Johannesburg - A Ghanaian bishop preaching at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto has become the centre of a social media storm after his homophobic comments were broadcast across various online platforms by outspoken celebrity Somizi Mhlongo.
During Bishop Dag Heward-Mills’s sermon, the bishop said animals have multiple partners, but one would never see creatures of the same sex partnering up. “Dogs, cats, leopards mention the animal. Which one has one partner? It is just like homosexuality you don’t have male and male
“If you use that reasoning, you will find that homosexuality is not natural. You don’t find two male dogs, two male lions, two male impalas Two male cats, even lizards, two elephants,” said Heward-Mills. “It is unnatural.
“Yes, there is nothing like that in nature. And in the same way there is nothing like one to one Nature is one to several,” he said.
It was during this point of the sermon that Mhlongo, who was in the congregation, dramatically made his exit from the church.
A video posted by Somizi (@somizi) on Jan 22, 2017 at 1:16am PST
“I just stood up. The lady next to me was begging me not to leave. And I asked her why?
“It’s like going to a seminar, and the person who is supposed to be motivating you is being racist,” Mhlongo said. What also disappointed him was when he heard the congregants cheering the bishop when he made the comments on homosexuals.
“There are so many gay people in the church, and they sat there throughout the whole service. I just thought I am not going to sit there and listen to somebody offending me,” he said.
The enraged and emotional entertainer then expressed his outrage in two videos he posted on Instagram yesterday. He made it clear his soul was right with God and that what others thought of him was none of his business.
A video posted by Somizi (@somizi) on Jan 22, 2017 at 1:18am PST
Somizi told The Star he had been a member of the church since 1995 and always felt comfortable there. This was no longer the case after Heward-Mills’s offensive speech, and he was planning to boycott the church, he said.
“The topic was fine; it was about why the soul was important. Then all of a sudden he switched and started speaking about homosexuality. How homosexuality is disgusting, and even animals don’t do it.
“I just thought to myself, why would I sit through this,” said Mhlongo.
By Sunday night, Mhlongo’s
videos had been viewed more than 60 000 times, with hundreds of comments, and the hashtag #GraceBibleChurch trended for much of Sunday afternoon.
Many who commented on Mhlongo’s videos said a church should not be the place of judgment, but rather of love.
KelemosesI had this to say: “Personally, I do not understand why people have a problem with gay men!
I really fail to understand it! This is you, you are comfortable in who you are embrace it SomiziWho are they to judge?”
Gugukhwela said: “The reason I stopped going (to church) was exactly that. They preach to love one another, but yet when someone is different, according to them, then they hold back their love I mean hello????
“I don’t go (to church). My belief is God is within all of us.”
But not everyone agreed with Mhlongo’s point of view.
“The bishop wasn’t judging anyone, but preaching the word. BUT WE ALL KNOW THE TRUTH HURTS,” wrote _thando.lwethu.
Pastor Ezekiel Mathole, from the church, dismissed claims that there is discrimination against homosexuals at the institution.
“Grace Bible Church welcomes everybody and does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. And it is the right of the individuals to sit through them or decide to walk out,” he said.