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Jesus, Obama and gays

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMCzedale Smallwood
Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer United States President Barack Obama smiles as he addresses a youth town hall meeting at the University of the West Indies, Mona, last Thursday.

Among the attendees at the town hall meeting on April 9 with United States President Barack Obama were advocates of the LGBT lifestyle. Following the meeting, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice tweeted, "Anti-LGBT discrimination and violence is unacceptable everywhere. This is US policy globally, as we discussed here in Jamaica"

Such reaffirmation was tantamount to President Obama's acknowledgement of Angeline Jackson, the executive director of Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, the organisation dedicated to the needs of lesbians and bisexual women. Regardless of Jamaica's 'seeming criminality' attached to the choice of LGBT's, by constitutional policy, there is now need for drastic change in how we deal with humans, regardless of preference or lifestyle practices.

In St John 8, the apostle chronicles the story of a woman caught in adultery and Jesus's subsequent response to her detractors. Jesus said: "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her ... ." The condemners left because Christ exposed their sins in His continued writing on the ground. Now, just like in the time of Christ, there is a public divide where sexuality is concerned.

Our culture is one in which hate is propagated as a norm against certain kinds of people. The reality, until we stop blacklisting, targeting and bad-mouthing certain kinds of people and, rather, show genuine love, there will always be segregation.

 

DON'T TEAR DOWN

 

The reason Jesus asked the woman, in St John 8, who was on the verge of being stoned for adultery, who her accusers were is simple. Christ knew that those who wanted to throw stones at her were themselves sinners, too. The same goes for our frequent disregard for LGBTs. Before we condemn them, we must cleanse ourselves of our sins, and if cleansed, our saintliness will help us to build up others instead of tearing them down!

I affirm the Bible's position: Love covers a multitude of sins! And regardless of Peter's context in 1 Peter 4:8, many of us lack love, hospitality, common decency, and decorum when dealing with each other - not to mention how we approach and deal with LGBTs. We have churches marching against buggery in Half-Way Tree. Ironically, when the sinners come to our churches to have communion, we fail to accept them and love them.

The harsh and oft-neglected truth is that many LGBTs are filled with hurt and are broken, bitter, maligned, castigated, alienated, chastised, bruised and battered people. And before we judge and condemn them, we must prayerfully approach them and try to understand their story, their psychology, and sociology.

Before we can condemn them as scum of society, we must first understand their anthropology and the deep intricacies of their heredity, their individuality, and why they do what they do. And this kind of thorough work will take a lifetime and will need tremendous resources and training. Until then, none of us should act as though we are better than them.

 

LET GOD BE THE JUDGE

 

What we need now is for Jamaicans to stop stereotyping and badgering people. The level of hate in our country is beyond the descriptive power of my pen to even begin to write about.

Let God be the judge of Sodom and Gomorrah, if He sees one here in Jamaica. Let God be the judge of all sinners who fail to accept His love and pardoning grace. We are not God or gods who hold a monopoly on righteousness. We are humans, and we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

We need strong, bold, decisive - not divisive - leadership to address our situation. POTUS affirms equality for all humanity. Only God, through His Holy Spirit, can help all of us to deal with our personal sins and temper our prejudice and apathy against others, including LGBTs.

Let us hope that the change we seek will begin, even in us - deep in our souls. And until then, I pray we will stop pointing fingers at others.

- Czedale Smallwood is a minister of religion.

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