Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God Made Them Gays And Lesbians

God Made Them Gays And Lesbians

© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay,

Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.

I have often thought of making a contribution to rewrite the stories of the bible and this is an opportunity to start. According to Genesis, the first book of Moses, written by a man, it is no wonder that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex people are not prominent figures, this is about to change with the advent of queer ministry.

The opening book also casted women in a different picture, today many countries and cultures globally treat women as subordinate. The developed and mature thinking of liberal theologians argued that Genesis was not only recorded in the ancient days it was recorded by a man. Which in many ways contributed to the exclusion of women and other sexual minority groups? Now we begin to ask queer questions, those questions we are not opportune to ask whilst in Bible school, seminaries etc, many people I know were expelled from theological training because they asked a queer question.

Then how are we to know the truth and how on earth are we going to be set free? The honesty in rewriting these theologies, we have to consider the absence of the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the interpretation of the opening book of the bible, Genesis. And also understand the reasons for exclusion of the correct interpretation, which has constituted a massive debate today.Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth..." there is a suggestion that there must have been a time before the very beginning of the formation of the earth. There must have been a gathering of the heavens, God and Holy Spirit, here we are told of the miraculous formation of the earth.

The separation of darkness and light, sky and waters, waters and dry land, vegetation in various kinds, swarms of living creatures, birds, living creatures of every kind. Read Genesis 1:1-25. Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" We must understand that in the 21st Century much analysis have been carried out scientifically and religiously to explain the origin of humans, whilst many like myself believe in the creation story, one must wonder why gays and lesbians are not included in the interpretation by popular Christian movements? "Let us make humankind in our image" suggest to me that there were more than one person present as I dont believe God would have spoken alone, there seem to be a matter for consideration in heaven.

The paradigm of two creation stories even made it more confusing, the first in Genesis 1, was clear when it says "God made them male and female"Feminist theologians have argued successfully that this signposted to equality of gender in creation, a second creation story recorded in Genesis 2, suggested that the man was made first and from the man the woman was made. The version created disparity in the ability to provide equality to the gender and also created a gap in understanding sexual orientation and identity. We are to understand and accept that women are second to men and therefore men are superior. How do we conclude on what the image of God is? Is God black, white, Asian, African, European, man, woman, homosexual, heterosexual etc?

The creation of the human race is the image of God, lets be queer about the interpretation, many conservative theologians have taken a narrow interpretation to marginalise other groups that neither fit or able to conform to their stereotypes. This is rather sad.The lack of explanation or the ability to be honest led in many ways to the narrow conclusion and the exclusion of women and sexual minorities in the early chapters of the bible.

In 1973 The American Psychiatric Association made a remarkable announcement to delete homosexuality from the list of mental illness, thankfully we are able to say the same step has followed in Nigeria, but 31 years later in 2004.It is believed that we are working in a credible direction to analyse human sexuality and reconcile with spirituality. Gays and Lesbians often harassed on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity are human enough to hold jobs, join the armed force, raise a family and contribute to societal responsibilities.

The bible say "let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" not over each other. This has been a problem between race, between men and women, between people with different sexual orientation who asserts dominion over those who are considered minorities. After spending just over a year in Nigeria where most of the race are black, there are divisive tribal wars in the country, there are dangerous disputes between Christians and Muslim, Northerners and Southerners.

This division also lend its nature to the gay community, where shamefully those who are marginalised by the wider society also found it fit to marginalise within a small group of people, for example, some gay men discriminate against other gay men who are considered too effeminate or passive.The sordid interpretation of the scriptures by fundamentals means that many gays and lesbians today are unable to reconcile sexuality with spirituality, they have been forced away from the relationship with the Creator.

A continuous deliberate act to permanently and mentally exclude gays and lesbians from inclusion in the creation story and the inclusive gospel and love of Jesus we seek to promote. Whilst studying the creation story, I understand as a gay man that we are present in creation, God made them gay and lesbian and since it is known of the biases of the early bible scholars, it is no surprise that the interpretation that excludes still carries on. If you are not gay or lesbian you can never understand, my message is for those who offer healing to gays and lesbians, to stop trying to heal gays or lesbians, rather the fundamentalist need their ignorance and spiritual blindness healed. My queer senses trigger in to action, when studying and studying the creation stories, there are many inaccuracies in the interpretation and offered explanations.

