Wed | Jul 15, 2020

Church to flock Parliament for sex talk

Published:Tuesday | September 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Christians from across Jamaica are once again being mobilised in a fight against what has been characterised as the sexual immorality bedevilling society.

The latest effort comes after a campaign by some church leaders and members earlier this year to reinstate Professor Brendan Bain after he was axed by the University of the West Indies (UWI) as chairman of the Caribbean HIV/Training Network (CHART).

The downtown Kingston-based Gordon House is tomorrow expected to attract scores, if not hundreds, of Christians when it accommodates a meeting of the joint select committee of Parliament examining existing legislation governing sexual offences.

Church leaders are scheduled to make oral presentations at the meeting.

The Jamaica Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation (CAUSE), comprising a significant mass of the evangelical churches across the island, has called out church leaders to attend the nation's House of Parliament.

"A special joint parliamentary committee has been established to review national laws relating to sexual offences, domestic violence, children and the disabled," stated a September 26 correspondence to churches that had been involved in the demonstrations which culminated with a mass meeting in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew earlier this year.

Not a protest

The Reverend Stevenson Samuels, the interim head of CAUSE, stressed that attendance at Parliament was not a protest.

"We are peacefully exercising our right to participate in the democratic governance of our nation," he said.

Added Samuels: "Please adhere to the requisite dress code for Parliament and join us on Wednesday, October 1, 2014."

Samuels said that Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, who chairs the committee, has indicated that he wishes to bring to Jamaica "new standards of morality".

He expressed concern that these new standards could include the repealing of the buggery law and legally permitting minors to engage in sex with each other.

Samuels noted that members of the public were invited to submit their views to the committee.

He disclosed that the Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches, Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, Church of God in Jamaica, Jamaica Association of Independent Churches, Jamaica Pentecostal Union, and the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) have submitted written positions advocating the retention of laws that promote the health of society for the equal benefit of all.

"The issues they focused on were retaining the buggery law, retaining laws against teenage promiscuity and prostitution, and using alternative non-judicial procedures to work with children coming into conflict with the law," stated Samuel.

He added that the JCHS, on behalf of these groups of churches, has been called to make an oral presentation to the parliamentary committee at 2 p.m.