unto others as we would have them do onto us. For Bentham, and for others whose jurisprudence rest on social justice, the laws of a nation (and Apostle Paul, as far as Romans 12:8 and Hebrews 12:14 tell us, would certainly agree) shouldn’t come from our personal distastes and discomforts whether legal or religious, but from the greatest happiness of the greatest many. So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace. The test of how we make a law should not be disgust or distaste; it should be its verifiable negative impact on society, not whether or not we like lizard egusi soup. The minute I discover evidence before prejudice that any kind of sexual orientation fundamentally harms humanity, then the conversation should change. But right now, all we have is our distaste. We cover our distaste in culture, and we wrap it up in religion. Isn’t it fascinating for instance that most people who are conservative in their religion are also conservative in their politics? How is it so that their religion and their politics align so neatly? “People often persist in long held beliefs even in the face of evidence that invalidates them,” a Stanford Graduate School of Education research paper by Geoffrey Cohen synthesizing multiple studies on the role of ideology in identity, belief and bias. “These beliefs and attitudes affect social policy, law and government decisions including whether to go to war or what economic policies will be implemented.” This is why science as the overriding human technique of enquiry, and lawmaking based on the evidence from science rather than the bias-re-enforcing interpretation of religious traditions is the most effective way of creating laws. That is why the 14th and current Dalai Lama, in his book, Ethics for a New Millennium, has thrown a challenge for us to create laws and moral ethics outside of a religious prism, while maintaining a timeless personal connection to God. Science, forces us to step aside our biases and look at cause and effect on communal integrity. Of course many of us know this intuitively. We are aware that life is progressive, that laws change, that culture transforms. That is the reason Catholic dogma has continued to change over the past many centuries. That is the reason that 4500 years ago, Martin Luther led a Reformation that fundamentally changed the rules of Christianity. That is the reason many Christians ignore what Paul says about women speaking in church and covering their head, crying ‘context, context, context oooo’ and yet follow hook, line and sinker his teachings on homosexuality, even though we know it is the same science that reveals to us the equality of the sexes that reveals to us the equality of sexual desire. We know this, because we all pick and choose what sayings of Apostle Paul to follow and ignore the ones that we find unreasonable. But we often allow our prejudices limit this only to what we are comfortable with. Then we tell ourselves that we are on the Lord’s side in this grand cosmic war to restore righteousness to the world. But as natural selection teaches us – and if you don’t believe in natural selection, a cursory reading of received history teaches us – there is no point in the past that was perfect and godly. I mean, have you read your bible lately? The entirety of the Old Testament is a long, repetitive record of sinful, reprobate cultures. Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, all these prophets moaned and bemoaned how deeply unrighteous people were. So when Christian warriors say they want to restore biblical morality, I say ‘huh’? There was no perfect stasis of righteousness in the past. The world has only gotten better as it has progressed forward. We are a generation healthier, richer and more at peace with our neighbours than any generation in times past. Since the Second World War, however, rates of violent death have fallen to the lowest levels in known history. Today, the average person is far less likely to be slain by another member of the species than ever before—an extraordinary transformation that has occurred, almost unheralded, in the lifetime of many of the people reading this article. If asked to choose between living in the times of Joshua and living in the times of Donald Trump, I assume you many of us should choose the much more peaceable times of today. That doesn’t mean the past was wrong. It means the past was limited, and cannot be our standard for forging the future. Moving away from the past has helped us discover that we have been unfair to those who are different from us, and has given us the tools and knowledge to treat them fairer, and with the love and acceptance that the divinity of Jesus – being the same, yesterday, today and forever, knowing the end of a thing even from the beginning – already preached those 2000 years ago Jerusalem that we must love our neighbours, even with their imperfections, as we love ourselves. Jesus knew before evolutionary biology and psychology, before Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace unveiled the origin of the species. Jesus knew that only radical love could set us free. There is a reason why the research shows that societies that are more tolerant and are more open to difference in race, gender and sexuality, are happier than others. Jesus said the same thing in John 15: 11: “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Why is it so hard to accept people as he taught? Why is it so hard to see others as fully and truly human simply because they refuse to conform to our standards? Why can’t you believe what you believe and choose what you choose and allow others believe as they believe, even if what they have chosen is “wrong”? How does that make them any less human than any of us? So if it revealed tomorrow that I, Chude, am gay, does that suddenly stop me from being a child of God, less human than you? Are my contributions to nation, our youth and the world suddenly invalidated? Do I suddenly become dangerous, immoral, disordered because I am attracted differently? Would you honestly come to that conclusion about me, my life, my heart, my gifts, simply because of that one fact that is just one out of a whole? Would I suddenly deserve to have a stick put up my bum as in Port Harcourt, or burnt alive as in Makurdi, Would I suddenly cease to be human if I were gay? Sure you could call me a sinner. Sure you could say I need salvation. But would you really stop being my friend, my mentor, my pastor, my mother, my colleague? Sure if you heard that I am a closet thief, then you know I harm others. Sure if you heard I was a closet paedophile, then I harm children. If you heard I am a closet rapist, then I harm women. Sure if you heard I am a closet adulterer, then I harm my wife. But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed? What makes us expend more energy asking for young gay men to be jailed and killed than for all our past leaders to be rounded up and jailed? How is Dino Melaye more ‘natural’ and ‘human’ than Ellen DeGeneres? What kind of stupid ass system of mores and laws arrives at such a pointless, ridiculous conclusion? We must rethink the ways we have used religion as an excuse to hold others back and in doing that, punish ourselves by holding ourselves back. Because where there are hateful laws like we have in Nigeria, societies have historically proven that their progress will be slow. You cannot advance forward if you hold your people back with hate. “We believe that a legal framework should formalize the tolerance our society already displays, and that our policies and initiatives will provide an outstanding example to our neighbors,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), wrote in 2016 as he set up a revolutionary new ministries of Tolerance and Happiness. “When the Arab world was tolerant and accepting of others, it led the world: From Baghdad to Damascus to Andalusia and farther afield, we provided beacons of science, knowledge, and civilization, because humane values were the basis of our relationships with all civilizations, cultures, and religions. Even when our ancestors left Andalusia, people of other faiths went with them. “Tolerance is no catchphrase, but a quality we must cherish and practice. It must be woven into the fabric of our society to safeguard our future and maintain the progress we have made. There can be no bright future for the Middle East without an intellectual reconstruction that re-establishes the values of ideological openness, diversity, and acceptance of others’ viewpoints, whether intellectual, cultural, or religious.” Is it really a coincidence that Africa is both the least tolerant continent on earth as well as the poorest? We live in a country where it is legal to be Senator Sani Yerima and illegal to be Apple CEO Tim Cook, and we want to make progress? It is time to look inwards into the deplorable mess of cultural, religious and legal restrictions that we have tired ourselves in and open our hearts, minds and spirits to the joy, progress and advancement that truly equitable and fair laws can bring to a thirsty nation. That is not a gay agenda. That is an equality agenda. It is not an equal debate if those who are against gay peoples have rights and freedoms that gay people don’t have. You are able to get married, walk about freely, speak openly about who you had a date with yesterday, but they can’t. How can you quarrel with them wanting that? How is that a ‘bad’ ‘agenda’? Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot love a person if you deny the person rights and freedoms just because you don’t approve of how they live their lives. That is not love. That is wickedness. And this brings me back to the question I have asked often of Jesus in private prayer, study and reflection. The author Matthew Vines detailed with vigour in God and the Gay Christian that homosexuals will not go to hell because homosexuality is a natural progression of human sexuality ongoing since the beginning of time. But even if I agree with my conservative Christian brethren that it is a sin, what would Jesus do if he were alive today, and a gay or transgender person was dragged to him for judgment by the religious and moral leaders of our time? This is what I think he would have said, drawing from Matthew 23, Matthew 7, Luke 13, and Luke 19. “You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for many years with inhuman laws, be released from her bondage?” And to that person he would be very, very clear: “I will not condemn you, I will not force you, I will love you, I will accept you, and tonight, I look forward to having dinner in your house, with you and your lovely family.” May God give us the will and the grace to act. ** Made it to the end of the speech? You are definitely less limited now. - C