I am not stupid and I just cannot rest nor reconcile with foolishness. I believe many men and many women where created by God at creation and the ability to be heterosexual or homosexual was part of God gift to humanity.At this point we must understand that those who are heterosexuals or homosexuals will act accordingly. The argument "be fruitful and multiply" does not apply to the heterosexual standard with the ability to impregnate and conceive but also to the ability to get wealth, take care of each other and also this principle is often applied in the case of mergers, where two powerful organisations merge they become stronger in their output and resources. The bible strongly recommends partnership of two or more.

Genesis 2 elaborate more on the act of the naming of the creations of God by man (Adam), it must have been a tiring experience for Adam. To my knowledge and to date, probably with a variance of languages the names of the plants, birds and animals remained the same. The example I created in my analogy is this; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a lion what do you call it? Most people responded lion, I know it is different if the lion was a pet lion and you call her Margaret, she will still be recognised as a lion. Then the same question applied again; In Kenya, Canada, England etc when you see a man what do you call him, most people responded man, but note that man all over the world are given names for the purpose of identification. Then in that case nothing has changed, lions will be lions anywhere in the world and man will be man too.My point is that there are humankinds all over the world and we are recognised as such, there are various cultural diversity but that does not negate the nature of our sexual orientation or identity.

In creation according to Genesis 1:27 says "So God created humankind in God's image in the image of God, God created them, male and female (homosexuals and heterosexuals) God created them" This verse suggest that the creations of God, namely humans present all over the world, were created by God in God's image, we believe that humankind are in God's image. History tells us in many part of the world where black people were discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, they were treated then as if they were less than human, now it is ironic that gays and lesbians are also being dealt similar blows because of sexual orientation and identity. If we agree that man is man then at creation God made all the race, all the sexual orientations, etc.

There is certainly one narrow understanding for the mainstream bible classes of traditional fundamentalist religious movement and there are many things we are not told, we are not even allowed to ask questions nor to express a deeper feeling to gain understanding of the diverse human sexuality ordained at creation. This is an incredible flaw in the interpretation of the conservative theologian. I believe in miracles, Yes I do, especially that of common sense, love and harmony. What miracle healer heals a blind person and asked them what is the colour of my shirt? The blind person who has been blind from birth suddenly says blue, doesn’t that ring an alarm of spiritual deception? Many gays and lesbians have been denied the right to grow in love and spirit. I believe in healing but we ought to be more vigilante not to allow wool to be pulled over our faces, we are done with the wheel chair and crotches flying business.

If you are as old as me you will remember, Steven Martin in an American drama called "A Leap Of Faith" which exposes the drama of false evangelical healing. The healing we need and pray is the healing of homophobia, poverty, lack of care, self hatred, NOT homosexuality, which is one of the gifts of God to humanity, which is to be embraced and celebrated.

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, is the Pastor of House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria; Ordained minister of the gospel ten years ago, he is gay, an author of many articles, anthologies, and two books. An MCC minister since 2005, he holds a law degree from Thames Valley University London and a Masters degree in theology, Currently a PhD Candidate of Theology at the United Bible University Nigeria.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why Do We Need Another Church In Nigeria?

Why Do We Need Another Church In Nigeria?


1. Why the need for another church in Lagos Nigeria?
Within religious circles there exists great tension over the issue of including homosexuals. For persons who are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgender, there are too few or perhaps no places that wholly affirm these individuals who are Christians, self-affirming, and homosexuals. It is our calling to provide a corrective and a viable alternative. We desire to be a place of extravagant welcome for all persons — especially persons seeking a community built on honesty, openness, and equity. We believe the call that we have received comes from God and is both specific and radical. We seek to reach persons on the margins of society and make the table of the Lord accessible to all.

