At a growing rate the homosexuality debate has taken on religious, psychological, geo-political, economic and cultural significance; globally and locally. Within the Jamaican context, debates on the political front, with the promise to review the “Buggery Law”, and more recently, constitutional challenges in our courts have heightened the dialogue. The so called “Homosexuality Agenda” and economic pressure from bilateral and multilateral partners have contributed to the anxiety being experienced by many. As a historical moral voice within the Jamaican society, the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) brings its perspective to this debate, recognising the complexity of the matter and the need for divine wisdom in providing a possible direction to the Church, and indeed, to the wider society.
A Biblical/Theological Perspective
Being mindful of the fact that differing interpretations of scripture have led to varying theological positions articulated by different parts of the Body of Christ – the Church, the Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) embraces the view of the sanctity of our sexuality; that God’s perfect design, as expressed in Scripture, is for sexual intimacy to take place between one man and one woman within the context of the sanctity of marriage. The JCC will therefore advocate for the Institution of Marriage to be reserved for one man and one woman.
In light of this, the Council is appealing to its membership, and indeed, the wider Church community, to become more intentional and strategic in ensuring that a wholesome, Christ-Centered and engaging perspective on sexuality is included in their discipleship programme. Many persons, especially the young, are confused regarding their sexuality and the permissiveness of this post-modern world does nothing to help.
The Council further affirms that all of humanity shares in a common human brokenness (Romans 8:22) and therefore deserves to receive the love and pastoral care of the Church that is modelled off the love, compassion and grace that Jesus Christ demonstrated in His earthly Ministry. While homosexuality may be a conscious choice that some persons have made, for others within and outside of the Church, their homosexuality represents an unwelcome struggle between their experience and their faith, the “flesh and the Spirit” (Romans 7:7ff); it is the basis of chronic guilt and depression; disappointment and unanswered questions within many families. Fear of ridicule and isolation often cause them to suffer in silence.
In view of this, the Council appeals to members of the Church, clergy and laity, to make Church a welcoming and non-judgmental space; one that is sensitive to those who are dealing with issues of brokenness in their lives, which include homosexuality. While the Council affirms the prophetic role of the Church, it also affirms its pastoral role and so appeals to the Church, as well as the wider religious community, not to speak or act in ways that could ostracize, incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexuals, as they too are bearers of the “Image of God” and for whom Christ died. The Church must also be ready to support families who have to cope with the implications of homosexuality within.
A Socio-Political Appeal
It is clear that those with a homosexual political agenda are placing much pressure on societies like Jamaica to change their cultural norms, values and mores. As a politically Independent and Sovereign State, we must resist such imposition and allow for our own people to determine what is in the best interest of Jamaica, land we love.
Mindful of the complexity of this subject matter, the JCC strongly believes
- That the practice of homosexuality must never be promoted as a normal and natural way of life and on par with heterosexual lifestyle;
- That the institution of marriage must be reserved for a faithful and committed relationship between a man and a woman;
- That every effort must be made to protect our children from being lured or forced into sexual activities, whether homosexual or heterosexual;
- That the right to disagree with the homosexual lifestyle must be preserved, while treating individuals who are homosexuals with respect;
- That persons who are homosexuals must be free from violence and discrimination and that equality and entitlement before the law, as for all other Jamaicans, must be protected within the confines of Jamaica’s Constitution.
The JCC appeals to its member churches and the wider church community to spearhead a process of biblically and theologically sound public education regarding sex and sexuality, including the consequences of unhealthy and irresponsible sexual practices.
September 25, 2013