  13. "Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he (Yuval Noah Harari in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year), reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature... ..To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority... .. (Even) Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible... ..So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace... ..But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed?.. ..For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas... ..When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior..." These excerpts and many more inspired facts about homosexuality was tendered in the very powerful and already vastly criticized keynote address - THE IMPACT OF CULTURAL, TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS IDEAS ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF SEXUAL MINORITIES IN NIGERIA –by CHUDE JIDEONWO, the CEO of Joy Inc at the annual Human Rights, Sexuality and the Law Symposium organized by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) on 13 December 2017, in Lagos, Nigeria - in commemoration of the International Day for Human Rights. See full speech below. (You can't argue with this!) *** One of the tragedies of human progress is this constant tug between two stubborn binaries: progressive and conservative. People often camp in front of their worldviews, either progressive or conservative and refuse to move from thence, ensconced comfortably in a space where they believe they are inexorably right and everyone else ignorantly wrong. The constant battle between these two perspectives is why much of modern human progress has been slow and bitter, rather than accelerated and joyful. But because reality is not discontinuous, reality is almost constantly found in a midpoint of a spectrum between conservative and progressive, where the best of binaries converge to create a space where humans can commune, advance and make progress. “When we look at the history of life,” said the British essayist, Paul West. “We see two complementary forces at work that, together, lead to healthy evolution. The first holds onto and preserves the learning and contributions of the past. This is the conservative impulse. The other explores new possibilities by pushing beyond the status quo to ever-wider circles of inclusion. This is the liberal impulse.” To advance the human evolutionary epic, it is important to respect the past, to treasure its gems, and to preserve its essence, just as much as it is crucial to march boldly into the future, to embrace the uncertain, to find peace with the fact that humanity inexorably discovers and advances. However, in maintaining the past – and its custodians are often tradition, culture, history and laws – we must ask ourselves: why? Why are we preserving the past, and to what purpose? That it is our past is not enough. In the march towards progress, the past must always justify why it must join the future. There are parts of our past as Nigerians that have resonance today. For instance, the fact that our traditional religions were intrinsically open to a variety of experiences. As Ama Ata Aidoo reminded us at the Ake Festival this year, our past had intrinsic respect or all humanity, many of our tongues having no binary gender pronouns, allowing us to respect people not for their penises or testicles but simply cause they are human. This convergence of openness, would have been, some have argued, our most important contribution to global cosmology. Unfortunately, then came the British in their white robes, and their religion. These guys, who were still trying to figure out their own cultural insecurities, came into our space, interrupted our evolution, and then forced their binary views of the world on us, leaving us with what American-Nigerian anthropologist, John Uzo Ogbu, has called ‘secondary differences’, a confused cultural milieu developed both in opposition to and assimilation of the cultural references of the dominant group; in this case, our colonial masters. This ‘culture’ – or better put, traditions – that we have forced upon us in the infancy of our consciousness by thoughtless trading Europeans is not ours any more than the iPhone is a Nigerian invention. Unfortunately the network of our historical and contemporary realities as Nigerians – including religion, mores, norms, dominant attitudes, and of course our system of archaic laws – came out of this mishmash of confusion and oppression. We acquired a way of life that was not ours, inefficiently adopted it into a way of life we were still evolving, and have ended up with confusion as the norm for our legal system. It is the reason why Nigeria’s ‘culture’ has often been a cooking pot of inane debates, like the ones we used to have conscientiously in the 90s: should women be allowed to wear trousers? Neither first lady Aisha Buhari nor first bank chairman Ibukun Awosika would seriously entertain this debate today of course. But such is our culture that many women were actually called prostitutes in the 80s and the 90s because they wore what some religious leaders – ignorant of the non-binary, constantly evolving category-boundary history of male and female attire – called ‘men’s clothing’. When you mix a confused culture with an insecure and badly thought out system of laws, kept in place by clueless politicians and maintained in stone by religious leaders who have not read and understood enough of the world, what we have is the Nigeria of today: where minority rights are tramped upon, inane rules guide our conduct, and lawyers still wear ridiculous attire to represent clients in badly ventilated courtrooms. It is from this same conundrum of ambiguity that we have that most oppressive of all Nigerian laws: that which stops two consenting adults from having a legitimate, non-criminalised relationship, simply because they have the same reproductive organs. For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas. When you ask people why they insist on this restrictive legal and cultural regime even though the global body of research across the world pinpoints homosexuality as a legitimate stop in the evolutionary epic, they say either of three things: a) it is not part of our culture; b) it is not natural; and c) our religions forbid it – by which mostly they mean the imported Christian and Muslim faiths, because there is nothing in the canon of Ifa, Ogun or any of the Igbo pantheon of gods that speaks against the freedom to love irrespective of gender and sexual organ. I believe I have already addressed the question of culture, so let’s turn our minds to the question of nature. Is it true that men having sex with men and women having sex with women is simply not natural? The preponderance of biological and anthropological evidence begs to disagree. And really it’s embarrassing that people are still making that argument in 2017. “Sex-linked biology and gender relations, as well as the concepts of race and ethnicity, require conceptual clarity in order to determine the interactive influences of each in giving rise to health differentials. To narrowly focus on such concepts impedes an appreciation of the rich variety among humans.” People of same gender have been having sex with each other for, as long as I know, the five thousand years of recorded history, everyone from Alexander the Great to Virginia Woolf. And, of course, everything from paintings of the San people of Zimbabwe to evidence from the Nzima people of Ghana shows proof of not just African homosexual sex, but also homosexual marriage. Indeed, there is absolutely nothing sensible about the accusation of unnatural as the Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari reminded the world in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year. Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature. But let’s still investigate the word ‘natural’. Is there anything intrinsically positive about the Natural? In the first few centuries after Christ, it was very natural for a man to have 14 children and to lose more than a dozen of them to disease, and it was very natural for bacteria to wipe off millions of people because there was none of the medicines we have now. Those were very natural. And yet here we are now, as a race, having overcome those challenges, because we found ‘unnatural’ ways to fight nature through medicine. Indeed, humanity has spent the past two million years, since man discovered fire, fighting and running away from ‘nature’. We build houses to escape the rain. We buy shaving powder to get rid of the natural hair that grows on our chins and armpits. And we have unnatural caesarian operations because sometimes nature is careless, thoughtless and pointless. Nothing about how we live our lives today is ‘natural’. Indeed, if a man from ancient Greece woke up today and saw a world with stock exchanges, female presidents, iPhones, and Twitter threads, he would scream and rave at the unnaturalness of it all. But that is how humanity advances. We move forward. We leave the past behind, not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with the past, but because the past is limited. We now know so much about our universe and ourselves than people of the past knew. Indeed one of the most fascinating things about human nature is how many of us are here, free, today because of the ways that society has advanced beyond what was natural many decades and centuries ago, including slavery, segregation and female circumcision, and yet we want the world to stop moving because we have now arrived. To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority. Ridiculous, isn’t it? And this is where religion has played a villain’s role. As Ali A. Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim, presciently points out, “Culture is always evolving. But religion freezes culture in time. Religion dogmatizes culture and arrests its evolution.” I am going to stick today with the Christian faith, not just because that is my tradition and the one I have studied extensively, but also because our criminology in Nigeria is founded on a basic, prudish, British protestant Christianity, the word ‘sodomy’ in fact having a biblical etymology. Religion takes the innate human fear of change and a misappropriation of the word natural as it has calcified into culture and gives it the dubious stamp of divine approval. There lies the link between all the three elements in the theme of today’s event: we take culture, we freeze it through religion and we mummify it through the law. Now of course, I say this as an active, excited, declaratory Christian. As I often remind people, I am not just a Christian but I am a tongue-speaking, bible-toting, loud-praise-and-worship-singing Pentecostal. And so how can I be a Christian, and yet be so clear-eyed about the dangers that this religion has unveiled in being deployed to oppress, repress and suppress people who act differently from what our Holy Book say? My answer is simple really. When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior. Of course first, I align with historians who find deeply suspicious the fact that Moses and Paul had very plenty to say about homosexual sex, which was obviously personally abhorrent to them, and yet Jesus who was God from the beginning of time according to John the Beloved writer of the fourth gospel, had absolutely nothing to say about the matter. Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible. This cancelling of the gay experience certainly proves that homophobia is a historic reality for the origins of the Christian faith. Just as Apostle Paul telling women to shut up in the church and the burning of witches at the stake by bible-toting Europeans (and many Nigerians) is also a historic reality. My reading of Jesus is simple on this matter therefore, since the recorders of history have silenced his perspective. He covered all of these broadly in two crucial pillars of his theology: a. Love and Acceptance b. Zero tolerance for judgment. People often say, love doesn’t mean acceptance. But I fundamentally disagree. For Jesus, Love was acceptance. As Archbishop John Shelby Spong brilliantly noted in his remarkable book, Jesus for the non Religious, Jesus’ idea of love was radical (which is perhaps why he probably went too far on homosexuality and the gospel writers couldn’t take it anymore). He accepted all kinds of unsavoury characters, who were hypocritically cast aside by the religious leaders of his time just as they are by the religious leaders of our time. And he not only accepted them, he went to their houses, he drank wine with them, he broke Sabbath rules with them, he had a blast embracing them without any record of condemning them. Matthew 9: 10 – 13 brilliantly captures his radical (or what the author and pastor, Brian Zahnd, calls the scandalous) theology of acceptance. It reads: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11: When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12: On hearing this, Jesus (my guy!) said, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call (you) the righteous, but sinners.” I like the Luke 19:27 version even better. It says: “Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was. He looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay at your house today.’ So Zacchaeus came down at once and welcomed Him gladly. All the people saw this. They began to whisper among themselves. They said, Just look at this: ‘Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’” People often say that Jesus promised hell for sinners. But it is perhaps important for them to go and read the bible again. Jesus promised hell for the wicked. He made a very clear distinction between the legally-defined idea of sin, for which he had nothing but affection and acceptance for the likes of Mary Magdalene, and the Jesus-defined idea of wickedness, as he saw in the lives of the Pharisees and scribes. Indeed, in the Matthean parable of the sheep and goats, he makes it clear those who he said “will go away to eternal punishment”. Go read it yourself in Matthew 25, in the oldest Revised Standard Version or in the original Koine Greek. He directed his angst always not for personal weakness, not for the kinds of people religious people then and now tend to thumb their noses at, but to those who he called “wicked”, the selfish, the greedy; those who would not help those in need, but would rather judge harshly and pray loudly. Of course, if this isn’t a theology many have been taught in their churches, it is because biblical exegesis is often coloured by the prejudice of the person who is preaching. As respected bible-believing theologians from Marcus Borg to NT Wright remind us, there have always been and always will be multiple interpretations on fasting, on divorce, on women speaking in church, on tithes etc. Rapture theology in fact is one such controversy, being a theology that originated in America only in the past 100 years, made centuries after Jesus’ death. I never knew the day would come that I would quote Apostle Suleiman, but just a month ago, in response to radio host Daddy Freeze, this mainstream Pentecostal preacher confirms in video that the Bible can be used to defend anything. But no matter the contradictions between the original gospel of Mark and the later interpretations of John, the one thing we know is uncontroversial is that Jesus was radical in his love, boundless in his acceptance and fervent in his warnings that no one should ever condemn anyone else for failing human standards of morality. It wasn’t because Jesus was permissive. It was because he clearly saw that human morality is a cultural construct (“the Sabbath was made for man,” he said, “and not man for the Sabbath”) that is situational, evolving and contextual. These ever-changing laws throughout Jewish history were simply not worth his time. He left that to Caesar, allowing the dead to bury the dead, and focused instead on teaching a transcendent message of love, service, and meekness. We see this radical theology again in Matthew 19. When a rich young man comes up to him to ask about the law, both of them make it clear that some of the laws are not as important as others. “Which ones,” he asks Jesus are the ones that would give him eternal life. “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]” It is important to note that Jesus – who called himself the fulfillment of Mosaic law – deliberately avoids, in his answer, the moralism of Moses and focuses on actions that hurt other people: lying to your wife, hating your neighbor. When the Sadducees came to him with small legalistic questions in Mark 12, he told them that they did not understand “the power of God”. Indeed this is perhaps why Apostle Paul was slightly schizophrenic in the conflicting laws he gave the various churches, commanding women not to speak in one and giving free rein to Priscilla to speak in another. Scholars, including Edwin Freed in his book, The Morality of Paul’s Converts, understand that Paul was giving administrative and not divine rules to different believers in different contexts. More importantly, and this is what most concerns me here today, Paul directed his moral laws (even if you consider them, for some reason, divine) to his congregations alone, and not to the wider world, telling his self-righteous followers in Romans 14 in one instance to “keep your belief between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” In short, if you think homosexuality is a sin against God, then YOU don’t be a homosexual. He reminded them, using the Old Testament example of the redeemed prostitute Rehab, that God’s love is so radical that it can love, accept and embrace a person who has not even renounced what we call sin. In so doing, he learned very well from the Master, Jesus, who famously told his disciples the same thing about forcing others to believe what they believe or act how they act or treat as sin what they treat as sin. Listen to Jesus’ very direct instruction in Luke 10:5-7: “And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” This makes sense, since according to Jesus, it isn’t human preaching and moralizing that draws people to God, but in John 6:44, 65 he says, “No man can come to Me [Christ], except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day…And He [Christ] said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” Instead, we are supposed to “let your light so shine before men” through our lives and work (Matt.5:16). Light does not make noise. But what do we find today? We find born-again warriors of the faith who insist instead on forcing others to live by their moral standards using the laws, the courts, the police, fear, oppression and intimidation to force others to adopt their own moral codes. Whereas Paul says it is the Christian duty to live peaceably with all men including – especially – those who disagree with them, we have a modern day Christian mainstream that chooses the opposite, fighting culture wars, going to court to stop sexual minorities from living peaceful, honorable lives. It makes you wonder, as we say here in Nigeria: where did they learn that one from? Where did Christians learn to create and perpetuate a system of laws that are discriminatory, oppressive and distasteful against people of minority sexualities and genders, even when the convergence of scientific knowledge across biology, ethology, anthropology, history, evolutionary psychology and even expansive divinity shows that these laws are in fact unfair, unjust and wicked? Jeremy Bentham, whose philosophy is the ground of much of our legal regimes, already gave us a more sustainable foundation for making laws: “The greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”, an elaboration of Jesus’ teaching that we should do unto others as we would have them do onto us. For Bentham, and for others whose jurisprudence rest on social justice, the laws of a nation (and Apostle Paul, as far as Romans 12:8 and Hebrews 12:14 tell us, would certainly agree) shouldn’t come from our personal distastes and discomforts whether legal or religious, but from the greatest happiness of the greatest many. So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace. The test of how we make a law should not be disgust or distaste; it should be its verifiable negative impact on society, not whether or not we like lizard egusi soup. The minute I discover evidence before prejudice that any kind of sexual orientation fundamentally harms humanity, then the conversation should change. But right now, all we have is our distaste. We cover our distaste in culture, and we wrap it up in religion. Isn’t it fascinating for instance that most people who are conservative in their religion are also conservative in their politics? How is it so that their religion and their politics align so neatly? “People often persist in long held beliefs even in the face of evidence that invalidates them,” a Stanford Graduate School of Education research paper by Geoffrey Cohen synthesizing multiple studies on the role of ideology in identity, belief and bias. “These beliefs and attitudes affect social policy, law and government decisions including whether to go to war or what economic policies will be implemented.” This is why science as the overriding human technique of enquiry, and lawmaking based on the evidence from science rather than the bias-re-enforcing interpretation of religious traditions is the most effective way of creating laws. That is why the 14th and current Dalai Lama, in his book, Ethics for a New Millennium, has thrown a challenge for us to create laws and moral ethics outside of a religious prism, while maintaining a timeless personal connection to God. Science, forces us to step aside our biases and look at cause and effect on communal integrity. Of course many of us know this intuitively. We are aware that life is progressive, that laws change, that culture transforms. That is the reason Catholic dogma has continued to change over the past many centuries. That is the reason that 4500 years ago, Martin Luther led a Reformation that fundamentally changed the rules of Christianity. That is the reason many Christians ignore what Paul says about women speaking in church and covering their head, crying ‘context, context, context oooo’ and yet follow hook, line and sinker his teachings on homosexuality, even though we know it is the same science that reveals to us the equality of the sexes that reveals to us the equality of sexual desire. We know this, because we all pick and choose what sayings of Apostle Paul to follow and ignore the ones that we find unreasonable. But we often allow our prejudices limit this only to what we are comfortable with. Then we tell ourselves that we are on the Lord’s side in this grand cosmic war to restore righteousness to the world. But as natural selection teaches us – and if you don’t believe in natural selection, a cursory reading of received history teaches us – there is no point in the past that was perfect and godly. I mean, have you read your bible lately? The entirety of the Old Testament is a long, repetitive record of sinful, reprobate cultures. Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, all these prophets moaned and bemoaned how deeply unrighteous people were. So when Christian warriors say they want to restore biblical morality, I say ‘huh’? There was no perfect stasis of righteousness in the past. The world has only gotten better as it has progressed forward. We are a generation healthier, richer and more at peace with our neighbours than any generation in times past. Since the Second World War, however, rates of violent death have fallen to the lowest levels in known history. Today, the average person is far less likely to be slain by another member of the species than ever before—an extraordinary transformation that has occurred, almost unheralded, in the lifetime of many of the people reading this article. If asked to choose between living in the times of Joshua and living in the times of Donald Trump, I assume you many of us should choose the much more peaceable times of today. That doesn’t mean the past was wrong. It means the past was limited, and cannot be our standard for forging the future. Moving away from the past has helped us discover that we have been unfair to those who are different from us, and has given us the tools and knowledge to treat them fairer, and with the love and acceptance that the divinity of Jesus – being the same, yesterday, today and forever, knowing the end of a thing even from the beginning – already preached those 2000 years ago Jerusalem that we must love our neighbours, even with their imperfections, as we love ourselves. Jesus knew before evolutionary biology and psychology, before Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace unveiled the origin of the species. Jesus knew that only radical love could set us free. There is a reason why the research shows that societies that are more tolerant and are more open to difference in race, gender and sexuality, are happier than others. Jesus said the same thing in John 15: 11: “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Why is it so hard to accept people as he taught? Why is it so hard to see others as fully and truly human simply because they refuse to conform to our standards? Why can’t you believe what you believe and choose what you choose and allow others believe as they believe, even if what they have chosen is “wrong”? How does that make them any less human than any of us? So if it revealed tomorrow that I, Chude, am gay, does that suddenly stop me from being a child of God, less human than you? Are my contributions to nation, our youth and the world suddenly invalidated? Do I suddenly become dangerous, immoral, disordered because I am attracted differently? Would you honestly come to that conclusion about me, my life, my heart, my gifts, simply because of that one fact that is just one out of a whole? Would I suddenly deserve to have a stick put up my bum as in Port Harcourt, or burnt alive as in Makurdi, Would I suddenly cease to be human if I were gay? Sure you could call me a sinner. Sure you could say I need salvation. But would you really stop being my friend, my mentor, my pastor, my mother, my colleague? Sure if you heard that I am a closet thief, then you know I harm others. Sure if you heard I was a closet paedophile, then I harm children. If you heard I am a closet rapist, then I harm women. Sure if you heard I am a closet adulterer, then I harm my wife. But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed? What makes us expend more energy asking for young gay men to be jailed and killed than for all our past leaders to be rounded up and jailed? How is Dino Melaye more ‘natural’ and ‘human’ than Ellen DeGeneres? What kind of stupid ass system of mores and laws arrives at such a pointless, ridiculous conclusion? We must rethink the ways we have used religion as an excuse to hold others back and in doing that, punish ourselves by holding ourselves back. Because where there are hateful laws like we have in Nigeria, societies have historically proven that their progress will be slow. You cannot advance forward if you hold your people back with hate. “We believe that a legal framework should formalize the tolerance our society already displays, and that our policies and initiatives will provide an outstanding example to our neighbors,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), wrote in 2016 as he set up a revolutionary new ministries of Tolerance and Happiness. “When the Arab world was tolerant and accepting of others, it led the world: From Baghdad to Damascus to Andalusia and farther afield, we provided beacons of science, knowledge, and civilization, because humane values were the basis of our relationships with all civilizations, cultures, and religions. Even when our ancestors left Andalusia, people of other faiths went with them. “Tolerance is no catchphrase, but a quality we must cherish and practice. It must be woven into the fabric of our society to safeguard our future and maintain the progress we have made. There can be no bright future for the Middle East without an intellectual reconstruction that re-establishes the values of ideological openness, diversity, and acceptance of others’ viewpoints, whether intellectual, cultural, or religious.” Is it really a coincidence that Africa is both the least tolerant continent on earth as well as the poorest? We live in a country where it is legal to be Senator Sani Yerima and illegal to be Apple CEO Tim Cook, and we want to make progress? It is time to look inwards into the deplorable mess of cultural, religious and legal restrictions that we have tired ourselves in and open our hearts, minds and spirits to the joy, progress and advancement that truly equitable and fair laws can bring to a thirsty nation. That is not a gay agenda. That is an equality agenda. It is not an equal debate if those who are against gay peoples have rights and freedoms that gay people don’t have. You are able to get married, walk about freely, speak openly about who you had a date with yesterday, but they can’t. How can you quarrel with them wanting that? How is that a ‘bad’ ‘agenda’? Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot love a person if you deny the person rights and freedoms just because you don’t approve of how they live their lives. That is not love. That is wickedness. And this brings me back to the question I have asked often of Jesus in private prayer, study and reflection. The author Matthew Vines detailed with vigour in God and the Gay Christian that homosexuals will not go to hell because homosexuality is a natural progression of human sexuality ongoing since the beginning of time. But even if I agree with my conservative Christian brethren that it is a sin, what would Jesus do if he were alive today, and a gay or transgender person was dragged to him for judgment by the religious and moral leaders of our time? This is what I think he would have said, drawing from Matthew 23, Matthew 7, Luke 13, and Luke 19. “You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for many years with inhuman laws, be released from her bondage?” And to that person he would be very, very clear: “I will not condemn you, I will not force you, I will love you, I will accept you, and tonight, I look forward to having dinner in your house, with you and your lovely family.” May God give us the will and the grace to act. ** Made it to the end of the speech? You are definitely more wiser now. - C
  14. "Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he (Yuval Noah Harari in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year), reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature... ..To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority... .. (Even) Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible... ..So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace... ..But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed?.. ..For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas... ..When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior..." These excerpts and many more inspired facts about homosexuality was tendered in the very powerful and already vastly criticized keynote address - THE IMPACT OF CULTURAL, TRADITIONAL AND RELIGIOUS IDEAS ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF SEXUAL MINORITIES IN NIGERIA –by CHUDE JIDEONWO, the CEO of Joy Inc at the annual Human Rights, Sexuality and the Law Symposium organized by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) on 13 December 2017, in Lagos, Nigeria - in commemoration of the International Day for Human Rights. See full speech below. (You can't argue with this!) *** One of the tragedies of human progress is this constant tug between two stubborn binaries: progressive and conservative. People often camp in front of their worldviews, either progressive or conservative and refuse to move from thence, ensconced comfortably in a space where they believe they are inexorably right and everyone else ignorantly wrong. The constant battle between these two perspectives is why much of modern human progress has been slow and bitter, rather than accelerated and joyful. But because reality is not discontinuous, reality is almost constantly found in a midpoint of a spectrum between conservative and progressive, where the best of binaries converge to create a space where humans can commune, advance and make progress. “When we look at the history of life,” said the British essayist, Paul West. “We see two complementary forces at work that, together, lead to healthy evolution. The first holds onto and preserves the learning and contributions of the past. This is the conservative impulse. The other explores new possibilities by pushing beyond the status quo to ever-wider circles of inclusion. This is the liberal impulse.” To advance the human evolutionary epic, it is important to respect the past, to treasure its gems, and to preserve its essence, just as much as it is crucial to march boldly into the future, to embrace the