Jamaica Civil Society Coalition’s Chair on “Church Can’t Take Refuge In Buggery Law”

Paul Gardner

Christians attend an anti-buggery rally in Half-Way Tree Square on June 29. The gathering was spearheaded by a church group called CAUSE. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Christians attend an anti-buggery rally in Half-Way Tree Square on June 29. The gathering was spearheaded by a church group called CAUSE. – Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Also see: The Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) response to anti-gay mass meeting comes late in the day (Observer Editorial)


Ever since Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller intimated her intention to review the buggery law, the discussion has increased on the buggery law, in particular, and homosexuality in general. It is both a philosophical and theological debate that if not managed or moderated properly, runs the risk of leaving many casualties behind.

I am reminded quite recently reading Neville Callam’s book, Deciding Responsibly: Moral Dimension of Human Action, about the great moral debate concerning the proposal for unwed teachers to be given maternity leave with pay in the 1970s. A very large section of the Church and the Jamaica Teachers’ Association issued press releases denouncing the Government’s proposal.

Callam observed that it was a few church leaders who met with the Government and brokered a cessation of hostility, and the rest is history.

Historically, crusaders are never winners. Winners stand on the bedrock of love mediated through God’s grace, a grace that none of us can truly fully comprehend or articulate.

Veteran journalist Ian Boyne, last year in an article, appropriately laid down the gauntlet for the debate to continue. Says he, “In my view, Christians have to separate the political from the philosophical. I don’t believe the Christian – or Muslim – majority should impose their will on minorities.”

Our legal framework, including our Constitution, is grounded in the Judaeo-Christian philosophy. What this means in fundamental terms is that biblical thoughts have influenced the way laws are shaped and behaviour normalised in much of the former British Empire. If one agrees with this view, it must also be agreed that this was the basic assumption for much of the Western civilisation.

Society has evolved from this core principle of the Judaeo-Christian ethic of ‘being’ and in ‘relationship with the other’ and has been moving towards a rights-based approach to being in the world and in relationship with each. This Judaeo-Christian biblical philosophy approach gave legitimisation to slavery, the apartheid system, and many other atrocities for which the Church has repented.

Religious assumptions

Even in declaring this fact, it is not to be assumed that such an approach will, of necessity, be flawed, but rather to recognise that even in our search for wholeness and truth, sometimes we are passionately off target and blinded by our own fury, interpretation and belief.

There are some fundamental principles within Western society that we take for granted – and some of these are normal, acceptable behaviour or conduct – however, in some societies, these are socially and legally unacceptable. The reasons, for the most part, are grounded in a set of religious assumptions that are not acceptable within the Judaeo-Christian philosophical and theological thought. As Westerners, we readily detest the Shari’a laws for very good reasons.

Western societies have to wrestle with secularism and changes in laws globally that do not necessarily reflect our traditionally Judaeo-Christian assumptions. This sweeping modernism – others would say secularism – has caused a tsunami of panic not only in the Caribbean, but in the developed, industrialised nations.

The liberalisation of laws on homosexuality within those societies did not happen overnight, but has been a long struggle and deep debate between the traditional Judaeo-Christian ideas and values within the context of growing secularism, in general, and the issues of human rights, in particular.

There are, therefore, some fundamental questions that must be placed within the debate, the push-back and the tension between the fundamentalist Judaeo-Christian philosophical thoughts, and the human rights approach to issues.

1. Can we say that we love each other unconditionally?

2. Do we really know enough about each other to the extent that we see others as equally loved and valued by God?

3. Should the homosexual act be an offence under the law?

There is no easy way out or Bible-thumping of views to these simple but profound questions. At the end of the debate, we must decide whether a society is going to be governed by laws that are universally consistent and respectful of its people (the common-good approach to moral decision making); or whether the decision will be taken to provide the greatest good to the majority (the utilitarian approach); or whether the decision will be based on the rights to privacy by consenting adults (the rights approach to ethical decision-making); or whether the focus will be on what kind of persons we want to develop and what kind of community we want to create (the virtue approach); or whether we will decide on the justice approach, which seeks to gauge the fairness of an action, not only for the majority, but for the minority.

All of these approaches to ethical decision-making must be brought into the debate because in a secular society, the views of the faith community and its interpretation of the text are important but not exclusive.

Says Desmond Tutu in his book God is not a Christian: “I am proud that in South Africa, when we won the chance to build our own new constitution, the human rights of all have been explicitly enshrined in our laws. My hope is that one day this will be the case all over the world, and that all will have equal rights. For me, this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.”

Gospel of justice

The issue of homosexuality raises the emotional temperature and causes even the unbeliever to resort to the Bible. People like Tutu recognised such reality and preach a gospel of justice and unconditional regard for all those who are oppressed within our midst.

My views and beliefs as a Christian must contend with those who do not share my views or my faith. At the end of the day, the Christian cannot seek refuge or protection in state legislation. And yet, the Christian, as well as the non-Christian or those who are Christians but disagree with a particular church position, has all rights to free expression and public demonstration. This right behoves each side to be reasonable and moderate in its utterances.

The Church will only win followers by and through its unconditional love of the ‘other’ and the witness of God’s redeeming grace. It doesn’t have to ‘accept’, but it must tolerate and recognise the complexity of the society and acknowledge how much is not yet known.

In this period when the temperature rises, let us find common ground for sober reflection that will engender an atmosphere of mutual respect, care and consideration for each other as we debate and express our views. In the end, we are all Jamaicans entitled to the protection of the law and all should be free to self-determine, to accept or reject, but still love without condition.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Jamaica; buggery is. But buggery is an act that occurs not only between males, but between females and males. However, when you listen to the discussion, the greater concern is the men who have sex with men (MSM). I think that Parliament should take another look at this dated act in light of other issues pertaining to the Offences against the Person Act.

The Rev Dr Paul Gardner is president of the Moravian Church, former president of the Moravian Church Worldwide, and former president of the Jamaica Council of Churches. He also chairs the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and pgardner@cwjamaica.com.

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Reverend Al Miller’s own moral conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Reverend Al Miller’s own conflict of interest & anti gay campaign

Rev Al Miller a UWI campus demonstration

Has no moral authority as he is still tainted by two matters he is embroiled in. The back and forth in as far as moral authority to condemn or judge has been noted on this blog before via:

CHURCH STANDS RESOLUTE AGAINST BUGGERY BACKERS SAYS AL MILLER ………… LOVE MARCH MOVEMENT LACKS MORAL COMPASS SAYS LGBT VOICE

Secularism, Humanism and Atheism have also helped to cloud the local LGBT debate as I warned about in 2012/3; go HERE

Talk about conflict of interest, shaky integrity and selective morals as Reverend Al Miller has no moral authority to speak to any issue of right or wrong and interestingly homosexuality at that in my view at this time as his own actions that were in heard in court regarding the aiding of a fugitive in Christopher “Dudus” Coke after the authorities moved in on his so called empire in West Kingston in 2010 and he went into hiding only to be caught in the company of the said Reverend Miller in his car using a method of expression and entertainment for drag effeminate culture and transgender women in terms of cross dressing.  He has even gone as far as to rebuff comments of his continued role at Fellowship Tabernacle Church which he pastors in the aftermath where he claimed he would have done the deception of bypassing local police again in assisting Coke. See MORE HERE on that

Coke was dressed in a wig, glasses, light makeup and a dress with reported high heels shoes as the photographs that circulated after the entrapment made clear much to the amusement of the public from some time after and the questions began to fly as to the reasons why a pastor would aid this method of obvious perpetrated deception and in such a public fashion. It seems there are too many conflicts of interest on all sides here now engaged in a shouting match or drawn daggers over the Professor Brendan Bain sacking by the University of the West Indies from a project they managed called CHART as part of the HIV prevention strategy for CARICOM/PANCAP Pan Caribbean AIDS Partnership after the professor gave “expert” testimony in a case involving a gay man in Belize challenging the Buggery legislation there some two years ago.

