TWENTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD Ahkeel Parkinson had a strong message to deliver to Jamaica — ‘stand up for sexual purity’. Despite, a motor vehicle accident in February which left him on crutches, Parkinson hobbled the approximate five miles from Hope Botanical Gardens on Old Hope Road to Mandela Square in Half-Way-Tree in the scorching heat to deliver it.
The metal plates and screws placed in his leg during a number of operations since the accident were no deterrent for the young man living a committed Christian life for the past five years.
“I was not going to sit at home in my comfort zone and do nothing,” he said. “This is what I believe in, so I decided to come out of my comfort zone and let others know that sexual purity is possible for young people. It is not easy, but it is possible,” he said.
Parkinson was one of hundreds of placard-bearing youths who turned out Saturday in what was dubbed a ‘Love March’ for sexual purity.
They held placards reading ‘I used to be a porn addict’, ‘porn destroys marriages’, ‘I used to be a fornicator, masturbator’, ‘keep the buggery law’, ‘no sex before marriage’, among other messages.
Daniel Thomas, leader of the march and public relations officer for organisers of the Love March — Creative Counter Culture and 3R Youth, said the event was intended to encourage people to take a stand for sexual purity among Jamaicans.
“There are three messages that we are sending here today [Saturday],” Thomas said. “The first one is that Jesus Christ died for all persons and so we love all persons, and that include homosexuals, even though homosexuality is a sin. The second thing is that we are sending a powerful message to the politicians, and to our prime minister in particular, to say that we want to keep the buggery law. We are the youth of this country, the laws that are being decided on right now are really going to affect us in the future and our children and grandchildren, and this is our democracy. This is what we want — keep the buggery law,” he said. “The third thing is a powerful stance especially for family. We are saying that we are standing against pornography, fornication and homosexuality in our nation. Those are three very destructive forces that are causing very serious undermining of family structures.”
Thomas said pornography is also allowing men and women to be viewed as objects while undermining the dignity of the human body.
“The body is the temple of the living God and we shouldn’t support those kinds of things. We have a petition to the prime minister and we are calling upon her to put certain things in place to ensure that family and marriages are safeguarded in our nation,” he said.
“Almost 90 per cent of children are born outside of wedlock; that is fornication. And according to research, the pornography rate is also very high in this country. Compared to the rest of the world, we are up there in terms of online pornography.”
He was quite clear in pointing out that while they were marching for purity, they were not marching against any particular set of individuals.
“We are marching for God. We love God, we love His ways. We believe His ways are best for us and that He lovingly designed us and that is why we want to stick to His design for us. We love our country and we believe Jamaica has had sexual sins too engraved in our culture today, so we don’t want another 50 years to pass with more sexual sins.”
And so we want to encourage others to love their bodies the way God wants them to love their bodies. And we love all people no matter what they are struggling with. We are calling them to come to Jesus.”
“To the church we say, we cannot be angry and condemning, we have to be loving to all people because it’s only by God’s grace that we are not completely drowning in sin. We are saying family and marriage is the way God wants it,” Thomas said.
Hundreds signed the petition that would be sent to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, requesting, among other things, ‘that the government implements family-friendly laws and policies that encourages and rewards family; that the buggery law (576-79 Offences Against the Person Act) and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protect this law not be changed, and that the people of Jamaica be allowed to participate by way of referendum in any proposed revision of these laws’.
Young persons like 21-yearold University of Technology students Colleen Cohen from Middle Quarters Church of God in St Elizabeth and Natanya Powell from the Berean Church of God Munroe, St Elizabeth, said they believe that despite the many sexual temptations in the society, sexual purity was possible.
“I am 21 and I have never had sex,” Cohen said proudly. “So, of course, sexual purity is possible. I believe in sex during marriage and that is what I will wait on, that is what I stand for.”
“And if it is that it’s God’s will that I remain single, then I will,” added Powell, who also admitted her purity.
They believe that keeping oneself busy is one way to helping young persons stay pure since their focus would be diverted from sexual temptation.
“Also look to God for direction,” Cohen said, “because you cannot do it by yourself.”
For 22-year-old Chevelle Folkes from St Ann, because others may break the law and commit a crime whether by stealing or committing murder, it does not mean it is something that she would follow.
“Therefore, not because some people are sinning sexually means we are going to do it also,” Folkes said. “We have to rely fully on God, not self, and you find that sexual purity is possible.”
There was a large turnout of young men who were proud to hold their banners as the groups prayed, sang and played gospel songs on the walk into Half-Way-Tree.
Christopher Brodber said the easy way out of something was not usually the right way out. Therefore, while it may be easy to give into sexual sins, it is not the right way.
“Just like when someone does something to you and you just want to lick them down, that doesn’t mean you will do it. So the right way may not be the easiest way and the easiest path doesn’t mean the right path. Most times the hardest
one is the best,” he said.
Brodber, who is also the pastor of the Covenant City Church in Half-Way-Tree, said he knows a number of men and women over the age of 40 who waited until marriage, or who are still waiting before having sex.
The march culminated in Half-Way-Tree with testimonies from youths who struggled with and overcame sexual addictions, and performances from gospel artistes.