Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The first part of his article deals with a clause in the Charter of Rights which would make discrimination on the basis of language unconstitutional. He makes a strong case against any move to introduce patois as a second language. His observation includes an example of the possibility for bilingual labelling, to be used as a non-tariff barrier for the importation of foreign products. He states: "It is overkill to enshrine in the Constitution the right of non-discrimination on the grounds to achieve judicial equality for Jamaican Creole speakers who are not proficient in Standard English - a problem caused by the failure of the education system." Canada and Wales are two bilingual countries where fluency in both national languages is necessary for government employees, and public notices must be in both languages in designated areas.
The second part of Deacon Espeut's treatise deals with the thorny issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The British Government introduced the Sexual Orientation (Provision of Goods and Services) Regulations which are diametrically opposed to the Christian teaching dealing with homosexuality, casting the state in the role of moral transgressor. An adverse side effect of the British-proposed regulations could force Christian marriage preparation, guidance counsellors, retreat houses, conference centres and hostels to accept gay couples. Teaching that homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexual marriage could also be compulsory in religious schools.
In Jamaica, could this ever come to pass at Campion College, St George's College, Immaculate Conception High School, Alpha Convent of Mercy School, Holy Childhood High School and the list of Roman Catholic schools continues... in addition to the many other Christian schools? The official Vatican newspaper reported: "The Catholic Church contests these revolutionary innovations which in the name of freedom, seek to legitimise a union regarded by the universal consciousness as going against nature." In 2000 the British Government reduced the age for permissible gay sex from 18 to 16 to provide equality under the law for homosexuals and heterosexuals.
As with the British leadership, there could be a raft of adverse side effects if the Jamaican churches clash with the state on non-discrimination against homosexuals. It should be recalled that Jamaica is considered to be a Christian country with a profonderance of Christian schools, where the characters of the young are forged on the basis of Christian principles that do not accept homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle for marriage between a man and a woman. This is the essence of Jamaican culture that precludes gay sex that is deeply unpopular as evidenced by both the Observer and Gleaner polls. Any government which attempts to displace this long-standing tradition and belief by repealing the sodomy law would be committing political suicide.
There are numerous pressure groups attempting to infiltrate Jamaica's culture by asserting their lifestyles as normal practice. Besides homosexuals, these groups include the pro-abortionists, the ganja lobby, the polygamists and the polyandrous protagonists, the believers in euthanasia, the supporters of decriminalisation of drugs and those lobbying to legalise male and female prostitution. This is happening in parallel with the media concerning lewd and sexually explicit public expression, which had developed unfettered over the years until it has reached critical and culturally damaging proportions, resulting in the recently publicised reprimand issued by the Broadcasting Commission. Any attempt to enshrine non-discrimination in the Charter of Rights on the basis of sexual orientation would be fallacious, as the male lifestyle includes illegal associations which do not conform to the national standard of natural behaviour.
The Declaration of Human Rights and Sexual Orientation tabled in the United Nations in 2008, as reported by Attorney-at-law Shirley Richards, sought to expand the existing human rights concept to include "sexual orientation" and gender identity as human rights. The declaration was not supported by Jamaica. Simultaneously, a contrary proposal stated that the declaration was an "attempt to introduce to the UN notions that have no legal foundation in any human rights instrument". There appears to be no UN consensus on including sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights. Obviously, the power brokers at the UN are hell-bent on imposing a new version of human rights on the rest of the unwilling world. It is an attempt to assert the moral equivalence of all forms of sexual preferences and to harm moral and sound discernment, all in the name of "human rights".
A prominent columnist asserts that "homosexuality is not an unpreventable disease, it is an option. It is learned behaviour, practised by more and more people who simply disregard the limits of personal conduct as well as God-given principles and morals". Apart from being in tune with the changing times, contemporary liberalism has gone beyond the realm of propriety in its expectations. Society is replete with demands to liberalise the very constraints that are there to protect citizens from doing themselves harm.
With that said, we welcome the newly appointed Archbishop of Kingston, Charles Dufour, in anticipation of his entry into the debate on discrimnination.
Monday, April 18, 2011
ON March 29, 2005, the Observer published a letter titled "Naked flights to Jamaica" criticising the promotion by a travel website on behalf of Hedonism III, operated by SuperClubs. Its chairman, John Issa, sued the newspaper for defamation in the Supreme Court, in connection with which a ruling was recently handed down. Following are excerpts from the transcript of the trial in Justice Kay Beckford's court:
Charles Piper (Observer's attorney): "...It says, in the (online) ad itself it says 'Wild Women Vacation the No 1 bisexual fantasy is now a reality'?...Is that part of the image of your hotel?"
Issa: "Well, this being advertised it is part of the image."
Piper: "And it has always been part of the image of the Hedonism brand?"
Piper: "... It advertise Threesome Week'?"
Issa: "Yes, I see that."
Piper: "Do you know what that means?"
Piper: "Well, let's read on and see if we get some understanding. It says, 'January 9 to 16, 2010, and there is no place better to fill these desires but at the place where pleasure has been perfected, Hedonism III.' Who attend this event? And here is the answer: 'Couples who already have a girlfriend seeking similar couples. Couples who want to learn how to go about starting a MFF relationship, lesbian or female bisexual couples looking to expand their experiences with others'. That was what was being sold, correct?"
Piper: "...Do you know what is a 'MFF Relationship'?"
Piper: "I am suggesting that it's a male female female relationship. Your answer, sir?
Issa: "Oh, what's the question? Justice Beckford: "It's a suggestion."
Piper: "...I want you to read those words again."
Issa: "Which words?"
Piper: "Couples who already have a girlfriend seeking similar couples. Couples who want to learn how to go about starting a MFF relationship, lesbians or female bisexual couples looking to expand their experiences with others."
