Fri | Feb 28, 2020

Glenford Smith | Free to work

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I was shocked to see a letter to you by T.T., a self-confessed member of the local LGBT community. You seemed to be in sympathy with the views shared that Jamaicans are "archaic and backward" in the workplace. I think it is despicable for T.T. to be gay and to be bragging about it! I would just like to ask you to look up Leviticus 18:22 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 -10.

- H.M.

CAREERS: Thank you for your feedback. I had to condense your email because it was lengthy.

Why were you shocked to see T.T. write in to The Sunday Gleaner? I was glad to see it. If that makes me a sympathiser, so be it guilty as charged. T.T. has a right to write in like any other reader of the Careers page and get a reasonable response.

That Jamaica's legislative system is archaic and backward was T.T.'s opinion. What I think about it really is irrelevant. T.T. was not bragging about being a member of the LGBT community any more than you are bragging about being a heterosexual. It is your opinion, and that's all right it's not right for you just as long as you acknowledge that T.T. has the same right of expression as yourself.

People of LGBT persuasion must be free to go work and free of interference from people who want to beat them up. That is the gravamen of the argument. They must not constantly be scared to lose their jobs or discriminated against at their jobs for being that way.

I have looked up what you suggested, and nothing in it has caused me to change my mind even a little.

In the Leviticus text, the Bible says: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Similarly, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor the drunkards, nor revellers, nor swindlers shall inherit the kingdom of God."

The specifics of the text do not matter so much as understanding that both of them were culturally and historically conditioned. The Leviticus text is dated around 1440-1400 BC and was written to the Israelites. The Corinthians text is dated around 2000 AD and was written to the people at Corinth. Theologians have found ways of saying they are for Christians today.

If that is your view, go right ahead and live by it. But someone else might regard the Bible as a book with some commendable things in it, as well as some parts that are reprehensible. They may say the Leviticus and Corinthians texts are among the reprehensible. In other words, they pick and choose what is useful and discard what is not.

This is not strange, by the way. That is what we in the west do with the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Torah or the Tao Te Ching, for instance. They pick and choose what in their judgment is sound advice for them.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.