Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Pastor troubled by bishop's position on buggery law

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 7:00 AMRyon Jones

"Sad" is how pastor of the Richmond Park Church of the Nazarene, the Reverend Andrew Henry, has described the recommendation made by head of the Anglican Church in Jamaica and The Cayman Islands, Bishop Howard Gregory, for buggery to be decriminalised.

Despite Gregory having stated that the view was his own, Henry said that he did not think that the personal position of the leader of a church can be too far from that of the church.

"I was very surprised by that kind of response from one of our leaders because I thought that now, more than ever, the Church ought to speak from a very unified position," Henry said.

"And to have the head of a very established denomination breaking ranks, in my mind, is really a step down or a lowering of the standard of the Church, and that for me is really disheartening and troubling."

Henry said that the Church of the Nazarene, which is an evangelical Christian denomination, believes that human sexuality is one expression of holiness, and the beauty that God has given to Man and homosexuality is one means by which it is perverted.

"What we are saying is, if the situation is immoral, then whether it is done publicly or privately, it is still immoral," Henry said. "And if you do not have certain laws in place, then you are going to have a proliferation of things. So I maintain that it should be illegal."

In his written submission to the parliamentary committee examining the Sexual Offences Act and related laws, Gregory also argued that there can be rape in marriage, a view that also breaks ranks with the position of church groups.

Henry, however, said that he was inclined to agree with Gregory on the issue of marital rape as he believed if a woman "says no, she must be respected as a human being".

Henry added: "There could be various other things that she did not say in that first conversation, and if you truly love and respect her, you are going to want to find out what the issue is as it could be a red flag."

Henry is calling for the various denominations to come together and state a clear position on key issues such as buggery and marital rape to avoid variance.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com