Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Homosexualist groups and their associates press that professor Dr Brendan Bain, head of UWI's CHART be removed from his substantial post (even as, in Sept last year, over the name of Sir George Alleyne, UWI Press has published a book which opens with a chapter by Prime Minister the Hon Freundel Stuart of Barbados that comes perilously close to declaring open season on Bible-believing Christians in the name of homosexualist "rights")

Prof Bain (HT: J'ca Observer)
Professor, Dr Brendan Bain, head of UWI's CHART -- Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training initiative  -- is a distinguished public health researcher and physician who has specialised in HIV/AIDS since 1983, as clinician, researcher and public health policy leader.

However, over the past weekend, Jamaica's public and the wider region woke up to learn from the Observer and the Gleaner that behind the scenes, some thirty-three homosexualist and HIV/AIDS groups and their allies across the Caribbean have pressed UWI to remove prof Bain from his substantial post at CHART, as they claim that they have lost trust for him and by implication will not work with him.

Why is that?

It seems that in 2010, Caleb Orozco -- a homosexualist activist in Belize, sued its Attorney General on grounds that the buggery law there (Sect. 53 of the Belize Criminal Code) was unconstitutional.  The matter went before its Supreme Court as Claim No. 668 of 2010 in 2012, and Dr Bain gave testimony in his personal academic capacity as a researcher and public health expert. 

That testimony -- which has been partially quoted and summarised in the Jamaican media, making it public across the region, not just a Court record --   lays out his pivotal argument (which he backed up by relevant statistics and research literature from the region and wider world) and begins by establishing his core credentials:
Professor Brendan Bain is one of the pioneers in Clinical Infectious Disease practice in the Caribbean and is a leading medical authority on the HIV epidemic in the Caribbean. Since 1983, he has provided clinical care to men and women living with HIV and AIDS, accepting patients of all sexual persuasions, regardless of their reported sexual practices. His specialist medical practice has been at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) as well as in small private clinics in Kingston, Jamaica . . . . In the year 2000, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) [--> who at the time was by common report, himself a homosexual] appointed him as the Focal Point for HIV/AIDS in a regional project aimed at strengthening the institutional response to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in the Caribbean. He has been endorsed by two successive Vice-Chancellors to lead Caribbean training programmes on behalf of the University . . . . In 2006, Professor Bain was recognized by the Medical Association of Jamaica “for distinguished service in Medicine.” The National AIDS Cormnittee of Jamaica has honoured him twice; first in 2007 for demonstrating visionary leadership in improving the quality of life forpersons living with or affected by HIV”, and then in 2009 for “outstanding leadership in the response to HIV and AIDS” in the Academic Sector . . .
So, clearly, Dr Bain is by all reasonable accounts an expert practitioner and specialist, whose knowledge, work and skills have caused him to be regionally recognised and respected . . . including by the HIV/AIDS community, by homosexuals and by victims of HIV/AIDS. And indeed, it is noted of the CHART educational programme, that "[a]ttitudinal training is a central part of the CHART curriculum, with anti-stigma and anti- discrimination training being paramount."

So, it is not a little ironic that he is now being targetted for stigmatisation and evident discrimination on matters of public health advocacy and leadership, rooted in suspicions that evidently focus on his expert testimony, his linked academic opinion on what needs to be done to curb HIV/AIDS, and his Evangelical Christian convictions.

On the substantial matter, the key testimony Dr Bain made is:
 . . . a major argument that has been posited by some experts is that the current [buggery] law impedes access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services by men who have sex with other men (MSM), thus jeopardizing their health and threatening premature demise . . . . The threat of illness and premature death from HIV infection has undoubtedly generated fear for persons in the general society and particularly for persons whose sexual choices put them at greater than average risk of acquiring HIV . . . . As a physician and Public Health practitioner, one of my responsibilities is to assess behaviours for their impact on health and wellbeing . . . when something is harmful, such as smoking, overeating, alcohol or drug abuse, and unsafe sexual behavior, it is my duty to discourage it. Together with promoting individual responsibility, it is clear that enviromnents that enable individuals to make and practice safe and healthy choices must be provided at family, community and govermmental levels.

