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Leave buggery behind!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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I sincerely hope we can quickly get this buggery law issue and the LGBTQ agenda behind us and move on to focus our energies on the transformation of our nation, the building of the new Jamaica. It's likely an empty hope, as that community has proven that it does not easily give up. Their influence is strong and present in high places, and resources are readily available. Many governments and the United Nations support the advancement of the cause.

We respect their views and simply ask that they, in turn, respect our views as a sovereign nation, and cease continuing to foist an unnatural and abnormal lifestyle on us. Accept that we, as Jamaicans — perhaps more than 2.5 million of 2.7 million — share a different point of view. That lifestyle is not a preferred standard to be promoted as a value to our Jamaican society.

Wi nah hide and talk. We ah tell you straight up. We do not intend to follow the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia or South Africa on this matter. If that makes you not want to offer aid where we may need it, then we have to find ways to survive without it. If corrupting our morals is the precondition for your assistance, we will have to manage without it. We will not be bought!

We will remain leaders on principles and standards that are right and just before God and man, as we did with the apartheid issue. We will not violate the rights of any, but neither will we allow ours to be trampled on by might. For might is not always right. We will not stand silently and let our Government, out of weakness, fear, or licky-licky, take us down that road. Any Government or politician that acts against the will of the Jamaican people will find that we are willing to mobilise and do what we have done before: Use the two-pronged approach — pray them out and vote them out.

What they really want

Let me quote from two documents prepared by the LGBT community in the USA that outline the political objectives of this group. These are 'The 1972 Gay Rights Platform' created at the National Coalition of Gay Organizations Convention held in Chicago in 1972 and the 'Platform of the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation'. The stated goals of the LGBT community include the following:

• repeal of all sodomy laws;

• recognition of domestic partnerships, legalisation of same-sex marriages; and

• federal encouragement and support for sex education courses, prepared and taught by gay women and men, presenting homosexuality as a valid, healthy preference and lifestyle as a viable alternative to heterosexuality.

The gay agenda is aimed at influencing the laws and the political programmes of nations. While we love and respect the rights of individuals in the LGBTQ community, who for varying reasons have unfortunately got caught in what we believe is a negative lifestyle, we cannot agree that the behaviour is right and normal. Therefore, because their lobbyists are aggressively pushing a political agenda, it is only right and responsible for Christians and others who embrace Christian values to seek to also influence nations for the best benefit of societies.

Real numbers

We all must be reminded that the actual number of adherents to the LGBTQ lifestyle is on average two to three per cent of our Western society, yet we are changing all laws and reordering our societies. The Gallup polling organisation in the US has consistently found that, although Americans believe that somewhere in the region of 25 per cent of that population is LGBTQ, in reality the figure is 3.8 per cent. This clearly demonstrates the success of the gay lobby at being loud.

But we must not lose sight of the facts: We are being pressured to reorder our entire society to suit the demands of less than four per cent of the Western population — perhaps not even one per cent in Jamaica — in ways that trample on the rights of others.

I am not saying that we should not be concerned about a minority group, but the point must be made that the LGBTQ advocates are not so much concerned about rights as they are concerned about normalising a physical act that is clearly abnormal. The Church, while remaining concerned about the rights of individuals, cannot support the political agenda to normalise that which is abnormal.

What should the Church do

This brings us to the theocracy accusation being posited by Rev Raulston Nembhard ('Of sexual morality, buggery & marital rape', Jamaica Observer, Wednesday August 2, 2017) and also by Ian Boyne ('What's really bugging the Church', Sunday Gleaner, July 30, 2017) and others.

The argument is that the Church is attempting to set up a theocracy in Jamaica or to “forcefully get people to conform to their way of thinking”. This is certainly not so. The idea of a theocracy is a non-issue, as it has never been part of the Jamaican Church's thinking.

Ian Boyne has also raised the point that the issue of the buggery law repeal is a political one and not a moral or practical one. He and others argue that, since this matter is a political one, the Church should leave it alone. This is clearly not a biblical world view.

Jesus Christ himself mandated His church to go into all the world teaching them to do all that He commanded us to do. Jesus further taught us to pray “...thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. Therefore, the Church has the responsibility to advance kingdom views on issues fundamental to society to influence nations for good.

How is the kingdom of God to be advanced in the Earth if the principles of God are not taught? It is a moral, spiritual, and social obligation. Those members of the Church who refuse to engage with the society are in error. We must take on the issues of our society, our Government and the political process, and address the issues facing the nation with transforming solutions. That is a primary part of our mandate to be “salt” and “light” in our nation.

