Christian pastor charges that local church too silent
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
A member of the local clergy is charging that Jamaican churches are in religious and spiritual turmoil on the issue of homosexuality.
The Reverend Dr Donald Stewart, pastor of the Portmore Lane Covenant Community Church, who has a long history of religious campaigning, last week declared that he is unapologetic about his stance on homosexuality.
"The Church, like the wider society, is confused on the issue, and there are reasons for that. The church leaders themselves, and speaking as a pastor myself, have not been very clear in our understanding of the issues.
"Many times we are more bent on reacting to what we hear about homosexuals. But the same turmoil that is being demonstrated in the society on the issue is the same turmoil that is in the church," charged Stewart.
"Some just block it out of their minds that it's an issue they are not doing to deal with, so it's difficult to discuss with their own congregations an understanding of the issue.
"Also, in our theological institutions, both local and international, there is a very clear strategy where theology is being infiltrated by what is called 'gay theology' or 'queer theology'," added the pastor.
NO BACKING DOWN
According to Stewart, even if he must stand alone, he will not back down from his position that homosexuality is a sin.
"The homosexual movement has taken on a new agenda. What they have been doing is working with certain words and vocabulary like 'gay' and 'tolerance' - adjusting the meaning.
"By using the word gay, it makes it more palatable or receptive. It will come from your lips more easily, and it is deliberate," said Stewart, who has authored 19 books and has two more at the printers.
Stewart charged that by using the word 'gay' the homosexual community is attempting to move away from the Bible by creating the illusion that there are no biblical injunctions against them.
His comments came in the wake of a fresh attack on local reggae/dancehall artiste Queen Ifrica, whose comments at the Independence Day celebrations in Kingston offended homosexuals.
An international group is also lobbying for the artise to be denied a work visa to perform in Canada.
church and theology
Responding to comments from South African and international religious icon, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has reportedly said he would prefer not to go to heaven if it would not accept homosexuals, Stewart said the church and theology has long been targeted.
"The argument is that they are born that way, and these are God-given gifts and they should not be treated any different. That is what they are trying to sell. There are no homosexual genes and God never made anybody that way. And that is not something I back away from," declared Stewart.
He argued that there are many in the Church whose position is that homosexuality is not a sin, and even if they agree it's a sin they argue that it is just like any other sin.
"Homosexuality become sinful from the biblical perspective, not even because of the action but because of the disposition.
"I say I am homosexual which is going away from how God made us. The action which follows makes it even worse," stated Stewart.
For those who don't believe in God, he said, "Sin is not sin because you don't believe in God. If I murder someone it doesn't matter if I am a Christian or not. It's still a murder. So for those who say they are atheists, it does not absolve them from doing wrong."
The religious leader charged that the big agenda of the homosexual community is to commit a sin, and try to get acceptance from the outside world that it is not a sin.
"Those are behaviours you correct. Wanting to commit murder is something you dissuade. The same principle is involved here. We have to know what is good and what is evil," said Stewart as he entered the debate on whether homosexuals can change.
"There are many different causes for homosexuality, and in one of my books I have about 20 reasons. Depending on what is the cause, the appropriate medicine has to be administered.
"There are some homosexuals who all they need is a little attention, guidance, and positive male role models in their lives."