Church leader vows to march on Parliament if legislators change the lawMonday, January 25, 2021
BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior pastor of Hope Gospel Assembly and one of the country's foremost church leaders the Reverend Dr Peter Garth has suggested that the national figures for abortions may be deliberately inflated to give impetus to the arguments for its legalisation. Addressing his congregation yesterday, in a sermon themed 'Safeguarding press freedom in a pandemic', at the church service to mark the start of National Journalism Week, Garth pointed to World Health Organization (WHO) data indicating that more than 22,000 abortions occurred in Jamaica in 2011 despite being illegal.
This figure continues to be cited in national reports and discussions on the issue, although it has also been acknowledged that the actual numbers could differ. “I believe they inflate the figures so that society can say we need to get it right and legalise it. Oh no, no, no, we must not encourage any conscience vote. Put it to the people of Jamaica. Important issues should be placed in a referendum,” argued Garth.
He said the foundations of society and, family life were coming under increasing pressure from world views which do not line up with traditional values.
“Threats to the sanctity of human life are many — abortion, stem cell research, medical cloning, manipulation of the human embryos, euthanasia, assisted suicide, artificial insemination, devaluing of the elderly, the sick, and the disabled, eugenics — these are real and critical issues for the Church,” declared Garth.
He described as a “culture of death” these practices which “cheapen life in all its stages, by promoting the belief that lives that are imperfect, or inconvenient, are discardable”.
“Three thousand years from now abortion on demand will still be wrong. Taking innocent lives will be wrong.” added Rev Garth.
A motion calling for Parliament to consider the recommendations of the 2007 Abortion Policy Group, which would result in a repeal of the provisions in law which make abortions illegal, is still before the legislature. The motion was brought to the House of Representatives by Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert Flynn.
“Governments the world over, including our Governments, feel that they can go and hide in Parliament and make decisions for our country...We will march when it is necessary, we will motorcade when we cant march, if it is necessary,” trumpthed Garth.
The senior clergyman said he resented the Church being categorised as a bully for its rejection of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer) movement.
“Talk, but don't call me a bully. Persons who are trying to tell other nations what to do, they are the bullies… The truth can never be changed, no matter how it is said, when it is said, to whom or by whom it is said. I stand on the word of God,” declared Garth.
He further argued that the institution of marriage is also buckling, with a growing number of couples choosing to live together without the legal binding.
At the same time, Garth said the Church must be careful of trying to mute opinions that it does not agree with. “Church must be balanced and understanding of the realities of life,” the clergyman said to applause.“We must wrestle with those who have different views, not shut them up. Don't tell them that they cannot speak, because when they tell us not to speak we say there is an attack on the Church.
“I believe that the Church must have a world view, the Church must understand that persons out there have their own view; it might not line up with our world view, but they must also be allowed to speak just as how the Church must be allowed to speak. The problem is that very often we believe that it is only the Church that should speak...the Church must be careful of how they tell people that they cannot speak. We must not silence anybody,” stated Garth.
See the latest on the change to the abortion law in Argentina:
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