Ramblings on Rights & Liberties in a ‘Christian Nation’ Which I Randomly Thought About Today While Watching The News
Editor’s Note :
I am well aware that this post is unorganised and perhaps makes no sense. The following words reflect my thoughts as they poured out of my fingertips, having listened to a news report regarding the resumption of Sunday racing at Caymanas Park.
The idea of what is moral and immoral has often been considered the domain of the established church, whatever you deem that to be. As such, significant portions of our democracy are held hostage by the whims and fancies of the christian church. Therefore, our people cannot properly articulate a position without being mindful of upsetting the almighty church. Often times the articulated view makes practical logical sense, but the church, which purports to be the voice of God, objects because the view may be inconsistent with scripture.
I believe this is a dangerous standard by which to determine how society progresses or evolves, since scripture itself cannot evolve, it is static. And since the Good Lord has not spoken to man in centuries, we find ourselves in quite a bind. As society’s understanding of human attitudes, relations and needs evolve, there will arise a need for renewal and change. Where the church opposes this, the state must assert itself as the proper guardian of the liberties of all citizens. The idea that an elite group of God’s “chosen” ought to determine what rights should be granted to others is inconsistent with a modern understanding of society and must be rejected.
Some of the most important issues of this generation, though logically sound, have met political opposition for religious reasons, which in turn inform a cynical cultural stance. Issues such as homosexual rights, abortion rights, gambling, capital punishment and prostitution are unnecessarily contentious because of the church’s influence. The first two issues I just mentioned are matters of personal rights. While I understand the church may have objections based on it’s belief system, I cannot understand the requirement to force your beliefs on someone else and then deny them the right to self determination. This is tantamount to slavery. The denial of the right to self determination is in contravention of the right to happiness, indeed to the right to privacy. An individual’s bedroom must be understood to be a private domain. Where an act does not violate your own liberty or rights, there can be no logical need to oppose it; a belief that it is “wrong” is simply not enough. There must be a burden of proof placed on such an individual, the burden to prove that the act violates another individual or the society in general. I will not accept the idea that it violates “conscience”, since one’s conscience wouldn’t be violated if each citizen simply respected another’s right to choose.
A homosexual should ordinarily have the right to choose who he or she sleeps with, this will in no way affect another individual. Sex is a private consensual act. It should not be regulated by any authority, beyond the two individuals who are taking part. Similarly a woman should have the right to determine what grows within her, should she realise that her life is incompatible with child rearing. I have, in the past, been critical of abortion rights, because I could think of no justifiable reason, beyond the protection of her health, for a woman to abort a child. I have since amended that, dependent on the definition of “a child”; that would be something for the medical fraternity to decide. Where the society can put in place adequate safeguards against the ills of gambling, and ensure that it does not harm the greater good, I see no reason why it ought to be outlawed. The decision by the Jamaica Council of Churches to seek audience with the Prime Minister with a view to appealing against the decision to resume Sunday racing at Caymanas Park should be dismissed by the Prime Minister as mischievous and unwarranted.
Is the racing taking place on church property? Does the racing disrupt or disturb the church’s proceedings? I can’t imagine that it does, and if it doesn’t, then it has not violated the church’s rights to exist and worship, in turn the church should not seek to impede an individual’s right to gamble on a Sunday. While I understand that Sunday is the “holy day” for many denominations, the christian church cannot properly force an individual, who does not share it’s beliefs, to observe this day or accord any respect to it. This is wrong.
A society would be much better off if as individual citizens we desist from forcing our own views on others. Where another’s choice does not violate any of your rights or privileges, I say leave them alone. Every one has a right to choose.
This entry was posted on January 29, 2012 by Mr. Editor. It was filed under Social Justice and was tagged with Caymanas Park, Church, Gambling, Homosexuals, Jamaica, Jamaican, Jamaican Society, Rights, Society.