THE EDITOR, Sir:
I HAVE always thought the principles of the Bible and the teachings of the Almighty were one of love and respect for all. However, this seems otherwise based on the rather sensational, militant and coarse comments in the press attributed to the Reverend Peter Garth, vice-president of the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals.
His comments go against the very principles and tone that the Almighty would like us to have.
The formation of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society is commendable. I, however, hasten to point out that as members of the Church, we have focused way too much energy protecting the status quo of prejudice against gays and lesbians while issues such as the high incidence of child abuse, rape and incest, crime and violence, and corruption beg for our attention.
The Church has failed in its attempt be an effective moral compass based on the Christian faith and principles because the approach is not holistic and is often motivated by intolerance. I hope that the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society will give equal attention to the other social ills I mentioned earlier. I doubt this is possible given it's the brainchild of Dr Wayne West, who has been on a witch-hunt to deny homosexuals their rights.
Reassessing the christian stance
We need to assess as Christians if our approach is really healthy and holistic. Are we efficiently reaching out to those who really need the help? Are we utilising the right methods as Christians? Are we ourselves guilty of discriminating and judging? What are the real issues, and how can we realistically overcome these? I believe that this 'warpath' tone is unbecoming and perhaps even disliked by the Almighty. What kind of love excludes the people in need of that love? How can you love and exclude? We as the Church need to get it right. Is it the act, or is it the person that is to be condemned? How long will we wallow in denial that in an encoded and embedded manner, what we are preaching has a certain level of insensitivity?
We need to demonstrate through our actions and words in all form of media and context that the Church is for every person. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7). This scripture can be used to show what love should really be. Let not the Church discriminate, stigmatise, and exclude anyone.
If the current tone being set by the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society is the type of approach that will be undertaken, then we will have to be prepared to have a healthy 'unhealthy' society.