After anti-LGBT Pastor Steven Anderson’s planned trip to Jamaica was blocked, an editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner stated: “even though Mr Anderson’s doctrines are archaic and inflammatory, he should have been granted free passage to peddle them.” Jamaican-Canadian activist Maurice Tomlinson strongly disagrees.
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UNPUBLISHED LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE JAMAICA GLEANER
RE: THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE ANDERSON BAN
I have always appreciated that the Gleaner strives for balanced debate on contentious social issues. As you rightly point out, this is the lifeblood of our democracy. However, your recent editorial of January 31: “Going too far on Anderson travel ban” left me puzzled.
I am puzzled how you can equate calling for gays to be whipped (as a Jamaican pastor did) with stoning gays to death to prevent AIDS (as this alien American preacher does)? Isn’t that a false-equivalence? And does an American have the same constitutional rights as a Jamaican?
Further, are you proposing that free speech is unlimited? If so, do we therefore scrap section 8 of the Offences Against the Person Act that bans advocating for murder (as this American pastor does)? And if free speech is unlimited why won’t your sister company, TVJ, air my 30-second ad calling for respect for the rights of homosexuals?
Also, in the current climate of states of emergency with five murders a day, would it be responsible for the government to import an American to advocate for even one more murder? Or, is the Chief Immigration Officer’s statement that Anderson statements are: “not conducive in the current climate” totally unreasonable?
As a member of the often maligned LGBT community in Jamaica, I know that every instance of murder-preaching causes mental violence, which even liberal heterosexuals do not experience. But I rather suspect that if the issue was about importing a cleric who advocated for the murder of Christians, there would be no debate. In fact, we have deported or denied entry to Muslim extremists with little opposition from the general public or your paper.
Why the difference now that the subject of the murder-preaching is gays? Can we please have some consistency in how we report on foreigners who want to come to Jamaica to encourage violence against our citizens?