KINGSTON – The umbrella Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has slapped down gay unions, saying marriage must be between a man and woman.
In formally adopting a long-awaited position paper on homosexuality, that has caused heated debate in church flocks, the JCC said it embraced the view that “God’s perfect design, as expressed in Scripture, is for sexual intimacy to take place between one man and one woman within the context of the sanctity of marriage”.
The council said in the position paper that is bound to be seen as a setback for homosexuals hoping to tie the knot at home instead of going overseas: “The JCC will therefore advocate for the institution of marriage to be reserved for one man and one woman.”
At the same time, the JCC – which represents most of the established churches here – used compassionate language in urging Christians to recognize that while homosexuality might be a conscious choice that some persons have made, “for others within and outside of the church, their homosexuality represents an unwelcome struggle between their experience and their faith, the ‘flesh and the Spirit’, it is the basis of chronic guilt and depression; disappointment and unanswered questions within many families”.
It said: “Fear of ridicule and isolation often causes them to suffer in silence. In view of this, the council appeals to members of the church, clergy and laity, to make church a welcoming and non-judgemental space; one that is sensitive to those who are dealing with issues of brokenness in their lives, which include homosexuality.”
The position paper has been some time in the making as some denominations were uncomfortable with the original draft. The last attempt at adopting the paper came on June 19, 2013, when some members sent it back for further tweaking.
The position appeared to be much softer on homosexuals than previously, noting: “While the council affirms the prophetic role of the church, it also affirms its pastoral role and so appeals to the church, as well as the wider religious community, not to speak or act in ways that could ostracise, incite violence or any other treatment of indignity towards persons who are homosexuals, as they too are bearers of the ‘image of God’ and for whom Christ died. The church must also be ready to support families who have to cope with the implications of homosexuality within . . . .” (Jamaica Observer)