Friday, May 28, 2010

London Protest: Free Steven and Tiwonge 29th May 2010

LONDON: Protest for Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, Freedom for Homosexuals in Africa.
Saturday, 29th May 2010, From 1pm to 2.30pm, Location Outside Malawi High Commission London, 70 Winnington Road London N2 0TX. Come along, pass on the information,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Four Ways to Support Tiwonge and Steven in Prison in Malawi

ACTION: Support Tiwonge and Steven in prison in Malawi

Four things you can do to support our heroes

London - 21 May 2010

Big thanks to everyone who has shown their concern and anger at the outrageous 14-year jail term handed down to Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi.

Here are three ways you can help:


Send a letter or postcard of support to Steven and Tiwonge. In this difficult time, they need to know that people around the world love and support them. Get all your friends to do the same. Write to:

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison,
P.O.Box 30117, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi


Write a letter to your elected political representative. Urge him or her to write a letter of protest to Malawian President and to the Malawian Ambassador in your country.

If you live in the UK:
Email your MP and all your MEPs via this website:

Ask your MP and MEPs to protest to the Malawian President and to the Malawi High Commission in London.

Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 564, which protests against the prosecution of Tiwonge and Steven. See here:


Sign Madonna's petition which condemns the jailing of Steven and Tiwonge and which calls for equality and human rights:


Make a donation by post or BACS electronic transfer to the Malawi Defence Campaign, organised the UK-based LGBT organisation OutRage!
OutRage! will use all money donated to support Tiwonge and Steven with food parcels, medicine, clothes, blankets etc. and to help fund the campaign for their release.

By BACS electronic transfer:
Account name: OutRage!
Bank: Alliance and Leicester Commercial Bank, Bootle, Merseyside, GIR
0AA, England, UK
Account number: 77809302
Sort code: 72-00-01
For electronic transfers from overseas (outside the UK), please
ADDITIONALLY quote these codes:
IBAN: GB65ALE1720001778093 02

By cheque:
Write a cheque payable to "OutRage!" and send to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT. Enclose a note giving your name and address and stating that your donation is for the Malawi Defence campaign.

Thanks for your concern and commitment to justice for Tiwonge and Steven.

Solidarity! Peter Tatchell, OutRage!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Pan Africa ILGA Condemn Sentencing of Gay Couple in Malawi‏

20th May 2010.

Immediate Press Release

The Executive Board members of the Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, condemns the conviction and sentencing of Tiwonge and Steven in Malawi.

Pan Africa ILGA join all our global human rights organizations and especially the Malawian organization the Center for the Development of People (CEDEP) in condemning the conviction and harsh sentencing of 14 years imprisonment with hard labour by a Magistrate Court in Blantyre, Malawi of Tiwonge ("Tionge") Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza for "unnatural offences" and "indecent practices between males" under Sections 153 and 156 of the Malawi Penal Code.

"This is an appalling, vindictive and brutal sentence, which tramples on Malawi's constitution, violates personal privacy and reverses the country's commitment to human rights.

"Steven and Tiwonge love each other and have harmed no one. Yet they get a sentence more severe than some rapists, armed robbers and killers.

"With so much hatred and violence in Malawi, it is sick that the court has jailed this couple for loving and caring for each other.

"The sentence echoes the era of dictatorship under President Hastings Banda, when personal prejudices determined law enforcement, and when individual rights were crushed and dissenters persecuted,"

We are calling for an immediate response from all parts of the world as we are not going to stand for these injustices, not in Africa and not anywhere else.

We call on government authorities and leaders at the commonwealth and United Nation for their response. We call on African states to condemn these violent breaches of gay people’s right.

This precedence will endanger the very fabric of society that we seek to protect, to live peaceful side by side and will jeopardize the process of saving lives.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


IMMEDIATE ACTION: Write a letter to Steven and Tiwonge.

One priority is to swamp the prison with letters of support for Steven and Tiwonge.

