Sunday, January 5, 2014

Religious Right Promotes Homophobia at Jamaica Conferences

It's no secret that the America Religious Right has applauded and even encouraged homophobia across the globe. Journalists and bloggers have reported on American anti-gay activism in Uganda and other parts of Africa, Russia, and Belize, among other countries. Recently, American Religious Right figures have promoted homophobia in Jamaica, a country where several high-profile cases of homophobic and transphobic violence have rocked the LGBTQ community. (Hat tip to Dadland Shut Up)

First, the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) and the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship hosted a conference in Kingston on December 7th, 2013 entitled "International Law and the Welfare of the Family: The Impact of the Secular Worldview on Children". The workshop offerings included the following titles:

  • New Rights and the War on Family
  • The Education System: The Final Frontier of Contending Worldviews
  • Parental Responsibility and the Rights of the Child: The Necessity of Balance
  • The Institution of Marriage and its Social Implications
  • The Social and Economic Costs of Fatherlessness

Conference speakers included Religious Right activists from across the globe, including Andrea Minichiello Williams (founder of Christian Concern) and Peter LaBarbera (president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality). Buzzfeed reports Christian Concern and AFTAH are lobbying against the repeal of a Jamaican law criminalizing same-sex sexual relations.

“Do not be like us, do not be like Britain, do not sit idly by as so-called ‘LGBT activists’ manipulate words and laws to achieve dominance in your country," LaBarbera said at the conference, according to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed also quoted LaBarbera as defending ex-gay ideology and speaking of LGBTQ people and pedophiles in the same breath.
"The dirty little secret that the media and homosexual activists are desperate — desperate — to squelch is that people are coming out of homosexuality every day. This is the work of God, this is the work of Jesus ... It’s another secret that American activists don’t like to tell is that NAMBLA, the North American Man-Boy Love Association, used to march in gay pride parades."
LaBarbera called LGBTQ equality efforts a "sin movement", discouraging Jamaica from repealing its anti-gay law.
"I do not stand with my government. I’m a patriotic American, but I do not stand with the current United States government in its promotion of homosexuality and gender confusion. But I do stand with the Jamaican people ... I pray that you will learn from our mistakes and from lessons of history and avoid the inevitable moral corruption and health hazards and the danger to young people that come from capitulating to this sin movement that calls itself gay. It is almost now can be predicted with 100 percent accuracy, if the law is a teacher: If you take down this law, it will only lead to more demands. Appeasement does not work."
Similarly, Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern slammed LGBTQ equality efforts as an attack on Jamaican families, according to Buzzfeed.
"Might it be that Jamaica says to the United States of America, says to Europe, ‘Enough! You cannot come in and attack our families. We will not accept aid or promotion tied to an agenda that is against God and destroys our families' ... If you win here, you will have an impact in the Caribbean and an impact across the globe."
Like LaBarbera, she spoke of LGBTQ people and sexual predators in the same breath. “They hate the line of homosexuality being linked to pedophilia. They try to cut that off, so you can’t speak about it,” she said. “So I say to you in Jamaica: Speak about it. Speak about it.”

Later, LaBarbera was unrepentant about his participation in the conference. In the December 17th edition of The Janet Mefferd Show, LaBarbera praised JCHS as "wonderful believers who are trying to preserve their anti-sodomy law, essentially, under pressure by the United States, the European Union and other western powers to get rid of it." He applauded anti-LGBTQ activists in Jamaica for resisting international calls for equality.
"America has become a force promoting, exporting sexual immorality. We've long done it with abortion. Now it's sexual immorality, and what's happening is the United States is using its money, its foreign aid dollars, and its power to push the gay agenda on small countries like Jamaica. And the Jamaicans are saying no ... The European Union is also pressuring them."
LaBarbera insisted that the Jamaica's anti-gay law isn't harmful because it's allegedly not enforced. Rather, he defended the law as a tool for teaching morality, warning that LGBTQ activists would make more demands for equality if the law were repealed.
"[The anti-gay law is] not enforced. It has a hard labor provision, but it's not enforced. I mean, there's gay activists that operate in Jamaica. There are homosexuals operating in Jamaica, so it's not like they're sentencing homosexuals to hard labor. But they understand that the law is a teacher, and if you take away this law, it's the first step leading to the the next gay activist demand, then the next demand, until you're like here in the United States where we have homosexual so-called marriage spreading from state to state."
Actually, LGBTQ people have been arrested, detained, and prosecuted in Jamaica because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, according to Human Rights Watch. Whether or not the anti-LGBTQ law is enforced, it remains an unjust law that has no place in an enlightened society.

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Additionally, Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance was a guest speaker at a JCHS event in Kingston's Emancipation Park on December 10th, 2013. (Hat tip to Buzzfeed and Bartholomew's Notes on Religion.) In a video excerpt from the event, the announcer praised Mass Resistance as a group fighting the "sexual rights agenda". At the 2:28 mark, Camenker warned his Jamaica audience that repealing Jamaica's anti-gay law would have "terrible consequences".
"Here in Jamaica you are facing pressure by special interests to repeal the buggery law, which is being pushed hard both in the courts and at your prime minister. I am here to warn you that it will have terrible consequences. A law that contradicts God's law is the beginning of a slippery slope that you cannot imagine."
Camenker claimed that legalization of same-sex relations in the U.S. has resulted in gay pride parades "parading down the streets of cities are all kinds of bizarre, perverse activities, vulgar and profane signs, cross-dressers, sadomasochism, people mocking the church, and much more." He lamented non-discrimination laws that have frustrated anti-gay businesses, as well as gay adoptions and pro-LGBTQ lessons in schools.

