Europeans came to Africa and took silver, gold, and diamonds and in exchange, they gave us God. And we held onto him for dear life. Now Africa is the most religious continent in the world.
And we are proud of it. We are proud to be custodians and enforcers of God’s happiness. We make it our business to avoid or get rid of things that displease him. And in our very spiritual opinion, immorality is top on the list of things that make God mad and sad. So immorality has no place in Africa.
And what, exactly, is immorality? Groundless power struggles on the continent that have left millions dead and more displaced? Gruesome human rights violations by African politicians and their proxies? Well it’s hard to tell because God’s representatives in Africa don’t seem very mad about that. In fact, they hardly discuss politics.
God doesn’t seem to mind very much about corruption either. Because we Africans love God and if we thought it was important to him we’d put a lot of energy into ending the vice.
But it seems perfectly clear that the God of Africa doesn’t mind about the things that affect people in a grand and catastrophic way.
However African Christians seem to know for sure that God hates it when people suddenly start living together as man and wife without being wedded in church. Such people, it is highly believed, are responsible for the moral disintegration of society. So it’s highly necessary to guilt-trip people into having weddings.
African Christians are also passionately enraged on God’s behalf about homosexuality. Because it is gut-wrenchingly sinful. The Bible says so. It has no place in God-loving Africa. It is a practice of the amoral godless ‘westerners’. Of course, we don’t find it ironic to condemn the behavior of ‘westerners’ using a religion that they passed down to us.
In the same way, we don’t find it ironic to call indecent dressing a ‘western’ vice. We don’t seem to recall that clothes are foreign to Africa and that our ancestors used to walk around barely clothed.
As we continue to passionately uphold trivial morals that we think God really cares about, the rate of human rights violations, the corruption index, poor leadership and other truly detrimental vices continue to increase.
Meanwhile, the ‘amoral’ continents on which we look down with condescension and disgust do not seem to have these problems. Not in a magnitude as large as ours.
So it truly begs the question: does God care more about trivial morals? Is he proud of us for teaching our children to cover up their bodies while we actively instill bigotry?
Does God truly want his subjects to get enraged about relations between two consenting adults of the same sex but stay silent about the continued mistreatment of women by their spouses? Some of whom actually do it in the name of religion? I don’t know.
But I honestly think that we have got our moral priorities wrong.