Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Is buggery law eternal?

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Recently, Gleaner columnist Peter Espeut accused the Anglican Bishop of Jamaica, Howard Gregory, of being "naive or dishonest" in expressing personal views on the removal of the buggery law, the definition of rape and marital rape, since the office of bishop "is the teaching authority of his denomination on matters of faith and morals" (Gleaner, Friday July 28, 2017).

Deacon Espeut may be unaware of The Malta Report (1976) of the First Anglican/Roman Catholic International Commission (Authority in the Church) that reminds us that "bishops have a special responsibility for promoting truth and discerning error, and the interaction of a bishop and people in its exercise is a safeguard of Christian life and fidelity". The bishop has the right, following the traditions of bishops of the Anglican Communion, to express his views.




Many who opposed the bishop's view quickly quote the book of Leviticus, as if these laws are eternal, especially the word 'abomination'. Please note that an act or an object that is not an abomination ( to'ebah Hebrew) can become one, depending on time and circumstances. The word to'ebah does not automatically mean that something is immoral. Depending on the context, the period and the persons involved, it means that it offends some group.

The Church has forgotten that Jewish laws had a caveat: their resolution must lie in the law of Deuteronomy that states, for difficult matters of the law, people must turn to the authorities of their age. To those who are competent to judge, and those judges must decide (Deuteronomy 17:8-9).


Mandeville, Manchester