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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Research on faith and internalized homonegativity

I am posting on behalf of William Skelton.

Your participation in a research project is requested. This study is seeking Gay men and Lesbian women, 18 years of age with either previous or current experience with Christian religion or spirituality. Although many of you are not Gay or Lesbian, you do have connections with individuals who are eligible for this study. Please, take a moment to forward this to your friends or if you are eligible take the survey. The title of the study is “The relationship Between Faith Maturity Development and Internalized Homonegativity”. The study is seeking information that will be useful in the fields of Psychology of Human Sexuality and the Psychology of Religion. The aims of the research are to examine internalized homonegativity and faith maturity. If you decide to participate in this research, you will be asked to do the following: Answer the questions on the following scales as appropriate: Reactions to Homosexuality Scale, the Lesbian Internalized Homonegativity Scale, the Faith Maturity Scale, and a Demographics Scale. The questionnaire is estimated to take no more than 30 minutes to complete.

http://www.psychsurveys.org/williamskelton/ihandfm

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the study or your participation in the study, you may contact me, William Skelton by email at william.skelton@mymail.barry.edu.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Violent prejudice against Jamaica's gay people must stop

Maurice Tomlinson (posted at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/27/violent-prejudice-jamaica-gay-people?CMP=twt_gu&fb=optOut)

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Almost a year to the day that David Kato, the Ugandan human rights activist, was murdered in his home because of his sexuality, I am flying from Toronto to London to accept the inaugural the David Kato Voice and Vision Award, which recognises individuals who uphold the human rights and dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people around the world. I should have been flying from Jamaica my country of birth and, until very recently, my home. After the ceremony I should be returning there to celebrate with fellow activists.

But this time there's no going home. In August last year I married Tom, a former police officer and a pastor in the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. Media reports of my marriage, in Jamaica, have led to an increase in the threats against my life and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has written to the Jamaican government for the second time in a year inquiring what measures it will take to guarantee my safety. So far, the government has failed to respond.

Threats are nothing new for me. It's only the intensity that's changed. I'm a lawyer and activist in Jamaica, which has the distinction of being regarded as one of the most violently homophobic countries in the world. In a recent survey 82% of Jamaican people said they were prejudiced against gay people. Vigilante attacks against gay men are common – at least 35 people have been murdered because of their sexuality since 1997. Last year, two men were hacked to death because they were gay. The latest victim was a 16-year-old youth chopped to death in his home by early morning invaders because of his "questionable relations" with another man.

Former prime minister Bruce Golding set a tone of impunity for those prepared to use violence against gay people in Jamaica: during a BBC Hardtalk interview in 2008 he said that he would not allow gay people to be a part of his cabinet. According to the law, consensual sex between two men in Jamaica will get you 10 years of imprisonment and hard labour. Any "act of gross indecency" – kissing for instance – will get you two years.

The law is rarely enforced. More often, police use it for extortion. But the fact such a law exists inflames the vigilante groups. Even the police officer who recorded my first death-threat report ranted at me that he "hates gays, who deserve to die". In the past year, I have received three death threats for speaking out against the country's ferocious homophobia.

The threats to my life are a personal tragedy, but sadly not an uncommon one. Discrimination, stigma and abuse are the daily reality for millions of gay people. And now the battle has become entangled with the politics of aid.

Recently the Commonwealth faced up to its human rights record – particularly the criminalisation of homosexuality. David Cameron made it clear that states refusing to decriminalise homosexuality risk losing British aid. Ironically, however, he failed to acknowledge or apologise for Britain's role in imposing the anti-sodomy law on its former colonies, while his emphasis on homosexuality is inadvertently discriminatory as it ignores other egregious human rights violations being perpetuated in these countries.

His intentions might have been well meaning but they are also counterproductive: trying to force people to change their attitudes and cultural beliefs can play into the hands of repressive regimes – by portraying sexual rights as an imposition of "western colonialism". It allows them to mask broader issues of human rights, governance and corruption. Some countries use the issues of homosexuality to hide their own failures and show how donor communities are promulgating "gay lifestyles".

Instead, aid should be linked to good governance. Countries need to meet their wider human rights obligation by observing the indivisibility of rights. As Hillary Clinton said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva: "Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct, but in fact they are one and the same." (The US, however, has not done enough to curtail its own export of homophobia to countries such as mine by American evangelical Christian groups.)
For two years, I have collected the reports of victims as a legal adviser for international advocacy organisation Aids-Free World. Now I'm taking them to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, since the Jamaican Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms protects the laws against "sexual offences" from constitutional review.

