Television’s Normalization of Homosexuality

Ever since Billy Crystal played the first openly gay character, Jodie Dallas, on the night-time soap opera called Soap, television shows have been promoting and defending homosexuality. Today, the networks and others like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, etc. are putting gay characters in more and more shows. These include such shows as: Riverdale, Manifest, Will & Grace, Fear the Walking Dead, Modern Family, FBI: Most Wanted, Cobra Kai, Loki, Star Trek: Discovery, NCIS: Hawaii, etc. The sheer number of gay characters and couples represented on television and in entertainment today would lead one to believe that homosexuals make up a much larger segment of society than then actually do.

On the comedy Bob Hearts Abishola, a new gay character has been introduced. Abishola’s niece, Morenike, has moved to Detroit from Nigeria. Her coming out unfolds in season three, episode eleven titled “Cats in a Bathtub.” The main male character, Bob, accidently shares Morenike’s secret that she is gay. The gossip about her lifestyle runs quickly through the local Nigerian community and makes its way back to Morenike’s family in Nigeria.

Bob, Abishola and her best friend Kemi head to the apartment of Abishola’s aunt and uncle to warn Morenike that her secret is out. As they reach the door, they hear the Nigerian pastor cry out from inside the apartment: “Be gone servant of Satan.” Bob remarks: “That can’t be good.” As they enter the apartment, they see Morenike on the couch surrounded by family, friends, and the pastor. It gives the appearance of an exorcism. Especially when the pastor yells: “We rebuke the demon of gayness.” To which the group respond: “Be gone!” As Bob, Abishola, and Kime enter the apartment Abishola’s mom commands: “Don’t’ Just stand there. Join the circle.” An older Nigerian woman named Ogechi adds: “Morenike needs your prayers.” Bob responds to this request: “I really shouldn’t. I’m a Presbyterian.”

Bob’s character makes a valid response to the request. The Presbyterians in America have been quite progressive in their acceptance of homosexuality. Back in June 2014 at their General Assembly they took a vote to permit same sex marriages. Previously in July of 2010, the General Assembly adopted an amendment which permits the ordination of gays and lesbians.

The pastor continues with: “Your child has strayed, O God Please, give her the strength to find her way back to you.” The group respond: “Bring her back! Hallelujah!” Not only do most Nigerian churches hold the Biblical view that homosexuality is a sin, but the government of Nigeria has also criminalized it. It is punishable by imprisonment for up to fourteen years. In the northern regions of the nation homosexuality can bring the death penalty. Nigerian families often disown gay family members. Gays have no protected rights in this populous African nation.

In an interview by TVLine, Gina Yashere who plays the character of Kemi and is the shows co-creator, gives her explanation as to why Nigeria is so opposed to homosexuality. “It’s a construct [that was established] when Christians came to Nigeria…Nigerians originally judged people by their spirits, rather than their gender or their sexuality, so that definitely came when the Brits came and forced Christianity on the Nigerians. Unfortunately, when they left, they left the worst parts of Christianity behind, and we took it and ran with it.” (TVLine, “Bob Hearts Abishola’s Gina Yashere on the Mixed Response to Morenike’s Sexuality: ‘It’s All About Authenticity’” By Ryan Schwartz / November 8, 2021). If the British brand of Christianity had such an influence on the Nigerians, why does the United Kingdom of Great Britain have some the most advanced gay rights in Europe. Furthermore, there are some seventy countries who have criminalized homosexuality, and half of these are in Africa. All of them were not influence by the British or Christianity.

The pastor continues by quoting the apostle Paul: “Neither adulterers, nor men who have sex with men will inherit the kingdom of God!” Again, the group respond: “His kingdom! Amen!” At this point Abishola’s friend, Kime, interrupts with a question: “Um, Pastor, just one question: what about the women?…Well, you just quoted First Corinthians, which I do not believe contains any mention of …lady love.” There is the sound of laughter from the “audience”. By way of answer the pastor references Leviticus 20:13: “Just as man shall not lie with man, woman shall not lie with woman.” The Law of Moses actually reads: “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” “According to you. But God remains rather quiet on the subject” is Kime’s rebuttal.

Kime’s response only vindicates lesbianism while basically admitting homosexuality among men is condemned in the Bible. The pastor did make a reference earlier to 1 Corinthians 6 which was written by Paul. Paul also wrote Romans. In it he clearly condemned women who lie with women while at the same time he condemned homosexuality among men. “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:26-27). So it is not according to a Nigerian pastor, but according to the apostle Paul.

“How dare you question a man of God” is Ogechi’s rebuke of Kime. Abishola’s mother further defends the pastor: “He has dropped everything to help us guide Sister Morenike away from the devil’s clutches! Turning to the Pastor she says, “let us pray.” Abashola says, “Yes, for all our wretched souls… Haven’t we all sinned? Leviticus says pork is forbidden. Have we not all enjoyed the sins of a Baconator?” Again, the sound of audience laughter. Bob admits: “Big-time sinner over here.”

It is true that in Leviticus eating of pigs is forbidden, because they are considered by God in the Law of Moses unclean. First, the law against eating pork was given by God to the Jews and not the Gentiles. Second, the prohibition against eating bacon ended with the coming of the New Testament. God showed Peter in a vison a basket let down from Heaven. “In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common’” (Acts 10:12-16). The Law of Moses “has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross….So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths” (Col. 2:14,16). The argument that we are all sinners (homosexuals and pork eaters) is based on a misunderstanding and misapplication of the Law of Moses. Even so, one sin does not justify or allow us to overlook another sin.

The next argument to defend homosexuality comes from Kime: “Plus, Romans 1:30 says that slanderers and gossips deserve to die. Pastor does that mean we will have to put our dear Ogechi down like a dog?” Ogechi counters: “Do not be ridiculous. You are the sinner, fornicating with my Chukwuemeka out of wedlock.” Kime admits to her fornication: “My biggest sin is enjoying every second of it.” It is true that Paul condemns “whisperers, backbiters” in Romans one and that he says, “those who practice such things are deserving of death.” Paul also includes homosexuality condemned in verses twenty-six and twenty-seven but also “sexual immorality” or fornication in verse twenty-nine. All they have shown by this debate is that the characters involved in gossip, fornication, and homosexuality are worthy of death. Note Paul’s final warning in verse thirty-two: “not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Woe to those who give approval to homosexuality or any of these sins.

– Daniel R. Vess

2022-05-08 - Organization of the New Testament Church
2022-05-22 - Dangers of Drug Abuse
Categories: The Forum