Help boost their spirits. Show them you care. Send a letter or
postcard of support to Steven and Tiwonge:

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, Prisoners, Chichiri Prison,
P.O.Box 30117, Blantyre 3, Malawi

IDAHO Prayers

IDAHO Prayers from Reverend Jide Macaulay and House Of Rainbow members. May 2010

Let us Pray

Most loving God in heaven, we are gathered here to address some of the biggest issues in our nation, in religion and in our world today, the violence and exclusion of sexual minorities, Children of God. We are asking for the unimaginable love of God, the wasteful generosity and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to be our portion.

We act with faith as we engage in the casting of our burden’s into God’s hands. We pray for zero tolerance of hate from every area of society including our religious families.

We forgive the discrimination and misunderstanding by our society and religious communities, our religious leaders have preached, cajoled and reported that we are evil and an abomination to God, we pray today, WHOSE REPORT SHALL WE BELIEVE?

Report of hate or love? the bible confirms, God is love and there is no fear in love.

Report of Injustice or Justice? Prophet Micah asked, what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Report of condemnation or reconciliation? Paul told the Romans, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Report of exclusion or inclusion? In Colossians, there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.

In Nigeria, Where our Christian brothers and sisters, our leaders are prepared to throw us to the wolves, into the lion’s den and into the human lake of fire, we pray that God will take our yoke and make them light, God will take our pains and sorrows away, God will delight us with happiness and joy.

17th May each year we celebrate IDAHO to remember those injured, killed, families destroyed due to external, internal, state and religious sponsored homophobia. We believe as a Christian Community, Saints and Refugee of God and Asylum of Christ love, we come with a Christian response to arrest homophobia, to detain hatred, stop the abuse and alienation, reconcile families and love ones.

We pour out our souls and spirit in prayers of healing to all affected by hatred, for those alienated from Cape Town to Cyprus, Lagos to London, Mumbai to Melbourne, New York to Nepal that healing will begin today, that people will come to the church for healing and love, peace and reconciliation.

We pray for we know that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

We believe according to 1 Peter 2:9-10 that But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10Once we were not a people, but now we are God’s people; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy

Also 1 Peter 3:8-9, says all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. Amen.

Friday, May 14, 2010

5 Myths About Intersexuals

5 Myths that Hurt Intersexuals
This list was recently posted on the blog Intersex Roadshow, it is a list of myths that hurt intersexed people, complied from that authors conversations. I think it is a very insightful list, with issues that should be brought to the public attention, so I decided to post it on my blog:

Myth 1: Intersex people all have intermediate genitalia

Imagine this: you're an intersex person, nervous about dating and finding a partner. You work up your courage to disclose your status to people you're interested in, and after a series of them seeming polite but disinterested in dating, you finally meet a guy who expresses interest. You date for a while, and get to the point where the clothes come off. Your boyfriend gets a good look at you naked, accuses you of "making up that story of being intersex" because your body looks female to him, and breaks off the relationship, leaving you feeling misunderstood and ill-used.

Many people are intersexed in ways that are not visible to their partners. For example, an individual with AIS (androgen insensitivity syndrome) is born with internal testes but genitalia that look typically female. Intersex people born with visibly intermediate genitals are often subject to infant sex assignment surgery, another reason why our bodies may not appear visibly intersex to others.

What disturbs me about incidents in which a partner seems interested in dating an intersex person until the clothes come off is that it generally reveals that the partner was fetishizing the intersex person--only interested in them for their "exotic" body. In the situation described here, the boyfriend wanted to have sex with someone who looked genitally intermediate generally. I've also heard stories from intersex people whose genitals are visibly atypical about how a partner lost interest in them when the clothes came off because they didn't see the kind of "hermaphrodite" genitals they'd dreamt of, with a big penis and a vagina (a configuration almost unheard of in real life, but popular in pornographic fantasy). It's depressing to find out your date wasn't really interested in you, but in playing with some fantasy set of genitalia.

