Yet again we are subjected to total nonsense from the goodly folks at the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society to laughable proportions. The selectivity indeed hypocrisy of this entity and its colleagues at its predecessor Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, Lovemarch, Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches and Montego Bay Ministers’ Fraternal to name a few have all been trying to latch on to issue they can find to legitimise their piety yet often end up in abject failure with a captive audience laughing with popcorn spillages to boot. The age old criticisms thrown at the JCHS et al is that they have only strength for homosexuals and the so called LGBT lobbyists but are silent on virtually everything else, especially after the Gleaner headline “We’re Not Crazy” some time ago which pin pointed the nonsensicality of the group’s advocacy; nothing on the corruption front, nothing on clerical abuse or very persons in the pastoral and priesthood care yet very little as a dribble, nothing on lotto scamming and the involvement of so called pastors directly or indirectly via ‘spiritual protection’ from enemies or police capture, then there is the pastors themselves who are forced into silence with a now infamous bombing of a church just because the pastor spoke out on the illegal activity.
The silence on church abuse by the very pastors themselves of psychologically weak church sisters and indeed brothers as well even while promoting celibacy, fearmongering and intellectual dishonesty on HIV/AIDS rates from especially foreign sources. Now comes the headline, what a waste on the part of the JCHS when more important matters scream for attention. By the way who uses phonebooks these days when smartphones are in and APPS assist in locating persons plus WhatsAPP, SNAPchat and so on that may eventually eliminate the need for a hard copy directory in the long run? When groups such as Women’s Media Watch WMW discusses objectification of women in media as they have done for years where oh where these ‘church groups’ to aid the awareness.
The Gleaner carried this by Jovan Johnson:
The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society led the campaign against the directory, which Global Directories Ltd was hoping would celebrate indigenous Jamaican music.
The depiction at the centre of the controversy shows a reggae scene with scantily clad women dancing with men at what appears to be a typical street session.
"We have challenges with our young people in terms of the values, the conduct that they are being exposed to. We thought that what was displayed there wasn't something that was beneficial," said Dr Wayne West, chairman of the coalition.
"We didn't think that scene, which was sort of a dancehall scene, was ideal. It wasn't the best thing that could have been done for the Yellow Pages - something which is so widely distributed and which is supposed to be the product of a company that should be seeking to elevate rather than to encourage behaviour that is not necessarily ideal."
Yesterday, Ian Neita, chief executive officer of Global Directories, said while the company would not apologise for using the scene, it understood the Christian group's concerns.
"In our response to their letter, we apologised for offending them because it was not the intention to offend them. We're not accepting that the depiction was offensive because that is a matter of interpretation," Neita told The Gleaner.
"We have provided an alternative cover for institutions such as churches and schools. Anybody who is offended by that depiction, they'll have a choice in having a replacement," he said, adding that the controversial depiction done by Raymond Jackson would remain in circulation.
Three directories are printed for Jamaica yearly: one for Kingston and St Andrew, an islandwide publication, and one residential. The controversial picture is on the cover of the directory for Kingston and St Andrew.
Ska is on the residential directory, while the scene depicting reggae is displayed on the islandwide copy.
In the reggae scene, scantily clad women are shown dancing with men at what appears to be a typical street dance.
Neita said that the company admitted that there's a "commercial and principled" aspect to the decision to print an alternative version.
"A church may be listed in the book [and] once they advertise in the book. In a kind of way, they become a co-sponsor. If it were a private magazine that we were putting forward in the public space, I think it would be a little bit different. I don't think we're resiling from a principled position by saying, 'Hey, I'll give you an alternative'."
Questioned on whether the company was setting a bad precedent by appeasing the church group, Neita said the "power" of the local religious lobby could not be ignored.
"In our society, the Church is a powerful lobby. We are a society that is fundamentally based on Christian principles. I don't think it's something that we can disregard. I'd like to think we kind of took the high road rather," he said.
"We still ended up having both (genres of music)."
Meanwhile, dancehall expert Dr Donna Hope said she did not see anything wrong with the scene.
"Dancehall culture is a very important part of Jamaican youth culture, and a dancehall scene on the front of the Yellow Pages, I and others thought it was an appropriate kind of image in a country where dancehall continues to provide response to and information about who we are as a people."
She said West has questions to answer.
"I would question Dr West on what children are exposed to in Jamaica and also wonder if Dr West is aware of the longevity of dancehall in Jamaica and the similarity in terms of his comment with that of many others."
The University of the West Indies senior lecturer added: "I would also want to find out if it is that Dr West, as a clergyman who is aware of the various challenges that we face in Jamaica, with multiple aspects of the socialisation planks, has also taken to task other critical aspects of our society that have been impacting our young people."
Neita declined to give the cost of the reprinting.
Dr Wayne West and company seems to forget this is a free country where there is separation of church of state, this is not a theocracy; fearmongering on a simple artwork that is also representing older concepts of dancehall, yes I agree that appropriateness overall in other spaces where children maybe exposed is important but the photo(s) are tame compared to what children are exposed to on social media via smartphones that are not monitored and present dancehall aesthetics. Because the photos reflect the bowels of the people elitists such as Dr West would want to suppress expressions, the photo is not racy as now and is not relevant to the current context of dancehall. The age difference or generation gap is clear here as the values of older persons who mostly populate these anti gay and fanatical groups is way different and ever changing than todays ‘millennials’ generations as they are called they do not even use phonebooks some may not even know what such an item is; it is near obsolete and relevant to an older demographic as laptops (slowly going out of style as well) smartphones, tablets, fablets and possibly wireless personal communications in the touted forms of a cyborg type are coming as talk of such are here. Even church people are using Bible APP instead of a hard copy of the Bible and one has to ask where does this man and his foolish followers live? They are used more so for propping short people on a bench per say or just to decorate the coffee table at home or so.
Do we hear teens or kids ask for a phonebook!
This whole ugly mess is sheer nonsense and somebody needs to tell Dr West where he and his cronies should go jump off. In the words of Dennis Brook this morning on his ‘What’s on my mind’ segment on Nationwide, “Shut your pie-hole” JCHS just makes honest peaceful church folks look bad as the ‘church’ gets labelled overall as silly or behind the times. Sad the rest of the church community who seem not to want to ruffle the feathers of some stay silent when crap like this occur.
Peace & tolerance
Leighton Levy on Gays are not our problem .... JCHS told to check the mirror
Ronnie Thwaites’ rubbish on flying rainbow flags grooms children into “particular lifestyle”
Christians say ... Don't force gay agenda on them ........ lol