In a new low, the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) has described LGBTQ people as sinners who “practice” acts that undermine African values and religion.
On Tuesday, the ACDP lashed out at DA leader John Steenhuisen for calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently assumed chairmanship of the African Union (AU), to ensure that South Africa speaks out more loudly on LGBTQ equality on the continent.
In a speech at Cape Town Pride on Saturday, Steenhuisen urged Ramaphosa to “Make it clear that an attack on a member of the LGBTQI community in Kampala or Dar es Salaam or Mogadishu is as unacceptable as an attack here at home.”
In a shameful response, the ACDP said it was dismayed by Steenhuisen’s challenge to President Ramaphosa to “utilise his position as African Union chair to fight for the rights of the LGBT+ community throughout the African continent.”
The ACDP claimed that this “echoes the liberal West’s desire to impose the LGBT+ agenda on the African continent” and urged “those who wish to see the moral and social fibre of African communities strengthened, to reject this call in its entirety.”
The party encouraged Ramaphosa to focus on bringing peace and economic prosperity to Africa and promoting “the welfare of African families” rather than “aid the imposition of the practices that undermine traditional African values and beliefs of all other religions.”
The misconception that same-sex love and attraction is a “practice” rather than an identity is an argument that is widely used to justify persecuting LGBTQ people on the continent.
The ACDP also took a swipe at Archbishop Desmond Tutu who was honoured (in absentia) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the LGBTIQ+ community at Cape Town Pride.
“Those who, like Emeritus Bishop Tutu, refer to the Almighty God as a homophobic God because He hates sin such as homosexuality, are only bringing judgement upon themselves. While our righteous God loves all people, He nevertheless hates sin. The ACDP loves everyone, but won’t condone what God calls sin,” said the party.
“Not only are we concerned about the ACDP’s contempt for our Constitution, but we also view this position by the ACDP as an attempt to demonise the allyship of Emeritus Bishop Tutu in vigorously speaking up and fighting on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community,” said the Desk’s National Spokesperson, Mpho Buntse.
The LGBTIQ+ Desk went on to commend Outreach Africa, the organisers of Cape Town Pride 2020, for honouring Tutu, and backed the principle behind Steenhuisen’s sentiment.
“It is our position and assertion that South Africa has an incredible role to play in protecting the human rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and promoting equality across the continent and globe. Thus it is incumbent on the desk to champion from within the ANC for President Ramaphosa to lead this fight as the AU commission chair – the continent’s primary continental human rights body,” he continued.
Buntse further slammed the ACDP for its tired ‘homosexuality is unAfrican’ refrain, noting that “same-sex desiring has been present on the African continent… even before colonisation.”
He added: “Therefore, it is bigotry that has informed such a violent call, a call driven by prejudice and in its extreme could potentially incite hate and the subsequent violent crimes against the LGBTIQ+ community.”
“It is highly embarrassing to see a party holding such a high position in the benches of our National Assembly, calling for a progressive constitutional democracy to stand by and watch as the LGBTIQ+ community is subjected to inhumane treatment under our diplomatic watch,” said Buntse.
The ACDP, which has four seats in Parliament, is known for its anti-LGBTQ views. The party previously blocked two LGBTQ-affirming motions in 2011 and in 2015, including a condemnation of homophobia. The ACDP also voted against the passage of the Civil Union Bill that legalised same-sex marriage in 2006.