Previously one of the Jamaican LGBT activist based in New York who has led protests in that state of the US has come into some fire as his delinquency in servicing a student loan prior to his departure was made public as his name and photo appeared in a full page ad of delinquent borrowers earlier this month which has made him a target on sections of social media for ridicule and mistrust and discredit as persons commented that he has no authority to speak or demand rights as his own lack of civil and personal responsibility is tainted thus disqualifying him for demand for any correctness. See more HERE

How is it on one hand Reverend Miller opposes most publicly the so called ills of the land as he describes them on his Word Power show on television while having two most public charges dogging him? His short absence from the aforementioned show and subsequent return may make some persons feel he is cleared but those who have been paying attention and are cognisant of ethical principles are not fooled by this public relations faux pas and why has the other so called “Purity” groups such as the LCF (headed previously by Shirley Richards) and the JCHS (headed by Dr Wayne West) have not called him out or disassociated themselves from him until he is in the clear? Coke was wearing a wig at the time of the nabbing as the Reverend was said to be helping Coke to get passed the local security to a foreign power that being the United States Embassy in a bid to escape the supposed shoot first ask question mentality of the local police used an excuse when confronted, the other matter that has baffled me to this day is the missing gun case where it was reported the Reverend left his firearm in his vehicles and went to pick some mangoes and upon his return his gun just went missing after which it was reported to the authorities and he was charged for not properly securing his weapon and has been in and out of court since.

These two major infractions apart from his outlandish calls that homosexuality is abnormal, reparative therapy is a cure and the Buggery Law must remain on the books makes him unfit to speak until he has cleared his name especially of the Coke matter as to why was he helping a fugitive to escape the law of the land yet it is the same principle of obeying or keeping the laws of the land of which he professes to speak and seek attention to himself. He has been at this struggle at the very stage from the parliamentary submission in 1998 by JFLAG (when they meant something) when he appeared with the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowhip’s Shirley Richards, the Charter of Rights Debate during it on again off again twenty plus years run before passage in 2009/10, abortion debates in and out of the houses of parliament and professes to use psychological references in addressing homosexuality with some authority without referencing any expert referral, study or position paper to do so. I find that ethics, integrity and indeed moral responsibility are dying forms of evidence to back credibility in public advocacy and here we have so much more evidence of those missing pieces which leaves me to wonder if we can use the same moral nihilism criticism levelled at the LGBT lobby overall by anti gay activist Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, JCHS.

20100628-clovis

Reverend Miller must recluse himself from any outrage as it were until his name and reputation are cleared just as how these church folk make demands of conflicted politicians and public persons when they err and rightfully so.

I find hypocrisy and a feeling that persons are not tracking these valuable tenets for public life or advocacy so persons depend on the nine day wonder mentality we tend to have on matters on interest in the news constant recurrences. The same declining values in a sense as complained about by the church seems to have also affected the very loudest voices of the same group, we saw said hypocrisy play out with the call for tolerance by the former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson days go in light of the Bain matter I find that politicians tend to be so clear on values when outside of state power as also evidenced in Bruce Golding labour day opinion piece in the Gleaner fear mongering on gay marriage which he invented as a reason to deny rights in the Charter of Rights debate in 2009/10 to which the present PM sided with him as a matter of convenience and or pandering to religious groups as oppositions seem to always do, only weeks ago the JLP called for a referendum on buggery echoing a call from side protesting religious groups. Where was PJ Patterson when he was PM over the 16 of the 18 year run the PNP had in power when his own sexuality was brought under scrutiny and he demanded they stop as he was not gay.

See: Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson’s call for tolerance not genuine & sheer hypocrisy

In conclusion Reverend Al Miller is conflicted and cannot be seen as a credible voice in opposition to any moral matter until he clears his name likewise any LGBT activists also who are or seem tainted. The Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC stance in part is as follows “The church affirms its pastoral role and so appeals to the church as well as the wider religious community not to speak or act in ways that ostracise or incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexual as they too bearers of the image of God and for whom Christ died”

MUST SEE previous post:

REV AL MILLER SAYS GAY LOBBY IS USING THE GUISE OF TOLERANCE TO GET THE NATION TO ACCEPT THE “GAY LIFESTYLE”

and

Peace and tolerance

H

Situational homosexuality and or “Predatory behaviour” reasons for the closure of Alpha Boys’ Home residential programs?

alpha boys home

So it would seem as the story gains traction, when it first broke on the Jamaica Observer it was a vague little worded piece that left more questions and negative reactions than anything else but since the last twenty four hours with statements from and footage from the Minister of Youth Lisa Hanna seeking to outline some of the issues she is aware of more seems to be coming to light, her use of the term “predatory sexual activity” is a bit troubling to me though, it seems she is busy this year as the cooling down of the Permanent Secretary Sydney Bartley homo-paedophile matter is still in the Supreme Court even though the Minister is no longer named as a party in that matter the other named parties are still being pursued. 120 boys or so will have to find a place to live after June 2014 although the educational components of the work will continue said a spokesperson for the institution.

also see the Observer’s take on it: HERE

SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY This term refers sociologically to widespread same-sex behaviour in total institutions where no partner of the opposite sex is available. I bring this up as I am afraid the boys may be stigmatised out of all this for being freaks or homosexuals playing into the predatory nature perception held out there especially by the anti gay establishment. In some cases, as in prisons, jails and reformatories, places of safety, half way houses and transitional living facilities the residents/inmates are there involuntarily; in others, as ships at sea, monasteries and nunneries participation has been freely chosen although terms of engagement, strict rules and curtailed socializing activities limit sexual release. The situational homosexuality term is also applied to cultures where adolescents are gender-segregated the assumption behind the notion of psychological situational homosexuality is that the individual’s behaviour is dependent on the heterosexually deprived situation, and that those performing homosexual acts faute , de mieux under these circumstances will revert to heterosexual behavior once they regain access to the opposite sex, while the “true” homosexual prefers his own sex even when the other is freely accessible.

The situation of deprivation does not affect all people equally.

In the case of Alpha Boys like any other such facility experimentation too maybe a factor especially the homo-negative culture that exists here, there is a way in which persons become attracted to taboo practices out there in private circumstances. The Minister’s exact words regarding the same sex activities she said she was told by the Nuns at Alpha (Roman Catholic sisters of Mercy) in February was as follows:

“The sisters of mercy cited the grave anti social behaviour ….. the sexual predatory nature of the boys on one another on a daily basis ……… the incapability of human capital to respond to the many and changing faces of the issues manifested today, the challenge is further compounded by the high cost of care for each child.”

Are the sisters going by their own assessment of the situation from a church standpoint thus interpreting the matter as predatory (not saying it is all together true) there was some denial of the reasons for the discontinued residency component by one PR representative Joshua Chamberlain who said on radio “There is absolutely no truth from those suggesting the home is shutting down partly due to inappropriate behaviour among Alpha Boys, residential care if transitioning to day care……” I guess the goodly PR rep is trying to avoid a generalization that the boys are wholesale perverts as slightly suggested by the Youth Minister.