Another of my responsibilities as a Public Health practitioner is to assess the cost of behaviour, not just to the individual ‘actor’, but also to the community . . . [T]here are instances in which private behaviors result in considerable public cost due to illness, with accompanying loss of productivity and social disruption and the prospect of premature death. The public cost of these private behaviours must be acknowledged and actively reckoned with. 

This report shows that the relative risk of contracting HIV is significantly higher among men who have sex with other men (MSM) in Belize than in the general population. This is also true in several other countries for which data are available, including countries that have repealed the law that criminalizes anal sex and countries where the law still applies . . . . HIV should not be the only consideration in relation to the matter at hand. Available data from several parts of the world indicate that the relative risk of acquiring and spreading other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cancers is unacceptably high among MSM when compared with other men and women.
That is, repeal of laws against buggery does not remove the underlying problem of the high risk attaching to the sexual behaviours and habits of men who carry out sexual acts with other men. And, in support of Dr Bain on this matter, well over a decade ago, the USA's Supreme Court struck down all US laws against sodomy, but in 2010 the US Centres for Disease Control were still having to admit that “gay” men (including “bisexuals”) are forty times more likely to have the disease than the general population; a general trend that still continues. As a result of this tendency, some sixty percent of new infections occur among that quite small fraction of the US population, that -- on various reports over the years -- may be about three percent or so.
Dr Bain then itemised:
Factors associated with the high relative risk of STIs [=HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissible diseases] and cancers in affected persons are interactive and include: (a) choosing a sexual partner whose sexual history is unknown; (b) being part of a sexual network, including having multiple partners and a high rate of changing partners [--> which, unfortunately, is highly typical of especially male homosexuality and is apparently reflected in how, e.g. in Jamaica it seems that 32 percent of the male homosexual community are reportedly HIV-infected and 4.6% of prostitutes]; (c) having unprotected sex; and (d) having a repertoire of sexual behaviours that includes actions that carry a significant risk either of causing physical trauma [= tearing, abrading, cutting etc] or of allowing contact with faecal material [= human solid wastes] — these behaviours include, but are not confined to, penis-anus intercourse. Therefore, even when certain behaviours are done in private, they turn out to have serious deleterious public consequences.
Dr Bain then recommended:
All sexually active persons [--> notice, this is across the board] must be urged to take responsibility for private and public behavior change [--> note the implication, that we do have capability to choose what we do, and how we behave as a result] as part of a comprehensive national approach that includes individuals delaying their sexual debut, reducing the number of their intimate sexual partners, getting tested for HIV and other STIs in relation to known risky exposure, learning and practising assertive skills in order to avoid coercive sex, disclosing the presence of an STI to prospective partners, using approved barrier protective devices, avoiding the use of mind-altering drugs -- especially during or in temporal proximity to intimate sexual activity, and eliminating behaviours that carry the highest risk of coming into contact with infections. Successful programmes to stem the tide of HIV infections and other sexually transmissible illnesses must be comprehensive rather than piecemeal. In this approach, public and private health and education authorities ensure that everyone in the nation has accurate information and is supported and enabled to take responsibility for the health and safety of self and others. 

A comprehensive approach calls for honest collaboration rather than confrontation.
Glorified common sense, in short, based on credible evidence.

And, as fair comment, Dr Bain's obviously balanced and informed assessment makes the activists who want him removed for daring to speak unwelcome truth to power agendas look both childishly petulant and dangerously oppressive and bullying in their attempt to derail his career and discredit, distort and dismiss his findings and recommendations thereby.

Now, I must therefore contrast the substance and tone of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados, in Chapter one of a book published it seems in Sept 2013 by UWI Press, the academic publishing arm of the University of the West Indies (which is a recognised Regional Institution and is largely funded by the Anglophone Caribbean's Governments) under the editorial leadership of Sir George Alleyne, UWI's Chancellor and a physician also.

The book is:

HIV and Human Rights:
Legal and Policy Perspectives
on HIV and Human Rights
in the Caribbean

Chapter One, is headed:

HIV, AIDS and Human Rights
A Barbados Governmental Perspective
Freundel I. Stuart
Prime Minister of Barbados

Taken at face value, this is a declaration of policy intent, in a context of legal implications. I therefore find the following quite disturbing, which I cite under fair comment and fair use in the further context of sobering implications for the future of freedom in our region:
A most relevant and timely issue is that of HIV and its intersection with human rights. We do ourselves no good if we pretend that this is a challenge that we can afford to ignore. It is therefore appropriate to confront its implications, legal and otherwise, for the way that we live in Barbados and the wider Caribbean . . . . 

