eSwatini: 'Bisexual' Pastor Suspended By Swaziland Church in Latest Example of LGBTI Discrimination

A pastor in Swaziland / eSwatini has been suspended from his church after being accused of being a bisexual. The Times of Swaziland newspaper on Monday (4 March 2019) published details of an audio recording it said included the pastor from Siphofaneni 'proposing love to another man'. The Times did not name the pastor or the church for ethical reasons.

It reported, 'Subsequently, elders of the church suspended the pastor from all church activities, including ministering the Word of God.' The pastor reportedly locked the church which forced people to worship under a tree. Churches in Swaziland where homosexual acts are illegal are at the lead in encouraging discrimination against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) people. Read more via AllAfrica

Eswatini: Stop Sensational Reporting

Melusi Simelane. Advocacy & Communications. The Rock of Hope

Last week a sensational article, by the Times of Swaziland, detailed the public humiliation of a pastor in Siphofaneni whose privacy was invaded to broadcast his alleged sexuality and get him suspended from the church. The style of the article maintains a subtle mocking of the pastor’s status as an official of the church by repeatedly referring to him as a “man of God” suggesting that he has deceived people about his relationship with God and Christianity. The article goes on to publish an alleged conversation between the pastor and a man where he confessed love, a Christian principle, to the man. This is a gross violation of the privacy of two citizens, protected by the constitution, and serves the public interest in no way.

Today another article updates readers that the church has been shut down, and despite the article claiming alleged bisexuality, the headlines have consistently referred to the “gay pastor”. This is a clearly deliberate baiting technique that plays into the stereotypes around sexual identities and the hierarchy sexuality. The LGBTI community is being turned into objects, no more human that pawns on a chessboard through this kind of reporting.

Time energy and resources have been, and continues to be poured into engaging the media on sensitization for reporting on the LGBTI community which is constantly harassed and persecuted, privately and publicly. The insistence of media entities to publish salacious articles which grasp at straws to play on people’s prejudices towards LGBTI people is disgraceful. This behavior has real consequences for people’s lives and works in direct opposition to the work of The Rock of Hope which tries to create an affirming society for everyone including LGBTI people.

The reporting published on the matter is simply uninformed, opportunistic and bigoted in its positioning and if any entity should understand the power and meaning of words when using language, it is the media. Read more via LGBTI Swaziland