Issa: "Yes, I see that."
Piper: "...Very well. So the person who was there placing the ad is Wild Women Vacation, correct?"
Issa: "That's what it appears to be."
Piper: "Well let's look at page 204?...I want you to look at the fourth paragraph. It says:
'The first bisexual party Sunday night at our hospitality suite is different on every trip. Sometimes it can get very active, very fast while other times virtually nothing occurs. It all depends on the women. Some women are exhibitionists who love to stir things up quickly, while (some) are voyeurs and others are only seeking an intimate one and one relationship with nobody around except maybe a husband or boyfriend. We do have an adjoining room for those who wish privacy or once you find those whom you are comfortable with, returning to your own room with your new friends is not uncommon. Husbands and boyfriends are invited to attend but can only watch. They all manage to survive.' You agree with me that that is part of the vacation package which was being offered by Wild Women Vacation."
Issa: "That's what it appears to be."
Piper: "And these women were being accommodated in Hedonism III, your hotel?"
Issa: "The people booked by Wild Woman Vacation were accommodated at Hedonism III and also some were in Las Vegas."
To be continued
Sunday, April 17, 2011
"To be clear, our position is neither an endorsement nor rejection of homosexuality. Frankly, we do not care. How consenting adults choose to live their lives is none of our business." (Gleaner editorial, April 1, 2011)
To some, the above sentiment of the editorial is progressive, politically correct and defensible. To me, it is dangerous and disingenuous.
I say the editorial's posture is disingenuous because it seems to reflect a neutral position about homosexuality, but this veneer of neutrality is blown to pieces by the realisation that the position of the editorial is not neutrality, but indictable moral ambivalence/indifference about homosexuality summed up in the words " we do not care".
How can a responsible and prestigious media organisation - which influences public opinion - claim it is none of its business "how consenting adults choose to live their lives"?
The editorial's posture is societally dangerous in that how people live their lives sexually is critical to the society's health concerns and even continued existence.
Ponder the societal consequence of universalising homosexuality as the sexual norm!
Can one be really socially responsible but ambivalent about consensual homosexual sex, consensual adultery, consensual incest, consensual sadomasochistic sex given the relational implications of such acts beyond even the health costs of dealing with AIDS and other STIs? Has the editor given thought to the social cost of pregnancies deemed unwanted by putative parents, and especially, the impact of absentee father figures on the lives of our young men?
Not enough moral justification
Let us get it clear in our minds: Consensuality, even along with privacy and age maturity, does not constitute adequate moral justification for sexual behaviour, without more, as the lawyers would say.
If we hold the view that a certain sexual behaviour is morally defensible, let's have the moral courage to be upfront and say so and not hide behind a thin veneer of neutrality. Homosexuality may indeed need to be decriminalised and the buggery law expunged, but the reasons for doing so must be more convincing than simply moral ambivalence or apathy about what consenting adults do sexually.
I am, etc.,
CLINTON CHISHOLM (Rev)
In the Jamaica Gleaner editorial of April 1, one aspect of the new proposed Constitutional Charter of Rights was given prominence; freedom from discrimination. There is much conceptual fuzziness and thus an indefensible aversion to the term discrimination.
As I argued in my 1997 book A Matter of Principle, “[discrimination] is not necessarily a bad thing. For me the essence of the wrongness of racial or gender discrimination is not that people, on the basis of ethnic stock, colour or gender are discriminated against but that they are demeaned and despised specifically on the basis of colour, ethnic stock or gender…
One does, indeed one has to discriminate in selecting a spouse, employees, lecturers, students, journalists, columnists, speakers and others.
The criteria of discrimination may vary depending on what are considered vital qualifications in the minds of those doing the selection, but we do discriminate, that is, we preferentially select or choose not to do so.
As long as the individual or group being discriminated against is not thereby demeaned or despised, discrimination seems justifiable.”(p.78)
I would now modify the sentences with “demeaned and despised’ to read demeaned, despised or [economically] deprived of what is due and deserved…”
We need conceptual clarity in public discourse. In another piece I’ll raise definitional questions on the editorial’s use of ‘sexual orientation’, ‘homophobia’ and even the term ‘homosexuality’.
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Thanks for your Donations
thank you for your donations via Paypal in helping to keep this blog going and related costs. Please continue to support me and my allies in this venure that has now become a full time activity. When I first started blogging in late 2007 it was just as a pass time to highlight GLBTQ issues in Jamaica under then JFLAG's blogspot page but now clearly there is a need for more forumatic activity which I want to continue to play my part.
Activities & Plans: ongoing and future
- To continue this venture towards website development with an E-zine focus
- Work with other Non Governmental organizations old and new towards similar focus and objectives
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- Exposing homophobic activities and suggesting corrective solutions
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Individuals who are mentioned or whose photographs appear on this site are not necessarily Homosexual, HIV positive or have AIDS.
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Recent Homophobic Incidents
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Steps to Take When Contronted or Arrested by Police
b) Only give name and address and no other information until a lawyer is present to assist
c) Try to be polite even if the scenario is tensed) Don’t do anything to aggravate the situation
e) Every complaint lodged at a police station should be filed and a receipt produced, this is not a legal requirement but an administrative one for the police to track reports
f) Never sign to a statement other than the one produced by you in the presence of the officer(s)
g) Try to capture a recording of the exchange or incident or call someone so they can hear what occurs, place on speed dial important numbers or text someone as soon as possible
h) File a civil suit if you feel your rights have been violatedi) When making a statement to the police have all or most of the facts and details together for e.g. "a car" vs. "the car" represents two different descriptions
j) Avoid having the police writing the statement on your behalf except incases of injuries, make sure what you want to say is recorded carefully, ask for a copy if it means that you have to return for it