Dear Ms. Sarah Flood-Beaubrun: Yesterday, 5th December 2017, on your way to parliament, you did it again.
Lately, it seems no matter what question you are asked, whether it is about sex offenders’ registry, rape, child molestation, abortion, adultery, abuse, crime, human rights, you always seem to find a way to make a link to homosexuality.
You seem to be oblivious to the fact that almost all the crimes committed in St. Lucia, including the molestation of children, rape, abortions, spouse beating, are committed by “straight” people. Yet, as a government minister, you seem to ignore almost all of those, and at the sight of any microphone, you go after the LGBTQ community. I suspect soon you will also blame the LGBT community for any failure you and your government may have.
Sarah, I have sat by, read and listened to your rants and attacks on the LGBT community; this time I decided enough is enough. You are misleading the St. Lucian public and playing on their bigotry. You know it. What the LGBTQ community in St. Lucia is asking; is for the removal of buggery from the criminal code, so it is no longer a criminal act. You are an attorney, and you know the difference, yet you do what politicians like yourself do; you muddle up the issue, demonize the LGBTQ community so you will not have to address the issue of the removal of buggery from the criminal code. Then you are seen as a saint in eyes of your constituents and that will help guarantee your win at the next election.
You are playing politics with this issue, without caring for the people that are being hurt in the process since they are in the minority. You may want to ask the Labour Department why and how it removed discrimination of all kinds, including sexual orientation from hiring practices so no citizen of St. Lucia, no matter what their sexual or religions preferences are; no matter which party they support; no matter what race or sex they are; each St. Lucian is treated equally by the Labour Department and in employment in St. Lucia.
That, is what Leadership does. Good leadership does not have to agree with everything, it does what is right. It does what it took an oath to do. In your case, you took an oath to protect the rights of every St. Lucian, that includes SLPs, UWPs, LPMs, no Ps, straight, LGBTQ, young, old: every St. Lucian. Why do you discriminate against some of the very people you swore to serve? Sarah, your attempt to be seen as taking the “moral” highroad is nothing more than an out of touch, bitter, bigoted, hateful, opportunistic, bible toting hypocrite. Read on, you will understand why.
Before deciding to respond to your spread of hate, discrimination, and possibly inciting violence, I spoke with many fellow Saint Lucians, and others from different parts of the World, including many Officials and friends from the United Workers Party (UWP) Government, they encouraged me to write this open letter to you. Many are disgusted by your continued attacks on the LGBT community instead of addressing the decriminalization of buggery in the criminal code. What’s more, many feel that there is no basis for your continued hatred towards that community. But, that has not stopped you.
According to News Reports, many Facebook posts and comments, it was reported that on the 17th and 18th, of November 2017, an organization which you founded, the Caribbean Centre for Family and Human Rights (CARIFAM), attended the fifth World Congress of Families Caribbean Conference, under the theme “The Family Development – Strong Families, Prosperous Nations”. You ought to be commended for your courageous fight for families, pregnant women, and children.
You wrote CARIFAM is “… dedicated to protecting the family, human rights and human dignity. We advocate for full enjoyment of fundamental human rights for all peoples and for the strengthening of the family unit as an essential foundation of these rights.”
Your MISSION Statement says that CARIFAM aims, “To be the foremost organization in the Caribbean dedicated to the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights premised on the inherent dignity of the human person.” It is in this very affirmation by you that any clear thinking person will see a glaring problem: what your Mission states, and what you say are not in sync. How could you possible state that you are “dedicated to the … human rights and human dignity”, but in the same vein work hard to deny certain segments of society their “human rights”? That makes you a champion of some human rights, not blanket “human rights”. To claim that you are for “human rights” is wrong. If you are going to be nurturing children, helping families, you should not start out with a lie. I know you are a politician, but you seem to put your Christian faith first, and a lie is a no no, isn’t it?
Many countries and organizations in the Western Hemisphere, including the United Nations (UN), have been working for the promotion of rights to groups that have been wronged, marginalized, discriminated against, treated badly, persecuted, etc., etc. That includes minority groups such as the LGBT (surprise: yes, we are people and citizens too), but time and again, you have proven that you do not think your fellow citizens who belong to that group should be accorded their “human rights”.