2. What is your denominational affiliation?
We are affiliated with the denomination of the Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Churches, founded on the 6th October 1968, in Los Angeles United States of America, founded by Rev Elder Troy D. Perry; the mission is currently under the leadership of Rev Elder Nancy L. Wilson as Moderator. We are a denomination working for unity and justice in both church and society.

3. What is Radical Inclusivity?
Radical inclusivity is the belief that all persons are welcome at the table. Inclusivity challenges major fundamental, deep-seated beliefs, doctrines and theologies at the centre of society which characterize people on the edge as enemies of God and routinely mistreats, oppresses and excludes people from the community of faith and its institutions.

4. What will the worship experience look like at House Of Rainbow, Metropolitan Community Church Lagos Nigeria?
Our worship style is celebrative and contemplative — free and open to the Spirit. We will seek to provide a rich blend of a variety of traditions - Pentecostal, Baptist, Apostolic, Methodist - just to name a few. We seek to provide an experience that values ritual, tradition, and yet one that is open to a God who is still speaking. We will also provide a space for persons to examine the deeper meaning of our traditions and faith expressions. Whether it is through our powerful praise and worship, the performing arts, or through social ministry that is grounded in love, we will seek to be a balanced people who embody the transforming and liberating love of Jesus Christ.

5. How do I become a member?
Membership is open to all. We now hold weekly bible studies, regular Membership Foundation Class and other programmes. Please contact us at houseofrainbow@hotmail.com to receive information regarding time and location.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality to Nigerians

About three weeks ago at House Of Rainbow, the only church welcoming and affirming in Nigeria to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We started looking more closer to the bible passages on homosexuality, we are working towards our own theology. I must say that people were intriqued at the study and explanations. The paramount question is that, Is the bible passages used as clobber verses for the justification of the abomination of homosexuality, credible reference to "Loving Same Sex relationship" or "Bad same sex relationship". Well let me tell you now, certainly the bible was speaking about BAD same sex relationship. The bigotry of the original interpreters and authors has been hijacked by modern day fundamentals and conservatives giving yet a bitter twist and adding to the confusion of LGBT people, more so building on the hatred Jesus condemned.

Well if the report was of bad homosexual behaviour or activities, how come that there is no report of the good homosexual relationships? I am not surprised that is why Jesus never said anything contrary to homosexuals rather Jesus focussed on the discrepancies and hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his time.

The bible said Slaves to obey their masters, did it say White European should be the masters or did it say Black people or non europeans should be the slaves? What happened was that slavery was initiated by supremacy of one race over the other.

21st theological interpretation ought to inform many that somethings are wrong in the way mainline Christian folks are discriminating against homosexuals. I say clearly to the growing number of homosexual Christians in our church in Lagos Nigeria that the interpretation of bad homosexuality was an intention to confuse people, gay people, their allies, friends and families.

With that understanding, it is also important to note that God is not partial in creating some heterosexual and some homosexual so that one group of people may have dominion in abusing and insulting the other group, would it have been the case that black people where created so white people can enslave us? I dont think so. Perhaps our mothers, wives and sisters where created so men can dominate them and abuse them. Well then lets look at the justification for discrimination. Some based their arguments on the fact that homosexuality is not part of the African culture and I am sure that there has been a larger cry out of Nigeria about how God hated gays and well spoken by Religious superiors who the bible would describe as suffering from religious blinded.

A story in the Bible i love so much is the story of the woman who married seven brothers and after they all died, the disciples of Jesus posed a question, that when she gets to heaven which of the seven brothers will be her husband, Jesus response was most profound when he responded and said we are not giving in marriage in heaven and that getting to heaven we are going to be like angels, The consolation at least for gays and lesbians is that our sexual orientation that the world is trying to kill us for, ostracize us, reject us, alienate us, is not relevant for a passage to heaven.

