Jamaica is not a theocracy
Published: Tuesday | March 31, 2009
Letter writer S. Richards' article in The Gleaner of March 24 is a stark reminder of what drives anti-gay behaviour in Jamaica: the absence of solid, consistent and coherent reflection on the premises upon which all social exclusion rests. In the letter, Richards defended the maintenance of the legal provisions against buggery since, as the writer believes, they exist 'to keep what is unnatural from becoming accepted'.
This appeal to 'nature' to buttress a legal provision that gives the Government the right to peep into the bedrooms of consenting adults and imprison them is very flawed. Taken to its logical conclusion, governments would be required to ban the cutting of fingernails and hair, the wearing of tattoos and of clothes, the use of man-made fibres and plastics, and the piercing of body parts because these practices are 'unnatural' and what is unnatural should be kept from becoming accepted.
If we understand the letter correctly, Richards' argument is akin to treating homosexuality as an exceptional sexual sin. The writer now claims homosexuality to be so exceptional an unnatural act that it warrants criminalisation! But no one is proposing the criminalisation of fornication and adultery, a logical necessity if we maintain that the anti-buggery provisions are moral in nature, yet the criminalisation of sex between men is accepted and promoted as a Christian duty to nation.
Further, no one is proposing that we ban unnatural acts such as the placing of dyes under the epidermis or the piercing of muscles such as the tongue, but we are to accept that what two consenting adult men do with their body parts in the privacy of their homes is so outrageous that is requires interdiction.
It is time that people learn to distinguish secular governance from religious belief. When last we checked, Jamaica was still a democracy, not, as they imply and seem constantly to desire, a theocracy.
I am, etc.,
Jamaica Forum for Lesbians,
All-sexuals and Gays