Christian and political leaders in the African nation of Zambia are speaking out against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s global call to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The Zambia Episcopal Conference, the Pentecostal Church’s Bishops’ Council of Zambia and the Zambia United Christian Action “said that it was unwise for the U.S. government to use its money to force other nations to permit ‘ungodly practices’ in their land” and insisted that “Donor aid should not be tied to promoting immorality”:
[T]he government’s information minister, Given Lubinda, assured that the country’s leaders would not bow to outside pressure to respect and tolerate homosexuality in the nation. He reminded western nations about the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda of Action, which guide development aid distribution and do not mention acceptance of same-sex marriage as the basis for offering aid to the poor nations. Rev. Gibson Nyirenda, spokesman for the Pentecostal bishops’ council, urged Zambia to reject any donor aid that comes with conditions.
“For us as a nation, we cannot go in that direction because it is indecent and can erode our morals as society. Let’s remain a Christian nation by ignoring such assistance,” Rev Nyirenda said.
Homosexuality is considered a felony in Zambia, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, although the country’s constitution does include a general non-discrimination clause and few have been prosecuted for the “crime.”
During her landmark speech in Geneva, Clinton specifically addressed the concerns of religions leaders. “For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people,” she said. “And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.”