"Gambian President Yahya Jammeh says he will “cut off the head” of any homosexual caught in his country." [For the full article, see here.]
Now, please read the following from the Times of India: Two married women, who allegedly shared a lesbian relationship, committed suicide by setting themselves ablaze after their families tried to separate them. The police recovered the charred bodies of the women, who died hugging each other, from the residence of one of the women at Sathangadu, near Thiruvotriyur, on Saturday.
"The incident came to light on Saturday morning when the family members noticed thick smoke emanating from the house, where the women stayed the previous night. They peeped through the window and were shocked to see the bodies lying as if they had died hugging each other."
[For the full article, see here] [Thanks to Towleroad, and to Don Charles for calling my attention to it.]
To one degree or another, homophobia rages in virtually all parts of the world, and it is imperative that governments that in any way support homophobia, or seek to deprive LGBT people of life and/or liberty, be exposed before the world community to show both their savagery and help prevent their getting financial aid until that savage oppression is eliminated.
A step in this direction is currently being initiated by France, where, "The French government will ask the United Nations to pressure countries to abolish bans on homosexuality." [See here.]
I doubt many, if any, denominations or churches within the institutional Church will decry the oppression of LGBT people in Gambia, and the savagery with which they are being threatened and treated, just as most haven't done with the oppression of LGBT people in the U.S. and elsewhere. Therefore, please send letters of protest to the President of Gambia and to the United Nations via the links provided in the following email I just received from the Metropolitan Community Churches:
A C T I O N A L E R T
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO
STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST GAY GAMBIANS NOW!
Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches Issues Urgent Appeal
Calls for Global Action to Save LGBT Gambians Now
May 21, 2008
Today, as Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, I call on people of faith and goodwill across the globe to take immediate action in urging the President of West Africa's Republic of The Gambia to withdraw his threats against the lives of countless gay people in that country and to honor his nation's history of pursuing equality and liberty for all its citizens
On Sunday, May 18, following an earlier warning that gave gay men and lesbians just 24 hours to leave the country, and citing an effort to make Gambia "one of the best countries to live in," President Alhaji Yahja A.J.J. Jammeh threatened to behead any gay person found in the nation.
He promised a "mass patrol" to "weed out bad elements," and linked homosexuality with drug dealing and theft. The President promised dire consequences for gay people remaining in Gambia and threatened to punish anyone offering support or housing to our people.
It is unclear what caused this escalation in rhetoric -- but we do know what can bring it to an end: The united voices of all us who believe in the value, dignity and worth of all life!
PLEASE TAKE THESE THREE STEPS TO SAVE LIVES TODAY:
WRITE TO THE PRESIDENT OF GAMBIA... by sending an e-mail to President Jammeh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Tell him to stop inciting hatred and violence against gay people and to withdraw his threats.
-- Urge him to protect the rights of LGBT people in his country.
-- Ask him to honor the principles of the Universal Charter of Human Rights, which calls on all governments to allow their citizens to live free of threats, coercion, intimidation and discrimination.
WRITE TO THE UNITED NATIONS... by sending an e-mail to Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, at email@example.com. Tell her that the situation in The Gambia is urgent and urge that the United Nations take steps to protect the human rights of LGBT Gambians.
CALL ON NEIGHBORING CONGREGATIONS AND PEOPLE OF FAITH... to join this campaign. Gambia's national motto is "Progress, Peace, Prosperity." Nothing will advance progress toward peace and human well-being more than our common commitment to the basic principles of the Scriptures we reverence across denominational lines. And one of the most basic of those principles is, "Thou shalt not kill." There are no exceptions.
Silence equals death!
That mantra crosses all borders and boundaries of our world.
Speaking up and speaking out holds the promise of life for all our people!
Please take action now on behalf of justice and peace for our LGBT Gambian brothers and sisters!
The Reverend Nancy L. Wilson