Even late nineteenth-century authors realized that some individuals never engage in homo- sexual activity no matter how long or how intense the deprivation from heterosexual contact they endure. Similarly, many homosexuals fail to take up heterosexual activity even though homosexuality may be so severely repressed as to be practically unavailable. Nevertheless, cross-cultural evidence abundantly documents higher incidences of homosexual activity in situations of heterosexual deprivation, and markedly so for males in their sexual prime.

SIWA OASIS A town in the Libyan desert of western Egypt, Siwa is the site of an ancient civilization which retained a form of institutionalized homosexuality into the modern era. The oasis was the location of an oracle consulted by Alexander the Great and modern observers have stressed how the Berber population conserved its own language, religious rites, and sexual customs despite the later overlay of Islam and Egyptian administration. Sexual relations among men fell into the ancient pattern of pairing between usually married adult men and adolescent bachelors. In the nineteenth century, families lived within the walls of a town constructed rather like a single large adobe “beehive” while all unmarried men lived together on the edges of town where they made up a warrior class (zaggalah) protecting the oasis from desert marauders. In the twentieth century, as the military function declined and the townspeople have moved out of the walled centre, the zaggalah have become agricultural labourers retaining their customs and clubhouses. The anthropologist Walter Cline, writing in 1936, found “All normal Siwan men and boys practice sodomy. . . .

I am in no way suggesting that sodomy is the only same sex activity found in this case of Alpha as partnered masturbation also is a key way to “gain release” which in such situational circumstances but again the Youth Minister’s wording makes it seems as anal rape when she uses “predatory behaviour” substitutional sex as the experts tell us lacks the more erotic or raunchy elements of sex between innate gay men for example and is not as engaging as two more romantically involved same sex partners. Among themselves the zaggalah natives are not ashamed of this; they talk about it as openly as they talk about love of women, and many if not most of their fights arise from homosexual competition.” Among the zaggalah, man-boy relationships were formally recognized when the man offered the boy’s father a gift (or bride price) as in heterosexual marriage. Abd Allah notes that “Siwan cus- toms allow a man but one boy [vs. four wives] to whom he is bound by a stringent code of obligations.” In the zaggalah club- house “labourers come together on any occasion for communal rejoicing and assemble on moonlight nights for drinking, singing, and dancing to the merry rhythm of flute and drum” (Cline).T his festive and erotic tradition culminates in a three-day bacchanal dedicated to the medieval sheik, Sidi Soliman, following the Islamic fast of Ramadan. The various accounts of Siwa agree on the openness and fluidity of sexuality, in that divorce is casual and serial polygamy common, men having as many as a dozen wives over time. Male and female prostitution was noted and Cline remarked that the role in homosexual relations was variable and voluntary.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Mahmud Mohamrnad 'Abd Allah, "Siwan Customs," Harvard African Studies, 1 (19171, 1-28; C. Dalrymple Belgrave, Siwa: The Oasis of Jupiter Ammon, London: Lane, 1923; Walter Cline, Notes on the People of Siwah and El Garah in the Libyan Desert, Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing, 1936; Robin Maugham, journey to Siwa, London: Chapman and Hall, 1950. Barry D. Adam

I think we need to examine this case some more far more carefully, JFLAG and the other advocates have not responded to this faux pas of sorts either which has me concerned sometimes as to their relevance as this issue can be made to play into the anti gay establishment as reason to oppose and block the trajectory to LGBT rights and recognition seeing the repeated conflation between abuse and same gender sex when in truth and in fact abuse is abuse no matter the sexual orientation or gender of the perpetrator. Seeing also that the boys are the same age grouping how else are we to deal with this?

The Youth Minister in a follow up discussion this morning on Nationwide radio suggested isolation of the identified abusers with psychological intervention what she did not say or was asked by the interviewers was was this in a view to also push reparative therapy supposedly thinking the boys are gay and need to be changed? Why I raised this is because many of the professionals in the system are trained in Christian run theological colleges often disregarding the diagnostic statistical manual, DSM with regards to homosexuality which is not a disorder yet some professional ignore this and their personal values clash with protocols. I am concerned for the boys as this situation reminds me of the easy way out mentality by administrations for such facilities, The Safe House Project 2009 that was under the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life was closed down by the board due to “bad behaviour” as the given reason then yet we have ended up with grief with displaced/homeless MSM/Trans persons numbers spiralling out of control with a JFLAG silent then and actually moving into the space that was the shelter turning it into their offices. They soon bore the backlash over time with the men attacking the offices of JASL as well intermittently with a notice to quit being the final edict and demolition of the building in 2013.

It seems there is an impatience to stick with problematic populations (outside of funding woes) in terms of transitional work and the psycho social components is still a problem as the quest for rights via victimhood abounds and takes precedence, this Alpha case has a touch shade of it too but let us see where it leads, the homeless msm/trans individuals in New Kingston for example are obviously being manipulated by powerful advocates and institutions as a recent news item showed where complaints about police abuse were highlighted, yes there is abuse but the same voices complaining are well established entities with robust funding to do something meaningful but instead the foot dragging continues while reclining in the HIV prevention imperative naming the cohort as vulnerable and susceptible to HIV, yes stigma/homo-negativity etc. exists but how it is presented sometimes short changes the very thrust. If the Alpha situation is met with proper responses via the government however to include psycho social/sexual interventions then it stands to reason that government can also address homelessness and displacement in the LGBT populations seeing that some advocates already expect state actors to take care of them while they recline in privilege.

Hypocrisy is a hell of a thing I tell you.

I am also concerned about the re-integration process as the minister spoke to some prior training of parents who with troubled children are exposed to twenty hours of training so as to engage the children when they return home, is LGBT child rearing included in this? I doubt it, such much more developmental issues arise here simply from this news of the closure of noble institution.

also see this previous post from 2011 of a boys’ home incident: SITUATIONAL HOMOSEXUALITY, SUBSTITUTIONAL SEX, EXPERIMENTATION OR WHAT? ……… SENSATIONAL STORY YET AGAIN

also hear this clip as an example of the homo-negative firestorm that has since erupted conflating abuse with some gay agenda and same gender consensual sex:

Walk good

Peace and tolerance

H

Business downturn for the weed-whacking project for former displaced St Catherine MSM

As promised here is another periodical update on an income generating/diligence building project now in effect for some now seven former homeless and displaced MSM in St Catherine, it originally had twelve persons but some have gotten jobs elsewhere, others have simply walked away and one has relocated to another parish, to date their weed whacking earning business capacity has been struggling as previous posts on the subject has brought to bear and although some LGBT persons residing in the parish have been approached by yours truly and others to increase client count for the men costs such as gas and maintenance of the four machines that are rotated between the enrolled men are rising weekly literally while the demand is instead decreasing due to various reasons.

