Pulpits and politics, discrimination and disruptive bodies

Anti-LGBT+ sentiments installed by Christian nationalism in Africa and disruptive counternarratives.


  • Mias van Jaarsveld




Zambia, Queer theology, Christian nationalism, queer, American televangelism, Pentecostalism


Zambia is an official Christian nation – it is added in their constitution’s preamble. When tracing the country’s history, the story of European Christian missionaries who installed a heteronormative and patriarchal understanding of the Bible is quite prominent. Despite decolonisation and a growing awareness of the importance of gender equality, heteronormative – and consequently anti-gay – sentiments are still prominent in African churches – especially in Neo-Pentecostal churches, whose theology is rooted in the American televangelism. These churches are the fastest growing nodes of spirituality on the African continent, and despite preaching “freedom” and “power”, they have a fundamental understanding of the Bible where there is no room for queer bodies. In fact, in this Christian country, homosexuality has been politicised, even weaponised since a majority of Zambians are opposed to homosexual behaviour. In this article, I give an overview of anti-gay sentiments in Zambia as experienced in the field, place this in conversation with Queer Theory and Queer Theology with the hope to draft a disruptive narrative for transforming practice.