Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Christians, Quiet Your Disquiet and Outrage!

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Far too many of our church brothers and sisters in Jamaica are too interested in chastising so-called sinners and those among them who dare to love people unconditionally.

The disquiet subsequent to Father Sean Major Campbell's demonstration of love on December 7, 2014 at the service at Christ Church in Vineyard Town to commemorate the International Day for Human Rights is evidence of a society that is "morally bankrupt" and woefully lacking in (good) values and attitudes. He did the right thing as an individual and a man of God at a time when the number of persons in Jamaica who identify as non-religious is growing (perhaps exponentially).

His challenge to the members of his congregation to be more concerned about the violation of rights perpetrated against the poor, sexual and gender minorities, women and girls, people with disability, and people living with HIV that is so commonplace in our society was very appropriate. It's about time that more church leaders strongly urge and encourage others to love unconditionally and to, as Jamaicans, better play our part in advancing the welfare of the human race.

I am particularly bothered by the way in which Christianity is practised by countless Christians - especially those who profess to be among the holiest and most virtuous.

Why is it that pretty much the only time you hear the loud voices of our Christians registering how "deeply concerned" they are about what is happening in the society is when it has to do with sex and sexuality, flexi-work week or casino gambling (for example)? Do they not watch the news to see what has been happening with the people of Western Kingston? That situation desperately needs the outrage of our Christian folk.

Why are Christians so mute - for the most part - despite crime and violence, corruption and injustices against vulnerable and marginalised Jamaicans? One can easily count the times you hear from them in these situations - and it is usually the same few who have to take up the mantle and remind us that there are Christians who do care and use their privileges as the dominant religion responsibly. They are hope for what Christianity is supposedly about.

Why do Christians spend so much of their time lobbying the Government and other key stakeholders to retard progress in making our country more "safe, cohesive and just" through the amendment and/or enactment of necessary legislation? As if the passage of legislation in the interest of the people will somehow uncannily undermine Christianity and make us all heathens. How preposterous!

More important things to talk about

I respectfully beg that our Christians quiet their disquiet and outrage. There are far more things to make noise about than an Anglican priest washing the feet of two lesbians and allowing a transgender man to speak to a congregation. What a prekkeh pan Faada Sean if mi sex worker fren Angela did shuo op fi har foot dem get wash tuh?

What are people so offended about, really? Who or what gives Christians the moral authority to tell us who is sinful and who isn't, and who can and cannot come into the house of God to feel loved and fellowship with others?

Seemingly, this community of faith and righteousness which continues to wage war on social and economic progress, including retarding the protection and promotion of the rights of all Jamaicans, missed all the lessons and documentaries which would have enlightened them about some of the injustices and harm inflicted on humanity in the name of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour.

As Desmond Tutu, a man of the cloth from South Africa, said in his book God is Not A Christian, "Religion, which should foster sisterhood and brotherhood, which should encourage tolerance, respect, compassion, peace, reconciliation, caring, and sharing, has far too frequently perversely done the opposite. Religion has fuelled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression. Some of the ghastliest atrocities have happened and are happening in the name of religion. It need not be so if we can learn the obvious: that no religion can hope to have a monopoly on God, on goodness and virtue and truth."

Are our Christians (or church leaders) not concerned about people's frustration with how they behave towards people? What will it take for them to change and welcome all and sundry with open arms regardless of the work they do, who they love, where they live, or what they have done? Did Jesus not demonstrate this enough for them to understand, or must we force all adults back to Sunday school so they can familiarise themselves with the parables?

n Jaevion Nelson is a youth development, HIV and human rights advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and jaevion@gmail.com.