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Letter: Religious fundamentalists using their freedom of speech to incite violence against gays
Published on July 18, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The Jamaica CAUSE movement sent a loudspeaker-equipped vehicle for two days in my neighbourhood trying to win support for its rally at Mandela Park.

The exhortation for people to come out to the rally to stand up "straight" against repeal of the buggery law and to oppose the "homosexual agenda" must have sounded quite threatening to anyone who is outwardly gay.

After all, many gays are attacked and killed in Jamaica, including Dwayne Jones, and there is the recent case of a young man who had to be rescued by police because he was in a pharmacy trying on lipstick!

Now the common law of incitement to do physical harm does remain on the books of Jamaica as far as I am aware and, while I do not support an overly broad interpretation of that law, I do believe that in the specific circumstances where gay men are subject to physical public attacks there should be careful scrutiny as to whether, on this occasion (or in the future), there was not in fact an attempt to spread hatred and to incite.

I visited the rally at Mandela Park and the atmosphere (mostly the half-truths and twisted logic coming from the platform) felt like the beginning of a movement to prepare the groundwork for a fascist-like pogrom against gays. The pro forma declaration from the platform that they were not condoning violence against gays was an obvious acknowledgement that the organizers knew exactly what they were doing, or knew what was the possible consequence of what they were doing. In which case they cannot avoid responsibility for incitement, whether there was an immediate attack or not. This is how the law is defined in other jurisdictions and is akin to the concept of hate speech.

These fundamentalist Christians cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim that the gay agenda intends to curtail their freedom of speech (without proof) and then use their own freedom of speech to spread hate and incite violence. By doing this they are in fact undermining their own freedom of speech, by not using it responsibly.

As far as I can see, the so-called gay agenda is nothing more than a demand that the constitutional and legal rights of gays be respected and the state be vigorous in protecting them from violence.

The repeal of the buggery law is obviously a symbolic Rubicon for the fundamentalists. And, like the proto-fascists of yesteryear, who spearheaded the rise of fascism, it is time for the state to act responsibly and decisively, and fulfil its legal obligations by in fact repealing the buggery law and thereby demonstrating that gays are Jamaican citizens and human beings, and should be protected from wanton violence and discrimination.

Civilized, intelligent and freedom-loving Jamaicans should not be naive to the desperate intentions of these ignorant proto-fascists.

Lloyd D'Aguilar
Campaign for Social and Economic Justice
Reads: 4340

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