Myth 2: Intersex conditions are always diagnosed in infancy

Here's another unfortunate scenario: a person is having infertility problems, so they visit some doctors. They receive a diagnosis and turn in shock to an online gender forum to post "I was just diagnosed as intersex." Somebody responds, "Stop trolling this blog. You're not really intersex--intersex people all know what they are from childhood. You probably have sick fantasies or think saying you're intersex will give you an excuse to gender transition without controversy." The non-intersex person is accusing the intersex individual of being a non-intersex person exploiting intersex individuals, which is pretty ironic.

As noted above, many intersex conditions aren't obviously visible in external genitalia. That means that people may not find out about their intersex status until quite late in life. While the experiences of late-recognized intersex people are different from those of intersex folks diagnosed in infancy, they are not "less" intersex, and have to deal with physical and psychological ramifications for which they need support.

Myth 3: All infant sex-assignment surgery is aimed at creating "female" genitalia

Imagine this situation: you were born with intermediate genitalia but surgically assigned male at birth. However, you grew up hating your male sex assignment, and so you transitioned to female. Your experience has given you a lot of empathy for people viewed as gendertransgressive, so when you notice that a friend of a Facebook friend identifies as genderqueer, you write her a nice message and offer her friendship. She refuses your offer and writes you a nasty note back about how she knows you are lying about being intersex, since "all intersex children are made into girls." She accuses you of being a stalking, posing, creepy man-in-a-dress. Ironic and sad, isn't it--that a woman who identifies as breaking down the boundaries of sex and gender is policing those boundaries so rabidly and wrongheadedly?

It is true that intersex infants are disproportionately surgically assigned female, based on the appalling medical aphorism, "it's easier to make a hole than a pole." But some intersex infants are surgically assigned male--usually when they have at least one external testis, but sometimes under other conditions. The myth that this "never happens" leaves intersex people assigned male at birth open to constant suspicion and exclusion, increasing the difficulties they have to face.

Myth 4: Intersex people should be genderqueer

This myth comes up again and again in academic, activist and feminist circles: that intersex people, being neither male nor female in physical sex, must be genderqueer and androgynous. We're supposed to be standard-bearers for the fight to subvert artificial dyadic gender categories. Encountering an intersex person with an ordinary and "boring" masculine or feminine gender identity who doesn't look at all androgynous, these activists express puzzlement and disappointment--and in private, speculate that the person must have some minor, mild intersex condition, so they are not "intersex enough" to be insightful.

Intersex people face pressure from doctors and families and society at large to genderconform. Facing the opposite pressure to gendertransgress--subversivism-- is just as unfair. Yes, most intersex people open enough to disclose our sex status agree that it is damaging for our society to insist that everyone must identify as male or female. But we live in a society that understands gender dyadically, and like non-intersex people, we commonly identify as masculine or feminine.

Myth 5: "Real" intersex people are not genderqueer

Frustrated and upset by pressure from gender activists to gendertransgress, as descibed in Myth 4, some intersex people have created a reactionary opposite myth: that "real" intersex people have no interest in subverting dyadic gender understandings of male and female. These genderconservative individuals often don't actually identify as "intersex" but as "people with DSDs (Disorders of Sex Development)." And they go around arguing to institutions that "real" intersex people don't identify as genderqueer--that people who say they are intersex and argue for third gender categories and the like are posers, probably crazed feminist zealots or deceptive trans people.

What makes the myth that intersex people are never genderqueer particularly painful to me is that it is spread by members of our community. To undermine your own intersex siblings and deny their identities is counterproductive, pathetic, and cruel. Many intersex people identify as typically masculine or feminine people, but there are plenty who do not do so, and like all genderqueer people, they face a lot of social bias. We have no duty as intersex people to be genderqueer, but I see a strong moral imperative for us to support people who do have genderqueer identities and manners of selfexpression. There are enough hurtful myths circulating about intersex people already. We don't need to add one of our own to the mix.
Posted by the androgyne at 6:20 PM
Labels: list, myths

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Prayers for Bobby

Exceptional performances abound in this poignant Lifetime original about a mother who realizes too late that unconditional love for her gay son is far more important than her faith in a homophobic, vindictive and judgmental God.

