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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Abstinence is the way to go

Sex is nowadays placed before us in form of pornography, erotic literature, sexual pictures and sounds on radio and television, and many have since argued that sexual restraint is almost impossible, writes Dennis Muhumuza

It was a reawakening! That Saturday October 28, thousands of people, young and old, crammed Kololo Airstrip and later Makerere University main sports ground to celebrate abstinence, sexual purity and faithfulness in marriage as the only effective weapons to wipe out HIV/Aids from the earth.

The 'Abstinence Pride', 'Break the Shame' concert purposed to "fight an enemy called abstinence stigma" after people who keep away from sex are called local boys, impotent, ridiculed, and despised and given names like Pope or Fara. The most shocking revelation was that girls are raped by men with a misconceived idea that raping an abstainer heals you of HIV/Aids.

Silence descended upon Kampala when pastors led gatherings into a solemn prayer: "We've gathered here seeking your face Lord. Our land is diseased with HIV/Aids. Our fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers have died. Forgive us Lord for making the young people take it that it's okay to have sex," they pleaded. "We don't want to die dear Lord. The Bible says that 'If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and repent and turn away from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven and heal their land.' Heal our land O Lord!" the Christians pleaded.

In another sombre incidence, Billy, an American, told an emotional story of how he used to be a drug addict living with his "girlfriend as hippies". In the end, he contracted HIV/Aids, which he has painfully lived with for the last 25 years.

"If you didn't do drugs, nobody wanted to hang out with you because you were not cool," he said. "You've made the right choice to stop the HIV/Aids pandemic. Satan came to steal and destroy, it's behind everything but in Jesus there is abundant life."
Break the shame
In a rare show of solidarity against HIV/Aids, universities and secondary schools, corporations, NGOs, musicians, politicians, civil servants and security personnel wore the full armour of God to stand against the evil of the devil and matched from the Constitutional Square all the way to Kololo Airstrip as chants of "Abstinence Oyee, Break the Shame" permeated the air.

When Jamaican singer Papa San, the self confessed "fisher of men" performed his popular song Jesus Makes Me Smile Again, the congregation, now electrified, screamed in chorus, "Jesus makes me scream again, Jesus makes me laugh again…."

That people most, of whom prior to the concert were sexually active chose to renounce their ways and testify about their determination to commit to a sexually abstinent lifestyle, was great tidings as the struggle to eliminate HIV/Aids continues.
Muthoni Wakuthi, a student of Kampala International University, said she was abstaining because God exhorts us to be sexually pure, while Peninnah Kahangirwe said she keeps away from fornication because her parents, who she's very proud of, are amazingly faithful to each other and believe in sexual purity.

"I don't want to let them down," she said.
According to Julius Mutabazi, an education student at Makerere University, "sex in marriage is the greatest of all because it is pure and it leaves you with no guilt pangs in your conscience. I'm determined to wait for it because I'm obligated to be truly faithful to my future wife."
He however, acknowledged that often the temptation to trample upon abstinence is very strong and overwhelming but somehow, he is still steadfast and by the grace of God, this far he has come.

Mary Ariho from Gayaza High School said that this was not the time for her to indulge in sex but to concentrate on her studies and work toward the fulfillment of her dreams.

Stanely Twareba, a lecturer at Uganda Christian University described himself as "a senior bachelor" who will get married soon. All this time, he said, he has been abstaining to honour Christian values and for fear of death from Aids.
Sex is nowadays placed before us in form of pornography, erotic literature, sexual pictures and sounds on radio and television irrespective of our age, and many have since argued that sexual restraint, especially among young people is almost impossible.

In response, Pastor Thomas from the US alluded to the great Biblical men like Daniel, Meshach, Shadrack, and Abednego, who he said, abstained from good food and bowing to King Nbuchadnezzar's idols. Jesus too, he said, abstained from violence and sex all His life even when he had so many beautiful women lying at his feet.

"When you abstain, you go through fire but it's worth it," urged Thomas. "Abstain from everything that will keep you down: sex, drugs etc. and your life will be much better."

"The youth are our wind of hope to combat and demisfy this pendemic," said Bushenyi district Woman MP Mary Karooro Okurut, representing First Lady Janet Museveni. "You should raise the abstinence flag higher and wear the badge without being afraid. If the spirit wills, the body will. God will back up your resolve and there is nothing to be afraid of and there is everything to be proud of in abstinence."

Glorifying sexual purity
Gospel musicians from far and near (7 Simple Pieces from Hawaii, Papa San, Limit X, Committed, Pure Souls) captivated the crowds with songs celebrating and glorifying sexual purity and the values of patience, perseverance, and faithfulness.

At the end, many people had gathered that haphazard sensual indulgence devastates us and that it was paramount to enjoy sex only in holy matrimony. Later people left with broad smiles having washed from their souls the dust of promiscuity.

Published in Daily Monitor, November 12, 2006