06 May 2007

Island Of Lost Souls (Part Two)

The Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah recounts how God destroyed a city after its depraved residents attempted to rape two male visitors. The visitors were actually angels, sent down from Heaven to find evidence of righteousness in the city. A man named Lot met them at the city gates. Fearing that his fellow citizens would deal violently with them, he implored the angels not to linger in the square. At his urging, they took refuge in his home overnight.

GENESIS 19: 4-7, 8-11, 13-15, 24, 25
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old . . . surrounded the house, and they called to Lot: "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may (rape) them!" Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said: "I beg you, my brothers do not act so wickedly" . . . but they replied: "Stand back!" . . . then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down. But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. Then the men said to Lot . . . "We are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it" . . . when morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying "Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city!" . . . then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of Heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

In my essay titled "The Sin Of Sodom", I refuted the widely-held belief that this story condemns homosexual men. I pointed out to readers how absurd it is to think every man in Sodom was homosexual. I reminded them that homosexual men are not in the habit of committing gang rape, but are often victims of it, in prisons and other places hostile to their presence. I also reminded them that angels are believed to be androgynous in appearance, which sheds light on the reason those who visited Sodom were targeted. Looking effeminate, they were probably mistaken for eunuchs (the ancient equivalent of Gay men), and this perception put them in danger of what we'd call a Gay bashing today. I concluded that the sin of Sodom was not tolerance of homosexuality, but violent persecution of those perceived to be homosexual!

It's the very same sin that currently fuels hate crimes against LGBT folk, and it's what we find running rampant in 21st century Jamaican society. This Caribbean island, rich in African history and culture, is nothing less than a modern-day Sodom! Sad to say, but true! It's an island of lost souls, because it teems with wicked people the way a garbage dump teems with rats; people who commit public murder at will, and who enjoy doing it! Just like the evil Sodomites who besieged Lot's house, waiting to harm the androgynous angels resting there, Jamaican barbarians surrounded the hospital where another androgynous soul lay wounded, thirsting for his humiliation and death. The parallel couldn't be more exact!

The mobs of Sodom and Gomorrah probably used some kind of Conservative religious ideology to justify their genocidal bent, just like the mobs in Jamaica do. If only these enforcers of "righteousness" would overcome their mental fixation on Levitican law and focus their attention on the book of Exodus, where God's Ten Commandments are found:

EXODUS 20: 3-17
1. You shall have no other Gods before me . . .

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (and ) you shall not bow down to them or worship them . . .

3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God . . .

4. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it Holy . . .

5. Honor your father and your mother . . .

6. You shall not murder . . .

7. You shall not commit adultery . . .

8. You shall not steal . . .

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor . . .

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house (or) wife (or) male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Levitican law, where the infamous prohibitions against same-gender sexuality are found, doesn't apply to Christians!  To understand why, read my essays titled "The Book Of Punishment" and "Why The Children Are Free, Parts One and Two". (Better yet, read the book of Leviticus itself in a good translation, and the context of those laws will become clear.) The Ten Commandments do apply, though, because Jesus Christ re-affirmed them in his teachings!

How many of the Commandments have Jamaican Sodomites broken? I count at least four: The second, because they purport to commit their crimes in the name of God. The fourth, because some of their crimes have been committed on the Sabbath. The fifth, because committing murder brings dishonor on one's family. The sixth, for obvious reasons! Not to mention the Savior's mandates to do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31) and to not condemn (so) you will not be condemned (Luke 6:37).

The righteous citizenry of Jamaica, and I mean those who live by the Ten Commandments, should seriously think about going into exile! I can't think of any living situation more insecure than residing in a modern-day Sodom. A time may be near when the wrath of a vengeful God will rain down on Jamaica, and that climate of judgment will surely make its current climate of injustice look like clear blue skies in comparison! Personally, I'd rather that judgment didn't come down; I'd rather Jamaican society changed its evil ways in time to prevent it, but it had better start soon. Rooting out such deep cultural hatred will take some doing!

A good way to start would be for the government to ban the sale, manufacture or performance of any song whose lyrics advocate killing. Ministers of the Gospel must do their part, too! They must rid their sermons of heterosexist bigotry, they must acknowledge a difference between God's Old Covenant with humanity (which included Levitican law) and His new one (which doesn't), and they must teach the proper application of the Ten Commandments!

Jamaica isn't the only Caribbean island where lethal heterosexism thrives, and the Caribbean isn't the only part of the world with a hateful climate. We've all heard about the persecution LGBT people endure in African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Not long ago, serial murders of Gay men were reported in México, and we periodically hear about Gay asylum seekers fleeing from hatred in other parts of Latin America. Also, rapid growth of Fundamantalist Islam has created an unsafe environment for Gay people in Amsterdam and other places in Europe.

Regardless of where anti-Gay atrocities occur, all Americans who care about Human Rights must speak out against them! Make no mistake: The naked hatred on display in Jamaica right now exists in the United States, too. It's here for sure, bubbling right underneath the surface of our culture! It isn't expressed as openly or as violently as it is in the Caribbean, because most of our homegrown hatemongers understand that such behavior wouldn't be tolerated. Yet, if we allow the practice of homosexual cleansing to proliferate elsewhere in the world, they're sure to be emboldened!

Many more of us than presently do will begin to feel threatened in our own communities. We'll see more tragedies like the deaths of Barry Winchell, Gwen Arajo, Billy Jack Gaither, Michael Sandy, Ronnie Paris (a toddler killed by his own father for mere suspicion of being Gay), Brandon Teena and Andrew Shepard. The polluted doctrine of religious hetero-fascism will gain ever more currency, our stateside equivalent of Dancehall Reggae (Gangsta Rap) will grow even more hateful than it already is, and we'll see our public officials begin to excuse anti-Gay violence as defiantly as that so-called Jamaican Public Defender did. Our beloved United States of America could be transformed into the biggest island of lost souls the world has yet seen!

Aren't we moving in that direction already? I think so. With every successful "marriage protection" ballot initiative, with every legal decision upholding the military's "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy; with every exclusion from employment at so-called faith-based agencies; with every failed hate crimes bill; and with every adoption and/or foster parent ban, the danger of hetero-fascist domination moves ever closer. God is on our side, of course, and with His blessing, I believe we can avoid this wretched fate. However, we can't do it with indifference and complacency!

ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) said it best in the 1980s and '90s: Silence = Death! What's more, remaining silent when we know crimes are being committed against us makes us accessories to those crimes! Please don't ignore the proliferation of hatred! Don't let the affirmation of basic human rights fall victim to national boundaries! Don't let civilized society disappear! Break the silence! Speak out to save Jamaica! Speak out to save America! Speak out to save lives. The life you save may be your own!

Register your displeasure with the honorable Gordon Shirley, Jamaican Ambassador to the United States!  Contact him at the Jamaican Embassy:

1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036
Telephone Number: (202) 452-0660
Fax Number: (202)452-0081
Email Address: