Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jamaica Council of Churches still not clear on the buggery law but resolute in opposing gay marriage

a follow up from: The Jamaica Council of Churches on Homosexuality thus far

Since the last radio interview on Love 101FM on homosexuality alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, J-FLAG which I posted on sister blog GLBTQJA on WordPress. It read it part: JCC’s General Secretary Gary Harriot

Exactly one month ago May 28th after a previous interview alongside the Executive Director of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians Allsexuals and Gays, JFLAG Dane Lewis on George Davis Live on Nationwide where a clear position was not really established by the JCC a follow-up report came in print media suggesting the Jamaica Council of Churches, JCC had not put a formal position on homosexuality given the hotly debated issue with court challenges in full effect. General Secretary of the JCC Gary Harriot in that interview said the conversations need to continue as other Caribbean church leaders expressed the pressure that their societies are under to repeal laws supposedly against the “homosexual lifestyle.” Gen Sec Harriot seems unaware or a slip of the tongue that homosexuality is not illegal and buggery is not synonymous with gay men only.

The issue of church members being homosexuals came up for mention as well to which the Gen Sec said the council is yet to finalize an official position although they have a draft in place as a work in progress document, he said whichever church one may go one is bound to find someone struggling with homosexual tendencies or relationship matters not in keeping with the teachings of the church. Dane Lewis at the time spoke to the questions posed to him on the opposition from the anti gay groups. For the most part it was a slow interview and lacked a more robust feel to peak the public’s interest. Reverend Harriot spoke to the possible changes on the law following the court cases filed and that of those awaiting deliberations (tolerance advert). He said “I can express two basic points, there is a side of the church that sees homosexuality as a moral issue …… legalizing such action may not be the way to deal with it but to deal with it from a moral perspective, the other side of the coin when you look what is happening elsewhere it looks like a strategic political move and that if you were to remove the law then what you are doing is that you are opening a flood gate that you are going into directions where your whole social fabric would be changed”

He said also that there is some tension and that the JCC has not come to a formal position which they hope to do in a few weeks if they are able to arrive at a consensus.

On Love 101FM again in October since the release of the JCC's position paper and circulated to the public and the church branches and was carried in the Jamaica Observer. The Reverend Gary Harriot General Secretary of the JCC commented that the JCC is strongly opposed to gay marriage also the present in the interview was the president also Reverend Everald Galbraith who reiterated the points. He lamented that the church community on a whole hardly responded but JFLAG did respond that the dialogue should continue. 

The main points in the paper looked at:

A Socio-Political Appeal

But the council said that those with a homosexual political agenda were placing much pressure on societies like Jamaica to change their cultural norms, values and mores.

"As a politically independent and sovereign state, we must resist such imposition and allow for our own people to determine what is in the best interest of Jamaica," the JCC said.

It added that as a non-negotiable, the JCC strongly believed that the practice of homosexuality must never be promoted as a normal and natural way of life and on par with heterosexual lifestyle; and that every effort must be made to protect children from being lured or forced into sexual activities, whether homosexual or heterosexual.

"The right to disagree with the homosexual lifestyle must be preserved, while treating individuals who are homosexuals with respect," the council said.
Reaffirming the theological perspective of marriage as between a man and woman and not negotiable.

Gays should find refuge in the church

No violence should come to persons simply because they identify as homosexuals

In response to criticisms that the JCC is too "soft" on issues of homosexuals or a back handed concession towards the forceful advocacy of the LGBT lobby Reverend Gailbrath responded that every human being is created in God's image and Christians should understand that gays are struggling and should be helped, a tacit way to suggest reparative therapy. Irrespective of persons lifestyle the church must be accommodating. In as far as family members who support gay marriage or attend such weddings the JCC the union would not be considered a marriage here as the law would not recognise it here. Pastors as marriage officers have vowed not to obey such a law if it were implemented as it cuts into the core of their belief systems. 

The Methodist church policy follows this line closely as no minister can perform said marriages in Methodist church properties.

As for the buggery law the General Secretary said the groups have no consensus and the dialogue continues as there are different perspectives as to how persons should be treated under the law. For those who believe that the law should be maintained think that if the law is totally removed then all other kinds of implications could occur. Here was where the false dichotomy of the silencing of the church presented itself again as the Gen Sec repeated the concern as expressed by persons such as Shirley Richards of the Lawyers' Christians Fellowship and a "domino effect" while on the other hand others say homosexuality is not the design of God there is a concern about a person being brought before the court maybe unneeded similar to adultery or fornication. 

The JCC can be reached at for your thoughts on the paper and the follow-up on their position paper.

Also see:
Dr Wayne West’s continued intellectual dishonesty ...

Jamaican Pastor says the LGBT issue is not about rights but acceptance of lifestyle

Peace and tolerance



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