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During Jesus’ time, many people were imprisoned unjustly. Although some countries have made immeasurable progress since then, in many countries, people are still imprisoned for their beliefs, or even who they are. Homosexuality is illegal in 73 countries, Nigeria being one of them.
People are constantly being accused of homosexual activity, causing their imprisonment. Back in August 2017, many people were arrested at a party that was decided by police to be a same-sex wedding. The law in Nigeria states, “Any person who (1) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (2) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or (3) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature; is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years. ” This means that people who engage in gay sex can be put in jail for over a decade. In this instance, the authorities judged these people based on stereotypes and somehow determined that they were gay. Many were arrested here. One man, Chinda (a pseudonym), is still in jail. He is being treated poorly and is very ill, and seems to have been forgotten by the system. He has now been in jail for 15 months. He is hungry most of the time and gets no medication even though he is sick. He believes he will die there.
It is very possible that a Christian’s stance on certain issues could differ from the laws on those issues. I believe that the law is not always moral, so yes, I think that it is perfectly acceptable to violate the law in order to act according to your conscience and beliefs. For example, if a person is in a country where it is illegal to be Christian, it is very reasonable to break the law in that scenario. There absolutely should be limits to actions like this. One example of someone taking their beliefs way too far is when “pro-life” people attack abortion clinics and kill and wound those inside. This is completely out of line and immoral. You call yourself pro-life and then you go and kill people. I believe that any instance of killing people and saying it’s acceptable because of your religion is wrong and blasphemous. Another example of people taking their beliefs too far is simply disrespecting someone else’s existence. There have been many times where people who consider themselves Christians deny gay people service at their restaurants or bakeries, and they even try to deny them marriage licenses. This is extremely rude and not to mention, against their beliefs. Christians say that everyone is made in the image and likeness of God and should be treated with human dignity, yet somehow they find it okay to deny people of things that heterosexuals would have no problem getting, just because they are gay. Who someone else loves is none of your business in my opinion, and you should treat queer people just like you treat everyone else. LGBTQ+ people are not sub-human. They are not “liberal propaganda. ” Their existence is not up for debate, and respecting them should be a given. I personally do not understand how someone who says they follow in Jesus’ footsteps can go around shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs at queer people.
Once your actions start to be plain disrespectful and harmful, you’ve crossed the line. You can have your opinions, just do not hurt anyone and stay in your lane. Do not kill people, do not deny that they exist, do not tell them they are going to hell. Love one another. It is as simple as that. Prisoners of conscience are people that go to jail for their beliefs or for who they are. There are people like this all over the world, even in our own country. It is okay for people to go against the law if that law challenges their beliefs, but there are limits. As long as you are not harming anyone and you are respectful, it is fine to follow your conscience.
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