Anthony Azekwoh

It seems that it is not the knowledge of good and evil that we so sorely need, but of the line that neatly divides them.

“What you’re saying,” Otitọ says flatly, “doesn’t make sense.”

I stare into the eyes of my friend of twenty-one years and shake my head deeply. He has definitely lost his way. I always knew that all his ‘social awareness’ nonsense would make him somehow but this? Supporting the fags? I can’t stand for this.

“What do you mean it doesn’t make any sense?”  I say, my anger biting at my words. “Being gay is wrong, it says so in the bible.”

“What verse?” Otitọ asks, genuinely interested.

I reach to the table beside me and grab the bible. In every room in my house, there is a bible in every room. How can there not be? God lives everywhere, it’s only right that his word should be everywhere too. In my car, my toilet, everywhere I am, the word of God is there also.

I flip to the verse which I have memorised by heart. “Look at it,” I say, pointing triumphantly to Leviticus 18:22, “this ends the whole argument. Homosexuals are wrong by God.”

Otitọ reads the page and nods. “Okay, yes, sure. So, what you’re saying is that homosexuals are wrong because in the bible it says so?”

“Yes, clearly.” I say, knowing that I’ve won.

“Well, then.” Otitọ says, taking hold of my bible. “That means you’re going to hell too.”

I blink twice, “What?”

“Look here in Lev. 19:27, you’re not supposed to trim the hair of the sides of your temples, don’t you have a fade on?”

I put my hand halfway to protest but Otitọ is on a roll and duly ignores me.

“I saw you eat pork last week during dinner and according to Lev. 11:6-8, you’re going down for that too. But who knows, maybe this could be good, at least we can own slaves. But here in Lev.25:44, it says they have to be from neighbouring nations, what was the name of that guy in Ghana you don’t like? Or do you think that’s too far and we should stick to maybe Benin Republic?”

Otitọ brings the bible close to me to show me the pages. “Or look, here in Exodus 21:7, it says we can sell our daughters to slavery, I don’t have any children but how much do you think we can sell Lisa for? Five, maybe ten million? Didn’t you have a shift at work last Saturday? Well, sorry to tell you this but you have to be put to death like it says in Exodus 35:2, maybe we can stone you and your family like in Lev. 24:10-16. Hmm, or maybe we could burn you like we should do to people who sleep with their in-laws, Lev. 20:14. Or—”

“Stop,” I say, raising my hand up. “You’re wasting your time. It’s clear that none of those sins match up to the abomination of being gay.”

“Oh?” Otitọ says, his head cocked to the side. “And yet, commit just one of these sins and you go the exact same hell. Or maybe my years away from the church have dulled my memory. Is there a medium heat hell? Mildly scathed?”

I’m quiet for a while, and then I speak.

“It’s just wrong, okay?” I say. “That’s why it’s a law, that’s why it’s in our culture to dislike it.”

“But laws can be wrong, just a few hundred years ago, it was legal to own a black slave and now, here we are. Culture can also be wrong, in Calabar, the killing of twins was common practice until it was stopped. Being gay occurs between two consenting adults who decide that they want to be with each other, sexual or not. How exactly does this qualify as a crime? Who is hurt? Whose rights are being stepped on?”

“Mine!” I say, angrily. “How can I raise a son in an age where on tv, they show all of this everywhere, they’re trying to force it down our throats.”

“Firstly,” Otitọ says, his fingers playing on his chin. “If your son watches gay people on tv and turns gay, does that mean that gay people, after watching straight people on tv for decades should be gay? Forgive me, I wasn’t aware that was how it worked.

Secondly, they’re not forcing anything down anyone’s throats. For me, good media is one that represents real life as best as it can or at least alludes to it. In real life, there are gay people and it only makes sense for them to be included in our media.”

I nod my head sadly.” Otitọ, all these your western ideas will kill you one day.”

“The same way your western religion is killing you?” he bites back. “I just find it funny, how followers of a religion that is supposedly peace-loving and spreads a doctrine of loving each other can have so much hate for their fellow man. What do you even want us to do?  Burn them all?”

I look sideways in a guilty manner and he catches my eye.

“You’re impossible.”  Otitọ says as he stands up, heading towards the door. “I’ll call you later, maybe we’ll talk again next week.”

“Yeah,” I say, seeing him off. “Maybe.”

Now that Otitọ is gone, I think to myself of everything we talked about. I fish my phone out from my pocket, bringing it to life. I log in on twitter and I see all these sinners actually defending these…these faggots, I start to compose a tweet, angrily, with my two hundred and eighty characters, telling these sinful homosexuals to get the hell out of my country as a good, reliable Christian man should.