When the initial idea was rolled out at the time in late 2012 via a mixed religion group to include myself and another gay individual there was some resistance to it as the activity was a carry over from a major well funded church project for unemployed youth one of whom still is in this dispensation, several leaders at the time left the revamped project idea claiming they were not supporting the gay lifestyle, the market for landscaping was already saturated with several other players including lawn cutters from Kingston and nearby parishes and Portmore, breaking into the domain was difficult and several attempts were made via flyers, repeated personal visits by myself and the men in walk-a-bouts various housing schemes and so on. The slow rainfall as well added more delays in shrubbery and vegetation growth hence the slow demand for services/repeat visits and cuttings and as costs for the actual weed whacking machines also come down more middle class households purchase their own machines and do their own manicuring of their lawns and fence-hedging. Expansion to other parishes to include Kingston is in the works and also major sites such as office grounds, schools and playgrounds are being considered but a proper marketing/introductory strategy is needed and is being prepared such as an introductory letter and so forth. Due to a spate of robberies generally as well in certain communities that are lonely with no major pedestrian activity during the work hours on weekdays a couple neighbourhood watches have taken a no tolerance approach to “strange faces” in their communities so they refuse to engage new persons seeking business such as cutting lawns, selling newspapers or such peddling and one community actually instituted a gated arrangement with a guard to control movement in and out of the scheme thus limiting potential business for the men, this community though not so new has several wide lawn area that will require tending to and a formal approach is being strategized. The rotation of the machines amongst the project participants has caused some challenges as well as one or more whackers may be out for repairs thus leaving the designated user out of a machine hence no income or shortened time for those who have machines than normal which has caused some riffs and in-fighting between the participants in the project of which I have had to intervene.

No profiling or homo-negative challenges thus far

Thankfully due to the masculine aesthetics of the participants no major profiling has occurred, a concern I had prior to the rollout of the project/machines. The project coordinators outside of myself are still at odds as to the more effeminate counterparts of the men who are presently enrolled and what to develop for them is still a concern, those persons have sought shelter elsewhere with friends for now; the group that were evicted from a house in Sydenham some time ago are also still struggling and some of those persons when contacted on this project in the early days declined the initiation I presume on a premise of mistrust as others have approached the men/transgender persons before with false promises I am told hence their scepticism. An Aphrodite’s PRIDE Jamaica team member had suggested some sort of activity tailored to the female cisgender imperative such as make-up/beauty training and so on but the issue of stereotypical gender role boxing of the group has come up.

Rates as well have been affected due to some of the aforementioned challenges and competition, in order to stay in business average rates have fallen by some 20% average based on my calculations, for e.g. a typical front lawn (hedging not included as scissors are also needed, machetes alone won’t do) probably twenty five feet by thirty feet taking roughly fifteen to twenty minutes to whack could have fetched up to $1,800 now that has come down to $1,200 or less provided the cutter names his price at let’s say $1,500 then negotiates his way down to stay within the ball park. Gas prices have sky rocketed with rates from Petrojam going up weekly for the past eight weeks, a litre of gas now runs at $130/L and it takes 5 litres for the gallon which in turn serves one cutter one or two days depending on the frequency of jobs, the gas itself is also light as feather and burns off faster than normal despite the governing of the machines for maximum delivery per litre of gas. Unfair competition in my eyes as well is hurting business as weedsters from the government’s JEEP temporary employment program who weed-whack parks, medians and public spaces and who also are allowed to take home the govt owned machines are invading the private market as well thus diminishing business and with their more aggressive tactics some have gone as far as to use the local political and parish council representative as muscle to work their way into the market as they tell their people on the ground who in turn tell others. They while earning from their salaried contracts from JEEP are able to price down their services thus affecting market rates tremendously.

Such is the nature of business right now but the men have managed overall to eek out some small profits or break even in some instances. The psycho-social bit is also being examined and elements of the soon to be concluded Enterprise Training that I am apart of are being reviewed with modifications of course for this cohort; the men are also being encouraged to save as best as possible and consolidate on certain things such as food purchases and so on, two of the men are in fact in a long term relationship so their money management issues are a little better off than the others one of whom has a son from a previous opposite gender relationship. Encouragement has come from the mostly mixed Christian heterosexual group although the teething challenges were numerous they have settled and are now seemingly looking past sexual orientation although there is a push by at least one person for some type of reparative work and prayer for change. The Christmas treat held last year is still fresh in the men’s mind as there were new comers in the lot and the grocery packages though small are welcomed by them saving time and money to fetch such items on their own. My concern is to move them from just mere tokenism to more independent thinking and devising their own way to fend for themselves, the necessitated rotation of the machines has become a blessing in disguise as it has come to teach the men sharing and patience major tools in diligence building and the all important life-plan efficacious activity seems more eminent than before as the anger and resentment from being displaced slowly subsides. We are seeking a qualified professional with counselling expertise to do one on one work with them to move to the next step as the project becomes more formalised.

I had an idea to divert a few of them to a program on catering but it soon dawned on me that with independence it would have been difficult to ask them to make such a separation to non income status although the training would make them qualified and also the hours needed to seek business are also the same hours for classes so it would have been a catch 22 situation.

I am feeling a little better seeing some of the displaced and homeless MSM/Transgender persons are being addressed but it is in no way near the answers needed as others elsewhere on the island struggle with a myriad of issues. A community influential in Mandeville has recently taken on a few in his home for a short time while in St Ann an influential who was assisting some men there has given up due to the behavioural challenges and pilfering has caused him to discontinue any further assistance. I nearly got to that place as well after my own experience in July last year when I took in a youngster only to have to put him out three days after as he brought a sex buddy to my home without expressed permission or prior notification, such as the challenges with community based shelter assistance. That is precisely when several more privileged gay/bi persons do not assist separate and apart from the classism and snobbery that obtains in the our “community”

We are thinking of devising an aggressive fund raising activity incorporating various means, donations of cash and kind have been slowly kicking in from persons in the know of the project and I have sent over donations as well thanks to my donors via my blogs through Paypal online and a cheque recently delivered to me by a long time reader residing here of which we are grateful. Each one reach one as Babbie Mason would say in her song.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see:

Interfaith Group Pledges Continued Support for Homeless MSM in St Catherine

GLBTQ Jamaica in conjunction with several individuals and a church group hosted a treat and some words of encouragement for the brothers.

Homeless MSM populations treated over the Christmas season

Rev Al Miller’s late response to Dwayne Jones’ Murder & Respect heterosexuals demand

So Reverend Al Miller apart from using his weekend tele-evangelist airtime to suggest reparative therapy as if it works in his church Fellowship Tabernacle has finally come clean with respects to the awful murder of transgender teen Dwayne Jones in Montego Bay earlier this year. In an interview on Newstalk 93FM radio similar to other pastors who have been getting far more airtime than normal since the Queen Ifrica Freedom of Speech fiasco has and is still playing out Reverend Miller tried to bring some semblance of tolerance to the mix. Let us not forget this is the same man some time ago openly said persons must not buy into the tolerance call from the gay lobby as it was a guise to sneak in homosexuality on the nation. In September 2011 on this blog I posted Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” where he said among other things

 

“Nothing is wrong with loving someone but disagreeing or disliking their lifestyle and the issue is the lifestyle we are not against, the Christians the word of god is not against the individual cause we are all sinners but we must recognize sin as sin, wrong is wrong and so although we may accept and embrace the person but we must say that the conduct is not right  and what the gay agenda is about is wanting the society to accept the lifestyle as being right but they are using the guise of tolerance, of course we can be tolerant with the individual but we must have the right to be intolerant to a practice that is not right it is in the same vein as anyone who practices a lifestyle that is inconsistent with correct behaviour or good for a society, if it is stealing if it is murder or any other kind of crime that is not good for society.

