Only a day after the US legalised gay marriage, Bishop Rafael of Egypt’s Coptic Church has said that homosexuals are deviations, require treatment and can be cured by ‘God’s grace’.
Speaking in response to the ruling to grant marriage to same-sex couples across the US, Bishop Rafael said: “Homosexuality is the result of perverted desires or a sick upbringing, and it needs to be treated.”
“Homosexuality does not exist in other animal organisms, only in humans as a form of psychological or sexual deviation,” the leading Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox church said in comments reported by local Egyptian media, including state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, it is widely opposed in society and gay and transgender people are often arrested on charges of ‘fujur’ (debauchery). Article 9 of the 1961 Anti-Prostitution Law punishes those guilty of “inciting debauchery and immorality” with three to five years of imprisonment.
“God put sexual desire in animals so that they can procreate, that’s why males mate with females instinctively. The only creature that mates with free-will is humans, which is the epitome of God’s creation. We are exactly like animals in all biological functions, eating, drinking, breathing, and so on. The only thing that differentiates us is our mind. Animals do not get fat because they eat by instinct and only what they need. Humans eat by will so they are prone to overeating and getting fat. Animals are the true image of biology without the interference of will or without perversion,” he said. “There is no possibility that homosexuality can be due to genes in the body, like gay people claim, it is a product of will and perversion, and so can be redeemed.”
Bishop Rafael ended by calling on homosexuals to turn to mental health clinics and psychiatrists, adding: “But more so to God, who is able to cure and redeem the soul and the body and the spirit with His rich grace.”
At least 150 people in the 18 months following the July 2013 ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi were arrested on charges of practicing ‘debauchery’, according to research by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
In the first week of December, media personality Mona Iraqi and a film crew accompanied a police unit’s raid on a suspected “gay bath house orgy”. A total of 26 detainees were filmed naked as they were led out of the bath house, covering their faces to the cameras. The apprehended were charged with collectively “practicing, facilitating and inciting debauchery” but were later acquitted.