January 26, 2007
Sherwayne Winchester's Leviticus Belief Is Laughable!
Sherwayne Winchester’s ‘Woman By My Side” seems to have stirred up some comments on his use of Leviticus in his lyrics about men lying with men being an abomination. He has stated that he stands by his lyrics and believes the bible wholly. It seems some gay people and straight-but-not-narrow-minded people are offended and see his stance as homophobic. I just wanted to put my own amusing observations on the matter.
I may personally disagree with religious views that express condemnation of gay people just as I disagree with religious views that express condemnation of people of other faiths or cultures. I personally believe God is not as preoccupied about what two consenting adults in love, do with their genitalia as some humans throughout history seem to be, including the humans who wrote the bible. However, in a democratic society, we all have free speech, including Mr. Winchester and I respect that, just as long as people are treated with respect and tolerance. Remember “tolerance” is one of our nation’s watchwords. Disagreeing with a gay person being what they are and/or if you are gay, punishing yourself or forcing yourself, your dependent children or religious congregation to go against an innate orientation because your religion or holy book says so, is your own business and your right. It may be hurtful and traumatic for the gay persion but it is not a hate-crime or human rights violation as long as you do not impose ill treatment upon others via verbal and physical abuse, harassment and discrimination.
Second, as hard as I try, I find it hard to be offended by this song. It makes me laugh just for the simple fact that it speaks to a kind of ridiculous religious hypocrisy endemic to our society, especially when it comes to gay people. Only gay people seem to bring out this pathetic attempt at biblical references by people who do not follow the scripture in every sense in their own lives. It never ceases to amaze me how people pick and choose from the bible what to condemn according to their own personal prejudices. Does Sherwayne or even the majority of us for that matter, actually follow the entire book of Leviticus or even apply everything in the bible seriously? No of course not! We busy eating our roast pork, curry shrimp, tattooing and piercing our bodies, shaving our beards, wearing fabric comprised of two types of material and we certainly not quarantining ourselves when we have our periods or experience a nocturnal emission. All of these are abominations according to Leviticus and as such we all should be stoned. Shurwayne says he embraces the whole bible, does this mean that on Carnival Saturday, he will be observing the Sabbath? Does he know Leviticus stipulates that if anyone does not observe the Sabbath they are to be put to death? Has he even read the entire bible?
My advice to my dear gay and lesbian Trinis and their friends and family who feel offended by this song is, just laugh this off. You cannot take Mr. Winchester or the average Trini seriously when they suddenly “find biblical religious piety” just because suddenly the topic is homosexuality and it is personally offensive to them. So love who you were born to be and if you enjoy your Carnival, sing along, loud and proud to those Leviticus lyrics while enjoying the sweet irony of the fact that you are chipping along the road with hypocritical homophobes who are drinking alcohol like crazy (drunkenness is a sin in the bible); reveling on the road (revelry is also a sin in the bible); grinding down the place in public (debauchery is a sin in the bible); having sex with prostitutes, (fornication is a sin in the bible) or with a “deputy” (adultery is a sin in the bible) lying about horning or being sick on Ash Wednesday (lying is a sin in the bible) and last but not least maco-ing and gossiping about the bacchanal (also a sin in the bible). Even if they call you sinful, at least your orientation is innate, not an anti-social disorder and does not threaten anyone else, you cannot say the same about the majority of them. I guess this is why Jesus said, ‘He who is without sin cast the first stone”.
Edited version published in the Thursday 25th Newsday Newspaper