CHRISTMAS in Barbados visiting family and friends was a respite from election fever. Shops bulging; they export and so import what they want; "good morning", cars stop for pedestrians — decency is alive.
The new "recession mall" is open — Cardin, Vuitton, Cartier — sweet! Sandy Lane aglow and no beach is private; Simon Cowell, celebrities about with no hassle; was that Brad Pitt? Barbados is all-inclusive. We had half a tureen of gungo peas soup with pig's tail left over, drove around and found one indigent in Bridgetown to give some; one degeh-degeh man in Pinfold Street park near "Brata" shop that sells fresh-baked Tastee patties.
Sadly, this ill-timed election made us talk politics; who is Andrew? Is Portia right? Will PNP skip a generation and Lisa Hanna be the next leader? Mount Gay rum talk! Their gay MPs and party leader are passé and God prospers them. God, we are so holy, why are we so poor? B$2 is still US$1, grocery items cost 79c to $1.50; $35 for food and $18 for utilities are normal. I can live with that. Rich and poor people shop together. It is more blessed to be poor in Barbados. We have work to do. More anon. See you on the 29th.
Our debates were dull. Debate is a mesmerising fluidity of words ejaculated with ease and impact. It is no fun if it's halting, as we expect a display of oratory and ideas. Some had eyes like crabs caught in headlights on the Black River road, too petrified to move. Jamaica is on the wrong side of the gay argument.
Mrs Simpson Miller held a banner for inclusivity. Mr Holness dodged the issue. It is not anti-gay vs gay; it's anti-gay vs pro-human rights. Mr Shearer and Mr Manley stood tall at the UN, leaders of opinion. We now side with tyrants in Africa and Arabia, who have slaves and murder dundus kids for "juju" body parts — nasty people!
Physical birth difference — dwarfs, handicapped, a child who lifts 50lbs are visible; we accept birth difference of the mind, autism, the child who plays piano at 5; we also accept behavioural birth differences as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), but some do not concede that effeminate males or gays may be born that way.
To be gay takes in law, faith, friends, family; did they choose to be gay and hated? Wow! How painful, confusing to be drawn in a direction and not know why; criminal by just living? Bible says no to adultery, yet men are drawn to it as a moth to a flame — PM, president, families torn apart, trust lost. Why?
Is "thou shall not be gay", dundus, or OCD an edict? Is there a gay gene? fornication gene? adultery gene? This debate item allowed us to assess Andrew's and Portia's humanity since all else was the party line. Nuff respect to Portia, she sacrificed popularity for rights! Did Andrew not have the courage to speak plainly? Some say anti-gays are men of questionable sexuality and that's why they create gay diversions. But we are not fooled.
Check your schoolmates. Most of us know someone who is "different" in some way, we know them from childhood. The shrill anti-gay sounds from some parsons is disappointing. The politicians do what they do. The perfect and the flawed are all God's work. "Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light" and "out of many one". Christian charity obliges us to protect all people.
So parsons rabble-rouse and politicians wave the Bible. This is surreal. Why? Do they fight corruption? No; bigger than that! Crime? Bigger still! They are anti-gay Taliban. Jesus did not abuse gays: "Love one another," he urged. Let wheat and tares grow together. I am first a believer in God as He was here long before Christ, known to many peoples by various names.
He hates sin, not sinners. No one is pro-gay. We should not legalise gay acts. Just be consistent; treat them as we do adultery and fornication or make them all illegal. Some 5,000 years ago Hebrews started to codify the word of God from their old myths. God told Moses to get his idol-carving chisel and hop-it up stone mountain. Angry at the "screw up" of prophets, priests, judges and kings, He decided to lay down the law.
These inept men could not find the promised land, even with God navigating from space. Now with GPS their kin still occupy other people's land. Moses learnt to write, etched Commandments on stone outlawing stuff so foul, disproportionate and pervasive they hindered God's plan for a one-godly people. Do you know homosexuality, bestiality, deception, anger, pulling the prophet's beard (favoured by Moses) did not make His top ten? Are not commandments?
The British left us anti-gay laws which breach human rights. They brainwashed us well. Will we make bleaching or tanning illegal next year? Every farmer has bulls who mount other bulls so he checks his herd records and culls them; they waste feed. Your male dog mounts the male dog next door, even your leg, and you smile. Aaaah, now you get it!
Last year, UK gays heard that sheep farmers culled gay rams and protested, but balked at paying farmers to keep them. Ask your MP or parson: did the gay bull see the herd of cows to be serviced and say "I will ignore my 50 cows in the lot and hump the other nine service bulls instead?" Nature? Nurture? Gays and lesbians have rights too. If sad, they cry; they mourn; if cut, they bleed; and if saved, they go to heaven!
Live and let live; do you notice how rich, intellectual, powerful gay men are respected? Some say the vocal anti-gay sentiment comes from men uncertain of their own sexuality. Check yourself! We do not kill murderers even though the law says we can; we do not stone people for adultery though the Bible says we should. The commandment "thou shalt not kill" comes just before "thou shalt not commit adultery"; both are unequivocal. The first is law, too, so why do these churchmen and politicians not press for adultery to be law?
They use some vague phrase in the Bible to oppress gays and ignore a bold "thou shalt not". Is it because some embrace adultery? Are they genuinely, sincerely wrong? They focus on gays, which is not a commandment and has no biblical penalty but ignore adultery, which is and specifies a penalty? The Nazis came for the Jews, you said nothing; then the disabled and gays, no protest; then they sterilised the blacks! Didn't see this coming, did you?
The master said he would whip sin out of the slave but one slave held his whip: "Am I not a man and a brother?" Are we brainwashed, ignorant, intolerant moreso than our ancestors who lived through slavery? Portia is brave. Gays are people first! Hate sin, love the sinner, judgement is God's. Stay conscious, my friend!
Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist and project manager. email@example.com