The Catholic Church has backed musician-cum-politician Lucius Banda’s decision to prematurely end a live performance in Mangochi after purportedly seeing two men in the audience kissing.
Mangochi Catholic Diocese Bishop Montfort Stima said in an interview on Thursday that people should not be forced to adopt ideologies other than those they believe in.
He said: “Our position, as the Catholic Church, is that we cannot be forced to accept foreign ideologies when we have our own. We totally condemn homosexuality.
“What Lucius Banda did is setting a very good example and also sending a clear message on what he believes in. He is a good man and must be respected on the position he took.”
According to Stima, it is not just about abandoning a show as Lucius did, but also the reasons behind the act.
On his part, Lucius, who is also Balaka North member of Parliament (MP), on Thursday said he is pleased with the overwhelming support and said what he saw during the show was not part of his belief. He said he will not stop anybody from doing any acts of homosexuality, but will not tolerate watching the same in public.
Said Lucius: “As long as it is happening, I will not tolerate that rubbish in my face and I will not be forced to believe or accept something like that.”
When asked on the risk of losing a section of his fans, he said: “On every person that I have lost, I will gain a thousand. I know we are a developing country, but we need to set standards and abide by those standards, we cannot and should not be pushed over by any country’s beliefs, we are our own and they are their own.”
Lucius first expressed his disappointment with the act through a Facebook post on his Lucius Chicco Banda page.
However, his post and reaction drew the wrath of minority rights activists, including Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) executive director Gift Trapence who branded his comments as homophobic and inciteful.
Said Trapence in an earlier interview with The Nation: “It is unlikely that LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people would be kissing at a concert by Lucius Banda who has been recently expressing hate of gays on social media.
“This was likely staged by people aiming to incite further hatred from him. It is also important to remind Lucius that Malawi is a secular State and everyone is entitled to attend public events in the country.”
Lucius’ Facebook post explaining why he prematurely ended the show attracted over 2 000 likes and a thousand-plus comments.
His comments came barely a week after Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu signed a statement announcing the unconditional release of two men accused of engaging in homosexuality.
The two suspected gays’ freedom came amid pressure from several Western countries—including the United States of America and Germany—United Nations and Human Rights Watch (HRW).