Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Keep human rights in spotlight

Published:Saturday | December 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The week of December 10, 2017, marks human-rights celebrations across the globe. It is timely that we in Jamaica awake to the wave of conservatism that negatively impacts the work of human rights.

"Palestinians switch off Christmas lights in Bethlehem in Trump protests." These are very telling words in international news. This headline is from the Sydney Morning Herald. It is, however, a powerful image of what many in American Evangelical Christianity have been doing to Christianity and to the mission of Christ in the world.

Increasingly, many are turned off from Christianity because of the selfishness and wickedness that prevail in the name of the religion. Just look at the tremendous worship of one whose blatant disrespect for women and his active misogyny in general has been treated with silence and profound acceptance!

The Christmas lights being switched off in Bethlehem are not an indication of the celebration in that beautiful old hymn, "O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie." Instead, it is a reminder of a world in turmoil.

The Christmas tree lights being switched off in Bethlehem is:

A reminder of the darkness caused by a lack of wisdom.

A reminder of the darkness that plunges the weak into despair and oppression.

A reminder that American Evangelical Christianity has lost its way and cannot even speak truth to power anymore!

It is a reminder that the prophetic voice for liberty is dying in the West.

This year, International Human Rights Day is seeing a time when the world has been hit with the unfortunate situation in Middle Eastern politics, exacerbated by the ill-thought-out declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Instead, a process of cordial negotiations ought to have eventually affirmed East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine!

Here in Jamaica, we continue to make strides in the work of human rights. However, we still have a far way to go.

Our children continue to suffer various forms of abuse. Gender-based violence is common, with women often being victims of intimate partner violence. Members of the LGBT+ community continue to experience stigma and discrimination. The struggle to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS also meets with the same.

In spite of all the darkness, there is good news. Every time we shine a light in the dark, it does its transforming work with an overwhelming sense of immediacy.

Our world is the dark room. Our words and works of compassion, justice, and human rights will always be brighter than any darkness can ever overcome.

May we spread this word, this Advent, this Christmas, this Hanukkah, this Yule, this Pancha Ganapati, this Kwanzaa, this 2017, this time of needing peace for all.

Namaste and Ubuntu.


Anglican Priest