We must embrace the individual but we must reject the lifestyle the behaviour and it is the same, it is the behaviour, when we talk about the protection of rights the protection of rights if gays already exists because all their natural rights are there but what they are crying for is not protection of rights against harm in as much as crying for the acceptance of the lifestyle so that we will legitimize a lifestyle which is contrary to moral law to natural law to social order and all that certainly is good and decent and wholesome and will ensure our fulfillment of the mandate that we were given by our creator.”

Yesterday however he called for everyone to respect the norms and values of society and that accepted norms must not be overlooked “There is no question that that whole incident is unfortunate and is not the kind of thing that should happen we need justice and acting justly and rightly is the way that we must operate and as a society with values must operate and be consistent in upholding of its values and the welfare and rights of individuals are critical in that process but it is equally true that in any society that standards of behaviour and accepted norms must also be respected by all, it can’t be good for some and not for others.”

He further stated that while members of the gay community are calling for the rights of such persons to be respected we must also respect the rights of the heterosexual community, “Unfortunately in recent times that an incident like the one that happened there that created the ire of the citizens who have reacted at wrongly but it is speaking however to citizen that is saying that is not the accepted norm that we want. Equally we must respect the rights of all it has to be both sides, I am hearing a lot in recent times that the gay rights lobby for instance is primarily promoting what they consider their rights must be protected but yet be ignoring the rights of others, you cannot do unjustly to do justly so if we are going to talk about justice and wisdom we must be equitable so that they also must respect the rights and beliefs and the norms of the rest of society.” Meanwhile a British Gay rights group stages a protest in the UK as headed by Peter Tatchell and a Justice for Dwayne Jones at the Jamaican Consulate yesterday in London. They called for the government to protect the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender communities against hate crimes. Pity that the realities still escape our friends overseas here as this was not a homophobic killing directly but has variables that either at the programmatic and intervention levels have yet to be properly discussed and understood.

More Rev Al Miller anti gay positions:

Rev Al Miller on the Abnormality of Homosexuality & the invented gay marriage rights ploy

also see Anti gay pastor and restorative therapy advocate in trouble with the law again from sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger

Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice

It seems the goodly Reverend’s view on respecting the rights of others is to stay quiet and be subject to condemnation biblically and otherwise but when one of our members is maimed or killed the half hearted conditional tolerance and pity comes forth, really!? The gentleman needs to remember his track record speaks to his true position from his active appearances in the Charter of Rights passage where he alongside Shirley Richards of the Lawywers’ Christian Fellowship made sure whatever coverage of discrimination due to sexual orientation was removed yet he comes with this position, who does he think he is fooling here?

Check out the video: Dwayne Jones (Gully Queen) Last Appearance prior to his murder 

Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship’s continued fear mongering on Christian persecution post buggery law amendment & re-socialization

Battle Lines Javed Jaghai versus the state & the Jamaica Buggery Law
Shirley RIchards of LCF fame

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

H

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far

The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far …….

Gary-Harriott.jpg

 

JCC’s General Secretary Gary Harriot

Exactly one month ago May 28th after a previous interview alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG Dane Lewis on George Davis Live on Nationwide where a clear position was not really established by the JCC a follow-up report came in print media suggesting the Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC had not put a formal position on homosexuality given the hotly debated issue with court challenges in full effect. General Secretary of the JCC Gary Harriot in that interview said the conversations need to continue as other Caribbean church leaders expressed the pressure that their societies are under to repeal laws supposedly against the “homosexual lifestyle.” Gen Sec Harriot seems unaware or a slip of the tongue that homosexuality is not illegal and buggery is not synonymous with gay men only.

The issue of church members being homosexuals came up for mention as well to which the Gen Sec said the council is yet to finalize an official position although they have a draft in place as a work in progress document, he said whichever church one may go one is bound to find someone struggling with homosexual tendencies or relationship matters not in keeping with the teachings of the church.  Dane Lewis at the time spoke to the questions posed to him on the opposition from the anti gay groups. For the most part it was a slow interview and lacked a more robust feel to peak the public’s interest. Reverend Harriot spoke to the possible changes on the law following the court cases filed and that of those awaiting deliberations (tolerance advert). He said “I can express two basic points, there is a side of the church that sees homosexuality as a moral issue …… legalizing such action may not be the way to deal with it but to deal with it from a moral perspective, the other side of the coin when you look what is happening elsewhere it looks like a strategic political move and that if you were to remove the law then what you are doing is that you are opening a flood gate that you are going into directions where your whole social fabric would be changed”

He said also that there is some tension and that the JCC has not come to a formal position which they hope to do in a few weeks if they are able to arrive at a consensus.

As far as I am concerned they seem limp wristed overall, they are silent on most matters and other societal ills especially when the Peoples National Party, PNP are in power and have been accused of being politically aligned to the party hence their docility. This cautious treading is far different when compared to the other more radical evangelical bodies and voices. Fast forward to today on Love 101FM with host Theologian Reverend Clinton Chisholm, the interview had a different tone when compared to the Nationwide radio George Davis Live session as aforementioned, Reverend Harriot reiterated his point of the JCC not having an official statement yet on their position towards homosexuality but he mentioned what the members have put forward thus far:

Some members did not see homosexuality as natural or normal

For the pastoral side persons who are engaged in a homosexual lifestyle their humanity must be regarded

They must benefit from the pastoral care from the church to which he included reparative therapy as a solution to the “lifestyle”

Marriage must remain as is between a male and a female

They are unsure and do not have a consensus on whether the buggery law should be repealed; some are of the view it should be kept while others if the act takes place in private between two consenting adults in private then while not supporting the behaviour it should not be a matter for a person should be held for a criminal act.

Should buggery be treated as a legal matter or a moral issue?

He lamented the selectivity of the church on issues and tied into that is the ministry of healing that must take precedence

Policing sex laws he agreed with Reverend Chisholm is a challenge and examples such as adultery, incest and child abuse were offered. He mentioned psycho social skills in spotting a possible abuse victims but the problem of police actually having to intrude to see what suspects are doing is an issue.

The pseudo scientific component was brought in the exchange as proving some aspects of sex crimes including buggery would involve DNA evidence and the individual subjecting themselves to clinical examination.

Discussions with groups like JFLAG and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition on the issues and also with major church leaders not JCC as a group but committees that one or all the groups are apart. The JCC sat with the group JFLAG during the high moments of the homeless MSM issue in New Kingston.

Homosexuality is not in the plan and design of God

The church must become proactive in teaching persons about sex and sexuality and the consequences of unhealthy practices he however highlighted that the buggery law does not only apply to same gender sex.

General Secretary Harriot spent a great deal emphasizing reparative therapy and counselling for persons supposedly damaged by homosexuality. He said persons are in the church struggling he tried to prove causation as from an abuse standpoint or persons were forced into the “lifestyle” and a struggle with the flesh. He also suggested psychotherapy but the pastor who is close to the issue should allow another professional to handle the case as a counselling officer in the church usually a preacher should not also preach to that client who may be in the congregation on any given service date. Conflicts of interest may occur as an illustration while behind pulpit may cause the client to withdraw.

