published: Monday February 18, 2008
JAMAICAN CHURCH leaders stand resolute that despite strong lobbying by international gay rights activists, homo-sexuality will not be accepted as normal.
The Church's rebuke comes in the wake of a recent scathing report from the New York-based Human Rights Watch and protests last week by a Florida church sympathetic to gays.
The Rev Dr Merrick 'Al' Miller, pastor of the Fellowship Taber-nacle in St Andrew, said that Jamaicans generally deem homo-sexuality wrong.
He said the demands of gay activists who are attempting to force their beliefs on society will in no way influence Jamaicans to change their views.
"Homosexuality is wrong from every possible angle," said Miller. "It's immoral from a physical, social and spiritual standpoint." He said that despite this, the Church was willing to help and support those homosexuals who are in need of counselling or assistance to change their lifestyle.
"I have no problem in supporting and helping someone who sees that he is going the wrong way and wants help in changing his life, but where I draw the line is when you say that it is OK and want to force others to accept your abnormal behaviour," he added.
It was reported last week that on Valentine's Day, leaders of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Florida staged a demonstration outside the Jamaican consulate in Miami over what they said was a series of anti-gay murders and gay-bashing incidents in the island.
The MCC, a worldwide assembly of gay, lesbian and transsexual congregants, said they were prepared to push for a boycott of Jamaican tourism if the country fails to deal with reported attacks on gays.
The church also staged protests at consulates in New York, Toronto and Philadelphia. They reportedly called for a public aware-ness campaign to promote a more "gay-friendly" environment, and called on the Jamaican police to begin sensitivity training regarding the gay and lesbian communities.
The Rev Dr Lloyd Maxwell, of the AGAPE Christian Fellowship in Portmore, said that Scripture takes a very clear stance on the matter of homosexuality and, as such, the Church would not sanction nor encourage the lifestyle.
Rev Maxwell said the idea of conducting a public awareness campaign to sensitise Jamaicans on the issue is ludicrous.