Last edited: March 06, 2005

Religious Extremists – On The Other Hand

The Barbados Daily Nation, March 6, 2005

By Peter Laurie

The religious extremists are on the rampage. No, I’m not talking about Islamic Jihad. I’m talking about our own Christian Right in Barbados.

They’re using Professor Walrond’s sensible proposals to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS as an excuse to wage a relentless crusade to de-secularise our society.

The proposal they most strenuously object to is the repeal of the law that makes anal intercourse a crime. Under this old colonial law, if a married man and woman agreed to have anal sex in the privacy of their bedroom and were spied on and reported by one of the religious Peeping Toms, the man could spend a lengthy term in jail.

This law is such an invasion of the privacy of two consenting adults that it has been repealed in most civilised countries. Yet if you listen to the religious lynch mob it is this law which stands between us and moral catastrophe: remove this law from the statute books and an epidemic of buggery will break out all over Barbados.

Next they’ll be clamouring to have adultery, fornication, oral sex and masturbation criminalised. After all, they’re sins too.

First we had the “wuk-up” police; now we have the sex vigilantes. There are some things you should know about these sex-obsessed folks.

First, they’re not in the least interested in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. On the contrary, they see the pandemic as a punishing plague that God has sent to destroy homosexuals. Remember their hero Jerry Falwell’s remark that 9/11 was God’s punishment for liberals, homosexuals and feminists?

Secondly, their ultimate goal is to capture political power, as have their brethren in the United States, abolish the separation of church and state, and install a theocracy based on their own narrow, selective and mean-spirited view of Christianity.

Thank God the laws of a secular society like Barbados, though they may be based on values that coincide with those of one or more religions (for example, stealing is wrong) are grounded not in the sacred text of any particular religion, but in the rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.

But don’t underestimate these folks. They’re smart, well organised and well financed. They’ve cleverly managed to frame the debate so as to hoodwink the wider religious community: “If you think homosexuality is a sin then you should want to keep the present law.”

And it looks as if the majority of moderate, mainstream Christians have fallen into their trap. But let me assure you moderates who are making common cause with them that they have nothing but contempt for you. Remember what another of their heroes, Pat Robertson, said in reply to the great Billy Graham’s advocacy of a spirit of ecumenism: “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.”

They won’t hesitate to use you, whether Anglicans, Methodists, Catholics or Evangelicals, and then turn on you when it suits their purpose, for in their eyes you’re “false”, and they’re the only “true” Christians.

If I may be permitted to paraphrase the well-known words of Pastor Martin Niemöller during the Nazi era in Germany:

First they came for the homosexuals, and I did not speak out, because I was not a homosexual.

Then they came for the fornicators, and I did not speak out, because I was not a fornicator.

Then they came for the “false” Christians, and I did not speak out because I was not a “false” Christian.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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