Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Letter of the Day | Homo hate preacher a public-health threat

Published:Wednesday | January 10, 2018 | 12:03 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Jamaica recorded one of its bloodiest years in 2017, and already over 40 murders have been reported since the start of 2018. Vulnerable individuals, including women and LGBT people, continue to bear the brunt of this savagery.

Every free and democratic society has a right and duty to protect its citizens from imminent harm, as the Constitution's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms has been used to justify the abrogation of some rights for the common good.

Speech must similarly be regulated when it threatens public harm. That is why incitement to murder is not protected free speech. But this incitement is exactly why an American preacher wants to come to our country.

US Baptist pastor Steven Anderson, whose virulent, murderous hate speech has already got him blocked from Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada, is on a visit to Jamaica. And this man of the cloth wants to add to Jamaica's boiling cauldron of seemingly uncountable murders by preaching his message of hate in schools and other venues.

Relying on a narrow interpretation of the Bible, Anderson has publicly preached that gays should be stoned to death. He also uses the same interpretation to argue for the subjugation of women.

Anderson and his 'missionaries' are on the ground scouting out opportunities for him to unleash his venom. He has been to Guyana and Trinidad, where he did the same thing. Apparently Anderson expects an easier reception in the Caribbean for his odious ideologies, which have largely been rejected by mainstream global north societies.

Jamaica and the Caribbean have long been the dumping ground for rejected ideas by charlatans who are granted an audience simply because they are deemed to be from the enlightened north. Oh, and most important, white.

 

NO MISTAKE

 

But make no mistake, Anderson and his ilk traffic in a death and the fundamentalist Christian message that he plans to bring to Jamaica is deadly simple:

1. Women should never be leaders and men should rule over them.

2. LGBT people are disease vectors and paedophiles and should be killed.

3. The Holocaust never happened.

It is not too far a stretch to call Anderson a bigoted fool and all things being equal his right-wing extremist nonsense would be dismissed. Allowing this American pastor into Jamaica, and giving him platforms at schools to spread his lies would threaten the fundamental rights of Jamaican women, children, and LGBT people to life, protection from cruel and inhumane treatment, and a host of other rights. Anderson must not be allowed to soil our nation's shores with his bloody footprints.

Anderson also poses a direct threat to our public health. It is undisputed that the level of homophobia in Jamaica drives LGBT people, especially men who have sex with men (MSM), underground, away from effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support interventions.

It is therefore imperative that the government of Jamaica take immediate steps to protect the human rights of Jamaicans by barring entry to Steven Anderson. A petition by Jamaican LGBT activist Jay John seeks to do just that. If Anderson has slipped into the country, he must be closely monitored so that he does not poison the minds of our population.

MAURICE TOMLINSON

maurice_tomlinson@yahoo.com