Reverend Clinton Chisholm again proving his ignorance on sexuality committed another infraction this time towards asexual where he made the following comment “If you have never felt a strong pull for sexual intercourse, you are either abnormal, too old, too young or too lie.” Clearly both Reverend needs to be brought up to speed on Asexuality (persons who engage in emotional relations more so than sexual ones) or Demisexuals (persons who only develop sexual interest in someone after a protracted period where an emotional attachment has been formed) for Reverend Clinton to suggest such persons are abnormal is a misnomer as both forms are not considered a disorder by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, DSM, the guide for all psychological professionals. The training of pastors in counselling was discussed at length and pin pointing sexual problems.

Reverend Harriot also said the church should also get the family of the reparative therapy client and they repeated refer to homosexuality as a lifestyle more so than an innate orientation. He however cautioned that pastors need to know their weakness and if they have strong feelings towards the issue then they should refrain possibly from direct handling of a particular client as it may impact the work.

The “Repentant” homosexual was also examined from an official office standpoint in any church as if they genuinely showed remorse or change then that individual should be restored to their previously held position however Reverend Chisholm expressed reservations as the general membership may not concur with such a decision.

Gay clergy was not officially addressed by the JCC’s draft paper but some churches suggest once persons express homosexual tendencies or desire a need for some redress then reparative work should be done. As long as also there is not an open expression of the lifestyle so in other words keep it to yourself and we may look the other way, without saying it in some many words. A disturbing line from the General Secretary had me stunned for a few second when he said: “As long as the person does not engage in sex and remains celibate then they could be considered for the position.” Strange to me as I thought aloud while listening the interview that in the absence of everyone how would the clergy or pastoral staff know or prove this officer is celibate are they going to monitor the officer’s movement so much? Denominations under the JCC established their own protocols under some guidance for now.

A rather roundabout and unclear set of positions in some sense from the JCC’s standpoint as the leading interfaith body. Even in the face of reparative or conversion therapy proving a failure or agencies that offer such closing case in point Ex-Gay Ministries in the United States there is still this belief that orientation can be changed without disastrous consequences. Just this week the UK and New Jersey have moved to ban conversion therapy and California had done so last year.

See what you make of this.

UPDATE July 8, 2013 New President says Government will bow to gays:

Buggery law: Government will bow

New church head expects pressure from int’l community, gays on Simpson Miller administration


Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Buggery-law–Government-will-bow_14640324#ixzz2YVr0WkDB

Peace and tolerance

H

Buggery, Bigotry And Buffoonery

As the war of words heat up in print between straight-allied activists, religious intolerant groups and the LGBT lobby and several legal challenges hanging in the balance I think we need to tread very careful and try not to get lost in the sea of charges and counter charges. Today’s piece however in the Gleaner by Attorney Gordon Robinson however is a good one:

Gordon Robinson, Contributor to the Gleaner wrote:

Bigotry is as bigotry does.It’s usually dressed up in many disguises, usually religious, but bigotry always exposes itself by the lengths to which it’ll go to fashion fallacious arguments to create an illusion of truth protecting its unreasonable beliefs from plain sight.

The worst form of bigotry is the self-righteous kind where the Bible is blamed for man’s inhumanity to man. “Is not me say so,” preaches Pastor doing his best Shaggy impression, “It’s in the Bible!”

As one bogus excuse for entrenching bigotry as national policy is debunked, another is trotted out. Humans, looking as earnest as chemistry professors in nightclubs while feigning sincere attempts to grasp non-existent complexities as they explain why other humans shouldn’t be treated equally, never tire of producing nonsensical arguments in support of their fatally flawed hypothesis.

Because, make no mistake about it, any hypothesis that a baby born who, when grown, is attracted differently from another baby born and grown on the same planet is somehow inherently evil (or requires ‘cure’) is a fallacious hypothesis.

What follows from this simple premise is that any argument put forward by those seeking to perpetuate such a bigoted view is easily exposed as nonsense. It matters not the form bigotry might, from time to time, take, whether segregation, apartheid, religious intolerance, racism, slavery, or homophobia. Bigotry is as bigotry does.

Sometimes, persons trying to expose the fallacy in a shiny new argument become entangled in the need to be politically correct or maybe is himself/herself conflicted, hence trying to argue from textbook theory instead of inalienable truth. The inalienable truth, which is self-evident, is that all humans are created equal. However, no two persons have the same DNA. All of us have always been, and will always be, Differently Natural Animals, yet we’re all equal in the sight of God.

These things don’t confuse children. In their innocence, children play with any other child. It’s only when a supervising adult says, “Don’t play with that little boy. He likes to put on girl’s clothes. He’s queer” that the child, conditioned to obey, shies away.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.

Recently, I’ve noted the religious righteous have launched a new offensive against homosexuals. It’s as if an executive council of the forces of bigotry held emergency meetings after receiving cell phone calls from today’s Paul Revere, “The homos are coming! The homos are coming!” – from which fresh arguments were fashioned to defeat annoying activists expecting gays to be treated as humans (OMG!). Then foot soldiers are deployed to spread the word.

Previously, the favourite argument of lobbyists for bigotry as government policy was, “Where will it end? If ‘unnatural’ sex acts are to be tolerated, man should be able to have sex with his dog. Or cat. Or donkey. Where do we draw the line?” This is, of course, crude fearmongering disguised as argument.

What exactly is ‘natural’?

Buzzwords like ‘unnatural’ deliberately conjure up disgusting mind pictures designed to regurgitate your lunch. Especially in an undereducated nation, this word will scare plenty people. But, first, what exactly is ‘natural’? What’s natural for the goose can be awkward for the gander. My dictionary defines ‘natural’ as ‘existing in nature; not made or caused by humans’, which, if I took ye Olde Testament literally, makes ALL sex unnatural.

Bigotry needs fear to feed its irrationality, hence the inclusion of fearsome buzzwords and the persistent use of inappropriate analogies rather than addressing the actual situation bigotry wants to condemn.

Logic’s reply excludes all emotive words. It’s that the world needs more, love not less. Anything done between consenting adults in the name of love is between them and their God and none of the State’s business. It’s all about consent. So, the reason why the State justifiably steps in when a man is caught raping a donkey is because the poor donkey can’t consent. Like all bad analogies, bigotry’s use of the donkey parable is irrelevant to the real issue.

That argument having flopped, the forces of bigotry have regrouped; a new argument has been developed; and is being broadcast islandwide. It begins on cue, “Where will it end?” Bigotry continues, “If anything between consenting adults is okay, what if a father and his adult daughter have consensual sex? What about that?”

This inane argument has been the subject of an insidious campaign of brainwashing by immersion from all angles, including by educated panellists on a popular TV show. That show’s token liberal fumbled the ball while she stammered her way to an equally silly response about ill-advised genetics. Genetics, schmenetics! Don’t let bigotry’s smoke and mirrors confuse you. It’s all about consent.

Consensual sex between a father and his adult daughter is an oxymoron of cataclysmic proportions. Both in law and common sense, ‘consent’ can’t be present if it’s the result of undue influence. A parent has complete and authoritative influence over his children from birth, and each child places total trust in that parent’s guidance. Sex with one’s daughter is inherently sex obtained by an abuse of that trust (undue influence) and so can’t be consensual, properly so called, regardless of the daughter’s current age.

As bastions of prejudice are crumbling worldwide, it seems local bigotry’s desperation has pushed it to the use of whatever argument necessary, no matter how patently flawed, to ensure only one type of love is tolerated in Jamaica. Woe betide your love should it not conform to Bigotry’s notion of ‘natural’ love.