Based on a true story detailed in the 1995 book "Prayers For Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son" by late gay journalist Leroy Aarons, the film is an undeniable tour de force for Sigourney Weaver, who portrays the rigidly devout and ultimately devastated mother with a raw intensity and passion.

Part 1/9

Part 2/9

Part 3/9

Part 4/9

Part 5/9

Part 6/9

Part 7/9

Part 8/9

Part 9/9

Saturday, May 8, 2010

African LGBTI Manifesto & Declaration

African LGBTI Manifesto/Declaration
April 18, 2010, Nairobi, Kenya

As Africans, we all have infinite potential. We stand for an African revolution which encompasses the demand for a re-imagination of our lives outside neo-colonial categories of identity and power. For centuries, we have faced control through structures, systems and individuals who disappear our existence as people with agency, courage, creativity, and economic and political authority.

As Africans, we stand for the celebration of our complexities and we are committed to ways of being which allow for self-determination at all levels of our sexual, social, political and economic lives. The possibilities are endless. We need economic justice; we need to claim and redistribute power; we need to eradicate violence; we need to redistribute land; we need gender justice; we need environmental justice; we need erotic justice; we need racial and ethnic justice; we need rightful access to affirming and responsive institutions, services and spaces; overall we need total liberation.

We are specifically committed to the transformation of the politics of sexuality in our contexts. As long as African LGBTI people are oppressed, the whole of Africa is oppressed.

This vision demands that we commit ourselves to:

• Reclaiming and sharing our stories (past and present), our lived realities, our contributions to society and our hopes for the future;
• Strengthening ourselves and our organizations, deepening our links and understanding of our communities, building principled alliances, and actively contributing towards the revolution.
• Challenging all legal systems and practices which either currently criminalize or seek to reinforce the criminalization of LGBTI people, organizations, knowledge creation, sexual self expression, and movement building.
• Challenging state support for oppressive sexual, gendered, discriminatory norms, legal and political structures and cultural systems.
• Strengthening the bonds of respect, cooperation, passion, and solidarity between LGBTI people, in our complexities, differences and diverse contexts. This includes respecting and celebrating our multiple ways of being, self expression, and languages.
• Contributing to the social and political recognition that sexuality, pleasure, and the erotic are part of our common humanity.
• Placing ourselves proactively within all movement building supportive of our vision.


RESPONSE TO CRITICS: Jesus affirmed a gay couple.

Dearly Beloved Children of the living God,

I am not surprise at the responses from many of the contributors to my original note, I recognise the pattern of denial, to say that Jesus affirmed gay people, is too good to be true, but it is the gospel truth. For many Gay and Lesbian Christians will resonate in the words of Jesus and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Also Roman 8:1, (no condemnation) Col 3:11 (no discrimination). Please read.

Many may speak from the comfort of their protective locations or even the darkness of the closet, but for many in Africa and the rest of the Global South these are life saving messages, the Inclusive Gospel.

I am sure you will appreciate the safety of being outside compared to the times you spend in Nigeria. We started the House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community church, focusing all our strength and trust on God and we still do, however, our lives were endangered by our honesty, openness and somewhat naive of the Nigerian politics. Our premise was vandalised beyond recognition and looted of every valuable items, there was an order to assasinate, massacre the gay Christians in cold blood. It was reported that our church was "an unacceptable brand of religion" I was circulated as wanted by the authorities for questioning, it was the grace of God that I was able to leave the country with the cloths on my back.

To include, affirmed and offer an alternative eyeview of the scriptures, the Bible or the Quran is a test of our efficiency to recognise the words from our perspective which have for centuries been distorted to the detriment of same gender loving people. John 20:30-31, Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But 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.

People may choose to remain in denial, but it will be ungodly not to afford the liberation of the mind of those who finally got the message of inclusion and love of God, the ability to break from the bondages of religious oppression and discrimination.

Many people with hope for liberation suffered again and again, many people were fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes because they are homosexuals. Micah 6:8, what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The biblical references of homosexuality signpost to destructive homosexual behaviours, even if we are to accept some of the analogies in the old testament. They certainly do not speak of homosexuality as many of us know today. No one judges the destructive heterosexual relationships we see everyday, they make good stories for ratings on Maury, Jerry Springer shows etc.