While Representing St. Lucia at the UN, you (St. Lucia) were the ONLY one in the Americas (from Canada in the North to Chile in the South), who voted against the UN declaration in support of LGBT rights. It was reported that you “co-sponsored the opposing statement”. What a distinction. The only thing our country stand alone in, and is best at, is “FORMALLY” denying a segment of our society their rights. The irony is, that was done by you who claims to be a champion for “human rights”. Countries that didn’t want to vote for it, abstained, but you had to show your utter hatred for a minority of the very people you represent by sending a clear message of hate. You shamefully sat in that same General Assembly, and spoke about the rights of women, the rights of children, human rights, and the rights of the family.
What’s your definition of “family”? If you check the Oxford Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Collins, Dictionnaire de l’Académie française, Larousse, Robert, or the United Nations for a definition of family, none of them identified a “family” as narrowly as you seem to do. The definitions went from mother, father with children, to single parent families, to people living together, a group of animals, group of plants, and even include the Mafia, as a family.
The United Nations definition said: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” (United Nations, 1948). “Society’s definition of ‘family’ is rapidly expanding and has come to include single parents, biracial couples, blended families, unrelated individuals living cooperatively, and homosexual couples, among others. Unfortunately, family policy has been slow to catch up to changing trends in modern lifestyles” (Crawford, 1999, p. 271). There are many other scholars including, Crawford, who disagrees with your narrow definition of “family”. Are they all wrong and you, Sarah, are the one who is correct?
What you fail to realize is that, your very action is endangering some of those very “families” including children who happen to be different, homosexual. Myself and many others can tell you the trauma of growing up in St. Lucia with no protection from adults and elected officials like yourself. The UN listed the ills of such a stance. I have no doubt you are fully aware of them, but choose to ignore the harm they can do to some of the very families and children you claim to be there to help. Have you even thought of the effects of your actions and words on the lives of young people who are scared, and are dealing with the torrent of feelings and emotions surrounding their sexuality? Where is your love and compassion?
Increasingly, many political and religious leaders from many faiths are disagreeing with you and others like you. One example is Rev. Canon Steve Chalke. He said, the “…TRADITIONAL understanding of something isn’t always the right understanding of something.” Just as the church had to adjust it’s teachings to the realities of scientific discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, he said it is crucial for Christians to use modern-day resources to re-examine these clobber passages.
“Our poor understanding of the New Testament has brought misery, persecution, oppression and rejection to countless hundreds of thousands and millions of LGBT people,” Rev. Chalke said. “It is time to apologize for the mistakes we’ve made and move on,” he advised.
It is in that vein, that the widely admired Canadian Prime Minister Hon. Justin Trudeau, on 29th November, 2017, on behalf of Canadians, apologized for the wrongdoings towards the LGBT population.
During his apology, he said, “…Systemic oppression, criminalization, and violence against the LGBTQ2 community, and it is my hope that in talking about the injustices and vowing to never repeat them, and acting to right these wrongs, we can begin to heal. It is with shame, and sorrow, and deep regret for the things we have done, that I stand here today and say, we were wrong, we apologize. I am sorry, we are sorry…” He called for “forward-thinking and progressive ideas”. He said it is wrong to be told that your country doesn’t accept you. Sees you as defective. Simply because of who you are and who your sexual partners are. His message: it is wrong to be CRIMINALIZED for who YOU ARE.
Sarah, your position, and to a large extent that of the government of St. Lucia, has been acknowledged as the systemic oppression, criminalization and violence against the LGBT community. In the words of Mr. Trudeau, St. Lucia’s criminal code codified “buggery” language, “bolster and embolden those who want to attack others for non-conforming sexual desire.” It makes, “private and consensual sex between same-sex partners a criminal offence”. Although in the case of St. Lucia, it specifies between men, not women. The criminal code discriminates and encourages hatred and fear. Just imagine for a moment what it’s like to be discriminated against by your own government, while a foreign government from a more advanced and progressive country says “Canada will stand tall on the international stage as we proudly advocate for equal rights for LGBTQ2 communities around the world…. To members of the LGBTQ2 communities, young and old, here in Canada and around the world: You are loved. And we support you…” That is in accordance with Jesus’ message of love; promoting real “human rights” for all. Not your distorted use of the Bible to clobber some of God’s children.
You may reply to this by highlighting Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s appearance of Rick Wayne’s show, “Talk” on Thursday 29th November, 2017. When the Prime Minister was asked about the repeal of “buggery” in the criminal code, he said, “Not because the rest of the World is going in that direction that means St. Lucia should go in that direction”. I can understand the Prime Minister’s positon. Like you he is a politician. He depends on you, Mr. Joseph, Mr. Montoute, and others of a similar mindset to win their seats, support him so he can remain Prime Minister and possibly win the next election.
