I sought the feedback of a number of friends I respect regarding Part 1, and the ethical dilemma I face. To recap, I strongly believe in individual liberty and equal rights, as well as have a deep, lifelong belief in Christian principles. When it comes to the acceptance of homosexuals rights to associate and form unions, my ethical principles appear to collide.
Principle 1 is my Christian belief, imperfect as I am in its practice and manifestation. Christ’s example is one of tolerance and attention to the rejected and downtrodden of his society. On more than one occasion, he is seen facing down mobs intent of dishing out natural justice to the perceived sinful. We are familiar with the story of Jesus’ defence from stoning of a woman accused of adultery. ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ is regularly quoted in our Christian society.
Principle 2, that of individual freedom, equal rights and access to justice, is deeply held by Jamaicans. Stop by any roadblock, protest or demonstration, and the familiar phrases ring out. ‘Wi have wi rights!’ or ‘Wi want justice!’ Jamaicans become viscerally enraged at instances or depictions of racism or class prejudice. Barack Obama’s achievement of the US presidency was tantamount to a national holiday. We have Mandela Park and Mandela Highway. Marcus Garvey is a National Hero. Martin Luther King Jr is lionized as the great Christian Soldier, fighting for civil rights in the US.
In my mind, it is straightforward to hold Principles 1 and 2 when someone who looks like me is being treated in a hateful and discriminatory fashion. I can identify with the person. In the words of Barack Obama earlier this year regarding a nationally controversial case, ‘If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin’.
Am I willing to extend the same consideration to someone who is not ‘one of us’? At this point, my aversion to homosexuality overrides my proclaimed Principle 2.
Perhaps it is just human to live with the ethical dilemma.