We are determined never to stop this heroic journey of faith to reconcile human sexuality and spirituality, moreso for LGBTI people.

The physical church as been transformed in to a cyber church for now, where no harm or fear can be real. You can find us on facebook, twitter, ning, yahoo messenger, webpage is Call/sms +447507510357

It is only a matter of time before gays and lesbians become free and we continue to focus on the reward of our travailing in prayers and trust in God.

More love more power
Rev Jide Macaulay.

All God's Children on Video


All God's Children from Garrett Lenoir on Vimeo.


Straight From The Heart from Garrett Lenoir on Vimeo.


De Colores from Garrett Lenoir on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Documentary With BBC World Service

Hello People, I am currently doing a documentary with the BBC - World Service, the producer is looking for members or followers of House Of Rainbow Online Church, who are able and willing to make a contribution to the documentary, this can be done anonymously, you don’t have to give your real names. The importance is to share your stories and how your connection with House Of Rainbow's inclusive teaching and Prayer ministry is changing your live. Please write to me at or call/text +447507510357

Monday, May 3, 2010

Until My Last Breath

Until My Last Breath

I am sure you appreciate the safety of being in Europe compared to the times you spend in Nigeria. In 2006 I gave up everything in England to relocate to Nigeria to start the House of Rainbow Metropolitan Community church, I focus all my strength and trust on God and I still do, however, my life was endangered by my openness and somewhat naive of the Nigerian politics. My home was vandalised beyond recognition and looted of every valuable items and I was later informed through our private investigator that there was an order to assasinate me, it was reported that our church was "an unacceptable brand of religion" I was circulated as wanted by the authorities for questioning, it was the grace of God that I was able to leave the country with the cloths on my back.

I was angry, but you cant argue with God, many people with hope for liberation suffered again and again, many people were fired from their jobs and evicted from their homes because they were homosexual and attached to our church, our pictures were speared over the Nigeria media with a clear homophobic message and incitement to kill. Recalling the headlines makes me angry and at the same time more determined never to stop this heroic journey of faith.

I am in London not because I chose but because God needed to preserve my life and that is why I continue to be more effective using the internet as an additional tool. I am out of Nigeria to re strategise and look at new ways we can do our work effectively, the down side is that many more people will not have access to the internet and many more will like to speak to somebody, we are doing our best to develop and train people locally in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Personally I am frustrated but I am relearning to wait on God in faith and conscience.

The physical church as been transformed in to a cyber church for now, where no harm or fear can be real. The two links I sent you is part of the work to reach people, at the moment we have nearly 300 people on line with over 400 hits on a single video message, there are people from over 35 countries and thus far I have upload 20 video messages.

The hypocrisy of our people and government is so bad to the point that the minister of justice stood at the UN review in Geneva and lied that there are no homosexuals in Nigeria on the 9th February 2009. He must be in dark ages, never read the papers nor listen to the news. I am active and in contact with Nigeria and our people everyday, by phone and internet.

Nigeria newspapers still run stories with my name and our church regularly. I do not intend to stop until my last breath. I am stil involved with activism in Nigeria and we are detemined that we would continue the work, we need to measure the safety of all people. What can be useful is if we all come together trust and honor God in all we do. Help our fellow brothers and sisters.

We cannot blame those that are downlow, even those in government, you know they will be skinned alive if they admit to being gay, these is part of the cross they bear, but at least they can orchestrate some changes using other mechanism. I must assure you we are working with much more people who are now allies to the LGBT community than we did five years ago.

Please keep in touch

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jesus affirmed a gay couple.

Jesus affirmed a gay couple.

Discussion: Matthew 19:10-12
From our days in Sunday school, many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. This story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In Matthew, we are told that the centurion came to Jesus to plead for the healing of his servant. Jesus said he was willing to come to the centurion’s house, but the centurion said there was no need for Jesus to do so — he believed that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be healed. Marveling at the man’s faith, Jesus pronounced the servant healed. Luke tells a similar story.

