Parenting: Concerning Doyin Okupe’s Gay Son
By: Deji Yesufu
This week, since Monday, I have published one article every day on Text and Publishing because there are many issues that have caught my attention in the previous week and that require my responding to them. So last week the news broke on the internet that Doyin Okupe, former Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonthan on Public Affairs, son was gay. Bolu Okupe is the twenty-seven year old son of the Nigerian politician who has just completed his Master degree in France and who lives in Europe at the moment. Bolu made the announcement on his Instagram page saying “Yes I’m Gay AF”. The picture saw him in rainbow pants and holding a piece of multicolored clothing – rainbow is the official color for the LGBTQ movement; it represent their multidimensional perspective to life and sexuality. In response, and almost immediately, Doyin Okupe tweeted the picture and wrote:
“My attention has been drawn to a publication of my 27yr old son, Bolu Okupe, in which he declared publicly that he is Gay. I gave him that name Moba Oluwa Rin, (I walked with God) because he was born at the time I gave my life to Christ. I have been aware of this his new orientation for a while now. He knows that as a Christian and witness for Christ (an evangelist) I am vehemently opposed to homosexuality as it runs contrary to the avowed precepts of my Christian faith. For me, I look beyond the surface or the physical. Here I see a major spiritual challenge ahead but I know as my God liveth, this whole saga will end up in Praise too the Almighty Jehova who I serve day and night. For it is written: Behold, the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear dead that he cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1”
I sympathize with Doyin Okupe and his family. I have a son and I cannot imagine the trauma that I will endure to come to social media one day and see him declare himself gay. It is horrible. One of the biggest pains in the Christian life is Christian parent laboring to raise their children in the way of Christ and those children growing up to renounce the faith entirely by their profession or by some abominable practice they have employed. I hope that it will comfort Mr. Okupe to know that if indeed he has made the effort to present the gospel to his children and has lived out its tenets before them, and those children grew up to renounce the faith; God will not hold him responsible for the way and manner they turn out. This story also occasions my often made remark that quality education and a good life is not the primary need of a child; what a child needs the most is to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. And while providing the best education for their children, parents must keep putting gospel truth on the conscience of their children until they awaken to life, through regeneration, to become born again persons themselves. Having said that I must at this juncture return to the person of Doyin Okupe.
For a long time I did not know that Doyin Okupe was a Christian. When Mr. Okupe was in the government of Goodluck Jonathan he was regarded as the President’s attack dog; the kind of work that Garba Shehu is doing for President Buhari at the moment. Except that Okupe was worse. It appeared that Ruben Abati, President Jonathan’s Senior Adviser on Media, was too refined to say certain things to the public on behalf of the President, so they left such sordid acts and utterances for Doyin Okupe. My first inclination to Mr. Okupe’s religion was when a close friend told me that Okupe purchased a beautiful pulpit for their church, a small but growing congregation in the heart of Abuja. Until Okupe published this tweet on his son, I have never read anything on religion from him. At the risk of drawing a dagger through the pain of the Okupes, I suspect greatly that Mr. Okupe’s religion was just merely in mouth alone. If anything at all, a Christian could not have led a media unit for Jonathan in the manner that Okupe did. If this is the religion that Okupe practiced before his children, I will not be surprised if none of his children are Christians today.
While indeed parents could raise their children faithfully in the Christian faith and the children will turn around and renounce the religion, most of the reason why many children of religious parents never adopt the faith of their folks is because of the clear duplicity these children see in the lives of their parents. It is not enough to tell a child to know Christ; a parent must live out the faith before the children. It is the practice of the faith that brings conviction to children the most and not mere talk.
I will also go further at blaming the turn of events in Bolu Okupe’s life not just on the father, Doyin, but on the watery Christian religion that many practice in this clime. Doyin Okupe speaks glibly about giving his son the name “Bolu” about the time he “gave his life to Christ”. Those who know anything about religion in Nigeria know that practically everyone in a typical Nigerian church has “given their lives to Christ”. It is a practice that is so ubiquitous in our churches and has thus lost its meaning and become quite pedestrian. If the way of the Christian faith is a narrow path, it is not possible for everyone to be a Christian. Christians will forever be a minority in society. So every time I hear someone has given his life to Christ in Nigeria, I hold such profession suspect until they begin to bear fruits in keeping with repentance. Doyin Okupe did not bear such fruit when he was in government, as far as I am concerned.
I told my wife recently and I am glad for the opportunity to relay it here in my writing: my leading mission in this world is to bring my two children to living faith in Christ Jesus. They are nine and seven now and I tell them that though they are children of believing parent, I have not seen enough fruit in their lives to say they are born-again Christians. For now they are nominal Christians. I trust God that as I continue to witness the gospel to them daily, particularly in our family devotional time, and my wife and I live out the tenets of the faith before them, one day the Holy Spirit will spur them to repentance and help them to lay faith in Christ. Then when they begin to live out the gospel message daily and bear fruits in keeping with a converted life, I would be able to say they are now Christians. I also hope I would be able to baptize them myself. After my children become genuine Christians, much of my life mission would have been fulfilled.
One of the leading tenets of Protestantism in the 16th, 17th and 18th century was to pass on a godly heritage to children. This is why Martin Luther said that his Children Catechism (and his book “The Bondage of the Will”) was the only written work of his that he would like to endure. A child’s thinking is almost formed by the age of 14 years. It is said that 80% of those who are converted to Christ do so before the age of 21. It means that the possibility of people who are above 21 – the possibility of their going to a Christless grave is 80%! Thankfully Doyin Okupe admits that his son’s gay profession is not news to him. What might be news to him is that there is practically very little he can do now to restore that child to faith in Christ. He lost a good opportunity at doing this when the child was growing up.
I hope all of us parent, particularly fathers, will realize that there is more to family life than just providing for the family. Children need to be taught and more importantly parent need to live out the gospel before their children. Christian parents should also be careful with the school they send their children to. Europe is growing increasingly godless by the day and anyone sending their children there for education without that children rooted in the gospel of Christ, is playing with the eternity of that child.