Should homosexuals influence Caribbean society more than the church community? Part 1
By Dr Lazarus Castang:
Some commentaries on Caribbean News Now have consistently engaged in a common logical leap from universal human rights to men having sex with men. Homosex is often more implicitly than explicitly subsumed under the canopy of universal human rights. The need for sex or sexual satisfaction is universal, human, and a natural right. So, if this is the case, then no government, society, religion, culture, law, or morality should stigmatise or discriminate against adult males having private, consensual sex if it does not harm anyone. So the argument goes, but is the case really as simple and straightforward as this?
Some active homosexuals want to be welcomed and affirmed in and by the church, and be celebrated when they come out in society. Some want to be married and hold position in church. Furthermore, they oppose any moral or legal discrimination against their homosexual behaviour by society or the church. In some countries they have or seek laws that criminalise public and Christian moral opposition to homosex, while they decriminalise homosex. They want homosexual behaviour to be upheld in school curriculum as a normal variant of human sexuality and insist on legislation to protect their right to homosex that is assumed to be universal and right.
Homosexuals have private homosex, but seek public recognition and acceptance of their relationships through several avenues like public parades and protests. Privacy is not what they seek, since they have it already. Publicity of their “privacy” that can psychosocially normalize homosex and break down public resistance is the goal. Homosexuals are trying to influence societal norms just like the church. So, to talk of the church as a homophobic or bigoted obstacle to sexual freedom is to try to exclude and mute the influence of the church as an important public moral voice in Caribbean society.
Furthermore, the concept of universal human rights, as some have related it to homosex, does not address how to resolve public conflict of rights in society and in what way homosex is universal and right. In any public conflict of rights, say right to conscience versus sexual orientation right, one right will be made fundamental and the other less than fundamental. Merely using accusatory terms like “disadvantaged groups,” “abuse of minority,” “exclusionary approach” and “tyranny” in context of homosexual cause and the Caribbean church and society only fly on broken wings of emotionalism and appeals to sympathy without good reason.
In certain parts of the US and Canada, opponents of homosex have been fined or imprisoned for publicly opposing homosex, but homosexuals are not fined or imprisoned for publicly berating the church. They call the church bigoted for disapproving and not accommodating homosex, while they reverse bigotry by disapproving and not accommodating opposition to homosex.
In the Caribbean, homosexuals have been physically threatened, or attacked, or killed because of their orientation and behavioural expression or public display or promotion of it. The church community, however, disapproves of both homosex and violence against homosexuals. But it is argued by some gay rights activists that opposition to homosex is a source of social homophobia. The case for such argument has not been made and even if it were true, then, attackers can also use any other reason to attack homosexuals, such as the way they walk, talk, dress, the places they go, or the company they keep, or coming out. With such questionable or farfetched reasoning not only opposition to homosex needs changing. The way some homosexuals walk, talk, dress, the places they go, or the company they keep, or coming out, all these would be sources of homophobia to be changed.
So, should homosexuals influence Caribbean society on the right to sex more than the Caribbean church? After all, homosexuals’ bodies, butts, behaviours, brains, buggery, and bugs are theirs, not the church’s, even though some of them may belong to a church. The church should not talk for or over homosexuals, and homosexuals cannot control the church. Therefore, should homosexuals influence Caribbean society on the right to sex more than the Caribbean church?
If homosex is exclusively a private matter, should it be publicly promoted in any form or fashion, or legally protected, or religiously accepted? Does the church have a right to tell homosexuals not to have homosex? Are laws or sermons against homosex codes for or reinforcements of violent attacks against homosexuals in the Caribbean? As analogies, do laws against incest, pedophilia, bestiality, polygamy, and drug trafficking mean attack the violators?
There is no link between believing homosex is wrong and acting to wrong homosexuals physically. Physical attackers of homosexuals can use any reason in an effort to justify their nefarious acts, while accusers of the church bypass them to wrongly assign blame to the church. There are unbalanced and uncompassionate people in the church community as well as the homosexual community. So, should homosexuals influence Caribbean society on the right to sex, if there is a right to sex, more than the Caribbean church?
If there is a right to sexual satisfaction, how far do we extend this right to sex and on what basis? A non-discriminatory claim for the recognition of a variety of sexual orientations would have to include orientations toward multiple sex partners (polysexuality), children (pedophilia), blood relatives (incest), animals (bestiality), sadomasochism, voyeurism, necrophilia and so on. Sexual libertinism would be the order of the day in the name of freedom, social inclusion, tolerance, equality and acceptance.
The separation of church and state does not eliminate the influence of the church on the society or the society on the church. The Caribbean church exists under the jurisdiction of the Caribbean state and in society. Religious and secular people, gay or straight, influence state decisions as members of political parties, government agencies, business enterprises and media corporations and as individual citizens. Efforts to remove church or homosexual influence from the Caribbean state/society are virtually impractical at the corporate level and the individual level. Therefore, one cannot legitimately talk of freedom and at the same time seek to totally erode dialogue, rivalry of influence, and jostling for legal advantage between the church and the homosexual community on the question of the right to sexual satisfaction in the Caribbean.
In a society with a multiplicity of sexual orientations, sexual laws cannot forbid any behavioural expression of sexual orientation and be non-discriminatory at the same time. However, Caribbean diverse society must draw the line somewhere, even when the line may only be drawn in the sand of social shifts and turns. Again, should homosexuals influence Caribbean society on the right to sex more than the Caribbean church?
September 09, 2014
- Should homosexuals influence Caribbean society on the right to sex more than the Caribbean church Part-2