KINGSTON — If Jamaica’s church leaders are to be believed, they are ready to go to jail to prevent their government from changing the colonial-era “anti-buggery” laws.
Tens of thousands showed up recently at a public rally billed to “defend family, faith and freedom,” organized by Jamaica Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation (Jamaica C.A.U.S.E.). Representatives from other Caribbean islands were also present.
They rally’s attendees were steadfastly opposed to what they see as a modern-day imperialist plot to impose same-sex marriage in a country that proudly has more churches per square mile than any other nation in the world.
The inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr. was invoked as a man who opposed unjust laws and went to jail for his beliefs. Jamaica’s Christian soldiers should get ready to do the same, the rally’s leaders said. By videotape, MLK’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, reminded the thousands who showed up that King was for the family and lived for “God’s truth.” “Do not fall for the anti-procreation agenda” coming from America, she implored the crowds.
Speaker after speaker intoned that homosexuality is unnatural, that sex and marriage is about procreation, and on that basis, same-sex marriage should be opposed. Same-sex marriage would destroy the family and destroy the Christian nation that is Jamaica, they said.
To be fair, the local inflammatory word for homosexuals, “battyman,” was never used. The rally’s speakers said there should be no violence against gays—that they were God’s children—but that their homosexual agenda must be opposed. It’s a line that American evangelicals often take as well: “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
U.S. President Barack Obama was flayed as a disappointment to the black race for his supposed advocacy of the homosexual agenda. Outrage was also expressed at his special envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, Randy Berry, who came to Jamaica to discuss LGBT rights with the government.
Also condemned was Obama’s British counterpart, Prime Minister David Cameron, who arrives in Jamaica this week. Cameron’s message of toleration for homosexuality should be rejected, the rally’s leaders said, adding that the rights of the church will be undermined. Nor should Jamaicans be intimidated by threats to withhold funds in order to impose the “LGBT agenda,” they said. It is following God’s word that will save the nation, not money, not even the IMF. A revival will come.
The flag-waving audience, pumped up by a Christian reggae band, was encouraged to make sure they get registered to vote. National elections are due soon and the rally’s leaders plan to press politicians to declare their position on same-sex marriage and the anti-buggery laws. “Power in a de finger,” declared Rev. Al Miller. Letters will be written by the rally’s organizers to the governor general, the prime minister, and the leader of the opposition, demanding that they not bow to foreign pressure over gay rights.
Child abuse, not surprisingly, was painted as part of the struggle against the LGBT agenda. Children’s rights activist Betty Anne Blaine said that children were trusting and impressionable and parents should keep track of what they were being taught in school. There must be vigilance against any attempt to teach same-sex marriage as part of the normal family structure, she said. Children have a “capacity for God” and they should be fed on the Bible.
Sexual purity, chastity, marriage (meaning one man, one woman) as opposed to “co-habitation,” were extolled as the foundation of the nation. This agenda, the rally’s leaders said, would result in fewer social problems—less gang violence and lower rates of teenage pregnancy. Once the family structure was kept intact, fathers would look after their children and a better nation would result. According to Daniel Thomas, head of the Love March Movement, a youth organization, surveys allegedly showed that those who had less premarital sexual experience were more likely to stay married.
One of the highlights of the rally was singer and Rastafarian Queen Ifrika, who made an appearance to show support for the “CAUSE.” Perhaps mindful that she had once been refused a work permit in Canada for making homophobic remarks, she tried to make it plain that the rally was not just about homosexuality. “It is also about the children.” A constant refrain throughout the night.