The seriousness of sexual orientation and religion begs the question of a possible third gender, "Intersex". Three children in a family, one male, one female and one intersex, are we to say that the intersex was not a gift or the creation of God? then we are asking the parent to be ungrateful. The same applies to sexual orientation and identity, homosexuality as well as heterosexuality should be embraced and welcomed in our societies.

In our Vision Statement we claim that House Of Rainbow is on a bold mission to transform hearts, lives, and history. We are a movement that faithfully proclaims God’s inclusive love for all people and proudly bears witness to the holy integration of spirituality and sexuality.

Core Values/Objectives

· InclusionLove is our greatest moral value and resisting exclusion is a primary focus of our ministry. We want to continue to be the conduits of a faith where everyone is included in the family of God, and where all parts of our being are welcomed at God’s table.
· CommunityOffering a safe and open community for people to worship, learn and grow in their faith is our deep desire. We are committed to equipping ourselves and each other to do the work that God has called us to do in the world.
· Spiritual TransformationProviding a message of liberation from the oppressive religious environment of our day or to those experiencing God for the first time, is what guides our ministry. We believe that when people are invited to experience God through the life and ministry of Christ, lives will be transformed.
· Social ActionWorking to talk less and do more, we are committed to resisting the structures that oppress people and standing with to those who suffer under the weight of oppressive systems, being guided always by our commitment to Global Human Rights.
· Motto: “No Fear In Love…” 1 John 4:18

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Where Are the Nigerian Gays and Lesbians?

I asked myself this question today, after I just completed my 20th Expert letter for another Nigerian gay abroad seeking asylum in a foreign country. I found this very sad that many feel that they cannot live in Nigeria nor survive the hardship of trying to live their lives. For this 20 people, there are thousand more not seeking asylum but manage to relocate. If by statistic, there are over 15 million sexual minorities in Nigeria. So we cannot be wiped off the face of the country. Many gays and lesbians in Nigeria are simply in hiding.

After reading a wonderful book "Walking with Shadows" by Jude Dibia, sadly the story closed by sending the fascinating gay character packing his bags for a better life in the UK. I found this scenario depressing and I feel that many more gays and lesbians in Nigeria should be more organised and proactive for a better life at home. Get a life by joining a community of fgay friends and creating meaningful steps to the future and the liberation of many others.

I pray often to God to make my voice the voice of the voiceless and my face the face of the faceless and if that meant giving credence to homosexuality, then let it be so

Since being in Nigeria almost one and a half years, homophobia is duly present and I too have had a nasty taste of it.

Last year December 25, as I drove out of my estate to visit my folks. There was the traditional road blockage by the local gangs of men, well I consider them harmless to a degree. However, one shouted to the other in "yoruba" that dont block the way, we dont collect money from gays, unaware that i spoke the local language and understood well. I responded quite boldly; asking the person to repeat what he had just said, i noticed that fear must have gripped him and he began with an apology. Many other people around the popular bus terminal also joined in to apologise. I simply told these homophobes in my act of bravery that I am gay and proud to be gay, they have not lied about that, but i would not tolerate any abuse from them. I was shocked at my own reaction but i felt the need to celebrate the victory. So now they know I am gay and that I am not bothered about who knew or not.

February 2008, I was at the Africa Sexuality Conference in Abuja, with only two papers directly on the issues of LGBT. I made sure that with every opportunity after as many plenaries, I would raise questions on the lack of inclusion or the lack of information that included LGBT people, I had my hair in braid and I introduced myself as Rev Jide Macaulay, the Pastor of House Of Rainbow in Lagos, you should have seen the shocking expressions on their faces. I also took with me unfortunately 200 copies of my devotional for LGBT Christians this ran out on the first day of the conference, it was soon popular amongst the youth and a few adult, well since it was free. Questions were raised and on the third day of the conference, I was ambushed by four journalists, when one of the organisers would introduce me as an amazing person with a congregation of gay and lesbian christians. the question is who can be a Christian? I believe all of God's Children have the right to worship God without fear of discrimination. Since returning to Lagos i have received a number of email, text and calls from people who were not able to identify openly as gay or lesbian from the conference, i believe we are doing something good, acceptable and mature.

