Malawi Sodomy Laws and Cruel and Unusual Punishment



Malawi Sodomy Laws and

“Cruel and Unusual Punishment”


As the United States continues on its downward plunge to eventual destruction, it seems like the moral and spiritual foundations are being destroyed.  In its pride over supposed human rights, the majority of Americans have come to endorse all kinds of immoral relationships and orientations.  Two hundred years ago, divorce was seldom seen and then only on the grounds of adultery; today “no fault” divorce is the rule, with millions of Americans involved in this evil—for it generally results in remarriage and adultery (Matthew 19:3-12).  Fornication has become the general practice, with premarital “shacking up” very common in many communities (Hebrews 13:4).

This complete disregard for basic morality in America is illustrated in the wide acceptance of homosexuality.  While many Americans would not say they agree with this practice, they would say that people should have the freedom to do what they want to in the “privacy of their own homes.”  Once sodomy was illegal in the states, and prison sentences could be levied against those convicted of this crime; today “gay pride” parades are tolerated and some even welcome sodomite “contributions to society.” 

In our own state of Texas, I can recall when the “sodomy laws” were dropped and homosexuality was decriminalized.  California, known for its liberal policies and open lifestyles, is very open to the homosexual revolution.  (Consider San Francisco, for example, a modern day Sodom.)   In the name of freedom, America now seems to accept all kinds of perverse sexual relationships.  It seems that instead of recognizing that the AIDS epidemic in America had its origins in sodomite practice, people have selective amnesia and now condone what they once would have found objectionable.

We know that America is not alone in this endorsement of virtually all forms of immorality (except pedophilia, rape, and other bizarre practices).  Europe as a whole also has fallen into this open acceptance of sexual immorality.  Not only liberal nations like the Netherlands and Sweden, but other countries have fallen to the false “freedom” argument.  Most Europeans have become secular in their thinking (generally, only 3 to 6 percent still attend church, and these churches are usually the liberal ones), and this liberalism is reflected in their sexual practices.

While “advanced” nations like the United States and the European countries have degenerated to the extent that they can endorse perverse sexuality, it is interesting that many other counties of the world continue to recognize this sexual practice as immoral, sinful, and unnatural.  An article from MSNBC details this ( 37248649/ns/world_news -africa?GT1=43001).  The headlines read, “Gay couple sentences to maximum 14 years in Malawi.”  Many would read this article and consider this sentence to be “cruel and unusual punishment.”  Was it? 


Raphael Tenthani, the writer, states that at least 37 African countries continue to consider homosexuality as illegal.  (We might add that Muslim countries would share this view!)  Uganda is considering enacting a law that would give life sentences in prison for homosexuals.  “Repeat offenders” would receive capital punishment!

According to the article, two men from Malawi were sentenced for homosexuality.  They were arrested on December 27, 2009, after they celebrated an engagement ceremony and party in a hotel.  They knew that the law forbad this crime but they proceeded to violate the law nonetheless.  This was not San Francisco or New York, but this occurred in Malawi, known for its opposition to sodomite perversion.

The sentence was given for  “unnatural acts and gross indecency.”  Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa delivered his sentence, saying, “Maximum sentences are intended for use for worst cases.”  He continued, “We are sitting here to represent the Malawi society which I do not believe is ready at this point in time to see its sons getting married to other sons or conducting engagement ceremonies.”  The article says that hundreds of spectators shouted, “You got what you deserve!” and “Fourteen years is not enough, they should get 50!”  Betsy Chirambo, an advisor to the President, explained, “It is not our culture for a man to marry a man. . . . That is not even in our constitution.  Some of these rights are not good for our culture.”  The article points out that religious leaders in Malawi support the government stance and recognize the perversion of homosexuality as equal to Satanism.  We would add that these are two sins, but both of them are an abomination to a holy God.

The opposition from liberal people and countries in other parts of the world has been great.  One attendee at the courthouse was Gift Trapence, director of the Centre for the Development of People, who said, “How can they get 14 years simply for loving one another? Even if they are jailed for 20 years you can’t change their sexuality.”  Two lies are found in her opposition. First, it is impossible for two people sinning by violating God’s standards to have true “love” for each other.  Since unrepentant sodomy will keep one from entering God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), true love cannot be found in the relationship!  Second, since homosexuality is grossly sinful, we know that God can help those guilty of the sin to repent and renounce it.  Trapence says that it is “impossible” to “change their sexuality,” whereas God says that people can totally change with His help and power, as the repentant Corinthians did (1 Corinthians 6:11).  Do we believe God—or Trapence?

Another liberal voice that opposes this conviction is Michelle Kagari, the African director of the liberal organization, Amnesty International.  She is reported to have said that the sentence was “an outrage.”  We don’t doubt this.  She and other liberal people who endorse immorality were probably “outraged,” but Scripture only permits anger in the face of sin.  She reverses this—she is angry not at sin but at an open opposition to sin! 

London opposition came from lawmakers who said that England “believes that human rights apply to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”  They are trying to have the Malawi government to reverse this decision.  But if unrepentant sexual immorality results in societal harm, why should Malawi be opposed?  American Philip Crowley, an assistant secretary of state, under the ultra-liberal President Obama (an outspoken promoter of the sodomite agenda), charged, “We view the criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as a step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi.”  But we ask whether anyone has the “right” to sexual immorality that serves to degenerate society.

Africa is in the midst of a terrible AIDS crisis, with millions upon millions of people already dead because of this fatal disease.  In Malawi, about one million people (about 12 percent) now have  the HIV virus!  This scourge is spread by sexual contact between people, one of whom has the virus already.  Simply on pragmatic grounds, why would one oppose African countries from doing all they can to stop the preventable deaths of multiple millions of their citizens!

The Christian is not in the law-making business.  Like John the baptizer of old, followers of Christ can raise their voice against the sexual immorality of the country and the world and key government officials (Mark 6:17-18).  The Christian obeys the government, but does not participate in the government (cf. Romans 13:1-7).  We are to pray that those in governmental positions will govern wisely and for the good of the people. 

Those who are Biblically-oriented should see the danger to society when gross immorality is permitted to be freely exercised.  They can voice their endorsement of governmental policies when those policies support Biblical principles.  In the present crisis in Malawi, we commit this to God, asking that He will work in this for His own glory.  Along with this, we can lament that so-called “advanced” developed countries are jumping off the cliff of liberalism, humanism, secularism, and immorality—all of which God may use to their own destruction (see Romans 1:18-32).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Capital Hill, PO Box 30315 Lilongwe 3, Malawi.  (Telephone: +265-1-789-088; Fax: +265-1-788-482.)

Richard Hollerman

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