In turn, you all may be scared of losing votes if you go contrary to what many St. Lucians think on the subject. Frist off, your party base will vote for you regardless, (that was shown in 2011, even after all the fiasco with the then UWP government, the party got almost the same number of votes as it did when it won in 2006). It is what the Prime Minister of Canada called the “progressives”; those who are independent, and swing voters who decides which part wins the elections. Those are mostly the more open minded, the more tolerant, those who understand changes are necessary, and above all, most believe in true “human rights”. You were elected to provide leadership. At the very least, you and Mr. Chastanet should start and encourage internal discussions and let the resolution come from inside of St. Lucia before it is imposed from countries and investors whom you all are courting to help grow the St. Lucian economy. You can no longer continue to simply pay lip service to “human rights” for all, without actually guaranteeing those “human rights”.
You need to stop your blatant discrimination. You did it again at the OAS General Assembly. On June 22nd of this year, here is what was written about you, “Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, Saint Lucia’s Minister of External Affairs explained her country’s position, saying “Saint Lucia cannot commit to any provision that undermine the institution of the family, or that may lead to the creation of controversial ‘sexual rights’ that may conflict with the rights of children and their families. Flood-Beaubrun reminded the room that international binding provisions protect the family as “the natural and fundamental unity of society,” and stressed her own country’s duty to protect it, and to protect the children.” Yes, you do have a “duty to protect… the children”; all the children, not some.
The suggestion is that you should be more concerned about child abuse cases where boys and girls are raped. Rape should be gender neutral and the penalty should be the same for both non-consensual vaginal and anal sex. You have yet to tell us how extending “human rights” to the LGBT Community will erode the “human rights” of families and children. Are you telling us that if one group of people get rights, then another group will have less rights? Are those rights mutually exclusive? Can we not all have equal protection, equal rights: “human rights”?
You are using some of the same arguments that were used to deny the “human rights” of women (denying women the right to vote, etc.), of blacks, of indigenous people and minority groups all over the World. That same argument was used to try and prevent blacks from joining the US military, they said it would “disrupt the unit”, and it did, but the military became better and stronger for it. Since then, blacks have risen to the top of the military to become Generals, Joint-Chiefs, etc. Members of the LGBT community are not going away, we are industrious and productive members of society, we are your neighbours, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends, assistants, civil servants, and even some of your husbands, etc., etc.
Research has shown we contribute disproportionately more to the economy and society than any other group. You are at a unique place in history, you get a chance to make a huge difference, show some real leadership, make some hard choices and educate the country, bring them along with you, and let them know to love their children, all their children (after-all, it is them who are producing the homosexual children). Or, if you do not have the gonads to be so brave, then stop discriminating and making our lives more difficult than it already is. Imagine if someone was trying to deny you your basic “human rights” like you are doing us. Makes you no better than those hypocritical Republicans who spew hate against homosexuals, but every so often, some of those same “family values” and anti-LGBT Republicans are themselves caught in some homosexual act. Last two were caught as recently as November 2017. That is not the company you want to be in: I would like to think you are better than that.
You may ask, “what would Jesus say?” Would Jesus have cared if people were LGBTQ? He would have loved us anyway. Jesus was here to teach people to love and forgive. I thought Christians were supposed to recognize the fullness of God’s love and support, help their fellow brothers and sisters in their many struggles. FYI: being a homosexual in this World, especially in a discriminatory place like St. Lucia is a huge struggle. Given a choice, knowing how difficult and trying it is to be LGBTQ, no one I know, or have read about, would choose to be.
Some of us learn to accept and embrace who we truly are, but it often is a real struggle for us to get to that place of acceptance. There is what you were brought up with in church; what parents, Sunday school, etc., taught you, and then there is your biological makeup – who nature decided you will be; calling at you to be the real you – unapologetically. It is ironic that the same Christians who say God does not make mistakes, and he created everything for a purpose, are the same ones demonizing some of his works, some of his children. God intended and command all of his creation to be who he created them to be. For those who live in places where bigotry exists, their very nature, their very God given right is being denied them by some of the same people who are professing God’s love. That’s what you do.
This is where the quoting of Bible verses will begin. Several Theologians who studied the Bible for many years have tried to explain the Bible to the World. They have come to the conclusion that “anyone who has a desire to impose an agenda on the Bible is normally able to accomplish it, no matter how contrary such an agenda might be to how the book has been understood for millennia”. Such is the nature of the Good Book – the Bible: that you can find something in there to justify or refute almost anything you set out to do. One can bend the Bible based on their agenda. In most bigots’ cases, understanding the divine laws and lessons of the bible is too often simply made into hot-button items simply out of a cultural rejection of anyone or anything that is different: they do it out of impulse rather than out of any GENUINE concern over the word of God. If they did it out genuine concern, they would show what the Bible said is above all else, LOVE. Where is your Christian LOVE Sarah? You go to the Bible and find exactly what you are looking for, don’t you? Well, let’s take a Bible walk together.
For many Christians, denying LGBT people their rights is as simple as opening the Bible. Well, not so fast.
First off, Jesus, on more than one occasion, demonstrated that he didn’t know everything. It is Jesus himself who made a career out of questioning the received wisdom of religious authorities. “You know it said like this,” he would suggest, “but why not reconsider it this way?” Given what we know of Jesus’ humility, why wouldn’t he open to changing his mind as the years, centuries and millenniums went by? It is in that spirit that those who spend their lives studying the Bible, including religious leaders are increasingly allowing for more rights for all groups, or are sounding less sure about discriminatory positions as the years go by. That is the basis for the British, from whom most of our laws, rules, etc., came from.
The British, after reviewing the 4th September, 1957 Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (also known as the Wolfenden report), passed the Sexual Offences Act 1967. It decriminalized homosexual acts in private. Later, England would pass a law that treated committed relationships between two CONSENTING adults equally. Surprisingly, it was with huge help from the church, Theologians, and other religions leaders, that the British, like many other countries, were able to evolve; to change; to treat all of God’s children equally – with love and compassion – just as Jesus did and ordered.
You might ask, what about the six or seven references to homosexuality in the Bible (old and new testament)? Fair question. The Bible isn’t a rulebook (if it was, we would not have the need for the criminal code, etc), and Christians cannot lift out of its context any passage from the Bible, and still hope to gain a clear understanding of that passage. It is important to understand that even the most fundamentalist Christian sects do not take the Bible wholly literally. The New Testament is 2,000 years old. Its CULTURAL contexts, along with the translation at hand, is always taken into consideration by any Christian serious about understanding this vast and complex work. That is why people spend many years studying the Bible.
Many of those who have studied the Bible, say it is not a contract, or a set of instructions, with each passage spelling out something clear and specific. It is not a rulebook for being Christian. It is instead a widely varying collection of poetry, history, proverbs, moral directives, parables, letters and wondrous visions. We would be foolish to fail to understand that not everything in the Bible is a commandment, and that Christians cannot take any small section of the Bible out of its own context, and still hope to gain a clear understanding of its meaning.
Using the four Old Testament passages to condemn LGBTQ people is not in keeping with any directive from God, nor with the practices of contemporary Christians.
The Bible’s first four mentions of homosexuality occur in the Old Testament. However, it was St. Paul who specifically instructed Christians, like you, that while they were continuing to be spiritually inspired and influenced by the Old Testament, they were NOT to follow the law of the Old Testament. He did that in the following passages:
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. —Hebrews 7:18-19
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. — Galatians 3:23-25
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another… —Romans 7:4
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. — Romans 6:14
In practice, you and other Christians do not follow the dictates of the Old Testament. If you and others on our island did, polygamy would be legal. Forbidden would be things like tattoos, wearing mixed fabrics, eating pork and planting different crop together or side by side as sanctioned in Deutermony 22:9-11, and Leviticus 19:19, – the Christian day of worship would be Saturday, not Sunday as it was in the Old Testament. Also, upon marriage, a new bride would have to prove she is a virgin. If not, she would have to be stoned to death. Do you know any woman who got married and were not virgins on their Wedding day? Did you stone any of those women to death? That is also the punishment for anyone guilty of adultery. I have not found any speech where you spoke at the UN or elsewhere about adultery, despite the fact that it made God’s Top Ten list (the Ten Commandments). I have not heard you spoke about the many people who have knowingly committed adultery in St. Lucia; that includes the number of married people with outside children. Where is your SANCTIMONIOUS voice on those?
