Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Bible, bigotry and buggery

Published:Sunday | June 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Alicia Atkinson (left) and Laurin Fabry convert their civil union to a marriage licence at the DuPage County Clerk's office in Wheaton, Illinois, on Monday, June 2. Last Sunday was the legal start of gay marriage in Illinois.-AP
Ian Boyne
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Ian Boyne

Aside from raw money power, as was evident in the Brendan Bain case, the gay lobby and its sympathisers have no choice but to destroy the authority of the Bible and to stigmatise conservative Christians as bigots, homophobes, deluded and stone-aged.

The Bible is, in their view, the last bastion of prejudice and homophobia, and its pernicious hold over the people has to be broken for full liberation to come to gays in Jamaica.

That is no alarmist statement. It is not part of the 'pro-Bain hysteria'.

Our people's greatest, most intense opposition to homosexuality comes from fundamentalist Christianity. Even the most ungodly 'worldian', the most hardened sinner, has been socialised by fundamentalist Christianity, which taught him that homosexuality is an abomination, an irredeemable evil punishable by death in hellfire. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah over it. No group of fornicators or adulterers was ever treated like that. Even university-educated opponents of homosexuality have not derived their arguments from rational scientific and philosophical contemplation, but from conservative Christianity. (I say 'conservative', for increasing numbers of liberal-minded Christians are accepting homosexuality.)

HOMOSEXUALITY STIGMA

It is the view that every word in the Bible is inspired by almighty God that feeds the stigma over homosexuality. Yes, stigma. For understand this: As long as people take a fundamentalist view of the Bible, you won't get rid of the stigmatisation of homosexuality. Look up the word in the dictionary. It means a mark of disgrace, something socially and morally deplorable. That is how the Bible projects homosexual practice (not orientation).

So when the UWI's Nigel Harris inveighs against stigmatisation - not just discrimination - he is indirectly inveighing against the Bible. The Bible says homosexual practice is morally reprehensible and says, plainly, that homosexuals cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That is stigmatisation, if there were such a thing. Read Romans 1 and see how it describes gay people. Not flattering at all.

I note a press release from one of the groups that lobbied against Bain, and it said we should be "non-judgemental" about homosexuals. The Bible is most decidedly judgemental about homosexuals: It says they have to repent if they expect to see God's face. That's extremely offensive to gay lobbyists and pro-gay people. You have to destroy the authority of a book like that, by any means.

That's why some now refer to 'gaytheists', for a number of prominent atheists are gay and they have engaged in a scathing critique of the Bible. Let's stop beating around the bush: Gays and conservative Christians are at war. If gays don't use money, power and Jamaicans' love of money to beat them into submission; if they don't use the European Union, the United States and the multilaterals to squeeze the Jamaican Government into decriminalisation and later legalisation of buggery, they will have to show that the Bible is pure nonsense ("a man write it").

But even if discrimination goes by force of law, stigmatisation will remain once people believe their Bible the way Seventh-day Adventist Derrick Gillespie does. Last Thursday morning, Gillespie was incensed when he read The Gleaner editorial plainly supporting gay marriage, not just decriminalisation. A remarkably bold stance in this intensely fundamentalist country.

Gillespie's letter to the editor

Gillespie, in a letter to the editor, referred to "the homosexual perversion sweeping the globe like a relentless tsunami," saying The Gleaner editorial, displayed "aberrant thinking", "characteristic of this perverted lifestyle". He reminded us that the editorial came just two days ahead of the 322nd anniversary of the 1692 destructive Port Royal earthquake! His righteous indignation was palpable as he dismissed The Gleaner's "bandooloo journalism".

The war is on in earnest, and for the Christians to be defeated, the gay lobby has to destroy belief in that book, which is the source of their "prejudice and bigotry". As long as people believe God inspired the Bible, you will never get rid of stigmatisation.

GOLDING'S ARGUMENT

Even when secularists like Bruce Golding attempt to give rational non-Biblical arguments against homosexuality, they fall flat. Golding, for example, in his Labour Day article on the Bain issue, advanced a philosophically shaky argument against gay rights. He said "this new libertarian view of the right to choose is dangerous". Why dangerous? Because, in his slippery-slope thinking, "Once that moral tether is severed, no taboo can be justified." Yeah, but what was that moral tether based on in the first place - some unalterable, objective truth out there?

Mr Golding said, "At its core, it is an issue of values." Yes, but whose values? Who determines these values? Are they trans-cultural, timeless and universal? And says who? There is no sure secularist grounding for values. Mr Golding says, "The new libertarian view" which would legalise homosexuality "is dangerous because it completely severs the moral considerations that inform the norms of a society and the value system within which it operates." But these values and norms are not unalterable, Mr Golding. It was once the norm that black people were inferior and, in fact, were subhuman. It was normal at one time that women were inferior.

It was once the norm that divorce and interracial marriage were morally repugnant. They were taboo issues. What strong, unassailable secularist arguments are there against homosexuality and same-sex marriage? We have to stop advancing foolish arguments such as the one the Rev Otto Wade uttered last week at that Methodist conference coming out against gay weddings. He had a question: "If all persons started living woman to woman and man to man, where would humanity be?" That's a nonsense question.

Gay people don't want to turn all of us into gays. They constitute the minority of every society. The fact that 'nature' (for the secularist) has made most of us heterosexuals doesn't mean that everyone has to be. A minority of people being gay is no threat to the species. And it is a weak view that because marriage is for procreation, gay marriage is an oxymoron. What about infertile couples or couples - in increasing numbers - who choose to be childless? If a heterosexual couple chooses to use contraceptives and not have children, that is okay, but two gay persons not having children makes the union necessarily immoral?

Outside of believing that there is a God who determines right and wrong and that He has a book that tells us His mind, a plausible case against homosexuality and marriage equality is hard to establish. Except perhaps on the grounds that if the majority in a society deems something reprehensible, on democratic grounds, that practice should be rejected.

The democracy argument is the only possible secularist argument that could stand in a case against same-sex marriage. But what if the majority felt that female circumcision, as is practised in some societies, is acceptable, or that people should be killed for adultery or for changing their religion? Would that not make it a human-rights violation even if the majority approves? Is morality based on majoritarian views, or are some things right intrinsically, whether the majority accepts them or not?

I have read some of the best academic arguments against same-sex marriage from a secularist point of view (including some contained in the paper 'What is Marriage?' by Sheriff Girgis, Robert George and Ryan Anderson and the University of Illinois Law Review's 'Judging the Case Against Same-Sex Marriage'.) But they are weak. I reject same-sex marriage because of the Bible. You will have to destroy the Bible and conservative religion to really make a strong case for the normalisation of homosexuality.

Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist who works with the Jamaica Information Service. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and ianboyne1@yahoo.com.