Congratulations to Bishop Howard Gregory and Rev Garnett Roper for exposing the local Church’s irrational homophobia.

Readers should know by now that I’m 100% for repeal of the “Buggery Law”; 100% for treating homosexuals, bi-sexuals, transsexuals and uncertains of any gender exactly as other human without discrimination, bigotry or harassment; 100% for same-sex marriages; and 100% for abortion on demand (subject only to medical opinion in individual cases) for anybody but me.  Mark you, all this politically incorrect rhetoric is nothing more than unequivocal support for equal rights and justice – concepts most humans, including racists, misogynists, bigots and religious whack-jobs insist they also espouse.

So, I’m sure it’ll be said “There he goes again.  Because di man dem a support fi him perversions, him a big dem up.”

That’s the problem.  In the overwhelming majority, Jamaicans don’t listen.  Men already know it all; women are working out what they’re going to say next.  I know my readers are made of sterner stuff so let’s try to dissect exactly what the two clergymen actually said/wrote and explain why there was such a violent reaction from Church establishment.

The context within which Bishop Gregory’s remarks were made is important. Currently, a Parliamentary Committee has been set up to review Jamaica’s sexual offences laws and to recommend reforms where necessary. Public submissions were invited.

In a report (Gleaner; July 23) by Arthur Hall/Jovan Johnson, Bishop Gregory’s views were summarized and placed in their proper context:

In a written submission to the committee in which he emphasised that his views were personal, Gregory….argued that the aim of the Church is not ‘that the authorities make Christian policies, Christian laws and so on, but that they be proper authorities in the sense of their special commission’.

According to Gregory, the State should not waste time with a referendum on the buggery law but should just strike it from the books.

Bishop Gregory didn’t start a war with the Church. Subsequent to his submission, the Church started a war with him. In the context of Parliament’s public announcement it was reviewing these Laws, Bishop presented the Committee with his personal views (which is the right/duty of every citizen).  Those views made it clear Bishop didn’t disagree with any church doctrine but his views were based on the need, in a secular State, to separate the roles of Church and State so each may perform its individual obligations without interference from either.

Gregory made it clear:

  • He wasn’t advocating homosexual marriage;
  • He didn’t hold to the view that the anus was a sexual organ;
  • Sexual activity in public spaces should remain illegal

As Clara Peller might say, were she still alive “Where’s the beef?” What’s the Church’s problem? Isn’t it enough for the Church to continue to influence its members to follow Biblical teachings? Must the State also bow to Church dogma in its legislative processes thus converting Parliament from a Constitutional institution permitted only to “..make laws for the peace, order and good government of Jamaica” (Constitution; section 48) into a mere lackey who made laws on demand.  If Parliament were to make laws based on scriptural doctrine or to appease the Church, those Laws would be unconstitutional.  So what EXACTLY has the good Bishop said that was incorrect and/or so fundamentally offensive that he deserves the rabid assault by his colleagues and to be flagellated by the Old Testament?

Gregory made the obviously consequential observation “what happens in privacy between consenting adults should be beyond the purview of the Government.”  Surely everybody understands this to be true? He didn’t suggest the same private acts should be beyond the purview of the Church. Properly understood, Bishop Gregory’s submission was in protection of the Church’s turf which is our spiritual health.

But, you see, as I’ve been writing for years, members’ spiritual health isn’t the Church’s REAL concern and hasn’t been for almost two centuries. The Church is only concerned with CONTROL and, in particular, control of our minds.  If the Church was concerned about our welfare, widespread pedophaelia; abuse of special counseling relationships for sexual gratification; selling of “indulgencies” (a.k.a. aiding and abetting organized crime); other moral and legal atrocities wouldn’t have become entrenched Church practices

Bishop Gregory made several other common sense oriented proposals all of which, if logically reviewed without ulterior motive, would, if implemented, strengthened the Church’s role as arbiter of and guidance counselor for Jamaica’s morals and ethics.  Those proposals included the widening of marital rape to include all occasions of “non-consensual sex accompanied by threat, intimidation and violence” which, although seemingly against Church’s irrational dogma that a wife can’t be raped by her husband, is otherwise unassailable inevitability.

Beginning at the beginning, it’s completely false to allege that the Bible says a wife can’t be raped. The Bible commands mutuality. First Corinthians 7: 1-5 says neither wife nor husband should deprive the other of their bodies: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The scriptural advice is similar to that given by Joe Tex:

You had better hold on;
hold to what you’ve got.
You had better hold on;
hold on to what you’ve got.
’Cause, if you think nobody wants it,
just throw it away and you will see
someone will have it before you can count 1, 2, 3

One way to keep a spouse faithful is not to deny sex.  But the Bible only speaks to WILLING sex and nowhere does it say man is allowed to TAKE sex from his wife.  First Corinthians clearly accepts that a woman may deprive her husband of sex but warns that she ought not to do so.  So this nonsense about marital rape being scripturally impossible is crap!

It was heartening to see and hear proof that the current President of the Theological Seminary is capable of independent thought as Rev Garnet Roper, as would any person addicted to logic, publicly supported Bishop Gregory’s views.

Clearly appreciating that bigotry encourages illiteracy, attention deficit disorder and hearing disabilities, Roper spoke slowly and carefully. He:

  • Insisted issues of homosexuality and buggery (as legally defined) were moral not legal issues;
  • Asserted repeal of the legal prohibition shouldn’t be equated with promotion of homosexuality;
  • Was quoted as saying “Buggery/anal sex is a moral matter that’s between consenting persons; it’s a choice which I don’t approve of, but that doesn’t make it a criminal act”
  • Deplored “belligerent attitudes by sections of the Church” on homosexuality which treated the matter as an ideological one

Both Gregory and Roper were only defending Church doctrine and delineating the Church’s role and fiefdom within society.  If only we listened, the Church would’ve been left alone to inculcate in all of us the great scriptural philosophies without having to rely on the State to legitimize church doctrine by intrusion of the criminal law.  Based on their arguments, the Church would be free to teach that buggery was “abominable” no matter what the State legislated. Inherent inconsistencies among church “sins” (some criminalized; some not) wouldn’t have to be explained.

But blinkered Church bigots destined to prove no good deed goes unpunished have unfairly vilified both gentlemen. Roper was actually uninvited from speaking at a Church function.  Perhaps somebody will show me the difference between this sort of discrimination and a march by white supremacists in Virginia in defence of a confederate statue.

Let me be clear. I don’t approve of the Church using ancient scripture to, in my words, extort a percentage of members’ wages (Tithes) as forced contributions but I’ve never proposed Tithing be a special offence under the Larceny Act.  The Church doesn’t approve of adultery or fornication (equally vile in scripture as male homosexuality) but it hasn’t lobbied government to make these sexual offences.

So what is it about buggery that must be legally punished and marital rape that should be allowed to continue untrammeled?  Can nobody see the arrant hypocrisy; the unforgiveable attempt at mind control; or the embarrassing inconsistency in our sexual laws?

It’s time to get real. A woman’s vagina isn’t her only orifice vulnerable to unwanted or forced sexual activity.  If buggery is truly “abominable” (more on what the Bible REALLY says about homosexuality/buggery anon) why is rape of a little boy or man treated by law as less repugnant than that of a woman? If Parliament has any testicles at all, it’ll look the Church in the eye, use two words, the second of which is “off”; the first of which I’ve recently written about in detail, and amend our sexual offences laws to accord with 21st century realities.

Peace and Love


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  1. Paul Wright Says:

    Well said. If only they would read, listen and understand.
    Dr. Paul Wright

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