Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Letter of the Day | Stop twisting the Word of God

Published:Tuesday | October 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I write with reference to a Gleaner Editors' Forum article published in your Saturday newspaper on October 21, 2017, titled 'Jesus embraced diversity, says JASL chairman'. In his comments, Canon Garth Minott, an Anglican priest and chairman of Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), said:

"Any churchman, woman, boy, child, leader, follower who takes the life of Jesus seriously would come at it from a different perspective because certainly, the Jesus who represents the core persons in the faith is a person who dealt with differences of gender, age, sexual orientation, etc." He pointed to the woman in the Bible who was caught in adultery and who was almost stoned to death until Jesus stepped in. "While the law required that she be stoned, Jesus took into consideration other factors," he added.

He continued, "So the more I read about Jesus and think about his life, the more I see him embracing diversity, embracing difference, and in particular, embracing those who are on the margins of society. There is a critical mass of the one per cent that are usually left out in society, and those of us who follow Jesus knows that he is very much with them, and we can't leave them alone." This, Canon Minott lamented because JASL is being referred to as a gay lobby group.

The scripture in focus, John 8:3-11, concerns the woman caught in the act of adultery. Verse 11 says, "And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." This is the critical verse of the story, which Canon Minott seems to have not bothered to mention, wittingly or unwittingly.

Jesus showed compassion and His love for sinners and not their sin by saying ... "go and sin no more." Though He is a God of diversity, Jesus did not, and will not, use class, gender, age, culture, or sexual orientation to contradict His words in Exodus 20:14 - "Thou shalt not commit adultery" - or any other act of sin.

This, Canon Minott, is the very reason persons have their perceptions about JASL's aims and objectives and refer to it as a gay lobby group. Here it is that you, a man of God, are twisting the Word of God in such a way that you are suggesting that Jesus, in that Bible story, is condoning the act of the woman caught in adultery, hence sanctioning adultery and other inappropriate sexual behaviour.

I do not condemn anyone because of their sexual orientation. I serve a God who has the power to transform the life of anyone, whether they are gay or straight, once they surrender their sinful will to Him.

I will condemn any act of violence towards persons who are gay, and I will not discriminate against anyone (corporately or socially) who has contracted the deadly HIV/AIDS virus. However, I have a challenge when Canon Garth Minott and other clerics twist the Word of God to fit their cause.

The Word of the Lord is, "Go and sin no more."

NIGEL O. COKE

ncoke@jmunion.org