One Equal World

Jamaica Bars Anti-Gay Pastor From Entry

Posted on: February 2, 2018

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Jamaica has an ugly record regarding the treatment of LGBT citizens and visitors.

Sexual activity between men is illegal, with life imprisonment and hard labor among possible sentences. There are many reports of hate crimes against gay or transgender people—from corrective rape, to denial of health care by doctors, to murder and a lack of interest by the police in investigating such crimes. Hundreds of LGBT Jamaicans seek asylum in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom every year.

There is a breath of change in the wind, however. While human rights groups continue to point to Jamaica as the most homophobic Christian-majority nation in the world, the current government says that “there is no legal discrimination against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation”

Mind, they haven’t changed those laws yet.

But the country made the news this week for turning away notorious American anti-gay pastor Steven Anderson, who travels the world as a “missionary” to spread his teaching that homosexuality should be punishable by death.

Anderson and his teenage son were about to board a flight from Atlanta, Georgia to Jamaica when Delta Airlines informed him that Jamaica was denying his entry. This happened in response to a 38,000-signature petition by Jamaican citizens, collected by LGBT activists.

Anderson has previously been banned from South Africa and deported from Botswana for shouting on a local radio program that LGBT people should be “stoned to death.”

Jamaican officials said only that Anderson’s statements were “not conducive to the current climate.”

Does that mean it’s purely a PR move? It’s possible. But the immediate result is that a man who uses the pulpit to directly preach hate and violence will not be allowed to stir up a potentially dangerous audience. So it seems like a net win, regardless of the motivation of the Jamaican government.

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