Hate crime is a big word in human rights, but a cycle that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end soon. Humans in general respond to situations based on their inmost beliefs. It could be that something/someone or a certain concept makes you feel fearful, angry, confused, etc., but how should one respond to unjust acts regardless of the victim’s background, beliefs, or even sexual orientation like in Sheila Lumumba’s case, who was gang-raped and murdered in her own house because of choosing a queer sexual orientation.
This is not an endorsement of homosexuality, this discussion is to shed light on what it means to love one another irrespective of disagreeing with each other culturally, socially, or religiously. Speaking to Pastor Arnold Orono, a teacher of the Bible and Pastor at Hekima Centre on his view about the incident, he said, “The bible is very clear, it says love you neighbor, it does not say love your neighbor because they do this or that, so I may not agree with your lifestyle or the choice you have made, but I have a responsibility to love you.”
He further said, “One of the things that guide me in times like these is a scripture that says ‘God causes it to rain on the righteous and the wicked alike. God distinguishes between those who are his and those who are not, but there is a way in which he is the Father of all creation because we are all his creation, so because of that our response should be one of love.”
A lot of the time, Christians don’t like to get involved in dicey topics that seem to clash with their belief system. However, the call to a Christian is not to indulge in sin but to have a high tolerance because it is there, and the Christian must be able to love humanity enough to protect life and promote healing through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You’ve heard the scripture ‘you are in the world but not of it? We are not more Christian or more righteous if we stand on a ‘high horse’, which seems to be the average Christian fear, that loving our unbelieving neighbor may blot out our own belief, which is heresy because our justification for what we believe is not from our works but rather, ‘we are justified by faith through Jesus Christ, He is our righteousness.”
80% of Kenyans are said to be Christian, but with the bloody murders, rape, crime and abuse happening one could easily say that our faith is quite dead.
Pastor Orono goes on to say “We should not necessarily agree with the person but it should not condone us to take somebody’s life, it does not give us the license to become arrogant and high-minded to develop an attitude and so forth.”
He adds “When you talk about hate crimes it morphs. At this level it might be because the person is gay, I know that in Asian/Muslim countries it’s because a person married outside of their faith, but it morphs even into someone supporting a different football team, we’ve heard those cases they get killed, where you support a different politician. It’s the same thing fundamentally, and it’s the root. This is because we begin to magnify our likes and our beliefs, and sometimes in those beliefs, we could still be in error because there is nobody perfect. Let’s build on the law of love, love one another.”
If the community of believers would stand in love for humanity, and ask to see things from God’s perspective, it could be the beginning of fewer hate crimes and more conversion.
Orono adds, “I think we need to teach people how to walk in love and what it means to be accommodative and tolerant. When we talk about hate crimes, God is not intimidated by this. God has not lost his place because someone is a lesbian or because someone is homosexual because someone lifts his voice and says ‘God I hate you, that doesn’t move God, God is still secure in his position, we may be insecure but God is still secure, and if God is still secure, then God is expecting us to respond from a place of security.”
The path that a person chooses may lead to either their destruction or salvation and God would still like to redeem them. But He is still secure, he does not love us any less because of our shortcomings.
Micha 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”