Past and present Presidents of the anti gay, anti abortion Christian group the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, LCF Shirley Richards and Helen C. Nicholson continued to express fears that gay marriage and social re-engineering will be the norm in Jamaica if the buggery law is repealed as per the legal challenge launched by Javed Jaghai on June 25, 2013 and which has been put off until October 4, 2013 as several religious groups including the LCF, Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS, Other church groups, Love March and Marcus Garvey Political Party have joined the suit. In as far as the challenge is concerned which is outside of the now promised buggery review by the current government at a date to be announced is not to make buggery law disappear but to test the constitutionality of the law on the backdrop of Mr Jaghai’s personal issues as stated in his affidavit (he is rewrite same for the October mention date in the case management stage) where he says he was evicted by his landlord as they wanted to attempt some reparative therapy efforts due to his public utterances on homosexuality. Unfortunately the poor communication by the group Mr Jaghai is associated with namely JFLAG in sensitizing not only the public but the LGBT community in understanding the call for the amendment to the law is a major flaw; the fact that the church groups still interpret the struggle as a call for a full repeal when the thrust by their words is an amendment to include a definition of rape under for non-consensual buggery and privacy for adults; buggery will remain for persons not considered adults and who are abused.
On a discussion program on Love 101FM hosted by Blossom White on July 7, 2013 it sounded like a cataclysmic doom heading towards Jamaica that gay marriage will be made legal; fear that children will be taught all kinds of inappropriate materials in the eyes of the church; other kinds of rights outside of normal life will be forced on the nation; the church’s opposition will be criminalized as hate speech (poor anecdotal references made); anti gay speech will be criminalized; religious freedoms will be curtailed; churches will be forced to perform gay marriages and other so called societal ills. Speaking of societal ills the introduction to the program suggested that they were looking at a post examination of the Love March’s heroes circle protest and the Montego Bay’s ministers’ fraternal corresponding Montego Bay march against supposed ills yet homosexuality was eventually the only theme discussed for the twenty five plus minutes of air time. Such is the dishonesty that presents itself sometimes when these matters are presented by the church, the strength that is found to deal with homosexuality yet the other so called ills get very little or no such fervent attention. Namely the thousands of missing children, the obvious corruption in high places, the high crime wave, the poor political leadership, the creation of outcasts and maintaining the clear distance via stigma and hypocrisy. The misleading emphasis on the legalization of homosexuality is also another piece of deceptive alarmist speech used to bolster the anti gay position when we know fully well that homosexuality is NOT illegal in Jamaica and buggery does not only apply to gay and bisexual men who practice penile penetrative anal sex but also heterosexual couples as well.
The discussion opened with among other things this from the host “Why does the church target homosexuality not wanting it to be legalized in Jamaica?”…………….. “Would the flood gates be opened for judgement or more judgement upon the land and what can the church do to hinder anything from changing?” clear fear mongering being set as the stage for the discussion then came the marriage redefinition fear soon afterwards where the sections of the marriage act were quoted when no such agitation for same sex marriage rights have been made in Jamaica just yet but if we were to follow Blossom White in her opening it was a done deal as she likened a group in favour of same sex marriage was taking the matter of legalizing homosexuality to the supreme court. In fact the word redefinition appeared some five times in the exchange and re-socialization or re-engineering also made several appearances which had me wondering are these persons for real? What was even more bizarre in all this is the defection if you will of Helen Nicholson who years ago had a more tolerant stance on homosexuality and the related matters yet she has been pulled into this so much so to become the President of the LCF. The host and guests claim that the business of buggery is a legal, moral, social and political issues and that religious voices will be silenced eventually by law where programs such as the one having the discussion will have to sanitize its format in order to avoid legal punishment.