Just a few days ago (4th March 08) I sat enjoying myself at the Christening ceremony of my cousin's baby boy, when i was approached by a guy. He wanted to join our table, so we made room for him, I told him about my work as a Pastor and also that I am gay with a ministry welcoming to gays and lesbians, he appeared shocked and instantly asked for my contact details. Talking about Hijra community after an experience of meeting activists in Mumbai India early this year, he was fascinated and wanted to know more. Well, we kept the dialogue going until it was time for me to leave.

I am excited about the work we are doing in House Of Rainbow MCC Lagos Nigeria and hope we can extend the privilege of our services across Nigeria. We started a series of bible study on what the bible says about homosexuality, this has been a great source of knowledge for many of our congregation. The mission continues. More grace more power Rev Jide.

DEVOTION for LGBT People with Rev Jide Macaulay

DEVOTION with Rev Jide:

"Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and mature" Rom12:2 I believe that the scriptures gives us liberty to be who we are "gays and lesbians" If we are able to renew our hearts and discern what is in the will of God for us then we are on our way to victory, I often say to all that if we are unable to change the color of our eyes or skin then we cannot change our sexual orientation, rather I invite you today to celebrate the will of God that created us gays and lesbians, f

“Get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to, the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveal itself in the true life that is upright and holy” Ephesians 4:22-24. Many gays and lesbians hated themselves because of the lives they live, often trapped in societies that marginalize, reject and ostracised them. I implore all gays and lesbians to have a renewal of hearts and mind in the marvelous creativity of God. Put on the new self, which is the happy homosexual, which is created in God’s likeness and reveal itself in the true life that is upright and holy.

Draw Near To God “Do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, God yearns jealously for the spirit that God made to dwell in us? But God gives all the more grace, therefore it says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”. James4:5-7 For many gays and lesbians, we need to remind ourselves that God yearn for us to celebrate the spirit God made to dwell in us, be humble about being gay or lesbian. It is by grace that we are who we are, who will say that it is not by the grace of God that we are alive and able to survive each day? I leave you with the thoughts today to “Draw Near to, and trust God as you are, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, straight and narrow.

Jesus met Gays and Lesbians; “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book (Bible), but these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that through believing you may have life in his name” John 20:30-31 I pondered over this text, I want to say that if the early bible authors failed to record all the signs, miracles and meetings of Jesus, how are we sure Jesus never met gays and lesbians, what would Jesus have said to them? If you are familiar with the story of the woman accused of adultery, you would have a sense of what Jesus would say, who is without sin cast the first stone. I want LGBT, straight and narrow people to know that Jesus met everyone at the point of their needs without exclusion, all we have to do is “come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that through believing you may have life in his name”.

“I know that nothing good dwells in me…for though the will to do good is there, the ability to effect it is not. The good which I want to do, I fail to do; but what I do is the wrong which is against my will…” Roman 7:18-19 Gays and lesbians have always concluded that nothing good dwells within us, because we live in societies that least accept us, welcome us nor include us. The good that we seek to do is to be who we are, the original creativity of God, the wasteful love of God that made us gays and lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. But we often fall under the pressure of society to be who we are not. I want to encourage you today to give power to the will to be yourselves and see the liberating power of God in action.

“In Christ everything in heaven and on earth was created, not only things visible but also invisible…the whole universe has been created through Christ for Christ. Colossians 1:16-17 I want to encourage you today, that it also includes gays and lesbians, bisexuals and trans people, straight people, isn’t this revelation amazing?, I pray that gays and lesbians, bisexuals and trans people will receive the heart of understanding the love of Christ for our community.

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"Tearing Down Walls/Building Up Hope"

"Unfinished World/Unfinished Calling"
"Tearing Down Walls/Building Up Hope"

By The Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay

“It is commonly said in Africa, “It is better to have the corpse of my child, than for me to accept that my child is gay”. As far as Africans are concerned, homosexuality is an abuse of traditional values.

