Confusing justice with righteousness (Gleaner Letter 29.10.08)

 

wait a minute who does Rev Al Miller thinks he is? In the same breath read this letter to the editor in the Gleaner.

Confusing justice with righteousness
published: Wednesday October 29, 2008

The Editor, Sir:
I write this letter in reaction to the letter submitted by Lucius C. White on Saturday, 25th of October. Mr White asserted that Christianity and the Jamaican legal system should be considered as one. This argument is laughable and needs to be addressed.
The notion of a legal system so heavily based on a religion is ill-thoughtout. Such a system is constantly at risk of confusing justice with religious righteousness. Thus, the legal system suggested by Mr White is radically dangerous to a democratic state such as Jamaica. This is evident as Mr White states: “Christians are instructed to obey the laws of the land; however, if those laws conflict with Christian teachings, they should obey the teachings of Christ.” Mr White’s tone is authoritative and ignorant as well as inducing anarchy. Mr White suggests his obviously devout interpretation of Christianity as a greater law than the one proposed by a democratically elected government. Such ‘interpretation’ of religion is clearly dangerous to the general population of a country. This was shown recently in the Indian state of Orissa where Hindu radicals, who held their interpretation of religion over the state’s law, slaughtered Christian citizens. This crime was committed in a state where the constitution also ‘makes provisions for the accommodation of all other religions’. In this instance, utter devotion to religion has confused justice: the same devotion suggested by Mr White.

Radical devotion
The audacity and radical devotion to his religion is apparent within the wording of his letter. He states: “The Christian teachings encompass several very important doctrines”. The sentence holds within it an intolerance which is exhibited as Mr White attaches the word ‘the’ to Christian teachings. Surely, he has no grounds to state that his interpretation of Christianity is ultimate and absolute, as implied by the ‘the’ he attaches to it.
The perilous attitude apparent in the wording of his letter is once more present in his final paragraph: “We must stand firm in our opposition to the legislation of abortion and homosexuality in our society because both practices are contrary to our Christian teachings and culture.” Not only does this comment seem to legitimise murders carried out by the public due to personal decisions of victims, but it conflicts with the Jamaican Constitution: “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression, the said freedom includes the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and freedom from interference with his correspondence and other means of commu-nication.” Ironically, Mr White refers to the Jamaican Constitution himself; surely, a contradictory act.

Secular judiciary system
Thus, I call for a secular judiciary system: one devoid of a religious leaning. Otherwise, we risk living within a radical state run by religious extremism. Such a state as this was recently defunct: the Taliban-headed Afghanistan. Should Jamaicans wish to avoid the fate suffered by Afghanistan, then a secular law is necessary.

I am, etc.,
FREDDIE PRAGNELL
Kingston 8

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Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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