A Church leader in Migori is now calling on fellow Christians to welcome gays, lesbians and atheists to their places of worship.
The presiding Bishop and President of Pentecostal Evangelistic Fellowship of Africa (PEFA) Bishop Dr John Okinda said the group, including other sexual orientation groups should be encouraged to attend Churches and other places of worship.
Speaking at his PEFA church in Migori town recently, Bishop Okinda noted that all homosexuals are welcomed to his church adding that they also need to be loved like other people.
While quoting Romans 1:12 verse in the Holy Bible that talks about mutually encouraging each other’s faith, letting others be aware of what the Bible teaches and the comfort of togetherness by mutual faith for the love of God, the Church prelate asked that the groups be allowed to exercise their rights as per the spirit of the Kenyan constitution.
Bishop Okinda stated that there is need to love and appreciate lesbians and gay and pray that God changes them. “Men should marry women. And this is what the Bible teaches us in the book of 1 Corinthians 7: 1-16,” stated the Bishop.
According to the 2020 PEV Global Attitudes Project, a non-partisan fact think-tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world, 14% of Kenyans are of the opinion that homosexuality should be accepted by society up from 1% in 2001.
However, majority (83%) of the Kenyans responded that homosexuality should not be accepted at all by the society.
Dr Okinda nevertheless advised homosexuals and others embracing divergent sexual habits to seek for change in their morals through coming to places of worship in order to be nourished with God’s blessings and support.
“I will champion to have them come to church and teach them the ways of our Lord. The House of God is the right place where these groups can truly find love, comfort and answers they work tirelessly out there to get in their lives,” explained the 67-year-old Bishop.
“Our traditional, religious and cultural values play a major role in terms of acceptance of lesbians and gays, hence people who love God as their savior must welcome these group as a bunch of normal human beings working overboard to reclaim their rights in the present liberal society,” he added.
According to a research paper published in 2020 by Kenya Human Rights Commission on the legal and social status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Kenya (LGBTI), those who came out openly and talked about their sexual orientation (89%) were disowned by their family members.
The LGBTI employees were reported to have been terminated or subjected to hostility, ridicule, humiliation, and discrimination when their sexual orientation or gender identity became known at the workplace.
Instead of ridicule and discrimination, Bishop Okinda stressed that these groups of people need love, support and encouragement.
But parents, he stressed, must not shy away from inculcating in their children the moral ideals of the society to help change and shape behavior. “Parents should take 100 per cent responsibility in taking care of their children especially during this Covid-19 pandemic,” said the church leader.
Bishop Okinda noted that the youth are the largest population in any of the churches and in the country, account for 75.1% of the total population according to the Kenya Population Census Survey of 2019.
“Thus, these vulnerable groups that are tempted to fall in the trap of bad manners and unethical ideas that goes against the society and the Church in general must be guided well about the teachings of our Holy God,” he said.
By Geoffrey Makokha and Geoge Agimba