Thomas Phinemann, Contributor
The shattered window of a police bus that was stoned after men, believed to be gay, were placed inside and angry spectators attacked them during the Jamaica Carnival Road Parade last month. - Norman Grindley/Deputy Chief Photographer
There are some topics that we would prefer to steer clear of, because they divide rather than unite us. We have to agree to disagree and treat each other with mutual respect.
Man to man, eyeball to eyeball, we need to accept the fact that there are powerful men who are homosexuals and others who are not.
Can we coexist in peace?
How can we coexist in peace? We need to start talking to each other. Tolerating homosexuals does not mean condoning or accepting homosexuality. It means that heterosexuals need to accept that there are homosexuals in this world and as human beings they have a right to be in the universe. Homosexuals need to understand that heterosexuals find the lifestyle of homosexuals objectionable, and homosexuals should not flaunt their lifestyle in public and provoke heterosexuals.
Proclaiming deadlines and threatening a boycott of goods and services is going down the wrong road. Homosexuals need to understand that the objection to buggery is not in the same category as driving on the left or right side of the street. Choosing which side of the road the law should allow motorists to drive on is a matter of convention. It has no basis in morality or religion, so if some people have an aversion to driving on the left side of the road in Jamaica, by all means, they should create a lobby group and agitate for change. Homosexuality is a different matter.
Although churches are divided on the issue, there are atheists who agree that homosexuality is unnatural. For people who believe that the Bible is the Word of God, there is no compromise, no middle ground. There is no way of getting around Leviticus chapter 18, which speaks specifically of sexual relationships that are unacceptable in any society that wants to be spiritually healthy. Incest and bestiality are in the same category as buggery, according to the Bible. Where do we draw the line in a country which boasts a high density of churches?
The battle lines are drawn. What shall we do? A showdown is inevitable. We have been ignoring the cartoons and the changes in the meaning of the word 'buggery' in the dictionary to reflect a more liberal view. The association with sodomy and bestiality has been removed. Bible knowledge is not common knowledge in Jamaica , as it was in the not-too-distant past.
Many men's abhorrence of homosexuality is rooted in their emotions. They see homosexuality as a rejection of women who are so beautiful and wonderful. Others see it as plain disgusting.
Who will prevail?
Which group will prevail? Do we have more homosexuals or bisexuals than heterosexuals in the world? Will homosexuals be the ones to be forced to stay in the closet, or will we have a society which is accepting of both homosexual and heterosexual lifestyles? Are we planning to create a society where children are taught that homosexuality is natural and normal?
Jamaican men, we know that this thorny issue is not going away. We have to face it and deal with it decisively. In my view, changing the law to accommodate 'buggery' is the precursor to changing the law to accommodate bestiality and incest. Men, we agree to disagree on the issue of homosexuality. Let us be respectful of each other as we deal with this issue.
Let there be no hunting and no flaunting.