At the 7:45 mark, Camenker complained that state governments have to spend money on HIV and other diseases he associated with gays. Outrageously, he claimed that most violence against gays is perpetrated by other gays. His anti-gay words deflect from the fact that anti-LGBTQ hate violence is a serious problem, and that intimate partner violence among gays, lesbians, and bisexuals is comparable to that of heterosexuals.
"The state and federal government are being asked in Massachusetts to spend enormous amounts of money on HIV and AIDS and other diseases associated with homosexual behavior.  Gay-on-gay violence has become so epidemic that there's now considerable money allocated in the Massachusetts state budget to deal with it. You will hear a lot of talk about violence against gays. What they don't tell you is that it's overwhelmingly from other gays."
At the 9:00 mark, he claimed that same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity supposedly result from sexual abuse, framing dubious "conversion therapy" as a form of much-needed help for minors that is being banned by U.S. states.
"What about kids who are sexually molested early on and as a result have homosexual and cross-dressing feelings? Suppose they want help and counseling to deal with those issues? The radical homosexual movement will have none of that. They're saying that kids shouldn't be allowed to get counseling or help because they say the kids are really 'born that way' and that homosexuality is natural and normal, so they are pushing for laws in Massachusetts and other states to make it illegal for licensed mental health professionals to give children the help they desperately need in those situations."
At the 10:01 mark, Camenker claimed that the ascendancy of LGBTQ rights is allegedly extinguishing free speech in America. He incorrectly claims that churches can no longer speak freely or hold events on LGBTQ matters, when in reality, churches and religious organizations can and do promote anti-gay messages.
"But what's particularly chilling is what happens to free speech when all this is imposed. At first, we were free to talk about what we think. After a while, anyone who publicly or even privately disagrees with these things can now expect to be relentlessly labeled as a hater, a bigot, and other disgusting things I won't mention here. Just Google me if you don't believe it. Churches are no longer free to speak out or even hold events that discuss these issues."
In short, Religious Right figures are fueling homophobia in Jamaica using the same strategies they have used in the U.S. Anti-gay voices tell Jamaican audiences that gay rights are an affront to God, a danger to children, a disease vector, and a threat to free speech. In their efforts to prevent the repeal of anti-gay legislation, American Religious Right voices are networking with their Jamaican counterparts and spreading pernicious stereotypes. This is unethical and unacceptable.

For additional commentary, visit the following links.

O-blog-dee-o-blog-da: Mass Resistance Spreads Anti-Gay Hate in Jamaica

SPLC Hatewatch: Peter LaBarbera Spreads Anti-LGBT Propaganda at Jamaican Conference

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters: Peter LaBarbera blames Jamaican LGBTs for their own persecution

LGBTQ Nation: U.S., British anti-gay activists spread homophobic messages at Jamaica conference


  1. It's important to anti-gay bigots to preserve homophobia in foreign countries where it still has a chance to survive, because the international environment plays a big role in the perception of what's acceptable (the "Overton window"). Apartheid in South Africa, for example, was much sturdier back in the days when colonialism in the rest of Africa, and Jim Crow in the US, were the norm. As the world moved on, apartheid increasingly looked like an unacceptable anomaly.

    American gay-haters are worried about finding themselves in the same position; they want a world where the international environment continues to reinforce homophobia. Eventually they may even start celebrating and encouraging the persecution of gays in Saudi Arabia and under the Iranian theocracy. Islam is theoretically anathema to Christian fundamentalists, but in reality those regimes are a good analog of what their program would end up creating.

    1. Infidel753 -- Excellent observation. I suspect it's only a matter of time before the Religious Right openly applauds the brutal persecution of gays in other countries. If they're willing to defend draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda, Russia, and Jamaica, they're not too far from it now.

      However, the LGBTQ rights movement has a global presence, just as the Religious Right does. Let's hope LGBTQ equality advocates can put up a good fight against fundamentalist homophobia.

  2. Not that I advocate violence or harbor ill will toward anyone, sometimes I do wish that a yawning maw would simply open momentarily and all these crazy mean people would just, ya know, disappear, much as whales dive deep and come u jaws agape, capturing millions of krill at once. I am so tired of the nonsense and the meanness these people promote..

    1. Sherry -- Their meanness makes it all the more difficult to create a good world.

  3. Honestly, these people are disgusting. Even as a Christian I never heard anyone with scruples say these types of things about homosexuals. These people are preaching pure hate, and then they wonder why people don't want them anywhere but jail. Pure evil, is all I can say.

    1. Christian -- Their total disregard for other people's rights and well-being is evil. Full stop. No matter how much they sugar-coat it or deflect from the issue, it's evil.

  4. I feel sorry for the friends and families of these, "God minded". Who do you think that they can turn to,to live just a happy life with no shade stepping, but coming fully out into the light and warmth of compassion, of understanding. Like bread to a starving man. Way too much hate in the world.


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