Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fred Mitchell is on the right side of history with respect to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender (LGBT) issue

The Bible And Lgbt Rights


THE discussion between popular preacher Dr Myles Munroe and Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell has been an interesting one. Interesting only because it is fascinating watching someone with a bigoted position attempt to maintain their civility while still holding fast to their bigotry.

In a recent speech he gave in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Mitchell said his political career suffers because of his position on LGBT matters.

Almost on cue, Dr Munroe told the press that he recommended that the prime minister consider removing Mr Mitchell from his post as foreign affairs minister because his personal opinions may interfere with his objectivity in carrying out his duties in representing the viewpoint of Bahamian people, meaning that support of LGBT issues did not represent the majority of the convictions of the Bahamian people.

Dr Munroe’s position was predictable. Nearly all preachers run to the “solace” of the Scripture to justify their bigoted positions. On one hand you can’t blame them because it is to be expected. I mean you do expect a lawyer to refer to his law books. But the Bible isn’t a law book.

The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, cannot be the basis of forming a just and equal society because it doesn’t treat everyone equally and it is not just.

The Bible is like your schizophrenic uncle, you love him, you respect him but you have to take what he says in context and usually with a grain of salt.

Is your schizophrenic uncle right about some things? Sure. Does that make him someone you should follow blindly and without question. Probably not.

Because one minute this uncle loves you more than anything in the universe and the next he’s willing to smite you for an offence as simple as doing the laundry on the Sabbath or ready to declare you unclean for something your body does naturally.

Let’s face it, no one lives by Biblical standards, not because the road to righteousness is tough but because it’s impossible. And let’s be honest, as far as a rule book goes it’s filled with contradictory nonsense.

If our lives depended on following the Bible to the letter, then we’d all be dead. Literally. In the words of Psalm 130:3 if the “...Lord marked our guilt, who would survive”.

The Bible is right about loving your neighbour as yourself, being non-judgmental and taking care of the widowed, the poor and the sick. It’s not right about gay people.

It is as wrong about gay people as it was wrong to support slavery and the subjugation of women.

Any book that can be used to support laws that bolstered segregation, the outlawing of interracial marriage, laws preventing women from voting and the right of one group to assert itself over the next, among a plethora of human-rights abuses, deserves our scepticism.

Last year, Mr Mitchell publicly declared his support for the gay rights cause, calling it part of the ongoing fight against all forms of injustice around the world.

Speaking at a church service for Nelson Mandela, Mr Mitchell said although it faces much local opposition, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender (LGBT) movement is part of the universal struggle against discrimination symbolised by the beloved South African leader.

Mr Mitchell is on the right side of history with respect to this issue.

As with interracial marriage before it, many will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about. As more and more countries and states accept LGBT unions and after society and the “sanctity of marriage” doesn’t go to hell in a hand-basket, the religious anxieties over the issue will fade.

The Charter of the United Nations encourages “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction”. Similarly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1945) states in Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind.”

Despite this, the rights of all citizens of this and other countries, even those who have signed these treaties are not being protected.

LGBT people are being separated by the fact that one set of privileges and rights are being afforded to one group, but not to them.

March 17, 2014