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Observer’s ‘reasoned stance’ on homosexuality applauded

Monday, July 21, 2014    

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Jamaica Observer online readers reacted with strong interest to our July 16, 2014 editorial titled "Homosexuality: the long, painful search for workable rules of engagement". Here are some of the many comments received:

* Gwoods: Thank you Mr Editor for your more nuanced views on homosexuality. It is a far cry from a former very strident homily that you delivered a short while ago when you described it as a 'beast amongst us'. I hope that the zealots on whatever side of the fence will see your more reasoned stance on the subject as something to be applauded. But, the key thing in this debate is for all to study and reflect on this topic; for, when we do, we will come to understand that there are some powerful assumptions driving both the homosexual debate, and human sexuality. Keep up the otherwise excellent standard of your newspaper.

* Obeah_Man: As a Jamaican of African descent, who has lived abroad and felt the whip of discrimination, I must strongly object to the right you would give church leaders and entertainers to discriminate openly, without non-governmental repercussions. The point is the distance between a negative characterisation and the action that supports it is vanishingly small. This is why the slogan, "love the sinner, hate the sin," makes no sense at all. The workable rule of engagement should be to embrace the words of Confucius, and later by Jesus: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If we did that, Jamaica would be a much better place to live.

* TK46: Obeah_Man, repercusions against the church/entertainers by govt? Freedom of opinion Obeah_man, gays don't discriminate?

* PhilOiseaubay: Mr Editor, your words are welcome but they don't match some of your recent works. Like America's Fox News' claim to be 'Fair & Balanced' you sometimes appear anything but. Take the recent article about the hunt for the gully-living gay murderer. It appeared that you let the homophobe commenters run rampant while refusing to post any nuanced pieces like mine on how these boys came to be homeless in the 1st place - kicked from home and community by over-zealous religious bigots. Did you feel that any critical assessment like that lacked 'decency' or did you just want to whip up more hate for the gays? Perhaps gays in tolerant, developed countries do not suffer any different rates of crime than the general population because they are not forced to the streets by their parents. Your claim for holding the high ground is, at times, sadly off mark.

* CArlton Reynolds: PhilOiseaubay, you are off mark. I bet you never watched Fox News to determine whether they are fair or balanced! There are many homeless people who do not behave like those homos, and homosexual children are not chased from their homes by religious bigots as you claim, otherwise there would not be so many well placed and powerful defenders of the cause.

* PhilOiseaubay: CArlton Reynolds, you are wrong on all counts! The well-placed gays are most likely from loving, accepting families - not many of those evidently in J'ca. If you cannot see the fallacy of Fox News, then you are beyond hope...probably fodder for their Tea Party loyalists...and probably believe the gully-residing gays chose to live a feral existence in abject poverty.

* CArlton Reynolds: PhilOiseaubay, you are just repeating the propaganda of your failed idol Obama! Is it only gays living on the streets?

* Chantelle Brady: CArlton Reynolds, you've got to be kidding me. Where do u live? U really don't live in Jamaica. A father helped guys in his community to beat his gay son. Get ur head out the clouds and back to the reality of Jamaica and their dangerous homophobia.

* CArlton Reynolds: Chantelle Brady, the danger is you guys or is it gays telling lies about the dangers gays face from homophobic Jamaica!

* BlackBritish: You are being disingenuous, CArlton. What would be the purpose of lying? Did the father help the mob beat his son, or not? That's a yes or no question...I know of gays who have been harassed for no reason, except that they are gay - one having a fire extinguisher sprayed in his eyes; others beaten...Things will not get better until people like you are able to hear the truth. What are you afraid of?

* Chuckl3s: BlackBritish, your story of a gay having a fire extinguisher discharged in his face, is not verified, and could be a one-sided story as well.

* BlackBritish: Ok, you got me... I made it up. And this is why the country will not move forward. The editorial is about reconciliation and respect. That cannot happen while people like you are in denial. As I asked the other person, what would be the purpose in lying? I am a heterosexual woman with ZERO desire to conquer the world with homosexuality! As someone who knows gay persons in my private and professional life, my only concern is with their mental health, which is impaired by the discrimination and bigotry they endure.

* kittywally: As long as tolerance is not synonymous with acceptance!

* Chantelle Brady: kittywally, a part of tolerance is accepting things you can't change. U don't have to like it or even understand it but give people the freedom to choose their partners the same way we get to be intimate with who we want to be intimate with. Let's not create a whole new Jim Crow.

* kittywally: Chantelle Brady, you are free to be with whomever (you can claim that as your right) the same way in which I have the right to not being accepting of it. I have no problem being the friend of someone who is gay (and in fact have a friend who will remain my dear friend until death do us part)...But we have agreed to disagree on the gay lifestyle, yet civility reigns in our relationship.