It matters not how skilled or qualified you are. It matters not how caring and loving an individual you are. If you dare to love a member of your own gender, you must be shunned, hated, and punished. Every possible obstacle must find itself in your ambitions’ path, your hopes, your dreams, your love, even your very life. To bigotry, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as passing judgement on a fellow life traveller less righteous than him/her.

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,

There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross

Enough to last until the end of time.

At this time of national crisis, our economy is being squeezed to death, our children are undereducated, our health services are chaotic, bus fare hikes are about to cripple the poor, yet the number one issue churches can find to throw their coordinated strength against is the perpetuation of hatred against gays. Right now, as Peter Phillips correctly said, we need all hands on deck. That’s ALL hands, whether left- or right-handed, gay or straight.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.

No, not just for some but for everyone.

 

Instead of calling for unity against economic crisis; or unity against the violent, frightening crime, Jamaica’s chauffeur to the most wanted, Reverend Al, has a more important national focus. He wrote:

“We declare that we’ll mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.”

Al, the Constitution doesn’t ‘relate’ to buggery. Your Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship made sure of that. Talk about fleeing when nobody pursueth! He removed all pretence at political neutrality when, in his most arrogant tone, he said:

“We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.”

POLITICAL THREAT

Rev Al Unplugged produces a partisan political threat to destroy any government who even debates treating gays as equal under the law. Al believes the “gay-rights agenda” is “foreign” to our culture. Al, why’re you so afraid? Since gays have proliferated in Jamaica since forever (including in the Church), and since Jamaican gays most definitely want ‘gay rights’ (all they really want is human rights), here’s the bad news, Al. Gay rights is about as foreign to Jamaica as priests inappropriately fondling young boys or pastors knocking up church sisters. Al saved the best for last:

“We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.”

Why does Al DEMAND the courts uphold the Constitution? Is he saying they’ve been derelict in that duty? Maybe he believes that’s why the courts convicted him of a gun-related offence. His stated respect for privacy, coming immediately after his lurid threat to withdraw “support” from any government considering allowing gays their privacy, rings as hollow as a Loretta Lynn’s birthplace.

Q: What is segregation?

Little Girl: I don’t know what seggeration is.

Q: What is bigotry?

Little Girl: I don’t know what bigory is.

Q: What does hatred mean?

Little Girl: I don’t know what that is.

Q: What is prejudice?

Little Girl: Umm, I think it’s when somebody’s sick.”

Legendary song-writing duo, Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music), wrote ‘What The World Needs Now is Love’ in 1965. Dionne Warwick turned it down (although she subsequently covered it in 1966), so it was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon. In 1971, in the aftermath of America’s notorious political assassinations, disc jockey Tom Clay created a superb remix which pulled together elements of the Bacharach/David song and 1968’s Abraham Martin and John (written by Dick Holler and first recorded by rock ‘n’ roll star Dion).

The musical collage featured a question-and-answer session with a little girl for whom these concepts of hate were truly foreign. Tom Clay’s remix became a smash hit. Readers could revisit it in these times when purveyors of hatred threaten to tear us apart and destroy any hope of a successful Jamaican vision.

Peace and love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.

 

Also see:

The False Dichotomy of the religious right on the ………

Espeut, West says “Homophobia” was invented to abuse Christians as hate speech

‘Gays Made, Not Born’ – On the Confused State of the Religious Mind

Some religious right lies about the lgbt community…

Don’t Shield Gays From Criticism

Church Stands Resolute Against Buggery Backers says Al Miller ………… Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass says LGBT voice

I don’t like where the debate in Jamaica is heading at all and where powerful religious voices more egregiously than ever in the name of God are stirring strife unnecessarily, just days before we saw some other pastor saying he would die to stop buggery from becoming legal and implying some sort of violence as if the gay lobby presented any such stance in the agitation, The Gleaner published a letter from homophobe, restorative therapy advocate and hypocritical pastor Al Miller who I have covered extensively for a while on my blogs showing his flaw. Let us NEVER forget this is the same man who aided and abetted or attempted to and was caught a known fugitive to escape the law that being Christopher Dudus Coke while he was cross dressed at that (an aesthetic feature of male homosexuality) yet he had no problem participating in deception to help a criminal escape to a foreign power, thankfully he is being tried in court for doing so yet he claims to speak in behalf of other pastors on his favourite rhetoric (I guess to regain lost support as his TV show was off air for some time and to fill the collection plates as well while members defected to other churches)

He has come out strongly since the tolerance ad case ended days ago in the Supreme Court and the judges deliberate. Let us also not forget: Reverend Al Miller has been found guilty of negligence resulting in the loss or theft of his licensed firearm. He has no moral authority as far as I am concerned having acted in such a manner likened to a traitor to his country, why also would a pastor need a gun? In that mystery case of his firearm that just disappeared as he turned his back.

The fear mongering on male homosexuality to get popular support was a ploy also used by the political directorate while enthralling support and the constant conflation of same gender sex and abuse especially paedophilia is an old ploy to suggest all we are as gay men are deviants going after prepubescent persons when it is clear to all honest right thinking persons that paedophilia is a deviant diagnosable disorder despite the gender of the alleged perpetrator while homosexuality is NOT. He had long dismissed the call for tolerance way before the recent trial as a guise to slide in homosexuality as normative (but isn’t it really as it appears in 450 species of animals)

This is the same man who also was right beside the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship during the Charter of Rights debate where the definition of sex was twisted and the discrimination via sex and gender where removed at their insistence fearing some door would be opened to decriminalize homosexuality/buggery. Funny that in three days we lost four children due to murder and an elderly woman yet the same zeal as seen below is nowhere to be found via loss of life or even the thousands of missing children to date or even the others in homes and on the streets but pastors and their apologists want to raise to the level of law the use of my anatomy in a private space strangely in the face of a rhetoric of theirs too to “keep it to ourselves”

see previous posts here:

Rev Al Miller on the Abnormality of Homosexuality & the invented gay marriage rights ploy

Rev Al Miller says gay lobby is using the guise of tolerance to get the nation to accept the “gay lifestyle” on September 11, 2011

also see Anti gay pastor and restorative therapy advocate in trouble with the law again from sister blog GLBTQJA on blogger

and A word to the reverend (anti gay Al Miller) …….. and

Al Miller Guilty – Judge Rejects Pastor’s Unsworn Statement

Here is his letter published today:

THE EDITOR, Sir:Our nation continues to experience a grave and deepening social and economic crisis rooted in the erosion of moral and spiritual values.

As Christian leaders and the large contingent of believers that we serve directly, numbering more than 500,000 (not including all denominations) and the general sentiment of the majority of the rest of the citizens of our nation, we register our full support of the position taken by the media houses – TVJ, CVM and others – not to have carried the advertisement being proposed by Mr Maurice Tomlinson.

It was indicated to the stations by some of us that had those advertisements been carried, we would have registered our strongest objections. We had registered our objections then and remain resolute in upholding the fundamental values and moral principles of our faith and that of the founding fathers of our nation.

We declare that we will mobilise and resist any attempt to tamper with the Constitution as it relates to buggery. Our present Charter of Rights sufficiently covers and protects the rights of all citizens.

We will not support any politician or political party that seeks to promote and foist on our nation, in any shape or form, the gay-rights agenda, which is alien to our culture as a people.

We respect the right of privacy and freedom of personal choices. We believe and demand that Government and the courts bear in mind and uphold the Constitution of our nation and the will of the majority of our citizens.