Just another miracle story, right? Not on your life!

Note 18. K.J. Dover, Greek Homosexuality (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1978), page 16; Bernard Sergent, Homosexuality in Greek Myth (Beacon Press, Boston, 1986), page 10.
In the original language, the importance of this story for gay, lesbian, and bisexual Christians is much clearer. The Greek word used in Matthew’s account to refer to the servant of the centurion is pais. In the language of the time, pais had three possible meanings depending upon the context in which it was used. It could mean “son or boy;” it could mean “servant,” or it could mean a particular type of servant — one who was “his master’s male lover.” (See note 18.) Often these lovers were younger than their masters, even teenagers.

Note 19. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (Mercer University Press, Macon, 1994), page 554.
To our modern minds, the idea of buying a teen lover seems repugnant. But we have to place this in the context of ancient cultural norms. In ancient times, commercial transactions were the predominant means of forming relationships. Under the law, the wife was viewed as the property of the husband, with a status just above that of slave. Moreover, in Jesus’ day, a boy or girl was considered of marriageable age upon reaching his or her early teens. It was not uncommon for boys and girls to marry at age 14 or 15. (See note 19.) Nor was it uncommon for an older man to marry a young girl. Fortunately civilization has advanced, but these were the norms in the culture of Jesus’ day.

In that culture, if you were a gay man who wanted a male “spouse,” you achieved this, like your heterosexual counterparts, through a commercial transaction — purchasing someone to serve that purpose. A servant purchased to serve this purpose was often called a pais.

The word boy in English offers a rough comparison. Like pais, the word boy can be used to refer to a male child. But in the slave South in the nineteenth century, boy was also often used to refer to male slaves. The term boy can also be used as a term of endearment. For example, Jeff’s father often refers to his mother as “his girl.” He doesn’t mean that she is a child, but rather that she is his “special one.” The term boy can be used in the same way, as in “my boy” or “my beau.” In ancient Greek, pais had a similar range of meanings.

Thus, when this term was used, the listener had to consider the context of the statement to determine which meaning was intended. Some modern Christians may be tempted to simply declare by fiat that the Gospels could not possibly have used the term pais in the sense of male lover, end of discussion. But that would be yielding to prejudice. We must let the word of God speak for itself, even if it leads us to an uncomfortable destination.

Is it possible the pais referred to in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 was the Roman centurion’s male lover? Let’s look at the biblical evidence.

Note 20. For an excellent and thorough discussion of the terms pais and entimos doulos in these two gospel accounts, see Donald Mader’s article The Entimos Pais of Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, (Source: Homosexuality and Religion and Philosophy, Harland Publishing, Inc., New York, 1998).
The Bible provides three key pieces of textual and circumstantial evidence. First, in the Luke passage, several additional Greek words are used to describe the one who is sick. Luke says this pais was the centurion’s entimos doulos. The word doulos is a generic term for slave, and was never used in ancient Greek to describe a son/boy. Thus, Luke’s account rules out the possibility the sick person was the centurion’s son; his use of doulos makes clear this was a slave. However, Luke also takes care to indicate this was no ordinary slave. The word entimos means “honored.” This was an “honored slave” (entimos doulos) who was his master’s pais. Taken together, the three Greek words preclude the possibility the sick person was either the centurion’s son or an ordinary slave, leaving only one viable option — he was his master’s male lover. (See note 20.)

A second piece of evidence is found in verse 9 of Matthew’s account. In the course of expressing his faith in Jesus’ power to heal by simply speaking, the centurion says, “When I tell my slave to do something, he does it.” By extension, the centurion concludes that Jesus is also able to issue a remote verbal command that must be carried out. When speaking here of his slaves, the centurion uses the word doulos. But when speaking of the one he is asking Jesus to heal, he uses only pais. In other words, when he is quoted in Matthew, the centurion uses pais only when referring to the sick person. He uses a different word, doulos, when speaking of his other slaves, as if to draw a distinction. (In Luke, it is others, not the centurion, who call the sick one an entimos doulos.) Again, the clear implication is that the sick man was no ordinary slave. And when pais was used to describe a servant who was not an ordinary slave, it meant only one thing — a slave who was the master’s male lover.

