Derrick Gillespie, Contributor
THE GLEANER has seemingly set a record in 2012, in putting out more pro-gay columns, editorials and letters to the editors more than any other year in recent times. This letter is meant to do an honest assessment of The Gleaner's pro-gay lobby for the year; not so much to decipher the motive for its seeming agenda.
Associate Editor Byron Buckley's articles have ranged from being titled 'Balancing the gay-rights debate' to 'The Church picking on gays', to the more recent one 'Church must champion justice for sexual minorities'. Almost in every case, The Gleaner has mainly brought focus on the Church being antagonistic to the gay-rights agenda, and has been quite condemnatory of the Church in its publications for the most part. I remind The Gleaner that the religious fabric of Jamaica is multi-religious (Rastafarian, Pocomania, Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddhist, Catholic, Judaism, Protestant, etc) and almost every religious group is, for the most part, opposed to the gay lifestyle. So while it is true that the Christian group is most visible (due to sheer numbers), it is unfair to make it seem only Christian sentiments are anti-gay. It is also unrealistic for gays to expect the Church to relax its message against the gay lifestyle, which even Byron Buckley himself correctly argued in his January 8, 2012 column that:
"Homosexuality runs counter to the natural principle of procreation established by God. Copulation by Adam and Eve (not Steve) ensures the continuation of the human race. In underscoring this point, God, through Scripture, has regarded homosexuality and bestiality as morally reprehensible. Throughout Old and New Testament Scripture, God has expressed displeasure at men and women engaging in unnatural sexual acts with persons of the same sex. The Bible has even come out against men behaving effeminately. Importantly, the Bible forbids other kinds of sexual immorality, including fornication, incest, divorce/adultery and prostitution. Indeed, St Paul told Christians at Corinth that persons who practised homosexuality, adultery and idolatry, among other sins, would not enter God's kingdom. So, the Church is on message in its opposition to homosexuality."
Not worse sin
That is a correct representation of the facts by Buckley. I also do agree with his position that at times the Church is guilty of making it seem that homosexuality is worse than other sins. I concur with his thesis that homosexuality certainly is not! I agree with him that Sodom was destroyed for a whole host of other sins; not just sodomy, which was called "abomination" by the Bible. It is true that many people fail to forget that lying and pride are also biblically called "abominations" (not just homosexuality), and that adultery and fornication were also sins punishable by the death penalty under ancient Israel. Thus, it is hypocritical for the Church to have remained silent when role model and beauty queen Yendi Phillips had a highly publicised "sinful" affair resulting in the birth of a child (and has remained unmarried, too), yet will immediately voice opposition to gay marriages held in Jamaican hotels.
But in closing, I'd like to submit one area in which The Gleaner has blundered, or has remained short-sighted, in it's pro-gay campaign for 2012. It is this. The Gleaner seems not to realise that of all the major "sins" that the Church has to preach against, homosexuality is the only one with such a powerful gay lobby worldwide that is seeking to make it seem that the lifestyle is "normal", and should not be criticised even by the Church, and, hence, it has become the Church's biggest 'enemy' to preaching unhindered. Also because homosexuality is the 'hot button' issue of the day, then it is natural that greater focus will be on it. It is similar to the 'hot button' issue of the Sabbath in Jesus' day. There were more persons seeking to oppose/discredit him on Sabbath than any other issue (with him clearly endorsing and supporting Sabbath observance, but NOT the 'burdensome' style of observance by the Pharisees), hence why Jesus' ministry often dealt with Sabbath-related issues.
Jesus never once spoke about homosexuality (just like he never once spoke about bestiality, or incest, for instance), because either it was not an issue he was being opposed on in his time, or it was hardly an issue of grave concern among the Israelites at the time, and so was not mentioned or addressed. But the moral laws on homosexuality remained the same (see Jesus' words in Matthew 5:17-20), and thus carried over into the New Testament Church, as Byron Buckley himself correctly pointed out (despite the fact that the civil death penalty attached —as with fornication, adultery, bestiality, Sabbath-breaking— faded out with the theocracy of Israel).
The Gleaner should never forget that Jesus' primary mission was not to go around defending women caught in adultery (that was just an odd case, to teach one object lesson), but his mission from day one was to preach the coming kingdom of God (and the need to become righteous and obedient 'subjects' of that kingdom), and he kept declaring: "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand". Jesus gave the same commission to the Church (Mark 16:15,16), and no gay-rights agenda will tactically dictate another one for it.
Derrick Gillespie is an educator. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.