Jamaica’s dean of the Anglican cathedral, the Very Reverend Sean Major-Campbell, has suggested it is humorously ridiculous to suggest that the only intimate union be between a natural born man and woman, joined together in holy matrimony.
This stood out among the messages and advice passed on to the Anglican community during the third annual Dean’s lecture, delivered Tuesday night at the Frank Collymore Hall.
Very Rev’d Major-Campbell said: “Saying that sex is just for straight married couples is at best a joke.
“In truth, it is okay to hold this as a faith position if one wishes to do so.
“However, in the public square, where people already know that the morality of an individual may not be correctly determined by that person’s marital status, gender, or sexual orientation, we run the risk of affirming an already held view of irrelevance on the part of those who speak in the name of church.”
He said that while continuing to obey dictates of the Bible, Christians must transform the thinking therein to suit current knowledge available in this modern environment and review practices and values by which the faithful live today.
Should such reasoning be applied, he suggested, believers will discover through today’s more scientific education that what obtained as an abomination at the time of the Bible’s compilation is no longer so. He added that they could possibly find new practices, abhorrent to Christianity, in today’s world.
The Dean of Kingston and Rector of Christ Church, Vineyard Town continued: “The time has come for us to bring critical thinking to our Christian heritage and seek more to follow the early Jesus movement versus the crass fundamentalism being spread by American evangelicalism which has lost its way.”
Though his sentiment on the need for thinking spreads across all facets of life, the dean’s statement came amid comments about members of the LGBTQ community, all of whom he said should be welcomed into the Church as is everyone else.
But in a question-and-answer session between the cleric and audience members, he sought to draw on the Anglican faith’s central tenets of reasoning and the exercise of free will.
Keisha James contended that being tolerant of persons from that community goes against biblical teachings.
In the Bible, when Jesus caught the woman in adultery he did not say come let me tolerate you, he said ‘go and sin no more’,” she said, adding: “The Bible is very clear on certain behaviours. … at the end of the day we must tell these individuals ‘go and sin no more’.”
There followed a short exchange between James and Dean Major-Campbell, who asked her: “Do you eat shrimp?”
James replied: “I love shrimp.”
The Reverend replied: “But that’s an abomination. And there are Christians who maintain its an abomination,” he said while making clear it is not his view.
He added: “Just like how you hold the view you held a while ago [on homosexuality], there are Christians who will tell you that is an abominable thing [to eat shrimp]. How could you when the Bible clearly states it?”
He went on to highlight a few of the Bible’s teachings that stand out as absurdities in the 21st Century.
He said: “The Bible clearly states that a man shouldn’t even shave from the sides of his face. Or you shouldn’t wear a garment made from two different kinds of fabric.
“But I bet you if we went around this room tonight you would find that many persons are wearing garments which had been made with some amount of cotton, some amount of polyester, maybe something else when it’s an abomination.”
He said there are some things that the people in the world of the Bible when it was being written, “did not know about… they did not have information that we now have”.
He continued: “For example, in Jesus’ day if you had epilepsy – ‘fits’ – that was simply demon possession. In 2020 we know that this is a diagnosable and treatable condition.”
“This is not to say that the people then [biblical age] were stupid.
“They were simply acting on the information that they had at that point in time.”
Pointing out that humans could reason, he said clarity should be sought in the Church on these matters.
Dean Major-Campbell said that the absence of the church’s intellectual review on many matters is the reason he refuses to engage the media on issues monumental to society such as gay marriage.
He said: “I do not, because to do so in Caribbean context is to derail a necessary conversation around the broader, if not more important subject of human sexuality.
“It is difficult to speak to matters that have not been sufficiently explored with the latest available information in the areas of gender and sexual diversity.”