The third piece of evidence is circumstantial. In the Gospels, we have many examples of people seeking healing for themselves or for family members. But this story is the only example of someone seeking healing for a slave. The actions described are made even more remarkable by the fact that this was a proud Roman centurion (the conqueror/oppressor) who was humbling himself and pleading with a Jewish rabbi (the conquered/oppressed) to heal his slave. The extraordinary lengths to which this man went to seek healing for his slave is much more understandable, from a psychological perspective, if the slave was his beloved companion.

Thus, all the textual and circumstantial evidence in the Gospels points in one direction. For objective observers, the conclusion is inescapable: In this story Jesus healed a man’s male lover. When understood this way, the story takes on a whole new dimension.

Imagine how it may have happened. While stationed in Palestine, the centurion’s pais becomes ill — experiencing some type of life-threatening paralysis. The centurion will stop at nothing to save him. Perhaps a friend tells him of rumors of Jesus’ healing powers. Perhaps this friend also tells him Jesus is unusually open to foreigners, teaching his followers that they should love their enemies, even Roman soldiers. So the centurion decides to take a chance. Jesus was his only hope.

As he made his way to Jesus, he probably worried about the possibility that Jesus, like other Jewish rabbis, would take a dim view of his homosexual relationship. Perhaps he even considered lying. He could simply use the word duolos. That would have been accurate, as far as it went. But the centurion probably figured if Jesus was powerful enough to heal his lover, he was also powerful enough to see through any half-truths.

So the centurion approaches Jesus and bows before him. “Rabbi, my . . . ,” the word gets caught in his throat. This is it — the moment of truth. Either Jesus will turn away in disgust, or something wonderful will happen. So, the centurion clears his throat and speaks again. “Rabbi, my pais — yes, my pais lies at home sick unto death.” Then he pauses and waits for a second that must have seemed like an eternity. The crowd of good, God-fearing people surrounding Jesus probably became tense. This was like a gay man asking a televangelist to heal his lover. What would Jesus do?

Without hesitation, Jesus says, “Then I will come and heal him.”

It’s that simple! Jesus didn’t say, “Are you kidding? I’m not going to heal your pais so you can go on living in sin!” Nor did he say, “Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that your pais is sick; this is God’s judgment on your relationship.”

Instead, Jesus’ words are simple, clear, and liberating for all who have worried about what God thinks of gay relationships. “I will come and heal him.”

At this point, the centurion says there is no need for Jesus to travel to his home. He has faith that Jesus’ word is sufficient. Jesus then turns to the good people standing around him — those who were already dumbfounded that he was willing to heal this man’s male lover. To them, Jesus says in verse 10 of Matthew’s account, “I have not found faith this great anywhere in Israel.” In other words, Jesus holds up this gay centurion as an example of the type of faith others should aspire to.

Jesus didn’t just tolerate this gay centurion. He said he was an example of faith — someone we all should strive to be like.

Then, just so the good, God-fearing people wouldn’t miss his point, Jesus speaks again in verse 11: “I tell you, many will come from the east and the west [i.e., beyond the borders of Israel] to find a seat in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs [i.e., those considered likely to inherit heaven] will be thrown into outer darkness.” By this statement Jesus affirmed that many others like this gay centurion — those who come from beyond the assumed boundaries of God’s grace — are going to be admitted to the kingdom of heaven. And he also warned that many who think themselves the most likely to be admitted will be left out.

In this story, Jesus restores a gay relationship by a miracle of healing and then holds up a gay man as an example of faith for all to follow. So consider carefully: Who is Lord — Jesus or cultural prejudice?

Rev Jide Macaulay and Timothy Obialo on Atlanta Gay Radio

Listen the this Interview with Rev Jide Macaulay and Timothy Obialo on Atlanta Gay Radio with host Betty Couvertier, on "AP2010's Podcast":