* F Young: "But what we can reasonably expect is tolerance of the different lifestyles..." Is heterosexuality a lifestyle? Of course not, heterosexuals have countless different lifestyles, and they are usually the same homosexuals have. Retirement is a lifestyle, for example, but neither homosexuality or heterosexuality is a lifestyle, since lifestyle implies choice, even eccentricity. However, homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality are inborn and immutable, like race. The only correct medical and legal term to refer to them is sexual orientation. It is an easy word to remember and use. On the other hand, "lifestyle" is an insulting term used only by those who are ignorant or anti-gay. "...all Jamaicans must be free to choose to live their sexuality in conformity with the laws of the land..." Why do you support oppressive laws that imprison people for victimless crimes?

"We uphold the right of the Jamaican church to take a stand against homosexuality..." So, are you okay with preachers and singers that incite murder by stoning? Does religion make it right?

* Chantelle Brady: Good editorial. Dats what I've been saying too. You don't have to understand homosexuality but you can be balanced and fair. Allow people to make their own choices and determine their own destiny very much the same way you want to. Equality and freedom for one, equality and freedom for all.

* Pete: Chantelle Brady, uhm...yes, but the only "choices" people make is who they sleep with...the gender they are sexually attracted to is not a choice. Neither homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality and anything else in betweeen are choices. They are part of the makeup of human beings.

* Jumpy1: The singular problem is that although everyone, theoretically, has a voice and ought to be heard, homosexuals are in the minority and greatly outnumbered on all sides. Their situation is not unlike that of black people in the American states where Bible-thumping masses quoted from the shared Bible that, non-whites, being "lesser" children of a shared-God should capitulate and accept their God-assigned place in life. Any equality, would, assumedly, come after the grave. Definitely not before; since even mortuaries were segregated! The issue of pith and moment is, "should the buggery law be repealed"? And, concomitantly, "if not, why not? Most of those who speak articulately in favour of non-repeal underscore that they believe that if Government gives in, to whomsoever, and passes a repeal, these lesser citizens will want more: much more; like the right to wed and share in rights enshrined for all other citizens. This, they say is wrong. Very wrong! How so?

* Reggie: Clap, Clap, Clap. Bravo. Great Editorial. Now answer your own questions and do your own analysis of your own journalists and your own paper. What do you get, you may share your results too.

* African_Chief Reggie: Last week in the observer — "JCSC response to anti-gay mass meeting comes late in the day". Does the Observer not see the irony of today's editorial?

* BlackBritish: African_Chief, at least they're trying now. Yes, it's a bit late, but better late than never. When someone is trying to give an olive branch, the thing to do is to accept it (albeit sceptically). Some of us who are vehement advocates for the LGBT pop were once the biggest bigots and homophobes.

* kidd: Romans 1:25-28

* BlackBritish: In the 19th Century, the church started evolving in its teaching about slavery. In the 20th Century, the teachings on the role of women was re-evaluated. Could the Church's 21st Century issue be homosexuality? Many scholars believe so.

* speakthetruth: Matthew Vines has been advocating his position on gay Christians. I disagree with his position because it is inconsistent with the scriptures. One of the key requirements of becoming a Christian is self denial. Denying self means embracing what God requires of us....not what we require or desire for ourselves. Homosexuality is a sin as is adultery and fornication. None of these sins will ever be deemed acceptable by God simple because God is not evolving.

* Kirk: Red Alert! If homosexual nomenclature is given credence, then we're all fighting a losing battle. It merely reflects the levity and conspiratorialism of a few. Political correctness only promotes discrimination and bias; it doesn't uphold truth, decency, honour, civility, and sanity. In other words, homosexuality does not produce longevity, nor is it sustainable foundations for progeny. "Man to man is so unjust, you don't even know who to trust" (Bob Marley) - Do any of these relationships promote true independence, cultural bliss, or harmony of a community? If it is difficult enough to discipline our children as they grow into adults, imagine a generation of sexual rebels mirroring what adults do...There are those in society today functioning similarly to the 14th Century Italian Niccolo Machiavelli, who guide the elites in dominating the populations around them, but unlike De la Fuente who discovered that people can be free from mind control when they withdraw their consent, I choose likewise.

* BlackBritish: And that's fine, Kirk. You have the freedom to do so. However, you are under the misconception that the Government is manipulating a "crisis" for their own expediency...Do you really believe the Government wants this headache — doing what they know to be right, but at GREAT political risk? No, Kirk. What you are witnessing is a minority group, tired and fed up with the way they are treated by people who are prejudiced and discriminatory because they are ill-informed. The LGBT population, with their allies, are finally speaking out! You may quote a man who was reared in this prejudiced country, but I quote those who were the recipients of the prejudice: "We shall overcome. We shall overcome some day."

* Pete: I had to read this (editorial) twice...just to make sure I was reading correctly, on the Ja Observer website. You are absolutely correct, though the trend in your paper over the past several months would suggest you had a homophobic agenda, Shout out to your columnist Karyl, how are you?

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