Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Religious bigots preyed on sick mom

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2017 | 3:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

My mother will not like this letter. And that is why I must write it.

The sad reality is that in Jamaica, there is a crippling silence about the harm fundamentalist religion does to children, and this has caused the trail of destruction to continue unabated. To end this carnage we who have been victims must speak up.

My mother has been a pillar of the Open Bible Church for many decades and now she is quite ill. I recently visited with her and she told me that a pastor said that God told him that the reason she hasn't been healed is because she will not disown me, her gay son.

I was incensed that this person, whom my mother selflessly assisted, should repay her kindness with this cruelty. He preyed on my mom's vulnerability to score homophobic points. Similarly, many other pastors have told parents that their LGBTI kids are biblical abominations who will attract the wrath of God if they are allowed to remain in the household.

This is why some kids as young as 10 years old have been thrown out on the streets and are now living in sewers. Many of them turned to sex work to survive and they are paid extra for condomless sex by men who often have female partners as masks, or cures, for their homosexuality in this homophobic society. This exposes the women, men and children to untold psychological and physical harm.

I have written to this pastor, as well as his supervisor, and the general secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches about the damaging effects of this hateful theology.

We may disagree about my sexual orientation in the same way that I disagree with the pastor's choice of religion. But that is no reason to increase the suffering of innocent and vulnerable souls.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

Montego Bay PO, St James