'We Have The Numbers' - Anti-Homosexuality Church Leaders Confident Enough Religious Jamaicans In Island To Prevent Change To Buggery Law
Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer wrote:
With some 2,050,771 Jamaicans claiming affiliation to a religion, it would appear the church community, which has been standing firm against gay-rights activists in recent days, might be able to put up a formidable defence against those seeking to have the Government repeal the country's buggery law.
Just recently, one prominent clergyman shouted from his pulpit that he was prepared to die to ensure that Jamaica does not succumb to pressure from gay rights activists.
The statement from the executive director of the Church of God in Jamaica, Reverend Lenworth Anglin, followed that of another pastor, Reverend Al Miller, who declared last week that "a group of concerned pastors and leaders" have stated their willingness to mobilise and resist any attempts to tamper with the country's Constitution as it relates to the buggery law.
"We certainly have the numbers," Anglin told The Gleaner yesterday.
Data from the latest Population and Housing Census appear to support Anglin's claim. They indicate that some 129,554 Jamaicans are affiliated with a Church of God denomination.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church alone accounts for some 322,228, making it the denomination with the highest affiliation in numbers in Jamaica.
The Rastafarian religion, which is well known for its intolerance of homosexuality, has an affiliation number of 29,026.
But as the gay community and the Church continue on what appears to be a collision course, yesterday one social commentator who refrained from saying the level of impact the who refrained from saying the level of impact the Church is likely to have in helping to prevent any repeal of the buggery law, stopped just short of saying that recent comments from some clergymen might help to fuel even greater hostility in the minds of Jamaicans towards the gay community.
"Language like 'persons willing to die for' and so on, in my view, is unnecessary language at this point," said Carol Narcisse, who stressed that her views didn't necessarily represent those of the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) of which she is the chairperson.
"This is a discussion that the country needs to have, and it is hoped that the Church will provide an honest, sober position in the public domain, recognising that there is already a tendency towards making this issue being the subject of violence and the subject of harm to Jamaicans who are homosexual."
Added Narcisse: "We live in a democracy where all views will contend; the Church is one group in the society and it has a legitimate voice in the national conversation. However, the Church is not a monolithic group, there are other views within the Church as well."
"We would hope that persons of faith, leaders in the Church community who hold other views and a different approach; an approach that's more promoting of tolerance, an approach that is more promoting of a national discussion about inclusion and the rights of consenting adults, that those voices will come forward and join in the discussion."
She said any discussion going forward must be "sensitive to the fact that we are talking about the lives of human beings."
"We can only hope that we can come through this discussion in a way that does not see greater violence, harm, intolerance and exclusion," Narcisse charged.
Head of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society Dr Wayne West agreed that "the Church has numbers" and could successfully argue against any repeal of the buggery law, so long as it pitches its argument correctly.
"When a country makes its laws, laws are framed within some sort of philosophy and I think that the Christian theistic world view is the best performing law. I think the Church can certainly argue that the Judeo-Christian world view is better than the secular world view," West said.
"I suppose the Church could certainly argue that a large number of people in Jamaica certainly hold that view."
Gay-rights activist Maurice Tomlinson is currently awaiting a ruling after going to the Constitutional Court to seek a declaration that Television Jamaica, CVM Television and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica had breached his constitutional right to freedom of expression when they refused to air a paid advertisement promoting tolerance for homosexuals in Jamaica.
Will they come out when the time is right and declare who they really are? but given ones inability to live ones truth with convenient homophobic rhetoric we are in for some interesting times ahead. It will boil down to who will stand out and up eventually and stop the deceptions on all sides for that matter and let good sense prevail. UNDERSTANDING is what is needed here.
Besides there are Christian and Rastafarian folks who are tolerant, maybe it is their time to also start speaking up to bring some sense into the mix. The change of the law or reading down of buggery as it now stands is NOT going to suddenly create some avalanche of "Buggerers" that will simply hit every biological born male wearing a pair of pants. What are these people afraid or?
As for Rev Al Miller he has no moral authority to speak on anything for that matter these days, lest we forget his ongoing trial in aiding and abetting a known fugitive to escape the law of the land!? Albeit to a foreign power a that and using a male same gender loving and transgender form of aesthetic expression (cross-dressing) as a form of disguise in carrying out the deception at that yet he comes out swinging against homosexuality, really?!
If this were elsewhere he would be considered a traitor or even charged for treason at that.
Religious intolerance needs to STOP it makes no sense, confusing same gender sex with abuse is one of the main drivers of this as the fear is some infestation or increase in abuse of prepubescent persons when laws already exist to protect them and besides decriminalizing buggery which is what is now postured by the LGBT lobby and not necessarily a full repeal will not take away rights and protections that already exist it will only allow same sex intimacy in a private setting to occur via the all important CONSENT. Paedophilia or any attraction to a prepubescent person or child is a diagnosable deviant sexual disorder, HOMOSEXUALITY however is NOT the same and is innate.
The gender or supposed orientation of the abuser is not important when it comes to sexual abuse, ABUSE IS ABUSE and the law and psycho social responses should go into effect, just yesterday on Newstalk 93FM's Freshstart with host Sharon Hay Webster a rep from the CDA highlighted the need also for forensic psychiatrists in the system to also probe the look of perpetrators as well to avoid repeat offending.
Maybe we can follow the route of the Irish and learn from the path they took where they not only repealed buggery, removed the two ages of consent for homosexual(21) and heterosexual anal sex(18) made it 18 across the board, made privacy a cornerstone for same sex persons but they also added a child defilement clause as an amendment so as to appease the fearmongerers there as well, chaos did not break out there, instead Ireland is stable as she can be.
Some of us are lesbian/gay/bi/transgender/bisexual and everything else in between, it takes all kinds to make the world go round. Yet what is even more disturbing to me is the missing zeal in the anti homosexual campaign we see when it comes to murdered children/adults, spiraling crime and the elderly (recent cases comes to mind), the kids in state lockups with adults not to mention the umpteen missing as well yet plus the homeless on the street yet millions are spent for full paged ads and other perks for pastors for huge salaries but the moral fiber for the real issues on the ground is if not missing is very low.
One wonders if the tactic employed now to rile up a crowd (burrowed in someway from the political directorate) is not to fill collection plates too in a time when the economy is slow as well, popularity seekers at the expense of a minority group, after all it seems to be the only issue that makes a church service hot these days as most of these leaders are empty vessels, when the same congregation are themselves seemingly numb to the other societal ills.
Peace and tolerance
Western Jamaica Clergy want buggery law to remain
The problem with the LGBT lobby I have however is that just when it should matter most we are divided and are lacking several pieces of the parts to make the campaigns and messages resonate including credibility on certain fronts. Mixing a secularist agenda into the scheme of the agitation has only sought to anger the religious movement even further something I warned about some time ago and now we have added layers to the debate that have sought only to cloud the issue and extend the debate unnecessarily so.