A Nigerian bishop had a bizarre reaction to President Joe Biden issuing a presidential memorandum that called on the State Department "to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons."
Emmah Isong—the national publicity secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria—strongly opposed Biden's policy memo. The homophobic Evangelical Christian leader suggested the U.S. President should "marry a man in Nigeria as his second wife. He must practice what he's preaching."
Isong defended Nigeria's theocratic laws criminalizing LGBTQI+ identities.
Bishop Emmah Isong of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, a raging homophobe, invites President Joe Biden to Nig… https://t.co/2ifc3FdHcX— Walter Klingler (@Walter Klingler)1613317342.0
Biden's presidential memorandum, issued on February 4, called to expand the protection of the basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and identities falling outside cisgender and heterosexual (LGBTQI+) people worldwide.
He called for U.S. government agencies working abroad to:
"strengthen existing efforts to combat the criminalisation by foreign governments of LGBTQI+ status or conduct."
The memorandum said:
"All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love."
"The United States belongs at the forefront of this struggle - speaking out and standing strong for our most dearly held values."
Same-sex relationships are not legally recognized in the largely conservative country of Nigeria. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal.
The maximum penalty in the Muslim-majority twelve northern states is death by stoning under Sharia Law.
In largely Christian southern Nigeria, the maximum punishment under secular criminal laws of Nigeria for same-sex sexual activity is 14-months in prison.
"America is a country that believes in the tenets of democracy which is freedom of speech, and I believe that Nigeria is an independent nation, we are not a nation under America."
"We are not among the states under American nation. We have the right to be anti-gay, I believe no one can sanction us for that."
"If they sanction us for being against gays, we can sanction them for believing in it… the worst thing they can do is raise their visa fees and we raise ours too and they reduce it and apologise and we also reduce ours and apologise."
The interview took a bizarre turn when he had a proposal for the U.S. President.
"Let there be an official gazetted letter signed by the Secretary of State of the United States telling us to become gay, then we invite the president of the US to come and marry a man in Nigeria as his second wife."
"He must practice what he's preaching, if the president of America wants Nigeria to practice gay, he should come and marry a man from here so we will know he means business."
@PinkNews He sure showed him I guess?— C 💙 (@C 💙)1613313715.0
U don't have to be gay to support gay marriage. A politician doesn't have 2 marry a man-just because he thinks othe… https://t.co/6hzlA5eIaC— Totally Fucking Gay (@Totally Fucking Gay)1613249703.0
@PinkNews Another homophobe from the African continent, stuck in the colonial era. You cannot claim to be proud of… https://t.co/h2w4TJhrpd— Pat Hall (@Pat Hall)1613375880.0
Here is a clip of Emmah Isong below in which he suggested conversion to cisgender heterosexuality.
Even though the Nigerian Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act—which passed in 2013—criminalizes same-sex unions and marriages, the homophobic bishop expressed how Nigeria does not go far enough when it comes to punishing LGBTQI+ people.
"Nigeria is hypocritical, they treat the gay movement with cheap blows."
"You can see a lot of people parading themselves as transgenders, cross-dressers and gay people; no police have arrested them."
"There is no single police officer that has arrested any cross-dresser in Nigeria, so how do you think America will not capitalise on that and say what they want to say?"
@DrEmmahIsong You call yourself a man of God, yet you spread such hatred. Shame on you. Only God has the right to… https://t.co/kR5eu0UmMn— Steven (@Steven)1613321374.0
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not specifically protect LGBTQI+ rights.
However, it does include provisions ensuring that all citizens have equal rights—including health care and equal opportunities in the workplace.
The growth of Christian homophobia in Africa is largely due to Evangelical Christian missionaries from the United States.
President Biden pledged to pass the Equality Act—an LGBTQ legislation that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act—to make LGBTQI+ rights a top priority during his first 100 days of his presidency.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden "stands by" his campaign pledge, but she also noted:
"there's some actions that need to be taken by Congress, of course."