By Jaevion Nelson
The modern(?) practice of Christianity in Jamaica confuses me greatly.
It appears that when Jesus said "I will make you fishers of men" in Matthew 4:19 (no pun intended), it was an instruction to posture and project morals and warped ideas of decency and parade our ignorance (and insecurities?). Seemingly, the crusade of "righteousness" is overcome by their frustration with sex, whether homosexual or heterosexual, while the number of Jamaicans who identify as Christians dwindle. These days they don't seem to be "mak[ing] disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
I have been desperately searching for at least one credible reason why the Love March Movement would be so preoccupied with the bedroom and not the pulpit. Now, the "righteous" among us have been campaigning against "sexual immorality" as murders trend upwards, and unemployment and poverty rates increase, likewise the number of cases of reported child abuse. If only being chaste and/or calling the Lord's name would guarantee a place in heaven.
On September 14, 2013, a collective of Christians organised what is dubbed a 'Love March' - the second one - in the city. The following day, they were praising God (on their Facebook page) because Love March 2013 was "a powerful time of declaration and prayer over our nation! [and] Chains have been broken over our country!" They went on to encourage that Jamaicans "continue to pray that lives would be healed from the brokenness of sexual sin, that fathers would return home, that our children would be protected from sexual exposure! That we would keep our buggery law and other family friendly laws! That we would stand in Sexual Purity: Virgins, Rings, No Flings!"
I browsed photos of the event on their Facebook page and I could hardly find anything that equates to love. Perhaps that one placard, which said something about no violence demonstrated their lovingness? Or was it the one with the chastity belt? I am surprised there were no images about abortion. If I didn't know better I'd say their love is all wrapped up in orifices. Only God knows! The "love" they promote for our children and nation is seemingly, for the most part, related to and enabled by their preoccupation with the "anti-buggery law" since those signs took the spotlight.
They believe the buggery law is necessary to prevent boys from being sexually abused by paedophiles. But the jury is still out if this is their honest view. A male friend was "raped" several years ago by an adult male. He was robbed of his childhood. He was cheated of the justice he deserved because males cannot legally be raped and the perpetrator can be sentenced to no more than 10 years in prison, while carnal abuse and rape are life sentences.
One would think that the Love March Movement would appreciate that the Sexual Offences Act 2009 should be the piece of legislation that deals with the sexual abuse of our children; not just boys. Furthermore, do they realise that girls are also anally raped and women are also guilty of perpetrating sexual abuse.
I was most displeased with a young lady bearing a placard with an image of a chastity belt with the words 'only my husband has the key'. First of all, the image was very unchristian. I wonder if they know the chastity belt is frequently used in BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism)? Second, why would a "sexually pure" lady (assuming she is) relinquish the rights to her body - the temple of Christ - to a man and not to her deity? Then again, the Bible does encourage her to submit to her husband. The placard is just as ridiculous and offensive as that 'blackface' loan ad on TV.
This is not to say that the Love March Movement shouldn't protest, but one would most certainly hope that they would be more careful in what they do. One would hope that they be cognisant of the implicit messages that they send, especially to our very vulnerable children. We are already bombarded by all sorts of social ills and we can't afford to be so reckless with our agency.
It might be more prudent for the Love March Movement to:
1. Campaign for better laws to protect our children and women from violence, including that we recognise LEGALLY that boys can also be raped, and pledge support for Senator Kamina Johnson Smith's recent motion on violence against women and girls.
2. Be as strident about sexual abuse in the church as they are about "sexual purity".
3. Promote the rights and dignity of all people - the sexually "pure" and "impure".
4. Encourage empowerment programmes for women and girls.
Jaevion Nelson is a youth development, HIV and human-rights advocate. Email feedback to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.