That said, pure Christianity does not force anyone to accept its tenets. The wise counsel that is found in scripture guides us, and we are calling for decency and common values that are in the best interest of all. We are not imposers or enforcers; we are influencers who are saying that there is a better way to order society. We must voice our clear commitment to the best interest of every person as an act of love for our fellow citizens.

The point must also be made, especially to my Christian brethren, that many of the comments we have seen in the press recently suggest that God is not a relational God. The views expressed have been religious ones that suggest that our faith is purely a matter of reasoning. Is there not a God who cares about His people; a God who wants to engage with and relate to his people? A God who makes His opinions known to those willing to listen?

If you are unwilling to listen and to accept the perspective of God as being authoritative and final, should you then call yourself a minister of the gospel of the Kingdom? For how can anyone who claims to be speaking for God advance a position that is so clearly opposed to what God has plainly said?

Is the Church cherry-picking?

Some people will say that they only hear the Church being vocal on the issue of homosexuality. They will say that the only mass rally they have seen in recent times is in response to this issue. However, let us clearly understand that there is perhaps no other issue where there has been such a strident, deliberate, and public effort, particularly by outside forces, to influence the society to change their views on a critical societal issue, and one on which the Bible is so clear.

The Church has not stopped its work in the communities. It continues to feed and clothe the poor, educate our youth, provide training opportunities, and it continues to reach out to those who have chosen crime and violence as a path. Much of what the Church does, it does quietly. It doesn't advertise in the papers or on TV. So to our naysayers who claim that we cherry-pick our issues, no we don't.

I would want to see the Church not only continue to do these things quietly, but also to come together in a united way, and with a loud voice, to tackle some of these issues such as injustice, corruption, garrisonisation, crime and violence, and child abuse.

The referendum matter

The prime minister has declared that in order to settle the buggery issue, he would put it to a referendum so that we can focus on other critical matters. This can be done because the Government has satisfactorily secured the protection of all the rights on the Bill of Rights of 2011.

However, there are those among us who are suggesting that the law be set aside without going to a referendum. Some of the voices are those who would say that they are committed to democracy. Yet, on this issue, because it doesn't suit their agenda, they would want to bypass the democratic process and just repeal the law.

The suggestion that the Government should ignore the known position of the population and change the law anyway is troubling. Why should they do this? And, if it clearly is not at the request of the Jamaican people, then whose request is it? Back to Bucky Massa again?

Principled government

We desire a Government of sound moral principles, who will respect the views and desires of its people, serve their best welfare, seek to empower and uplift every citizen, and stand up for justice, truth and equality. Government is duty-bound to resist all negative and destructive practices, whether those that promote them come from within or without, not only on this matter, but on all others as well. This is what we expect from a new-era prime minister and his or her team. Anything less is unacceptable.

In this regard, we were greatly concerned by recent statements made by Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck that “the Church is the problem”. It seems that he, and perhaps some of his fellow parliamentarians, hold no clear moral stance on the LGBT matter, the repeal of the buggery law, and other related issues. Let me quickly remind Minister Chuck that the same God who guides on one moral principle guides on all; and if you can lightly pick and choose what is convenient, it raises the question of whether you can be trusted on others. Could this approach account for why we as a nation allow injustice and corruption to persist?

We want a bold, principled stance by our leaders, as exemplified by Chuck's own former party president's famous statement: “Not in my Cabinet!” Not only on this matter, but again I say on all principles of doing right in the nation. I continue to hope that Chuck was not sharing a government position, but merely his personal views, like Bishop Howard Gregory and Rev Garnett Roper.

Chuck was chucking it on us...lol. It must be clear, Minister Chuck, that we will chuck back, and if you keep chucking, so will we, until we chuck you out by the same two-pronged power source — praying and voting. We have done it before and we can do it again. Please note, this is not a threat, but a promise.

This goes for all the other critical issues affecting the welfare of our people (injustice, crime, corruption and child abuse). You are there to create positive change. Be humble enough to seek help from all, even across party lines, and let's together pull this nation from the abyss. Or, if you can't stand the heat, come out of the kitchen!

This nation cannot keep circling the mountain of social and economic failure. It's time to move across Jordan and into the Promised Land of social justice, economic stability, wholesome values and attitudes; towards true prosperity for all. I believe the prime minister can do it, and I expect him to be bold enough to bring new thinking and approaches for real change. If he doesn't show increased commitment to this end early, then the two-pronged power source trips in again. I have contacts on both sides.

Al Miller is pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle. Send comments to the Observer or pastormilleroffice@gmail.com.

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