Religion & Tradition

Religion and traditional values play important roles in the lives of many Batswana.  Followers of religion are influenced by the teachings of their church and the translations and interpretation of the scriptures.  Many denominations welcome LGBTI congregation, but teach that homosexual acts are sinful.  Some religions such as Islam accept same-sex desires as a natural temptation, however they extol abstention and condemn consummation.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are a part of every human community.  I have no doubt that in the future, the laws that criminalise so many forms of human love and commitment will look the way the apartheid laws do to us now—so obviously wrong. Such a terrible waste of human potential… And never let anyone make you feel inferior for being who you are. When you live the life you were meant to live, in freedom and dignity, you put a smile on God’s face. Desmond Tutu

See Also: Homosexuality & The Church (Botswana Guardian) | I’m Christian (unless you’re gay) | The Trouble with Tradition

The Bible

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?  There are many verses that are quoted to denounce homosexuality.  The quotes here are from the New International English version.

  • Leviticus 18:22 “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”
  • Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
  • 1 Kings 14:24 “There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”
  • Romans 1:26-27 “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
  • 1 Timothy 1:8-10 “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”
  • Jude 7 “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

In context, the same scriptures also forbid, discourage or condemn many other activities including shaving, wearing gold, visiting fortune tellers, tattoos, mixed fabrics, divorce & eating shellfish:

  • Leviticus 19:27  “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard.”
  • Leviticus 11:8, which is discussing pigs, “You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”
  • Leviticus 19:31 “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”
  • Leviticus 20:6: “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.”
  • Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”
  • Leviticus 19:19 “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.”
  • Leviticus 11:10 “But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you.”
  • Mark 10:8-9, you “are no longer two, but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:9 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments.”

Check Wikipedia for more discussion regarding Religion & Homosexuality.

Botswana Tradition

What does Botswana “Tradition” or “Traditional Values” say about homosexuality?