The culmination of the work the charity and our Jamaican partners have been doing over the past two years is an unprecedented legal challenge to the Jamaican anti-sodomy law. If successful, it could be the beginning of the end of the criminalisation of homosexuals in Jamaica, and undoubtedly have a knock-on effect throughout the Caribbean. However, the Jamaican government could make the commission petition redundant by simply repealing the anti-sodomy law.

The new Jamaican prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, has indicated that she would have no objections to selecting a gay person for her cabinet. She also promised to call for a parliamentary conscience vote on the law. Let's hope she does so soon.

The reports of violence against Jamaican LGBTI remind me what we're fighting for. When I receive the David Kato award I will represent the millions of individuals worldwide whose lives are a daily struggle against hostility and persecution simply because of their sexuality.


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My Prayers are with your Maurice. You've done such a good job, continue to do what you can. We the ones remaining have to step up. Love you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No General Homosexual Prohibition in the Bible

Rev Earl Thames, in his letter to the Editor, states that Jesus Wasn't Mum on Homosexuality (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120121/cleisure/cleisure2.html) in response to Henry Morgan's letter, Jesus Mum on Gays, So Why Aren't We? (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120118/letters/letters8.html). I decided to write a response and submit it. It seems the papers don't like my writings so I haven't been published in awhile, if they decide to publish me this time, I'll be sure to tell you.

Below is my response.
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In the debate over homosexuality, many read into Scripture what is not there, interpreting it to suit their message.

Rev. Thames and others assert that Christ referred to homosexuality generally, but the only way to justify such reference is to take Biblical passages out of context.

The sin of homosexuality referred to in Leviticus is not homosexuality in general as many would love us to blindly believe. The literal translation of the prohibition in Leviticus states: ‘And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman. It is an abomination’, the statement seems to condemn all forms of male same sex intercourse. This is where reading Scripture in context comes in play. The verses in Leviticus where written at a time when the children of Israel were in danger of falling to idolatry from the cultures of Egypt and Canaan.
Within the context that the ‘homosexual’ prohibition in Leviticus was written, it was in the idolatrous culture of Egypt and/or Canaan for men to have sexual intercourse with male priests as an act of worship. Women did not play part in this type of cultic worship practice, which explains why they are not mentioned.

Fornication, be it homosexual or heterosexual forms part of sexual immorality. However not all homosexuals are fornicators; committed monogamous relationships, which do not require the sanction of a state/country law, but are acceptable in God’s sight exist between homosexuals.

The condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27 again refer to the practice within the context of idolatry. Furthermore verse 25 tells us why God did what He did in verse 26, yet it is often excluded from the quotation of the Romans prohibition.

The prohibitions against homosexuality do not operate in a vacuum, nor are they general. In almost all instances it is within the context of idolatry. Homosexuals are not condemned because they are homosexuals; rather, they like heterosexuals are sinners until they come into the fold of God.

 It is time the Christian church stop misinterpreting and misrepresenting the Word of God and using it to keep persons out of the Kingdom of God, in Jeremiah 23: 1 and 2 we are told; “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!”“...Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done”.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

American Christian Extremists Want to Rewrite Constitution: This too can Happen to Jamaica

Remember the article Slippery Slope (re-read it here)?

Well Ms. Jackson wasn't far off in her writing at all. I saw a post about The Declaration of American Values (though not a new document, published in July 2008), which is 'a ten-point plan to recreate the United States of America into a Christian version of Sharia Law' (The New Civil Rights Movement: Christian Extremists Rewrite The Constitution, And You’re Not In It).

It includes statements such as; “We declare our allegiance” to “the unborn from the moment of conception,” and “the union of one man and one woman [is] the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family”. It also seeks “to secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience”, on pornography it states, “obscenity, pornography, and indecency debase our communities, harm our families, and undermine morality and respect.”

You see this was happening from 2008, it has gotten bigger and louder. To read the Declaration of American Values visit: http://www.lc.org/media/9980/attachments/declaration_of_american_values.pdf

Saturday, December 24, 2011

JLP Pandering to Homophobic Crowd to Gain Political Mileage

A picture is worth a thousand words, this video will be worth 10x that. The integration of church and state, the total disregard for persons rights to religious freedom.

The world must see what's happening in Jamaica.

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