THE EDITOR, Sir:
Reaction to British Prime Minister David Cameron's threat to withhold assistance from countries that fail to legalise homosexuality seems focused on whether or not existing buggery laws should be repealed.
This completely misses the critical issue, which is not whether Jamaica's buggery laws should be repealed, but rather should we allow any other country to impose its culture, values and lifestyle choices on us or dictate terms to us because we need aid.
Implications of giving in to such external arm-twisting are far-reaching and go beyond concerns of national pride and independence, important though those are. It severely curtails our ability to adopt policies or take decisions that Jamaicans consider best in the context of local circumstances and use of available resources, as well as what is acceptable, based on our culture, values and lifestyles.
Conceding to this threat can lead to demands to abolish the death penalty; conform to European standards regarding prison facilities/care; or other such idiosyncrasies. The need to improve conditions in prisons is conceded, but this cannot be merely to conform to standards in affluent countries, but rather must consider local factors, e.g., improving education, health care; or striking a proper balance between what is spent on offenders as against provisions to support youth who have not ran afoul of the law.
Skewed view of democracy
Cameron's threat says much about his and the Western world's concept of democracy. Clearly, in their view, only the peoples of the Western world have rights to democratic choice. The only democratic right possessed by other people is to conform to or agree with the dictates imposed by Western countries. How else could he, with great moral rectitude, consider it appropriate to impose his dictates on other countries, irrespective of the views or the consent of the peoples of those countries?
I personally have a very strong aversion to homosexuality. Nonetheless, I do not support criminalising the actions of consenting adults in privacy or subjecting individual homosexuals to personal hostility and discrimination, or allowing this factor to affect personal relationships.
However, I strongly oppose efforts to sanctify this lifestyle, by asserting its moral acceptability.
Not being satisfied with the failure of the Commonwealth heads of government to arrive at a consensus on the matter of the repeal of sodomy laws within the Commonwealth, British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken the decision to withhold British aid from non-compliant nations.
Did we hear right, or were we mistaken? Is it true that our former masters are now calling on us to repeal laws that they are not in agreement with, or face the penalty? Is it that somewhere in the 1962 Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council which facilitated our independence, there remains a hidden, residual power for Britain and its allies to manipulate our legislature as it thinks fit? What did Gandhi, Nkrumah, Manley and others fight for?
The effrontery of David Cameron and his allies is incredulous! (Incidentally, If Eric Williams were around, he surely would have made it clear to members of the Commonwealth that 43 from 54 leaves nought!) Thankfully, however, the very system which the British left us contained within it the right to resistance. That very same philosophy was the driving force of the struggle for the independence of America - government depends on the consent of the governed.
As has been many times said before, the retention of the buggery law provides guidance to us as a country between that which is acceptable and that which is not, in terms of sexual behaviour. It is the legal underpinning of the survival of the tradition of the heterosexual family. It is a guide to parents, children and to our public officials in the matter of sexual affairs. How could the homosexual lifestyle be in the interest of humanity when it leads to nothingness and is fraught with dangers both for the individual and the society?
HIV transmitting out of control
What makes the effrontery worse is that the scientific literature has indicated that in Europe generally "HIV transmission seems to be out of control in the MSM population". If David Cameron was really interested in our welfare, wouldn't he be urging us, with tears in his eyes, not to repeal our laws, as it would appear that by liberalising their laws Britain and its allies have made a grave error?
What is also of grave concern is that in these countries where the laws have been liberalised, there seems to be an emerging tyranny which penalises any expression of dissent of the lifestyle, even where such dissent is expressed privately. Just last month in England, father-of-two, Adrian Smith, 54, was found guilty of misconduct by the Trafford Housing Trust and had his salary slashed by £14,000 after saying on his private Facebook page that same-sex weddings in churches would be "an equality too far".
Neil Addison, an expert in religious discrimination law and a practising barrister in England, commented on this case, saying: "When I was a child, people in England used to say, 'I can say what I like, it's a free country.' That is certainly no longer the case in Britain today."
It's a very similar situation with the abortion issue. On November 15, an employment tribunal in London will begin to hear the case of Margaret Forrester, who was sacked from her job as a mental-health worker because she had shown a pro-life booklet to colleagues that said women suffer from mental-health consequences after abortions.
It is also expected that by December 5, the British Government will lift the ban on same-sex civil-partnership ceremonies in churches. (This was what Adrian Smith was concerned about). Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone is insisting that churches would have the freedom to decide if they want to offer same-sex services. However, the fear is that even if the scheme was initially voluntary, churches that do not agree to offer the services are "likely to be put under huge pressure to change their policy by campaign groups".
With all due respect to Lord Gifford, QC, the situation seems to be the same in Ireland. At the time sodomy was decriminalised in 1995, it was argued by the homosexual lobby that they simply wanted to be left alone. However, since then, the lobby has grown into 'a rights industry', and now any criticism or even questioning of them and their continuous demands is not tolerated.
On Sunday, October 30, journalist Eamon Delaney, writing in Ireland's leading newspaper, the Irish Independent, referred to the "insatiable demands" of the homosexual advocates "for more and more recognition and identity". Mr Delaney expressed the concern that this will "eventually alienate mainstream opinion." http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/loud-and-proud-gays-want-to-take-over-rest-of-society-2920975.html.
It is just a matter of time before persons who hold contrary views on both the issue of homosexuality and abortion will have to flee Europe and the United States in search of safe haven. (Déjà vu?)
At the same time, however, one wants to make it abundantly clear that use of violence against homosexuals is absolutely wrong and must be denounced. All allegations of violence, including violence against homosexuals, must be thoroughly investigated by our security forces with the aim of bringing perpetrators to justice.
So up, you mighty nation! Have you forgotten who you are? You are Jamaicans, for goodness sake! Within your laws as they currently are is the key for the preservation of the family, the health of nations and the survival of the human race. So do not be ashamed! Do not be intimidated! You are on solid healthy ground!
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