A Catholic priest in Kenya has urged fellow African Christian leaders to be tolerant and accepting of gays and lesbians.
According to Daily Nation, Fr Ambrose Kimutai, from the Segemik Catholic Parish in Kericho, said that Christians should love homosexuals as they are also “children of God”.
“Kenya is a secular country, not a Christian state, as there is no official state religion,” he was quoted as saying.
“While I am not in support of gay marriage, I believe that it is the responsibility of the church to preach inclusivity instead of sowing seeds of hatred in the minds of its followers,” explained Kimutai.
His call for tolerance is rare among Africa’s Christian leaders, many of whom have aligned themselves with repressive laws criminalising homosexuality and same-sex relationships.
“As a church, we are called to love all people regardless of their sexual orientation. This is the only way we can try to win them back to the church,” Kimutai said.
“We must read the signs of the times and change our approach by adopting a palatable language that they will understand,” he added.
Kimutai’s comments came just days after the Archbishop of Nairobi, Cardinal John Njue, slammed gays and lesbians, insisting that homosexuality is “rubbish” and goes against God and “his work of creation”.
He went on to state: “Let us fight same-sex relations as much as possible because the heritage we are leaving behind if we allow it to take place is horrible.”
The topic of homosexually has been in the headlines of late in Kenya following a Nairobi High Court ruling last month ordering the government to register an LGBTI organisation. Religious leaders and politicians have lashed out at the ruling warning that it will lead to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the legalising of same-sex marriage.
Gay sex is illegal in Kenya, with penalties of between five to 14 years’ imprisonment.