Also see: Of Commonwealth, Buggery Law And Ditching The Queen (Gleaner 02.11.11)
Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer wrote:
Members of the new Portia Simpson Miller administration were yesterday urged not to give in to pressure from foreign countries and local groups, as they take over the reins of government following the People's National Party's (PNP) recent general-election victory.
"We are a sovereign nation. No one from outside must tell us what to do," urged the Reverend Dr Wellesley Blair.
"In executing your duties, please do not feel threatened by anyone, (neither in) foreign or inna the yard. No outside government or any local group, no matter what they wave in front of you. Let no man or any woman look at you and say, 'Do this or else','' the reverend warned.
Blair, who also serves as chairman of the PNP integrity commission, was addressing members of the Simpson Miller Cabinet during his sermon at the Portmore New Testament Church of God in St Catherine yesterday, where the new government ministers were in attendance.
(Photo: Garfield Robinson)
Buggery law review
The prime minister, in the leadership debate ahead of the December 29 general election, had suggested it was time for a review of the country's buggery law and a conscience vote among parliamentarians. Simpson Miller's comment led to concerns among some elements across the island, including within the Church, that the PNP administration was considering amending the law to legalise the act.
Such a potential move has been seen as bowing to pressure from the United States and United Kingdom which have long called for tolerance of homosexuality.
Simpson Miller, during the leadership debate, also challenged a previous pronouncement by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in a BBC interview, where he said no gays would be allowed in his Cabinet.
Simpson Miller said she would take a more even-handed approach, adding that persons should be selected for Cabinet duties on the basis of their abilities to execute duties assigned.
In the meantime, while calling for the prime minister and her Cabinet to put God first in all decision-making, Blair said: "Loyalty to God over loyalty to foreign rulers may cause personal and even national persecution. There are some things that we are going to have to bear as a nation and we are depending on those that God has chosen (to lead)."
Blair when contacted yesterday to clarify whether his comments were in reference to the country's buggery law declined to say.
"Take it how you want to take it," he said.
The pastor also used yesterday's sermon to caution the Portia Simpson Miller administration to withhold nothing from the Jamaican people.
"I would encourage you, hide nothing from the populace. They want to know the facts ... . Tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God," Blair said.
He said the people of Jamaica already have great expectations.
"People are looking to you to fill their pots, to fill their pockets, to send their children to school, to give better health, to do everything," he said. "Many of us don't realise it cannot work that way."
He added: "With the circumstances surrounding you, depend upon your God."
Blair also urged the prime minister to ensure that her ascendancy to office signalled a turning point in the operations of government in the country.
In the meantime, the prime minister in her greetings to members of the congregation called for them to pray for her team.
"At this time, our country Jamaica is at a crossroads, but the same way our Holy Master moved his son from the pit to the palace, and he was able to use his position to lift his brothers that plotted against him ... ; He raised up kings, and He put down kings," Simpson Miller said.
"This morning, my team ... we placed ourselves in the hands of God," she added following resounding applause from the congregation.
Let us not forget this is the same Pastor some years ago was reported as: "A homosexual only has one of two rights. It is either he changes his life or accepts the just punishment of God, as He did in Sodom and Gomorra,"
Bishop Blair also made it clear that God did not make any homosexuals or “create any Sodomites,” as they (Sodomites) made themselves that way, at least according to his interpretation of the Book of Romans chapter one.
He added that those who are talking about the setting up of a gay church in Jamaica that time, must remember that there are a few God-fearing, Holy Ghost, holiness preachers who are still around and who are very adamant that they will do everything legally and spiritually in their power to bar that.
What he really was saying is that if you set up a church that accepts gays and lesbians, watch your back.
Bishop Blair said that “Sodomites who are caught should be beaten. I believe that when the court orders lashing, some of those Sodomites who are caught and some of the criminals, should be brought in the square of Half-Way Tree and be lashed and send them home.”
Blair said he will be monitoring what goes on inside Gordon House, Jamaica’s Legislature, to see who would dare to vote for the passing of gay-friendly legislation. He said he will try to influence the Christian community to target politicians in the next election.
"If the legislation to legalize sodomy and lesbianism passes in Jamaica and it is signed into law, and God does not do something about it, God would have to wake up Sodom and Gomorra and beg them pardon," said Blair.
Three gay men at that period were beaten in the streets of Jamaica by a mob for being gay. Last year two lesbians were found murdered in an apparent hate crime. In recent years, gay hate crimes in Jamaica have skyrocketed to all time high numbers proving that Jamaica could quite possibly be the most homophobic place on Earth.
Buggery law backlash – Blair: The church has been sleeping – Blair warns review could lead to same-sex marriages
Attack of the Blair's on the gay lobby?
Why was the party at this church in the face of expected strong religious opposition against the proposed buggery law review?
Why does the present cabinet looks the way it does when clearly the core support expected for any review on buggery is clearly not present?
Will she shuffle this cabinet in the long run to get the needed positive votes if and when the review/conscience vote is held?
also see the Observer's take on the story: DON'T BOW! Pastor urges Portia to avoid foreign influence - God’s great eyes are upon you — Blair
here is TVJ's coverage of the service highlights: PM PLUS EXECUTIVE MEMBERS WORSHIP IN PORTMORE
Interesting times lie ahead
Peace and tolerance