Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Misplaced priorities and the anti-gay agenda

Published:Monday | October 5, 2015 | 10:12 AMMichael Abrahams

Jamaica CAUSE (Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation), a so-called Christian group, hosted a rally in Half-Way Tree on September 27 to express their disapproval of same-sex marriage. The theme of the rally was ‘Defending Family Faith and Freedom’, and people turned out in their thousands to preach fire and brimstone on all things gay. The organisers did so under the guise of showing concern about family life and protecting the Jamaican family.
When one objectively examines the issues adversely affecting families in Jamaica today, one sees at the forefront, child abuse and neglect, children born in unstable unions, absent fathers, men having children outside their relationships, women with multiple babyfathers, men with multiple babymothers, divorce, domestic violence, incest, teenage pregnancies and child trafficking, among other things.
Interestingly, while the rally was in progress, there was an item broadcast in the evening news featuring the children’s advocate expressing concern about the number of children in Jamaica who are getting shot.
So, for the organisers to claim that they were driven to stage the rally out of concern for the Jamaican family is somewhat disingenuous, because while the above-mentioned issues are prevalent in our society today, same-sex marriage is not only illegal, it is also not up for discussion by our Government.
The premier LGBT rights advocacy group in Jamaica, J-FLAG, does not even have the issue on its agenda. Before same-sex marriage can be legalised, the buggery law has to be repealed, and there is no evidence of that happening here anytime soon.
Also, repeal of the buggery law does not necessarily mean that same-sex marriage will be fast-tracked. Bahamas repealed its buggery law in 1991 and persons are still not allowed to marry others of the same gender in that country. So obsessing over the possibility of same-sex marriage and prioritising it over the above-mentioned issues is as silly as worrying about an invasion of kangaroos in the Arctic Circle, while trivialising the devastating effects of climate change.
Father Richard Ho Lung took to the stage and urged the audience to “love the sinner but hate the sin”. But shouting disparaging, anti-gay sentiments to a frenzied crowd is not showing love, and only serves to psychologically traumatise members of the LGBT community.
Also, Ho Lung expressed concern about boys being told to be “friends with boys”, an attitude that I found to be rather peculiar, as he himself walks around with boys who are friends with boys, wearing garments resembling frocks.
Daniel Thomas, of the Love March Movement, accused United States President Barack Obama of promoting homosexuality, when he has done no such thing. What Obama has done is promote tolerance. Children’s advocate Betty-Ann Blaine also cautioned people to be careful of the term ‘human rights’, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the fact that LGBT rights fall under the umbrella of human rights.
Several of these fraudulent prophets of doom made references to the then upcoming visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, instilling fear into attendees that he would pressure us into accepting same-sex marriage. I was informed, however, by several contacts inside the PNP administration, including two government ministers, that during Cameron’s visit to Jamaica, LGBT issues were not even raised.
The irony is that these zealots congregated to unite against the ‘gay agenda’, when the ‘gay agenda’, at least in Jamaica, is for LGBT people to be treated equally, which is not unreasonable.
On the other hand, there is definitely an ominous anti-gay agenda in operation in our country today, spearheaded by insensitive and overzealous bigots who give true Christians a bad name. Their goal is to demoralise, denigrate and suppress persons who are not heterosexual.
These individuals claim to follow a man who instructed his followers to love others and to not judge. But they incite discrimination against a sector of our population who, just like the rest of us, want and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Chairman of Jamaica CAUSE, the Rev Dr Stevenson Samuels, stated that the rally was organised not to fight against homosexuality but to give heterosexuals a voice. This is a nonsensical claim, as heterosexuals do not require large gatherings with microphones and sound systems to amplify their voices in order to be heard.
The LGBT community in Jamaica makes little noise, and cannot even get a 30-second spot promoting tolerance to be aired on local television. Heterosexuals, on the other hand, voice their disapproval of homosexuality in churches, social media, newspapers, radio and television programmes and in Gordon House.
Throwing large amounts of money and energy behind these events, which focus on homosexuality and not the major issues affecting families today, exemplifies genuine homophobia; an irrational fear that gay bogeymen will take over the place, come for our children, indoctrinate and convert them and cause the birth rate on the planet to drop to naught.
The rally was an ugly display of bigotry, dishonesty, ignorance and blatant fearmongering. Our national motto is ‘Out of Many, One People’. The first line in the second verse of our national anthem is ‘Teach us true respect for all’. And Jesus Christ said, “Love your neighbour as yourself” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you”.
Those calling themselves patriotic Christians who take part in such gatherings are imposters and ought to take a serious look at themselves and examine their motives. We truly are a nation with seriously misplaced priorities.

-Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.