Kgwele said Grace Bible Church should have supported Heward-Mills and not distanced itself from him after the bishop reportedly said homosexuality was unnatural while discussing the soul and sins. The sermon, he says, was aimed at making people repent from their sins.
“The Word of God is not preached to adorn, support or endorse our sinful nature, but is invariably at odds or at enmity with that which prevails as the conventional and accepted wisdom,” Kgwele said.
Modisane argues that it is one thing to preach the word of God, however those who are ministering in the church should be aware that the tone and the intention of what is being said has far-reaching consequences.
“Religious leaders have a huge impact in the community because it is not like someone speaking in their own house. You have a church of about ten thousand people who are watching him and [he is] spewing that hatred. People internalise that hatred and they come and attack us,” he says.
Modisane explains that the country already has a problem with corrective rape, and inflammatory statements further fuel the fire of hate towards LGBTI people.
According to the the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (Osisa): “The country has seen a dramatic rise in brutal attacks against lesbians.”
Osisa say there are not enough reliable statistics because police don’t collect data on suspected hate crimes based on whether the person is gay or not.
“Some officers, because of their beliefs, refuse to even consider sexual orientation as a motivating factor and simply refuse to investigate because of their hatred of homosexuality,” it says.
Modisane says while preachers will preach about thieves and murderers in their sermons, they need to realise that the effect they have is not the same as when they target LGBTI individuals.
“We are victimised, we are killed, there are hate crimes which happen and it all starts with hateful speeches which come from prominent people in our society such as pastors, bishops and preachers,” he says.
The split between the church and homosexuality was further highlighted when Reverend Mpho Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to quit her clerical duties following her marriage to Marceline van Furth.
Kgwele remained convinced of his opinion on the matter of the church saying: “Somizi must be reminded that Christians are called to be pilgrims, strangers and sojourners in the world and that the primary function of preaching is to jolt God’s people into an awareness of the degree to which they have unconsciously succumbed to the world and its values.” he insisted.
Modisane says they wanted to hand over a memorandum to the church, stating amongst other things that it is time for the church to engage with LGBTI individuals in a round table discussion.
Pastor Mosa Sono of Grace Bible addressing the debacle
Tell us what you think. Should the church be more mindful with how it preaches about people with differing sexualities?
–Additional reporting: News 24 Wire