Clearly, we no longer follow the Old Testament laws. Rightfully so, because St. Paul asked us NOT to. Therefore, the use of the four Old Testament passages as justification for your blatant discrimination is not in keeping any directive from God, nor with the practices of contemporary Christians. Our understanding and practice of New Testament prescriptions EVOLVED along with the society and culture of which they are a part. At any given time in history Christians have always SELECTIVELY followed dictates of the New Testament.
The Catholic Church, amongst others, are against any form of birth control, including condoms. St. Lucia is a majority Catholic country, are condoms illegal? Do Catholics use condoms and other forms of birth control? I suspect they do. Also, you and other Christian women no longer feel morally constrained to follow Paul’s directives to leave your hair UNCUT, to keep your heads COVERED in church, or to always remain QUIET in church. It’s also why the Bible is no longer used to justify the cruel institution of SLAVERY, or to deny women the right to VOTE. As a woman, you gave speeches at the United Nations where you spoke about the rights of women, and lauded the progress made, even in the sciences, etc., but cautioned that we still have a long way to go for women to achieve full equality. It troubles me that in one breath you can speak of the rights of one group, but on the other, in the same institution, under the same roof, deny another group their “human rights”. How do you reconcile being able to do both? Some might call that hypocrisy and double standards.
Just as those thoughts and understandings of the New Testament changed and grew, so today you can mix and match threads and not get stoned to death. It is becoming increasingly clear to most Christians that the three New Testament passages that many “Christians” use to clobber the LGBTQ community (each of which was written by Paul in letters to or about nascent distant churches), when understood in their historical context, do NOT constitute a directive from God against LGBTQ people today.
Here are the three mentions of homosexuality in the New Testament:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. —1 Corinthians 6:9-10
We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers — and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. —1 Timothy 1:9-10:
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.—Romans 1:26-27
In the times during which the New Testament was written, the Roman conquerors of the region frequently and openly engaged in homosexual acts between older men and boys, and between men and their male slaves. These acts of NON-CONSENSUAL sex were considered normal and socially acceptable. They were, however, morally repulsive to Paul, as today they would be to the vast majority of people, gay and straight.
The universally acknowledged authoritative reference on matters of antiquity is the Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD). Here is what the OCD (third edition revised, 2003) says in its section about homosexuality as practiced in the time of Paul:
“…the sexual penetration of male prostitutes or slaves by conventionally masculine elite men, who might purchase slaves expressly for that purpose, was not considered morally problematic.”
This is the societal context in which Paul wrote of homosexual acts, and it is this context that Christians are obliged to bring to their understanding and interpretation of the three clobber passages. Paul certainly condemned the same-sex sexual activity he saw around him. It was coercive; it was without constraint; it involved older men and boys. As a moral man, Paul was revolted by these acts — as, certainly, he would have been by the same acts had they been heterosexual in nature.
Sarah, the Bible’s clobber passages were written about same-sex acts between HETEROSEXUAL persons (straight people who have wielded most of the power in society, and caused most of the suffering, like you do now). St. Paul do not address the subject of homosexual acts between a committed gay couple, because the concept of a person being a homosexual did not exist at the time the Bible was written.
It is also critical to our reading of the New Testament’s three clobber passages to understand that while of course Paul knew about sex acts that took place between persons of the same gender, he had no concept whatsoever of homosexual persons. Theologians have said that; virtually no one in Paul’s time was “out”; no one lived, or in any way publicly self-identified, as a homosexual. Paul had no concept of an entire population of people who, as a fundamental, unalterable condition of their existence, were sexually attracted to persons of the same gender, and not sexually attracted to persons of the opposite gender.
Here is the opening of the OCD’s article on homosexuality:
“No Greek or Latin word corresponds to the modern term ‘homosexuality,’ and ancient Mediterranean society did not in practice treat homosexuality as a socially operating category of personal or public life. Sexual relations between persons of the same sex certainly did occur (they are widely attested in ancient sources), but they were not systematically distinguished or conceptualized as such, much less were they thought to represent a single, homogeneous phenomenon in contradistinction to sexual relations between persons of different sexes. … The application of ‘homosexuality’ (and ‘heterosexuality’) in a substantive or normative sense to sexual expression in classical antiquity is not advised.”
