Let's show true respect for all
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Respect Jamaica programme is a multi-corporate initiative that promotes the value of showing respect and good manners to all people as essential components of making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. As part of our mandate to promote acceptance in a number of pillars, we were present at the Christ Church in Vineyard Town on Sunday for Reverend Father Sean Major-Campbell's service titled 'In Celebration of Human Rights'.
The reverend eloquently questioned deaths in police custody, incest, marital rape, political corruption, and, yes, homophobia.
Father Sean asked: "Do you have to be a divorcee to understand that divorce has been a blessing for some persons and that some persons in the Church actually need a divorce? Do you have to be a woman without a child to understand that we still have persons in our midst who speak disparagingly about a woman who does not have a child? Do you have to be gay to understand that gay people continue to be the objects of stigma and discrimination?"
Respect Jamaica is aligned with and fully supports Father Sean's message - that respect is always due - that people who are different should be accepted and be treated politely, without needing to necessarily accept the specific difference. We encourage the inclusion of people of varying race, religion, class, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, and/or special needs, as all are deserving of respect.
In fact, Father Sean ended with the poignant question of whether our Church and political leaders could stand up as agents of respect for every Jamaican - and he lists some: "Christians and atheists, conservatives and liberals, lettered and unlettered, JLP and PNP, human-rights activists and human-rights abusers, Church and State, gay and straight, mother and father, police and civilians, rich and poor, Kingston College old boys and Professor Carolyn Cooper." It is, as Father Sean says, "all about living together in peace, in spite of the differences in our nature".
KAREN MCDONALD GAYLE
Senior Programme Manager - Respect Jamaica