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Comments were hateful and insulting

September 16, 2013

Dear Sir,

I just got the news! There is a god, and he has a new name! It is Deputy Mayor, Donal Smith! Being occasionally a day late and a dollar short, I missed the first announcement of this momentous occurrence. Oh! You didn't know either? But God, Donal said categorically that gay people, lesbians, their supporters and other “freaks” are definitely damned. He said it more than once and with considerable conviction, so he must either BE god or think his opinion matters to the Almighty — or maybe he just has delusions of grandeur.

I am so grateful the God I serve sent His Son to let the world know that who-so-ever believeth on Him is saved, regardless of colour, gender, orientation, or any other man-made distinction. Man does not have the power to condemn, for which I say “Thank You, Jesus!” He told us that, in its simplest terms, the Commandments can be reduced to “Love God and love other beings in the same way you love yourself.”

Based on that alone, we have a lot of people here who suffer from lack of self-love — and many of them are in the church. He also said more than once, “be careful not to judge others, because God will use the same measure to judge you that you use to judge others.” It sounds to me like GodDonal has damned himself rather than anyone else. Perhaps he has another version of the Bible. Maybe, being GodDonal, he has written his own version.

Admittedly, this whole thing about not judging others is not an easy precept to follow. We humans seem to find it so very easy to judge. In fact, our whole society is set up in such a way that judgment of others seems natural and right. This is why we have to have Human Rights laws that require us to treat others with respect and non-discrimination because many of us wouldn't do it if we weren't forced by the law to do so.

We can think any way we like, but by law (finally), we cannot speak or act any way we like. The law, finally, says that we can no longer call people names or disrespect them verbally merely because they are different from us, nor can we decide not to serve them, hire them, or house them (except under very specific conditions).

It is for this reason that I don't call Mr GodDonal some of the names he has called me, who, as a member of Two Words and a Comma, am a supporter of Human Rights for all, including gay people and lesbians (also transsexuals and transgender people, although the law has not yet acknowledged that they need protection too). When it comes right down to it, how different can they be? We are all human beings. Who we love shouldn't be an issue for anyone else.

Who we marry has, to date, only been an issue for the love-everybody-except-for-gay-people contingent. No one else has mentioned it as a campaign item, and as MP Wayne Scott noted in the same televised interview, marriage in Bermuda would not fall under the Human Rights Act, but under the Marriage Act.

Who we have sex with also shouldn't be an issue for anyone else, unless it is non-consensual or it is coerced — in which case it is rape and, again, falls under a different section of the law. (This means that sex with animals and children is never acceptable and is illegal, since they cannot give consent. So much for that distraction!).

Mr GodDonal Smith, Deputy Mayor, and his hateful, insulting, inciting, discriminatory, not to mention misinformed words, would seem to be a case in point for a Human Rights violations charge ... or at least should be. The calls for him to apologise and even to resign should carry considerable weight. In fact, there is even a school of thought that is calling for him to provide our first test case under the heading “hate speech” and “incitement to discriminate.” It could happen!

An elected official, introduced by his title on public television, cannot just spout whatever is in his head or his heart. He is required, or should be required, to be mindful of his position and, more to the point, to be mindful of the Law. I, for one, have had more than enough of elected officials who snap their fingers with disdain at the laws of our country and get away with it.

It makes me shudder to think that people whose hearts are so filled with poison toward other human beings are our representatives and our ambassadors to the wider world.

PASTOR SYLVIA HAYWARD-HARRIS

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Published September 17, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 16, 2013 at 8:25 pm)

Comments were hateful and insulting

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