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‘No cogent argument as to why they should remain’

Published: 
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Almost two weeks have passed since the controversial High Court ruling on Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act aka the Buggery Laws. It’s a matter that stirred up strong opinions from both sides of the social-religious divide. I’ve already written about my support of equal rights and protections for members of the LGBT community.

However, as a Roman Catholic, I recognise that such a view puts me at odds with the teachings of my faith.

When it comes to homosexuality, devout Christians point to a verse from the Bible, Leviticus18:22, which reads: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

It should be noted that it prohibits the act itself and doesn’t explicitly refer to same-sex relationships.

However, adherents cite the examples of the hallowed patriarchs, going all the way back to Adam’s union with Eve, which infers that the Almighty intended for man and woman to complement each other.

From that perspective, I suppose it’s understandable why some Trinbagonians are alarmed by the prospect of same-sex relationships becoming a societal norm.

After all, they are only looking out for our best interests by appeasing God, thus sparing us from His wrath. I am sure this has nothing to do with the Trinbagonian obsession with what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom.

Therefore, in light of that self-righteousness, I wish to draw attention to a couple of other Bible verses that relate to our apparent sexual misbehaviours, and demand their immediate and equal condemnation.

Mark 10:11-12: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”

In order to preserve the institution of marriage, as well as the integrity of the family unit, shouldn’t the constitution be amended to outlaw divorce, as well as criminalise adultery?

Deuteronomy 22:20-21: “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.”

It is necessary for all women, on reaching puberty, to submit themselves to mandatory and periodic virginity tests?

Do law-makers need to appoint adequately trained personnel to carry out these “inspections”?

And will local communities be expected to see to the dispensation of the prescribed punishment?

Just so you know, I’m being sarcastic.

But I trust I made my point.

This is but a minuscule sample of the plethoric amount of rules and warnings contained in the Bible.

Needless to say…a lot of them call for extremely harsh penalties for what are inconsequential infractions by today’s standards.

It should be no surprise then that even the most devout amongst the “God squad” tend to pick and choose which mandates are important to follow and which can be disregarded.

While I am not qualified to comment on other religious texts, I am certain that none of them make such a distinction. This means that we are indeed capable of some flexibility, even if we don’t want to admit it.

When it comes to the buggery laws, those who resist the decriminalisation efforts have yet to provide a cogent argument as to why they should remain.

Instead, religious conservatives espouse paranoid theories, from falsely linking crime to sexual perversion, to claiming that homosexuality is the result of childhood sexual confusion.

This lack of rationality and consistency makes it obvious that the LGBT community is being singled out simply because their lifestyle is deemed “unconventional”, which is a more polite way of saying “abhorrent.”

There is nothing spiritually enlightening or noble about this.

And it doesn’t take my being a Roman Catholic to figure that out.

The claim of bearing no resentment towards gay persons but just on what makes them who they are is a contradiction.

Call it what it is—bigotry and bullying, but don’t dare call it Godly. Because, believe me, He doesn’t approve.

Ryan Hadeed

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