TROUBLING NEW TRENDS

The recent information shared by the children’s advocate indicates that there has been a 74 per cent increase in reported buggery acts against children. Could this be as a result of increased awareness and promotion of this unacceptable alternative lifestyle?

We will not sit by and allow the thinking of less than one per cent or any weak-willed Government to lead us into simply following other nations along a path that is not in our best interest.

We are a nation with a proud history of leading on points of principle and values. We want all to be aware that on this issue and the deteriorating conditions of the poor, and justice, the majority of us, church leaders, stand united.

AL MILLER

pastormilleroffice@gmail.com,Pastor, Fellowship Tabernacle (On behalf of scores of pastors and leaders)

meanwhile another religious group has been taken to task by a local advocate:

Love March Movement Lacks Moral Compass

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Dr Wayne West of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society has become the Pied Piper for a group of young Christians calling themselves The Love March Movement, whose purpose is evidently quite the opposite of marching in the name of love.

The ditty that West is singing while his children march is anything but conducive to the creation of a healthy society. In fact, it would appear that their utopian society can only come to fruition if they dance for Lucifer so that he will come to collect his progeny – the gays – in a devilish rapture.

That is the only way I can rationalise the lies that this coalition of church people is so eager to share with anyone that is willing to listen.

Their latest campaign to typify male homosexuals as vectors for infectious disease by relying on Lancet data is so illogical in its apprehension of clearly articulated epidemiological research that it is scary.

Yet when one considers that these are sensible people who deliberately misrepresent data in order to advance an agenda of institutionalised prejudice, it becomes clear that this is a morally bankrupt group of Christians. In their minds, the end justifies the means, and so a campaign built on half-truths and deliberate obfuscation of facts is perfectly appropriate when the final objective is to exclude gays from their idyllic healthy society.

Since West and his colleagues are so fixated with conducting in-depth research on the types of sex they claim not to be having while prescribing the types of sex the State ought to prevent the rest of us from enjoying, they are blind to the ingredients of a healthy society that they could pool their immense resources to bring together.

Instead of spending money to print full-page fallacious advertisements to demonise gay men, they could invest in feeding programmes for inner-city infants who are on a staple diet of bag juice and Cheez Trix. They could also invest in remedial literacy programmes for the significant number of young people who leave school functionally illiterate.

Perhaps they could use their skills for proselytism to combat the corruption and ineptitude that have stagnated the development of our nation; and maybe if they really put their minds to it, they could march for love in our homes and peace in our communities as a way to counter the crime and violence that have become commonplace in Jamaica.

If they are not interested in addressing any of the above and would rather obsess over the sexual proclivities of strangers, it is obvious that they are far from being the bastions of moral virtue that they proclaim themselves to be and, therefore, cannot be taken seriously by anyone with a functioning moral compass.

BRIAN-PAUL WELSH

brianpaul.welsh@

gmail.com

More: Following the Jamaica Society for a Healthy Society’s recent public relations campaign with an HIV is a gay disease tinge is discussed on Nationwide Radio hosted by the not so tolerant George Davis, the illogical posturings by Mr West and his team is exposed by Mrs Carol Narcisse public commentator.

Interfaith group pledges continued support for St Catherine homeless MSM

The last time we looked at this it was on Gay Jamaica Watch in December of 2012 where the group then had hosted a treat during the Christmas holidays for a select few.

The interfaith group who had expressed some interest earlier last year in assisting three of the young men after a series of incidents involving them and others in several forced evictions similar to those of their Kingston counterparts with the local authorities moving the men from all points they occupy and obstruct have vowed to continue while resources last. However in St Catherine it was residents who made those decisions with some disastrous consequences such as the reported chase and attempted flogging of a group who illegally occupied an empty house in the Sydenham area and men supposedly ran them out of town and boarded up the structure after the owners residing overseas were informed of the squatting activities by the men.

The numbers of men now reached by the group has changed since that last post on Gay Jamaica Watch and there has also been some disagreement between the group’s leaders as to whether to keep the outreach as is or to also include some sort of reparative therapy as well in order to win the men over to Christ as it were.

The interfaith team at the time consisted of pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventists, A church of God leadress and others numbering eight in total had approached the situation as aforementioned by providing short term odd jobs for the three young men they had identified to work with at first when the Syndenham incident occurred they thought the men were just homeless generally not ascertaining that there was more to their situation that the typical displaced youth on the street would have experienced. Then the real conditions became known to the group who were already assisting other dislocated populations as well, the stories however were flying out of the men as two members of the interfaith team took particular interest in the men after listening intently over time according to two of the men who related their encounter. Now the group has shrunk to 6 as two persons departed being the Seventh Day and another person as they felt they were supporting a sin despite also aiding the men’s welfare.

Temporary jobs ……………..

The men have been afforded temporary jobs and their numbers have also seen some changes, two of the original three have left for jobs elsewhere while four more persons have since been aided in some way by the mixed church group what seems apparent from day one was that there was some covertness about the operation as if not to allow their respective central leadership to become too aware of this unique outreach arrangement as I have not heard of a similar type in other parishes as yet. My concerns however are still there for the more effeminate members of the displaced in St Catherine as there seems to be some reluctance to reach out to them more so than their hypermasculine counterparts. The weed whacking activity continues as the interfaith team had acquired a new and a second hand machine but with the low rainfall, the frugality of persons spending on getting lawns manicured the incomes stream has slowed greatly. One of the men has become a mobile barber of sorts literally walking from door to door in residential areas offering his trim and shave services with repaired equipment but he has been improving with time I was told.

The old idea of affording the men items so they could sell in the main town’s environs has been shelved as funds have dwindled and the police crackdown on street vending is a cause for concern coupled with what is alleged to be a resurgence of extortion type activities with vendors as well as they have to pay some sort of fee, what this fee is for is unclear at the moment. The men are allowed to use a space in a church yard and there are prayer meetings and other group discourse carried out as well, I am told by the same man I met also that the group seems to try to steer clear of the homosexual bit with them, he says he is not sure as maybe it is because of their masculine nature that they do not rebuke them or visit the matter all that much, the two original persons however who departed the group would hint to homosexuality being an abomination and the whole Leviticusal bit.

While this group is being assisted the numbers of unemployed or unemployable gay/bi youth who have been evicted is growing as three more persons have since been added according to one of the men I ran into in Spanish Town recently, one of those newcomers is a high school student and is now having difficulty attending classes. Speaking of classes there is some hint as well of some assistance in getting the men to attend evening classes in the Spanish Town area as those abound and there is talk of some financial assistance in that regard as well.

chisholm antigay seminar ad 2013

Given the opposite stance taken by other church groups and leaders such as a recent seminar (photo of ad above) that used very old US NARTH studies to dishonestly justify and present homosexuality as some deviant activity and openly suggesting a cure it is good to see some other religious folks taking a more mature and sensible approach thus far to those who are different, I hope this lasts as long as it can and that the men make good use of this outreach, I am just concerned about the “queenz” in the lot though don’t they need to be reached too? I guess it’s going to take some more prodding and education on effeminacy in men to move in that direction.

Peace and tolerance

H

also see: On homelessness, evictions, hypocrisy & now JFLAG’s own displacement

UPDATE March 2014:

BUSINESS DOWNTURN FOR THE WEED-WHACKING PROJECT FOR FORMER DISPLACED ST CATHERINE MSM