These Theologians further stated; we can be confident that Paul was not writing to, or about, gay people, because he simply could NOT have been, any more than he could have written about SMART PHONES or iPADS. We do not know what Paul might write or say today about gay people. All we know is that in the New Testament he wrote about PROMISCUOUS, PREDATORY, NON-CONSEXUAL same-sex acts between “HETEROSEXUALS” (your team). Sarah, it WASN’T homosexuals who were busy having sex, it was “straight” people, mostly men, (it usually is), who were having their way with whoever, and whatever they fancied. It was wrong then, it is wrong now. Their wrongdoing, does not justify you using what “straight” men did, to deny a whole group of God’s children their “human rights”.
The countries that have taken the time to properly study the Bible as it should, most of them majority “Christian Countries”, decided to legislate or vote in favour of gay rights, and gay marriage because they understand the Bible routinely, clearly and strongly classifies ALL SEX ACTS OUTSIDE THE BONDS OF MARRIAGE as sinful. They also understood that there was no concept of gay people when the Bible was written. Therefore the Bible does not, and could not, address the sinfulness of homosexual acts done WITHIN the context of marriage. Christians therefore have NO BIBLICAL BASIS for themselves condemning such acts. In fact, by denying marriage equality to gay people in places like Saint Lucia, people like you are compelling gay couples TO SIN, because their intimacy must happen outside of marriage, and is therefore, by biblical definition, sinful. Even those who are personally repelled by homosexuality know that doesn’t make homosexuality a sin.
In addition to the Bible, many Christians cite as additional evidence of the inherent sinfulness of homosexual acts their raw emotional response to such acts. It is understandable that many straight people find homosexual sex repugnant (just as many gay people find heterosexual sex repugnant). It is normal for any one of us to be viscerally repelled by the idea of sex between, or with, people for whom we personally have no sexual attraction. Young people, for example, are often disgusted by the thought of senior citizens having sex. And who isn’t repulsed by the idea of their parents having sex? Your own children may be repulsed at the thought of you having sex. But it is much too easy for any person to mistake their instinctive reaction against something as a MORAL reaction to that thing. OUTRAGE isn’t always MORAL OUTRAGE, though the two usually feel the same.
It may feel to a straight Christian that their instinctive negative reaction to homosexual sex arises out of the Bible. But all of us necessarily view the Bible through the lens of our own experiences and prejudices, and we must be very careful to ensure that lens does not distort our vision or understanding of God’s sacrosanct word.
“The greatest of these is love.”
The overriding message of Jesus was love. Jesus modeled love; Jesus preached love; Jesus was love. You and others who desire to do and live the will of Jesus are morally obliged to always err on the side of love. Taken altogether, the evidence — the social context in which the Bible was written, the lack of the very concept of gay people in Paul’s time, the lack of basic “human rights” for LGBT people in St. Lucia, the inability of gay people in St. Lucia to not be seen as criminals, the inequity between how the clobber passages are applied between a majority and a minority population, the injustice of the punishment for a state of being over which one has no choice, and human love generally — shows that choosing to condemn and exclude gay people based on the Bible is the MORALLY INCORRECT choice. That evidence should instead lead you and other “Christians” to the most obvious, and most Christian of all positions, stated so beautifully by Paul himself in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love never fails… When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Where is your love of your people, all of your people. As a “Christian” the Bible asked you to “love” all of us. Even those you disagree with? Sarah, I am not feeling the “love”. Instead you make it your business, to whenever you are given the opportunity to openly display your hatred, and hostility towards the LGBTQ community. Would Jesus like that? Would St. Paul? Does God?
Homosexuality is briefly mentioned in only six or seven of the Bible’s 31,173 verses. The fact that homosexuality is so rarely mentioned in the Bible should be an indication to us of the degree of importance ascribed it by the authors of the Bible. While the Bible is nearly silent on homosexuality, a great deal of its content is devoted to how a Christian, like you, should behave. All throughout it, the Bible insists on FAIRNESS, EQUITY, LOVE and the rejection of legalism over compassion. If you and others look to the Bible to determine the sinfulness of LGBTQ people, how much greater is your and their obligation to look to the Bible to determine the sinfulness of your and their behavior towards God’s children? What about justice. Some Bible passages pertinent to this concern are:
Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. —John 8:7
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.—Romans 13:8-10
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. —Colossians 3:11-13
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. —Matthew 23:22-24
Christianity teaches us that we are all born sinners; that we have no choice but to exist in relationship to our sinful natures. And so Christians accept as inevitable that any given Christian will, for instance, on occasion drink too much, lust or tell a lie. Along with the homosexuality of the time, St. Paul also spoke about those three specific sins. But Christians don’t think that they are expected to never commit ANY degree of those sins. They understand that circumstances and normal human weaknesses must be taken into account before condemning any transgression. We all readily understand and accept the moral distinction between drinking socially and being a drunk; between a lustful thought and committing adultery; between telling a flattering white lie and chronically lying.