Homosexuality is seen as a sign of western sexual corruption and immorality. Some African families believe that homosexuality is a result of occult activity and also that it is a curable disability”

– Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay.

I am Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, I was ordained minister of the gospel in 1998, a Christian Theologian, a dynamic and an inspirational speaker, poet, pastor and preacher, the author of “Poetry Inspired” published 2001 the UK, Pocket Devotional for LGBT Christians, holds a degree in law and masters degree in theology. Became a qualified clergy with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in July 2005, Founding Pastor of House Of Rainbow, Lagos Nigeria..
Since 1994, after a gruesome separation and painful divorce from my ex-wife, my experience of coming out as a gay man has been a stage by stage journey. I want to share my journey with homosexual men and women, I want parents, friends, families of homosexual and heterosexual people to know that, to my knowledge no one turns gay in a world that is dangerously homophobic, more painfully is that many homosexual persons suffer homophobia from their own family members, who claimed unconditional love until the moment they where informed of our sexual orientation, many gays and lesbians, often suffer alone.

I come from a family who based our outlook on life on a strict Christian upbringing. My father is a leading theologian, expert of the bible and the Principal of a leading Bible University in Nigeria, we continue to find ways to reconcile the bitterness around my coming out as gay and the same goes for my siblings. My mother who is separated from my father continues to be a loving mother and a peacemaker.

I no longer apologise for being openly gay, I want my radical message of love and liberation to reach all people, including countries with a complicated culture, custom and society such as Nigeria, Jamaica, Cameroon, Guyana etc.

I have encountered people that feel that they are better than me, in religious and secular environments, they are first to judge and condemn. If they must judge me, they should judge me for whom I hate, not for whom I love, and I hate no one. I leave the judgment to God, the Great I Am, the wonderful counsellor, the prince of peace, the lily of the valley, the Alpha and Omega. I was born homosexual and I would die homosexual.

The Church – A Struggle For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender people.

The spiritual needs of gays and lesbians is no less than that of heterosexuals, we all need our spiritual families and support, most often the churches close their doors on us, we are called sinners, abomination and an outcast, we are often marginalised in prayers and subjected to inhumane exorcism.

We need a new era of faith religious groups that would celebrate same sex unions, so that many more gays and lesbians can be proud to celebrate their sexuality in a loving union.

The punishment by the Christian faith community can be more devastating with longer term damage. There should be more gay and lesbian spiritual support groups, offering counselling, prayer and support.

In 2004, the problematic relationship of the Christian church and homosexuality was linked with derogatory comments by African statesmen and clergymen. Whilst they were making the headlines, the basic human rights of gays and lesbians continue to be violated.

Lesbians and gay men, like me, struggle to affirm our identity because we have often been expected to deny our sexuality for the sake of surviving in our spiritual communities.

There are no fringe benefits for being a Black African man on this planet, there are no privileges for black skin, when you add homosexuality to the equation, this become a recipe for derision, malice, and outright hatred. It doesn’t have to be like this and this is what I want all gay men and lesbian women to understand.

Many homosexual people never reach their full potential for fear of their sexual identity being discovered. They often use drugs, alcohol and nicotine to medicate themselves. I call on everyone to stand and deal with the ramification of being homosexual. Please don’t be your own worst enemy. Allow excellence in everything you do to be the weapon that tears down the walls erected by this homophobic society.

My destiny is a life of joy and happiness, I am proud of who I am, I never advocate for people to come out unless they are confident and happy to do so. There are huge risks in coming out as gay or lesbian, the consequences can be tragic. But for me there has been the inner joy I cherish, because when people compliment me, they compliment God, it is greater than being in the closet. I happened to have reached a turning point in my life where I could no longer be silent, starting with a response to the Nigerian religious leaders and government in 2003.

Throughout human history, different cultures have known same sex erotic sexual interaction and have varied in different cultures, ranging from absolute prohibition of same-sex relations to their approval in certain social circles. We live in an unfinished world, we have an unfinished calling, we must work together to tear down the walls of homophobia and build a wall of hope for all people.