Pic: Terence Townsend
A Nelson Mandela Bay councillor has lashed out at the municipality for flying a rainbow flag last week, and attacked LGBTQ people as sinful.
In an interview with Herald Live, African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) councillor Lance Grootboom said: “Homosexuality is an abomination, biblically.”
He was reacting to the municipality marking Pride month by raising what’s said to be Africa’s largest LGBTQ rainbow flag at Port Elizabeth’s Donkin Reserve, situated on a hill that overlooks the bay and its harbour.
The massive 12 meter by 8 meter flag was flown on a huge flagpole together with the South African national flag, also said to be the country’s largest at 15 by 10 metres.
“This year, Nelson Mandela Bay officially adds its voice to governments committing, firstly, to recognising the LGBTQ community, and most importantly, to upholding the rights of the LGBTQ community,” said the municipality in a statement.
Councillor Grootboom, however, slammed the move, saying it did not reflect the values of all the municipality’s coalition partners, nor many of the area’s citizens.
“Our principles, our values come from the Bible and that is what we believe in and it’s what we stand for,” he said. “If God says it’s an abomination, he knows why he said it was an abomination and why it is harmful.”
Grootboom went on to include the transgender community in his rant: “Homosexuality is a choice – like changing your sex if you want to be male or female, that is a choice you make.
“If you want to change from a man to a woman, that’s your constitutional right, but you cannot expect me to condone that behaviour when it goes against my moral beliefs.”
He also suggested that same-sex attraction is as unnatural as peadophilia. “Male and male – you need to ask God, can they now make a family? What is natural? Can a man and a man make a kid? Can a man carry a child?”
Pic: 2014 file photo
Grootboom insisted, however, that his and the ACDP’s views are neither hateful nor discriminatory and that, “We love all people…”
Local LGBTQ activist Christina Engela condemned the councillor’s statements and called for Grootboom to be charged with hate speech. “Militant religion, it turns out – and its mirror of hatred, is the real choice here, and the ‘lifestyle’, and hating, intimidating, undermining the civil rights of millions of innocent people is not the choice of good people, even if they claim to be.”
She added: “Thank you, ACDP, for once again showing SA and the world how backward and ignorant you are of the facts, and how compassion and behaving like the Christ you claim to follow is completely alien to you.”
The ACDP is known for its anti-LGBTQ views and recently came out in support of the mayor of George for speaking out against a performance by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus in the town, due to his “Christian conviction.”
The massive rainbow flag was manufactured by Nelson Mandela Bay Pride and was first raised in Port Elizabeth in 2014.