Even a sin as heinous as murder we do not judge without first taking into account the context in which it occurred. Self-defense, protection of the innocent, during a war — we recognize that there are times when even taking the life of another is not only NOT a sin, but a morally justified, and even heroic act.
Christians evaluate the degree of sin, or even whether or not a real sin has occurred, by looking at both the harm caused by the sin, and the intent of the sin’s perpetrator. Christians do that, for all sins, EXCEPT for LGBTQ people. That’s the one that you and others treat differently; WORSE THAN MURDER. How could you, or any clear thinking, compassionate, loving person treat someone who murders another person, take their life, maybe even senselessly, and brutally, better than someone else who may be in turmoil, but working hard to overcome it and be the best possible citizen he or she could be?
As an attorney, I have no doubt you will acknowledge that the rights of every St. Lucian is enshrined in the Constitution. Chapter 1, says, “WHEREAS the People of Saint Lucia—“, that means every one of us, not some, “(a) affirm their faith in the supremacy of the Almighty God; (b) believe that all persons have been endowed equally by God with inalienable rights and dignity; (c) recognise that the enjoyment of these rights depends upon certain fundamental freedoms namely, freedom of the person, of thought, of expression, of communication, of conscience and of association; (d) maintain that these freedoms can only be safeguarded by the rule of law; (e) realise that human dignity requires respect for spiritual values; for private family life and property;…”.
You may want to point to the Criminal Code, No. 9 of 2004 Section 133 which specifically speak of “buggery” and says “… it means sexual intercourse per anus by a male person with another male person”. “Sexual intercourse per anus” with a female was left out. Which has caused international agencies and rights organizations to interpret that to mean that it is ok if a man does it to a woman. One can take that to mean the issue is not “intercourse per anus” as much as it depends on who is doing it to whom? If that is the case, under the constitution, is that not discriminatory? Why the different treatment? Not that it should be criminalized for women; it should not be illegal for anyone once they do not break laws and codes of decency, privacy, and that it is between CONSENTING adults.
As a “Christian” you have a biblically mandated obligation to be just, and to love. There is no clear and explicit mandate in the Bible asking you or anyone else to marginalize, discriminate and hate LGBTQ people. If there is no such clearly stated directive, then the continued mistreatment of LGBTQ people by you and others is MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE, and must cease. Further, the Constitution, which starts out by establishing St. Lucia as a Christian Nation by opening with, “Whereas the people of Saint Lucia—(a) affirm their faith in the supremacy of the almighty God”. Is it safe to assume that is one of the reasons for your strong adherence to your religions faith? If you are a true “Christian” why not let the love, fairness and compassion called for in the Bible guide your MORAL compass?
As a politician, I understand you may take the views of the general public on certain issues and appeal to them regardless of how just or unjust it may be. However, you were elected to be a leader. Not only were you elected to provide leadership, you are also an attorney. Sarah, given your Christian faith, your legal background, your continued push for “human rights”, you, more than most are in a position to provide the much needed leadership on this issue. You have precedence and guidance from places like our former mother land, England. Even the Pope has voiced his tolerance. Some other religions/Christians have been advocates for giving equal rights, or at the very least DECRIMINALISING such discriminatory laws. I understand you care about votes, but if you do not do the right thing now, when you are an old woman, you may reflect on this as a missed opportunity to do the right thing.
Soon, if you want engagement, investment and help from certain countries, just like the US did after Operation Restore Confidence, countries and investors will hold out until St. Lucia guarantees equal “human rights” for all. Or one day soon, a leader with God fearing courage to honour Jesus’ message of love, will rise up and decide it is time to treat all St. Lucians, all God’s children, as he asked them to be treated. Why not let that leader be you? Throughout history, oppressed groups, disenfranchised groups have fought for their rights, and won. That is especially true in the Western Hemisphere. We need to ensure that all our children grow up knowing they are loved, and that the state is there to protect them. That the state is there to help ensure they grow up to be themselves while contributing to the betterment of their country without being discriminated against, simple because of who they are. We owe it to them. If we do not do it, who will? Sarah, you cannot wish this away. Time to at least start an internal dialogue. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to ask me.