uncertain, to find peace with the fact that humanity inexorably discovers and advances. However, in maintaining the past – and its custodians are often tradition, culture, history and laws – we must ask ourselves: why? Why are we preserving the past, and to what purpose? That it is our past is not enough. In the march towards progress, the past must always justify why it must join the future. There are parts of our past as Nigerians that have resonance today. For instance, the fact that our traditional religions were intrinsically open to a variety of experiences. As Ama Ata Aidoo reminded us at the Ake Festival this year, our past had intrinsic respect or all humanity, many of our tongues having no binary gender pronouns, allowing us to respect people not for their penises or testicles but simply cause they are human. This convergence of openness, would have been, some have argued, our most important contribution to global cosmology. Unfortunately, then came the British in their white robes, and their religion. These guys, who were still trying to figure out their own cultural insecurities, came into our space, interrupted our evolution, and then forced their binary views of the world on us, leaving us with what American-Nigerian anthropologist, John Uzo Ogbu, has called ‘secondary differences’, a confused cultural milieu developed both in opposition to and assimilation of the cultural references of the dominant group; in this case, our colonial masters. This ‘culture’ – or better put, traditions – that we have forced upon us in the infancy of our consciousness by thoughtless trading Europeans is not ours any more than the iPhone is a Nigerian invention. Unfortunately the network of our historical and contemporary realities as Nigerians – including religion, mores, norms, dominant attitudes, and of course our system of archaic laws – came out of this mishmash of confusion and oppression. We acquired a way of life that was not ours, inefficiently adopted it into a way of life we were still evolving, and have ended up with confusion as the norm for our legal system. It is the reason why Nigeria’s ‘culture’ has often been a cooking pot of inane debates, like the ones we used to have conscientiously in the 90s: should women be allowed to wear trousers? Neither first lady Aisha Buhari nor first bank chairman Ibukun Awosika would seriously entertain this debate today of course. But such is our culture that many women were actually called prostitutes in the 80s and the 90s because they wore what some religious leaders – ignorant of the non-binary, constantly evolving category-boundary history of male and female attire – called ‘men’s clothing’. When you mix a confused culture with an insecure and badly thought out system of laws, kept in place by clueless politicians and maintained in stone by religious leaders who have not read and understood enough of the world, what we have is the Nigeria of today: where minority rights are tramped upon, inane rules guide our conduct, and lawyers still wear ridiculous attire to represent clients in badly ventilated courtrooms. It is from this same conundrum of ambiguity that we have that most oppressive of all Nigerian laws: that which stops two consenting adults from having a legitimate, non-criminalised relationship, simply because they have the same reproductive organs. For us as a country, we insist that for people to love each other in a romantic, sexual, intimate way, they must find someone with a different sexual organ than they, someone with a different gender construct than they. We are a society very obsessed with penises and vaginas. When you ask people why they insist on this restrictive legal and cultural regime even though the global body of research across the world pinpoints homosexuality as a legitimate stop in the evolutionary epic, they say either of three things: a) it is not part of our culture; b) it is not natural; and c) our religions forbid it – by which mostly they mean the imported Christian and Muslim faiths, because there is nothing in the canon of Ifa, Ogun or any of the Igbo pantheon of gods that speaks against the freedom to love irrespective of gender and sexual organ. I believe I have already addressed the question of culture, so let’s turn our minds to the question of nature. Is it true that men having sex with men and women having sex with women is simply not natural? The preponderance of biological and anthropological evidence begs to disagree. And really it’s embarrassing that people are still making that argument in 2017. “Sex-linked biology and gender relations, as well as the concepts of race and ethnicity, require conceptual clarity in order to determine the interactive influences of each in giving rise to health differentials. To narrowly focus on such concepts impedes an appreciation of the rich variety among humans.” People of same gender have been having sex with each other for, as long as I know, the five thousand years of recorded history, everyone from Alexander the Great to Virginia Woolf. And, of course, everything from paintings of the San people of Zimbabwe to evidence from the Nzima people of Ghana shows proof of not just African homosexual sex, but also homosexual marriage. Indeed, there is absolutely nothing sensible about the accusation of unnatural as the Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari reminded the world in his spectacular book, Sapiens, last year. Anything that can happen is by definition natural. If two women can find a way to sexual pleasure, then by the obvious evidence nature already allows it. If a man can wear what we now call ‘female clothing’ and not fall down and die because of it, then it is by nature natural. Nature allows a massive spectrum of possibilities, he reminds us; it is us humans that limit the possibilities with our fears, taboos and phobias, not nature. But let’s still investigate the word ‘natural’. Is there anything intrinsically positive about the Natural? In the first few centuries after Christ, it was very natural for a man to have 14 children and to lose more than a dozen of them to disease, and it was very natural for bacteria to wipe off millions of people because there was none of the medicines we have now. Those were very natural. And yet here we are now, as a race, having overcome those challenges, because we found ‘unnatural’ ways to fight nature through medicine. Indeed, humanity has spent the past two million years, since man discovered fire, fighting and running away from ‘nature’. We build houses to escape the rain. We buy shaving powder to get rid of the natural hair that grows on our chins and armpits. And we have unnatural caesarian operations because sometimes nature is careless, thoughtless and pointless. Nothing about how we live our lives today is ‘natural’. Indeed, if a man from ancient Greece woke up today and saw a world with stock exchanges, female presidents, iPhones, and Twitter threads, he would scream and rave at the unnaturalness of it all. But that is how humanity advances. We move forward. We leave the past behind, not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with the past, but because the past is limited. We now know so much about our universe and ourselves than people of the past knew. Indeed one of the most fascinating things about human nature is how many of us are here, free, today because of the ways that society has advanced beyond what was natural many decades and centuries ago, including slavery, segregation and female circumcision, and yet we want the world to stop moving because we have now arrived. To excuse this dissonance, point often to ‘nature’. We then purport to speak for God, by claiming that what we deem natural today – even though it wasn’t ‘natural’ for people just a century ago – is what God says is natural for all people as well. We take God as our all purpose excuse to fight change, to fight difference, to insist on our own intrinsic superiority. Ridiculous, isn’t it? And this is where religion has played a villain’s role. As Ali A. Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim, presciently points out, “Culture is always evolving. But religion freezes culture in time. Religion dogmatizes culture and arrests its evolution.” I am going to stick today with the Christian faith, not just because that is my tradition and the one I have studied extensively, but also because our criminology in Nigeria is founded on a basic, prudish, British protestant Christianity, the word ‘sodomy’ in fact having a biblical etymology. Religion takes the innate human fear of change and a misappropriation of the word natural as it has calcified into culture and gives it the dubious stamp of divine approval. There lies the link between all the three elements in the theme of today’s event: we take culture, we freeze it through religion and we mummify it through the law. Now of course, I say this as an active, excited, declaratory Christian. As I often remind people, I am not just a Christian but I am a tongue-speaking, bible-toting, loud-praise-and-worship-singing Pentecostal. And so how can I be a Christian, and yet be so clear-eyed about the dangers that this religion has unveiled in being deployed to oppress, repress and suppress people who act differently from what our Holy Book say? My answer is simple really. When I decided to become a Christian, I received Jesus of Nazareth into my heart, not Paul of Tarsus, or the Prophet Moses. I am follower of Jesus Christ, and it is because I have carefully read and paid attention to everything that Jesus taught, over and over and over again, in the original King James version, that I am convinced that those who wield his teaching as a tool to oppress any minority have misunderstood the character of the Christian savior. Of course first, I align with historians who find deeply suspicious the fact that Moses and Paul had very plenty to say about homosexual sex, which was obviously personally abhorrent to them, and yet Jesus who was God from the beginning of time according to John the Beloved writer of the fourth gospel, had absolutely nothing to say about the matter. Jesus met all the dregs of society, so to speak – prostitutes, tax collectors, thieves, adulterers, you name it – but somehow he managed not to find or meet one homosexual person. In fact, not one fully-fledged gay human being has his story told by any of conservative, powerful men (and the traditions confirm that they were uniformly men) who reported both history of the bible. This cancelling of the gay experience certainly proves that homophobia is a historic reality for the origins of the Christian faith. Just as Apostle Paul telling women to shut up in the church and the burning of witches at the stake by bible-toting Europeans (and many Nigerians) is also a historic reality. My reading of Jesus is simple on this matter therefore, since the recorders of history have silenced his perspective. He covered all of these broadly in two crucial pillars of his theology: a. Love and Acceptance b. Zero tolerance for judgment. People often say, love doesn’t mean acceptance. But I fundamentally disagree. For Jesus, Love was acceptance. As Archbishop John Shelby Spong brilliantly noted in his remarkable book, Jesus for the non Religious, Jesus’ idea of love was radical (which is perhaps why he probably went too far on homosexuality and the gospel writers couldn’t take it anymore). He accepted all kinds of unsavoury characters, who were hypocritically cast aside by the religious leaders of his time just as they are by the religious leaders of our time. And he not only accepted them, he went to their houses, he drank wine with them, he broke Sabbath rules with them, he had a blast embracing them without any record of condemning them. Matthew 9: 10 – 13 brilliantly captures his radical (or what the author and pastor, Brian Zahnd, calls the scandalous) theology of acceptance. It reads: “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11: When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12: On hearing this, Jesus (my guy!) said, “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call (you) the righteous, but sinners.” I like the Luke 19:27 version even better. It says: “Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was. He looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay at your house today.’ So Zacchaeus came down at once and welcomed Him gladly. All the people saw this. They began to whisper among themselves. They said, Just look at this: ‘Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’” People often say that Jesus promised hell for sinners. But it is perhaps important for them to go and read the bible again. Jesus promised hell for the wicked. He made a very clear distinction between the legally-defined idea of sin, for which he had nothing but affection and acceptance for the likes of Mary Magdalene, and the Jesus-defined idea of wickedness, as he saw in the lives of the Pharisees and scribes. Indeed, in the Matthean parable of the sheep and goats, he makes it clear those who he said “will go away to eternal punishment”. Go read it yourself in Matthew 25, in the oldest Revised Standard Version or in the original Koine Greek. He directed his angst always not for personal weakness, not for the kinds of people religious people then and now tend to thumb their noses at, but to those who he called “wicked”, the selfish, the greedy; those who would not help those in need, but would rather judge harshly and pray loudly. Of course, if this isn’t a theology many have been taught in their churches, it is because biblical exegesis is often coloured by the prejudice of the person who is preaching. As respected bible-believing theologians from Marcus Borg to NT Wright remind us, there have always been and always will be multiple interpretations on fasting, on divorce, on women speaking in church, on tithes etc. Rapture theology in fact is one such controversy, being a theology that originated in America only in the past 100 years, made centuries after Jesus’ death. I never knew the day would come that I would quote Apostle Suleiman, but just a month ago, in response to radio host Daddy Freeze, this mainstream Pentecostal preacher confirms in video that the Bible can be used to defend anything. But no matter the contradictions between the original gospel of Mark and the later interpretations of John, the one thing we know is uncontroversial is that Jesus was radical in his love, boundless in his acceptance and fervent in his warnings that no one should ever condemn anyone else for failing human standards of morality. It wasn’t because Jesus was permissive. It was because he clearly saw that human morality is a cultural construct (“the Sabbath was made for man,” he said, “and not man for the Sabbath”) that is situational, evolving and contextual. These ever-changing laws throughout Jewish history were simply not worth his time. He left that to Caesar, allowing the dead to bury the dead, and focused instead on teaching a transcendent message of love, service, and meekness. We see this radical theology again in Matthew 19. When a rich young man comes up to him to ask about the law, both of them make it clear that some of the laws are not as important as others. “Which ones,” he asks Jesus are the ones that would give him eternal life. “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]” It is important to note that Jesus – who called himself the fulfillment of Mosaic law – deliberately avoids, in his answer, the moralism of Moses and focuses on actions that hurt other people: lying to your wife, hating your neighbor. When the Sadducees came to him with small legalistic questions in Mark 12, he told them that they did not understand “the power of God”. Indeed this is perhaps why Apostle Paul was slightly schizophrenic in the conflicting laws he gave the various churches, commanding women not to speak in one and giving free rein to Priscilla to speak in another. Scholars, including Edwin Freed in his book, The Morality of Paul’s Converts, understand that Paul was giving administrative and not divine rules to different believers in different contexts. More importantly, and this is what most concerns me here today, Paul directed his moral laws (even if you consider them, for some reason, divine) to his congregations alone, and not to the wider world, telling his self-righteous followers in Romans 14 in one instance to “keep your belief between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” In short, if you think homosexuality is a sin against God, then YOU don’t be a homosexual. He reminded them, using the Old Testament example of the redeemed prostitute Rehab, that God’s love is so radical that it can love, accept and embrace a person who has not even renounced what we call sin. In so doing, he learned very well from the Master, Jesus, who famously told his disciples the same thing about forcing others to believe what they believe or act how they act or treat as sin what they treat as sin. Listen to Jesus’ very direct instruction in Luke 10:5-7: “And into whatsoever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” This makes sense, since according to Jesus, it isn’t human preaching and moralizing that draws people to God, but in John 6:44, 65 he says, “No man can come to Me [Christ], except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day…And He [Christ] said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father.” Instead, we are supposed to “let your light so shine before men” through our lives and work (Matt.5:16). Light does not make noise. But what do we find today? We find born-again warriors of the faith who insist instead on forcing others to live by their moral standards using the laws, the courts, the police, fear, oppression and intimidation to force others to adopt their own moral codes. Whereas Paul says it is the Christian duty to live peaceably with all men including – especially – those who disagree with them, we have a modern day Christian mainstream that chooses the opposite, fighting culture wars, going to court to stop sexual minorities from living peaceful, honorable lives. It makes you wonder, as we say here in Nigeria: where did they learn that one from? Where did Christians learn to create and perpetuate a system of laws that are discriminatory, oppressive and distasteful against people of minority sexualities and genders, even when the convergence of scientific knowledge across biology, ethology, anthropology, history, evolutionary psychology and even expansive divinity shows that these laws are in fact unfair, unjust and wicked? Jeremy Bentham, whose philosophy is the ground of much of our legal regimes, already gave us a more sustainable foundation for making laws: “The greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”, an elaboration of Jesus’ teaching that we should do unto others as we would have them do onto us. For Bentham, and for others whose jurisprudence rest on social justice, the laws of a nation (and Apostle Paul, as far as Romans 12:8 and Hebrews 12:14 tell us, would certainly agree) shouldn’t come from our personal distastes and discomforts whether legal or religious, but from the greatest happiness of the greatest many. So, yes, two people having sex through the anus is weird, unusual, strange. By God, it may even make you puke because that’s not how your father and your mother did it. But seeing a person eat their egusi soup with lizard meat is also guaranteed to make me puke, but it will not inspire me to create a law against them living their lives in peace. The test of how we make a law should not be disgust or distaste; it should be its verifiable negative impact on society, not whether or not we like lizard egusi soup. The minute I discover evidence before prejudice that any kind of sexual orientation fundamentally harms humanity, then the conversation should change. But right now, all we have is our distaste. We cover our distaste in culture, and we wrap it up in religion. Isn’t it fascinating for instance that most people who are conservative in their religion are also conservative in their politics? How is it so that their religion and their politics align so neatly? “People often persist in long held beliefs even in the face of evidence that invalidates them,” a Stanford Graduate School of Education research paper by Geoffrey Cohen synthesizing multiple studies on the role of ideology in identity, belief and bias. “These beliefs and attitudes affect social policy, law and government decisions including whether to go to war or what economic policies will be implemented.” This is why science as the overriding human technique of enquiry, and lawmaking based on the evidence from science rather than the bias-re-enforcing interpretation of religious traditions is the most effective way of creating laws. That is why the 14th and current Dalai Lama, in his book, Ethics for a New Millennium, has thrown a challenge for us to create laws and moral ethics outside of a religious prism, while maintaining a timeless personal connection to God. Science, forces us to step aside our biases and look at cause and effect on communal integrity. Of course many of us know this intuitively. We are aware that life is progressive, that laws change, that culture transforms. That is the reason Catholic dogma has continued to change over the past many centuries. That is the reason that 4500 years ago, Martin Luther led a Reformation that fundamentally changed the rules of Christianity. That is the reason many Christians ignore what Paul says about women speaking in church and covering their head, crying ‘context, context, context oooo’ and yet follow hook, line and sinker his teachings on homosexuality, even though we know it is the same science that reveals to us the equality of the sexes that reveals to us the equality of sexual desire. We know this, because we all pick and choose what sayings of Apostle Paul to follow and ignore the ones that we find unreasonable. But we often allow our prejudices limit this only to what we are comfortable with. Then we tell ourselves that we are on the Lord’s side in this grand cosmic war to restore righteousness to the world. But as natural selection teaches us – and if you don’t believe in natural selection, a cursory reading of received history teaches us – there is no point in the past that was perfect and godly. I mean, have you read your bible lately? The entirety of the Old Testament is a long, repetitive record of sinful, reprobate cultures. Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, all these prophets moaned and bemoaned how deeply unrighteous people were. So when Christian warriors say they want to restore biblical morality, I say ‘huh’? There was no perfect stasis of righteousness in the past. The world has only gotten better as it has progressed forward. We are a generation healthier, richer and more at peace with our neighbours than any generation in times past. Since the Second World War, however, rates of violent death have fallen to the lowest levels in known history. Today, the average person is far less likely to be slain by another member of the species than ever before—an extraordinary transformation that has occurred, almost unheralded, in the lifetime of many of the people reading this article. If asked to choose between living in the times of Joshua and living in the times of Donald Trump, I assume you many of us should choose the much more peaceable times of today. That doesn’t mean the past was wrong. It means the past was limited, and cannot be our standard for forging the future. Moving away from the past has helped us discover that we have been unfair to those who are different from us, and has given us the tools and knowledge to treat them fairer, and with the love and acceptance that the divinity of Jesus – being the same, yesterday, today and forever, knowing the end of a thing even from the beginning – already preached those 2000 years ago Jerusalem that we must love our neighbours, even with their imperfections, as we love ourselves. Jesus knew before evolutionary biology and psychology, before Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace unveiled the origin of the species. Jesus knew that only radical love could set us free. There is a reason why the research shows that societies that are more tolerant and are more open to difference in race, gender and sexuality, are happier than others. Jesus said the same thing in John 15: 11: “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Why is it so hard to accept people as he taught? Why is it so hard to see others as fully and truly human simply because they refuse to conform to our standards? Why can’t you believe what you believe and choose what you choose and allow others believe as they believe, even if what they have chosen is “wrong”? How does that make them any less human than any of us? So if it revealed tomorrow that I, Chude, am gay, does that suddenly stop me from being a child of God, less human than you? Are my contributions to nation, our youth and the world suddenly invalidated? Do I suddenly become dangerous, immoral, disordered because I am attracted differently? Would you honestly come to that conclusion about me, my life, my heart, my gifts, simply because of that one fact that is just one out of a whole? Would I suddenly deserve to have a stick put up my bum as in Port Harcourt, or burnt alive as in Makurdi, Would I suddenly cease to be human if I were gay? Sure you could call me a sinner. Sure you could say I need salvation. But would you really stop being my friend, my mentor, my pastor, my mother, my colleague? Sure if you heard that I am a closet thief, then you know I harm others. Sure if you heard I was a closet paedophile, then I harm children. If you heard I am a closet rapist, then I harm women. Sure if you heard I am a closet adulterer, then I harm my wife. But who have I hurt if I were gay? Who have I stolen from? Who have I damaged? Who have I destroyed? What makes us expend more energy asking for young gay men to be jailed and killed than for all our past leaders to be rounded up and jailed? How is Dino Melaye more ‘natural’ and ‘human’ than Ellen DeGeneres? What kind of stupid ass system of mores and laws arrives at such a pointless, ridiculous conclusion? We must rethink the ways we have used religion as an excuse to hold others back and in doing that, punish ourselves by holding ourselves back. Because where there are hateful laws like we have in Nigeria, societies have historically proven that their progress will be slow. You cannot advance forward if you hold your people back with hate. “We believe that a legal framework should formalize the tolerance our society already displays, and that our policies and initiatives will provide an outstanding example to our neighbors,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), wrote in 2016 as he set up a revolutionary new ministries of Tolerance and Happiness. “When the Arab world was tolerant and accepting of others, it led the world: From Baghdad to Damascus to Andalusia and farther afield, we provided beacons of science, knowledge, and civilization, because humane values were the basis of our relationships with all civilizations, cultures, and religions. Even when our ancestors left Andalusia, people of other faiths went with them. “Tolerance is no catchphrase, but a quality we must cherish and practice. It must be woven into the fabric of our society to safeguard our future and maintain the progress we have made. There can be no bright future for the Middle East without an intellectual reconstruction that re-establishes the values of ideological openness, diversity, and acceptance of others’ viewpoints, whether intellectual, cultural, or religious.” Is it really a coincidence that Africa is both the least tolerant continent on earth as well as the poorest? We live in a country where it is legal to be Senator Sani Yerima and illegal to be Apple CEO Tim Cook, and we want to make progress? It is time to look inwards into the deplorable mess of cultural, religious and legal restrictions that we have tired ourselves in and open our hearts, minds and spirits to the joy, progress and advancement that truly equitable and fair laws can bring to a thirsty nation. That is not a gay agenda. That is an equality agenda. It is not an equal debate if those who are against gay peoples have rights and freedoms that gay people don’t have. You are able to get married, walk about freely, speak openly about who you had a date with yesterday, but they can’t. How can you quarrel with them wanting that? How is that a ‘bad’ ‘agenda’? Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot love a person if you deny the person rights and freedoms just because you don’t approve of how they live their lives. That is not love. That is wickedness. And this brings me back to the question I have asked often of Jesus in private prayer, study and reflection. The author Matthew Vines detailed with vigour in God and the Gay Christian that homosexuals will not go to hell because homosexuality is a natural progression of human sexuality ongoing since the beginning of time. But even if I agree with my conservative Christian brethren that it is a sin, what would Jesus do if he were alive today, and a gay or transgender person was dragged to him for judgment by the religious and moral leaders of our time? This is what I think he would have said, drawing from Matthew 23, Matthew 7, Luke 13, and Luke 19. “You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for many years with inhuman laws, be released from her bondage?” And to that person he would be very, very clear: “I will not condemn you, I will not force you, I will love you, I will accept you, and tonight, I look forward to having dinner in your house, with you and your lovely family.” May God give us the will and the grace to act. ** Made it to the end of the speech? You are definitely more wiser now. - C
  15. Gay and lesbian couples are happier than people in straight relationships. Maybe you’ve already suspected it, while looking at your straight friends and their relationships. That hint of sadness in their eyes, compared to the joyous glint in yours and your partner’s. Well, now an extensive study has provided some much-needed evidence. After questioning more than 25,000 people in the UK and over 9,000 in Australia, researchers found that gay and lesbian couples are better off. However, bisexual people suffered from worse relationships, on average, than straight or homosexual people. Francisco Perales and Janeen Baxter from the University of Queensland conducted the study. In their findings, they wrote: “Relationship quality in same-sex couples was as high as in heterosexual couples in the United Kingdom, and higher in Australia. “The lowest relationship quality in both countries was reported by bisexual individuals.” The researchers suggested that gay and lesbian couples might have better relationships because they are less concerned about sticking to stereotypical gender roles. They wrote that “individuals in same-sex couples (particularly lesbian women) generally are more equitable in the ways in which they allocate domestic work, including childcare”. Straight couples often reaffirm their gender roles in relationships, which, the authors state, can lead to an unfair division of labour. “Unequal household burdens are associated with poor relationship outcomes, including marital conflict and divorce,” they explained. “If gender display is not as salient in same-sex couples and these relationships are more egalitarian than heterosexual couples, higher levels of relationship quality might be expected.” The two added that same-sex couples might feel more connected to a community of similar couples, which may increase their happiness. They also suggested that “individuals in same-sex relationships may be more likely than those in different-sex relationships to have high relationship investment.” Perales and Baxter argued that their findings supported giving more rights to same-sex couples, and refuted arguments that children of same-sex parents suffer. “Our results provide robust evidence to combat deep-rooted and erroneous social perceptions of same-sex relationships being conflictual, unhappy, and dysfunctional,” they said. “Our findings support policies that seek to legalise same-sex marriage and parenting rights.” The authors also emphasised that their results “highlight the need to give further attention to bisexual individuals as a distinct group because their outcomes are comparatively poor.” Bisexual people have consistently been found to have the lowest life satisfaction among LGBT people. They also feel less worthwhile and happy – and much more anxious – than other people, according to a study from earlier this year. And just this week, it was revealed that bisexual people sleep worse than everyone else, with bi women being especially affected. Source
