Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
'Critical tolerance is a better approach'
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
DR MERIC Dale Walker, pastor of the Washington Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church, has called on society to be critically tolerant of people who are different, particularly homosexuals.
"I am calling upon society, on a whole, church people from all the denominations to set the example by being critically tolerant, love the homosexuals, love those who are different, whatever those differences are," he urged.
He was speaking at the Willowdene Group of Schools High School Consecration Service last Saturday, at the Spanish Town Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Catherine.
Dr Walker, also president, East Jamaica Conference Ministerial Fraternity, said critical tolerance can bring about a better means to an end.
"I believe that it would create a context for better dialogue. You cannot minister to a person while you are harming the person, while you are running the person away, and the person is scared of you, the person is in seclusion," said Dr Walker.
He added: "But when you are critically tolerant, then you are able to dialogue towards an end, and it is practical that I can't minister to you unless I have built a sort of face-to-face relationship, and you trust me and you know my heart for you," he noted.
According to the clergyman, he has seen where society has been treating homosexuals brutally, citing a difference of moral persuasion and intolerance as reasons. However, he argued that one's view should not determine the manner in which those who deviate from the norm are treated.
"With critical tolerance, you are able to separate the sin as you see it from the person. You treat the person as a human being, with respect, not like a dog or whatever. But at the same time, you hold on to your view, so you hold your view. I believe this, but my holding on to my view will not cause me to treat you as a subhuman being," he explained to The Gleaner after the service.
Notwithstanding this, he pointed out that people should be mindful that no sin is greater than the other.
"We should bear in mind that every sin will lead to the same end, and we, too, are all sinners. We are not homosexuals, but we sin, we falter by the way, some people are committing adultery, some people fornication, some are stealing, it's the same sin, same consequence," he said.