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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Christian Nation and Human Rights

Jamaicans have recently gone into a flurry over the values and morals we hold as a Christian nation. It is unfortunate however, that though many of us proclaim to be Christians we participate in or refuse to condemn and fight against issues in our society that obviously goes against our Christian values. We must protest all forms of immorality, not just the issue of homosexuality. We must refuse to sell out Our Christian Heritage (http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20110709/letters/letters7.html) on all issues.

There are a few issues that jump to mind, that we as a Christian nation should be protesting against.
  1. Sexual immorality. Fornication, adultery, lusting and rape are against Biblical principles. Since they are against our values as Christians these should be listed as crimes and placed upon our laws.  We should prohibit all forms of activity and advertisements that may cause persons to commit these forms of sin and crimes.
  2. Gambling. Gambling is against Biblical principles, for this reason it should also be prohibited. All forms of gambling should be outlawed. Horse racing that takes place on a Sunday (if you believe Sundays are for worshiping) or a Saturday, should be made illegal. As a Christian nation we should not condone these activities.
  3. Consumption of alcohol and smoking. Since our bodies are the temple of the living God, we should ensure that, persons do not destroy this temple, through destructive activity including smoking, illicit substances, and consuming alcohol to the point of drunkenness.
  4. As a Christian nation with Christian principles we should up hold the worship of the One True God. The God of the Christians, Yahweh. All other religions should not be allowed to practice their beliefs, as they are not worshiping the one true God. Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Rastafarianism, other forms of Spirituality, should be outlawed.

These are just four of a range of issues plaguing our society today. As true Christians we must tackle all, and not become selective in the issues we speak out about.

Of course I am not against human rights for GLBT folks (I’d be against myself), this just goes to show that there are multiple issues that should be tackled and not just the issue of homosexuality. It highlights the hypocrisy that exists.

Now the more serious discussion lies in the human rights issues we as GLBT Jamaicans are fighting for.
Since the passage of the New York bill on gay marriage, there has been an increase in letters both pro-gay and anti-gay. One of the letters spoke of the economic gain of legalising gay marriage; I respect that view, I however prefer to tackle this issue from the human rights perspective, particularly as we will start hearing the 'selling out' arguments, as above and in this letter to the editor- No interest in gay tourism. 

Jamaicans have gone into a flurry of Biblical quotes and drawing upon the Bible for why Jamaica will never allow gay marriage. For many, Jamaica is a ‘Christian nation’ having ‘Christian principles’. This post is not to argue the Bible, and what it says or does not, it is to state a few simple facts.

Jamaica is a democratic society. A definition of a democratic society is one where adults hold other individuals, and those in these organizations who are responsible for making decisions and taking actions, fully accountable if their decisions or actions violate fundamental human rights, or are dishonest, unethical, unfair, secretive, inefficient, unrepresentative, unresponsive or irresponsible. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) persons in Jamaica, this definition of democratic society is evidently not played out. There are daily violations of the human rights of GLBT persons, and the bodies that should ‘serve, protect, reassure with courtesy, integrity and proper respect for the rights of all’ including the police force and the government are unresponsive, inefficient, and unfair.

Jamaica is a society in which the church and state are separate. Though the major religion in our country is Christianity not all persons in Jamaica are Christians, and the rights of those persons should be respected. Requiring that all persons adhere to the Christian standard and Christian principles go against the right to freedom of conscience and thought given to all under the Jamaican constitution.

The rights which GLBT Jamaicans are advocating for are basic human rights (based on us being citizens of the world), and the rights given to us under the Jamaican constitution (based on our nationality as Jamaicans); including but not limited to the right to life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law; the right to freedom of conscience, of expression and of peaceful assembly and association; the right to the respect for private life and privacy of home.

The Charter of Rights says that the enjoyment of our rights granted under its Charter should not ‘prejudice the rights and freedoms of others’. Imposing Christian beliefs upon all persons prejudices these rights and freedoms.

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