ANTI-GAY HYPOCRISY: Jamaica destined to become tolerant of homosexuality, says clergyman
Martin Baxter, Gleaner Writer
Tolerance for homosexuality will eventually become a reality for Jamaica, according to one Anglican priest who says it already exists in many circles, including the Church.
The Reverend Father Sean Major-Campbell believes, however, that hypocrisy on the matter has been the preferred route of Jamaican society for centuries.
"I do not believe there was any Jamaican who would believe 30 - or even 20 - years ago that it would become the norm for so many Jamaican men to expose their underwear and posterior," he said. "However, you are in style and good company if your boxers are fully on show in a conveniently homophobic society."
Major-Campbell's comments have come on the heels of statements made by Pope Francis during a recent press conference on the issue of homosexuality within the Catholic Church. Some commentators say that the pontiff's comments struck a conciliatory chord on the attitude towards gays.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" asked the 76-year-old, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is the 266th Pope.
"The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalised because of this [orientation], but that they must be integrated into society," the Pope added.
That's a view shared by Major-Campbell.
"When the subject of homosexuality is addressed in church, it would be more helpful if the approach sought to wrestle honestly with searching questions versus using the Bible to beat people over their heads. The culture is versed in the various rhymes, songs, and Bible verses which encourage hatred and murder. What is needed is more regard for the human condition, with its many unanswered questions - some of which are not sufficiently addressed by the Bible!"
Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Jamaican Union for Seventh-day Adventists, begged to differ.
"We do not support homosexual unions based on a biblical point of view. It is not people we condemn, it is the practice. So if a person is a homosexual and is not practising his homosexual tendencies and that person is searching for Christ, we, as a loving faith community, encourage persons to embrace Christ as Lord and Saviour. We do not condemn anyone. What we condemn is the practice."
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding says there has been an evolution in Jamaicans' attitudes towards homosexuality over the years.
"Polls show that a fairly substantial portion of the population believes that we should be tolerant towards persons, regardless of sexual orientation. Certainly, the position taken by me and the Government is one which rejects totally any acts of violence against any of our citizens based on them being a member of some minority group."
Golding added: "Some people really feel that homosexuality and a homosexual lifestyle are intrinsically immoral. My own view on the matter is that what people do as adults in the privacy of their home is really a matter for them and shouldn't really be subject to any kind of state interference."