References were made to the United States DOMA, Defence of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 strike downs in recent times and that the local legal challenges are in tandem with other efforts including that of the Organization of American States recently concluded meeting where certain calls were made to enact some sort of sanctions for what is considered homophobic language or actions by persons. Helen Nicholson said “To The extent that they are rallying their troops the church must be very alert and recognise that their voices must not be silenced and drowned out by those who would be vocal and step forward to challenge a change.” Mrs Shirley Richards meantime continued that the church is going to court to apparently avert what has happened in other countries (albeit that those countries have different social issue that attend) she referenced a preacher who was arrested in England for so called homophobic language yet she did not offer specifics of the case and the continued generalizations is what is usually used to justify their anti gay position. Sadly the followership glibly buys into the mess and hangs on to every word these persons say. She continued that marriage is under threat; threats to freedom of conscience; freedom of religion and freedom of expression, yet she forgot to take note it seems that the aforementioned marches were done unimpeded and that her appearance and that of her compatriots at a recent University debate on the church being an obstacle to rights was also unimpeded and her voice was not drowned or muzzled as would happen in such events hosted by their groups. She said that societies that allowed homosexual rights have seen religious freedoms curtailed, she said the buggery law is the most effective strategic barrier to the re-socialization of society a point she also made on CVM TV’s Direct program on June 26, 2013 she said such re-socialization is in favour of the “homosexual lifestyle” she continued that if that barrier is pulled then everything else in the form of agendas will come flowing in, her fear is that what happens in other countries where rights clash such as religious liberty where I do not see such curtailment happening yet she claims pastors have gotten into trouble and a teacher was dismissed for saying homosexuality is a sin again with no specifics.
The dishonest perception being banded about that somehow the repeal or decriminalization of buggery in Jamaica is also going to automatically cause Christian persecution is so farfetched and ludicrous and is a false dichotomy that it boggles the mind as to whether the voices which are heard by far are really up on the issues of sexuality, gender and rights. The Johns couple was referred to who were a Jamaican couple who foster kids in the UK but were unaware of the change in the law and not endorsing gay relationships as a form of family unit were blocked by the state from re-entering the foster care system. No one asked them to accept homosexuality but just to also include as the teaching materials the various forms of the family unit and they refused fearing damage to the children.
Miss Nicholson said that the law is always legislating morality but the question is whose morality as there is no such thing as a moral law. She referred the Ireland case and the repeal of buggery there yet the country did not sink into doom she claims that those were different days and the agenda has changed. She sounded as if she was counting her words for such a lawyer and a former radio show host and television news presenter and the egging or prodding whispers in the background by Mrs Shirley Richards were audibly clear that she was being told what to say, Miss Nicholson however continued that there is a more liberal approach by the gay lobby which was not part of the agenda before and a schism between our local position and our laws versus the treatise we are party to internationally she says the more Jamaica owns the process is the more controlled it will be and if we allow others to come in (suggesting the long held belief of foreign imposition of homosexuality) and fund our education programs etc then he who pays the piper calls the tune. The gratuitous tolerance line came through as per usual that they did not want homosexuals to be hurt or victimized but they seem blindly unaware of the fact their anti gay positions and dishonesties help to fuel the very victimization and stigma towards LGBT people.
Shirley Richards continued “Pull that law and the re-engineering of society will occur ………………….. My concern is for the children, what will they learn as appropriate and normal behaviour?” obviously she is not aware of the changes in sexuality and that teaching children about homosexuality does not make them so. The host Blossom White came with an alarmist posture said an unnamed country where she was had early childhood education institutions doing what amounted to guided imagery and cross dressing exercises on given days for students so that they were made to understand some of the gender issues, yet Miss White chose strong language such as indoctrinate added to that Miss Nicholson suggested that the word or language or re-engineering is “gender” clearly the ladies on this show are very ignorant to the issues attendant to transgenderism and other variants that have been always around but more closely researched and monitored by the scientific communities.
So hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans in earshot of this radio program went away with a one sided approach to this business of homosexuality and the continued fear mongering that the gay lobby is all somehow this godless anti Christ set up devised to persecute Christians. I am left dazed sometimes when I see this kind of rhetoric and why aren’t the gay Christian communities and tolerant Christians generally not speaking up more? I am not even going to mention JFLAG here as their poor leadership on public discourse is plain to see. How can this jittery position be countered?
Peace and tolerance