Papal Candidate Cardinal Peter Turkson Of Ghana Defends Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 11.32.17 PMThink the new Pope couldn’t possibly be as anti-gay as the outgoing one?

Think again: Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, considered by many to be the top contender to replace Pope Benedict, is hella homophobic.

Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, defended Uganda’s odious”Kill the Gays” bill and other  legislation oppressing LGBT people.

Last year, the National Catholic Register quoted Turkson as saying that the desire to imprison or execute gays and lesbians was understandable because hatred of gays is so ingrained in Africa: “The intensity of the reaction [to homosexuality] is probably commensurate with tradition.”
And, rather than vociferously decry the persecution of any of God’s children, Turkson claimed there might be a good reason for it:

Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture, of all kinds of people. So, if it’s being stigmatized, in fairness, it’s probably right to find out why it is being stigmatized.

He even chastised U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for calling on African countries to end the criminalization of homosexuality:

[The Church pushes] for the rights of prisoners [and] the rights of others, and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights? [ Ban Ki-moon] needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.

Turkson is also way off the mark when it comes to combating the AIDS epidemic in Africa: He claims condoms should only be recommended for married couples when one partner is infected, and that abstinence was the key to fighting the epidemic. He also believes that funding for condoms would be better spent on anti-retroviral drugs for those already infected. (In case you’re wondering, it’s not an either-or proposition.)

Should Turkson get the nod, it will be a great tragedy that the first man of color to be named Bishop of Rome will be an inveterate bigot and ally to oppression.

Then again, when you’re talking about Catholic hierarchy, could it be any other way?