Members of the Christian Brethren Assemblies of Jamaica (CBAJ) have come out in defence of bus preachers.
A young member, Daniel Thomas, who said he started preaching on buses at age 13, reasoned that Jamaica is a Christian country with a long history of freedom of religion and speech, and urged Jamaicans to stay true to their roots and not bow to what he called cultural imperialism.
"Many ideas are being foisted upon our people … that would seek to pressure us to change who we really are," Thomas said.
He said that whereas the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) should have order in its regulations, a total ban on preaching was not the answer.
Thomas pointed out if peddling was the issue (some preachers ask for money after their sermons), the authorities should put measures in place to tackle that aspect.
The CBAJ said it had not approached the JUTC, but board member Dr Stead Williams said the practice should be regulated, advocating special IDs for preachers. Thomas disagreed.
"I find it absolutely horrendous that persons would preach and then ask for money," he said. "But we want to stay away from having to clamp down at all on preaching because preaching is not the problem."
SHOW HOMOSEXUALS LOVE
The church also stated its position on homosexuality. While denouncing the lifestyle, it is calling for the Church community to treat homosexuals with civility and love.
CEO of the CBAJ board, Carl Scharschmidt, said it had been studying the issue for months, getting the views of members.
Williams said the church encouraged Christians to condemn violence and prejudice against homosexuals as that would hinder the church's ability to minister to them. But the church maintained homosexual attraction was voluntary and denounced in the Bible. Citing various studies, he said men who commit homosexual acts had a high incidence of child molestation and sexually transmitted infections.
He said the church would also seek the retention of the buggery law if it couldn't be replaced with something which properly addresses the church's feelings, ideas or the scripture.
"We wouldn't want to move it if we can't replace it with something that adequately addresses where we stand."
Meanwhile, Thomas, who leads the Love March Movement, said that group would be sending a petition to the prime minister for the retention of the buggery law. He said the group wants to present the petition by the end of February.