  16. Would you...

    Will you do this for $1m?
  17. Vaginal discharge raises common questions for women, including what’s normal and what’s not. Justine Burris, CNM, MSN, UnityPoint Health, talks in-depth about female vaginal discharge, from healthy discharge colors, to what concerns might require a trip to see a provider. What Does Vaginal Discharge Mean? Burris describes vaginal discharge as fluid released by glands in the vagina and cervix. The fluid carries dead cells and bacteria out of the body, and vaginal discharge helps keep the vagina clean and prevent infection. Burris also says normal vaginal discharge varies in amount and ranges in color from clear to milky, white discharge. Discharge may have a slight odor as well, although a foul, fishy odor is a sign of an infection. “There are times when discharge amounts can change,” Burris says. “Immediately after a period, there is almost no discharge. Two to three days after the period ends, there is a thick, white discharge. A few days later, the consistency changes to appear more like mucous. Before ovulation, the discharge becomes clear and sticky, and before the next period, discharge is thick and white in consistency.” Vaginal discharge during pregnancy is thin, white, milky and mild smelling. The amount of discharge also increases during pregnancy. However, during perimenopause and menopause, discharge decreases due to low levels of estrogen. The following can cause estrogen levels to drop, leading to little to no vaginal discharge: Medicines or hormones used in the treatment of breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids or infertility Surgery to remove the ovaries Radiation treatment to the pelvic area Chemotherapy Severe stress, depression or intense exercise Vaginal Discharge Color Meaning Thick, White Discharge If thick, white discharge goes along with other symptoms, such as itching, burning and irritation, it is probably due to a yeast infection. If not, it is normal discharge. Yellow Discharge Yellow discharge is abnormal discharge, as this is a sign of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection. Brown Discharge Brown discharge may be caused by irregular period cycles. If brown discharge keeps appearing, a patient should schedule an appointment with a provider to be evaluated. This could be a sign of uterine or cervical cancer. Additionally, during menopause, a woman should not have any type of vaginal bleeding, which is also a sign of uterine cancer. Green Discharge Having green discharge is not normal. This is a sign of bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection. Anyone experiencing green discharge should see her provider. Yeast Infection Discharge Yeast infection discharge is caused by an overgrowth of fungus in the vagina. Symptoms of yeast infection discharge include a thick, white, cottage cheese-like discharge, along with itching, redness, irritation and burning. Roughly 90 percent of women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life. Yeast infections are not contagious, and over-the-counter antifungal creams are available for a patient to use. But, if symptoms don’t improve with treatment or she has more than four yeast infections in a year, she should see her provider. “Stay aware of normal and abnormal changes in vaginal discharge. This allows patients to identify infection and other problems. If you have any questions about the type of vaginal discharge you’re experiencing, contact your provider,” Burris says. Source
  18. Would you date, run or make out with?
  19. Would you date, run or make out with?
  20. This viral video shows a transgender teenager being forced to strip down to his underwear while he's filmed by Homophobic Police officers. It's not clear where it took place but the video has sparked an outrage in the LGBT community. Is this right?
  21. Hi Ladies, What a year it has been! We have spent the last couple of weeks thinking about the best possible way to reach out to various groups including but not limited to orphans, students, the elderly, uniform officers e.t.c. It only recently dawned on us that even within our not so small online community there may be one, two or more people who may be distressed financially. It is to this end that we have decided to launch the #HASI – Help A Sister Initiative. As you would expect, this scheme is only open to registered members. To make an application, all you need to do is follow the steps below. You can be rest assured that confidentiality and anonymity will be guaranteed. To apply: Step 1: Write a note (no more than 100 words) on why you deserve the grant. Step 2: Using your registration email address, send a note in (step 1) along with your username as an email to info@naijalez.com Step 3: Admin will post the notes anonymously in the thread created for members to vote and unanimously agree on who the beneficiary should be. Step 4: The note with the most votes is shortlisted and contacted. Step 5: Admin disburses the funds. You may send in your entries from the date of this post valid through to the 20th of December, 2017 as we hope to make disbursement on or before the 23rd of December, 2017. If you read this and think you will like to donate to this initiative, please contact admin privately as well and thank you in advance. PS – considering this is the pilot project, we are looking at a maximum single disbursement of N30,000. Best wishes, FlyJ for the Admins
  22. Media personality, Daddy Freeze has in his usual routine, come for Nigerian pastors – this time around, he says most pastors are into the work of God just because of the money involved. Freeze says Nigerian pastors left their professions because they can’t earn as much unlike in the ministry. In a video shared on Youtube, he said, “There are many fake pastors because of monetization; that pastor who cursed me is an architect, the one at BankyW’s wedding is a doctor. “Many of them are leaving profitable field because ministry is a more profitable field. “Monetization has made fake pastors come into two fold, it has made real pastors preach false messages. “Every doctrine in Nigeria has been monetized, you hear pastors say this year you will find your ‘apollos’ “Apollos in the Bible was increase in word of God not referring to sowing, Matthew 13;7 this verse speaks of seed of faith not money; those that twist this to you are thieves. There’s nothing spiritual about those criticizing me, the only spirituality in them is the ability to twist your brain. OAP Freeze also countered speaking in tongues in Nigerian Pentecostal churches, describing it as fake. He added, “Speaking in tongues in Nigeria Pentecostal churches is fake but speaking in tongues is not fake. “When speaking in tongues, you should speak in languages not in tongues that no one can understand. 1Cor 14:26-28; someone must interpret tongues…There is no speaking in tongues without an interpreter “Interpretation of tongues is missing in today’s pentecostal churches , if anyone speaks in tongues one or two should speak in tongues one at a time not multitude.That is falsehood 1Cor 14:23 is what pastors used to confuse you, they tell you tongues is an unknown language which carnal mind cannot understand. Everyone speaking in tongues in the church is false because it is a gift that everyone does not receive. “I’m a preacher that speaks from history and bible not sentiments like others; that’s why I can’t say God told me to pay titheS like they say. “I would tell you what God kept in bible not what God told me.” Do you think speaking in tongues is fake?
  23. In his open letter to comedian I Go Dye which was published yesterday, Atiku Abubakar disclosed the difference between Nigeria and Naija. He wrote Ladies, do you agree with his definition? Source
  24. Legendary singer Patti Labelle has outed late R&B legend, Luther Vandrose. See what she said below “We talked about [his being in the closet]. Basically, he did not want his mother to be...although she might have known, but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world. And he had a lot of lady fans and he told me he just didn’t want to upset the world.” Source
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