I guess some politicians want their piece of fame from this rainbow flag fiasco and they can’t resist the urge to join in but one wonders if their motives are genuine especially those from the parliamentary opposition; owing to the fact that when they were in power they duped us all on a now farcical conscience vote on buggery. The Former education minister from the prior HFLE fiasco turned opposition spokesperson Reverend Ronnie Thwaites has displayed his poor thinking yet again. This is the same man who as Education minister was directly responsible for the removal of progressive materials in the Home & Family Life Education, HFLE manual despite his guest speaker duties at JFLAG’s International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia, IDAHOT in 2012 and the resulting increased fear-mongering and moral panic and the recently ended guidance counselors and gay students controversy. I was expecting some more enlightened narrative on just basic tolerance from the goodly Reverend but I am yet again disappointed as remarks made by Thwaites on the controversial tweet-faux pas by Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte had further muddied the water in some circles.
What is ironic is that many persons may have passed the flag at the US Embassy at Hope Road prior to Mrs Forte’s tweet-faux pas I bet did not know what the flag meant until this controversy, so the good that can come out of this it is a teaching moment for us LGBT voices included who know the flag is for LGBT but do not know the history of it.
In a television interview on CVM TV on June 14, 2016 when asked after a public where the Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed support to the families impacted by the Orlando Pulse gay club shooting Thwaites said that the flying of a rainbow flag at the US Embassy is effectively grooming children into “a particular lifestyle that is different from the Judaeo Christian norm which is in fact the foundation of our constitutional order and I believe of our personal and national health...... ”
In other words polite speak for HIV is a gay disease resulting from anal sex; a ploy that is often used by antigay religious bigots such as Dr Wayne West, Betty Ann Blaine and Shirley Richards. I am not stupid as the goodly Reverend thinks some of us are and continue to pray on the public’s ignorance. So the hardened positions continue, will there ever be movement towards true tolerance anytime soon with the kind of continued paranoia and fear of openness of LGBT people and that a flag is so frightening in this round of it. Mr Thwaites of seems to forget that the very laws in Jamaica were inherited by us by default after independence in 1962 from Britain protected under a ‘savings law clause’ which preserved them until we must make the amendments and deletions when needed and this buggery law in particular needs to go. Also the UK has moved from a theocracy essentially to more civil legislative environment, as an attorney Mr Thwaites ought to be more balanced and indeed honest when making such remarks. He ought to also know that the buggery law when first promulgated was more about the smear campaign in the UK under Henry VIII to give effect to the English church reformation while extirpating the Catholic church and replacing it with the church of England which is the dominant denomination today in the UK; with subsequent re-enactments and amendments to 1967 when the forward thinking parliament decided the law should go and they were on good ground.
Then there are others in support are ascribing motive of imposing homosexuality and whether such flags are flown in US Embassy in Saudi Arabia for example and or ‘double standards’ as opposed to Jamaica and that the US would not do it; while ignoring the fact that that it is a different jurisdiction and that the death penalty under Sharia law as homosexuality is illegal but homosexuality is NOT illegal in Jamaica but buggery is despite the gender of the receptive partner(s) involved. Double standards are indeed needed in such delicate diplomatic relations especially with states like the Saudis; there are implications on world affairs that are too delicate to infuriate the fickle relationship. Some people just don’t think these days. Lest we forget who were murdered sadly in Orlando and the Attorney General in my view is saying indirectly LGBT Jamaicans dare not put up a flag to celebrate what we are about.
Why is the term ‘alternate lifestyle’ still being used in modern times to describe sexual orientation or homosexuality? Thwaites cannot bring himself to speak directly to the issues openly it seems. Let us put to rest the silliness about “homosexual lifestyle” or “alternate lifestyle” once and for all; as a phrase it is pure propaganda, a gossipy generalization and completely unworthy of a Christian who, following the counsel in Proverbs seeks understanding and insight into life and people. As Christians some will have to decide if we are going to partake of divisive “party spirit” that racked the church at Corinth or follow Christ as discerning attentive principles – to that still small voice and sharpen concerns for the ostracized instead of creating more strife.
Bear in mind that there is a reference in Luke 17:34 where Jesus in a teaching on the rapture makes what appears to be a neutral non-discriminatory reference where it read (King James Version):
Grooming when last I checked is not about an external influence as remote as a flag that can just influence someone so simply; as if to say children are going to get up and have sex as a rainbow flag denotes homosexuality and they will try it out. This grooming argument is not new and I had done an entry on the subject to try to decipher the phenomenon as untrained as I am but just sheer common sense is enough. Grooming involves a more personal one on one contact with the intended victim over time usually in an unbalanced power differential situation as the groomer seeks to psychologically imprison their target. A rainbow flag could not have any serious impact to those who do not have any understanding of what it signifies; what it denotes to the US and by extension the global struggle for LGBT rights and recognition.
See: The Deliberate Misuse of the “Sexual Grooming” Term by Antigay Fanatics to Promote Their Hysteria
Also let me remind us all that we have had rainbow flags in public spaces before and no one has died or simply become gay on sight due to the bright colours or some hypnotic powers emanating from the symbol. The fear is palpable.
I have to agree with Mutabaruka in a sense, in his opening shot on his Stepping Razor show on the matter where he sided with Mrs Forte in principle but is alarmed at how Christian voices are saying either the shooting was retribution by God or that it was justified; he also questioned how a God who is represented in the Bible as a kind God is being presented to uphold barbaric principles? He then in patois of course mentioned the other abominations that are contained in Leviticus and highlighted the selectivity hypocrisy and the death penalty in Sharia law alongside the suppression of women’s freedoms.
“..... If you remove the Bible what would they (antigay Christian voices) do?”
he mentioned that he was contacted by one of the antigay groups who wanted him to sign a petition to remove the flag to which he seems to have ignored; he also reiterated a point I have also said that no government is going to be bold enough at this time given the push back will chance amending the buggery law by their own recognizance. He mentioned that fact that if one left the Muslim faith one may be punished by death.
“...the Bible supposed to be the book weh a show you a way to peace and justice and love and generosity and dem ting deh; and it mek people so hard inna dem heart?” he said in part.
“Mi nuh hear nobody a seh mek wi demonstrate ‘gainst adultery, wah happen to the church, cause most a de parson dem a adulterer ...... parson a look sista Dinah .... sista Dinah I’ve been watching you for a while ......... how de church nah preach ‘gainst adulterer?” he continued “the whole a wi would a dead.”
“Tell me, who is without sin mek dem cast the first stone”
Peace & tolerance is really needed in these times.