For starters, let us agree that President of the Islamic Council of Jamaica Mustafa Muhammed's pronouncement of death to homosexuals is not representative of the Jamaican society. I further posit that on the average, Jamaicans are no more homophobic than other nationalities. Anyone with supporting evidence to the contrary should share same. We should not be in the business of accepting anecdotal accounts of anti-homosexual behaviour as evidence to be used to draw sweeping and generalised conclusions.
Maurice Tomlinson, in his recent letter to the editor, believes that many Jamaicans merely spout emotional religious rhetoric in defending their objection to homosexuality. For Mr Tomlinson and the likes of Ian Boyne to suggest that religious-based objection to the homosexual lifestyle is unintelligent and mere emotional rhetoric is in itself discriminatory.
Homosexuality is and will remain a vexing issue throughout the world. So let's cease and desist from making this a Jamaican thing. We need to be about the business of promoting tolerance (not acceptance) toward our homosexual brothers and sisters. We need to repudiate those among us who would seek to bring injury and even death to our fellowmen. There should be a law to address my Muslim brother who openly advocates death, because this type of venom and hate is unacceptable in civil society. I must continue to embrace the dogma that dictates that I am my brother's keeper, but I must also retain the right to object to a lifestyle that runs counter to my own.
Our leaders must lead by example and not espouse hate and intolerance. It is instructive to note Prime Minister Bruce Golding's abhorrence at the thought of working with a homosexual in his Cabinet - a statement he made over a year ago.
Dr Richard Kitson-Walters