Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Letter of the Day | Church holding nation to ransom

Published:Tuesday | June 13, 2017 | 6:00 AM

 

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Church holds the Jamaican society and Parliament at ransom. Justice Minister Delroy Chuck has unmasked the Church's agenda to undermine the ability of all Jamaicans to enjoy the rights afforded to them under the Constitution.

At the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS, the minister laid out the unadulterated truth that Parliament and, by extension, Jamaica's democracy have been held at Bible-point on issues of fighting HIV and respecting the privacy of consenting adults to lead their own lives.

Some may argue how can the Parliament be held at ransom if it's the will of the majority in a democracy? But that is a reductionist view of democracy, one that philosophers like Plato abhorred for the risk of the tyranny of the majority and the rise of demagoguery.

Instead the type of democracy that the modern world - of which Jamaica is a part - values is one that listens to the majority but also to reason and logic, and seeks to protect of the most vulnerable from pernicious attacks of the majority.

As a nation, we should strive to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Minister Chuck's declaration echoes this sentiment and should gain the support all of well-thinking Jamaicans.

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) had a fit in wake of the Minister telling it like it is. In a statement, JCHS disagreed with the minister describing the Church as the "great challenge" in removing the buggery provision. If 10,000 anti-gay marchers in Half-Way Tree Square is not a challenge to parliament doing its job to protect the most vulnerable, it would be interesting to see what is.

In the statement we see JCHS's commitment to extremist fundamentalism and baulking at the idea that Minister Chuck is not as dogmatic or stupid to see the clear faults in the law as it stands. The JCHS pretends that it is not a political force holding parliamentarians at ransom in their self-appointed role as moral police of people's private lives.

The justice minister is in step with the Constitution, which seeks to protect everyone from interference with their privacy, family life and guarantees freedom of, and from, religion.

KEVONNE MARTIN

kevonnejmartin@hotmail.com