At the time of its earliest manifestations, the general population tended to associate the contraction of HIV with the homosexual lifestyle. Since this lifestyle did not coincide with the general society’s brand of righteousness, it was easy for some members of the society to relegate persons living with HIV to the lonely status of social pariahs journeying, ineluctably, to deserved perdition.

 Since, according to those who arrogated to themselves the right to occupy the judgement seat, the gay lifestyle was both sinful and wrong, there could be no compromise on this issue. To do otherwise would be to court, senselessly, the fate that befell Sodom and Gomorrah. For this school, the issue was an ethical one, and since these ethics derived their energy and legitimacy from the Bible, these spokespersons thought they were just discharging their responsi-bilities as faithful ambassadors of the Almighty.

No attempt was made then, and I daresay that very little attempt is made now, to consider that it might just be that practitioners of this lifestyle were re-sponding to the irresistible promptings of nature, with the result that imputing fault to them satisfied no known definition of fairness.’ Further, even if these practitioners were pursuing this lifestyle as a result of nurture, in which case they may have been exercising some measure of choice, the right to choose in these circumstances should be protected as long as its exercise did not interfere with the rights of others.‘ These purists ignored the important fact that differ-ence does not necessarily imply a relationship of superiority and inferiority, or good and bad, or blamelessness and blameworthiness.
Remember, this statement was published over the name of a regional Prime Minister (who is by profession a lawyer), edited by the Chancellor of UWI, and  came out a full year after the very balanced expert testimony we just described was made by perhaps the leading Evangelical Christian in our region who has engaged the HIV/AIDS pandemic, based on decades of work in the field. A man who is now facing an attempt to destroy his career because he has dared to not toe the politically correct partyline on HIV/AIDS.

Some step by step remarks are in order:

1 --> The setting of HIV/AIDS in the context of human rights and law raises all sorts of issues, but the underlying one is that a right is at root a moral claim that demands freedom to act or live in certain ways, in light of one's inherent dignity as a human being. For instance, it is self evident that it is wrong for a man to kidnap, torture, rape and murder a child, and if we were to see such in action, we would naturally intervene at once to stop the monster.

2 --> This points to the issue, what grounds rights and in turn this raises the question of the IS-OUGHT gap. That is, for ought to be grounded in more than might and manipulation make 'right' . . . which opens the door to nihilism and ruthless power agendas . . . there must be a foundational IS in reality that grounds OUGHT.

3 --> In the end, there is just one IS that has the capability to properly ground OUGHT. Namely, the inherently good, Creator God who is a necessary and maximally great being, with all that that entails. That is why the fifty-five US Founders, in 1776, seeking to find universal grounds for basic human rights, asserted that they held certain truths to be self evident, starting with that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, starting with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (which means the fulfillment of proper purpose under God, which is what makes men truly happy.)

4 --> By contrast, even though it loves to dress itself up in the lab coat, evolutionary materialism (the main alternative to Jurdaeo-Christian theism in our time and civilisation) cannot ground either oughtness or reason. Don't just take my word for it, here is prof. Richard Dawkins, a leading new atheism advocate and evolutionist in our time, going on record in 1995:
  In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [ “God’s Utility Function,” Sci. Am. Aug 1995, pp. 80 - 85. Emphases added.]
5 --> Where also, the famous evolutionist J B S Haldane wente on record long since, that:
"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)] 
 6 --> Despite the lab coats and confident manner, we can take it to the bank that evolutionary materialism is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

 7 --> Now, too, there is a tendency among elites in our region and elsewhere to be very dismissive of Judaeo-Christian Theism and its scriptures, which is plainly reflected in PM Stuart's harshly dismissive and obviously ill informed tone (which, recall, was plainly endorsed by the UWI's titular head) . . . Dr Bain, an Evangelical Christian with a distinguished pioneering track record on HIV/AIDS in our region, testified on record as an expert a full year before the above was published. 

8 --> So, it is appropriate to point to the basic point that informed Christians in our region have good grounds for taking as true, that the prophesied Messiah came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and he gave proof to all men of his status by rising from the dead after his judicial murder, with 500+ unstoppable witnesses. For a 101 survey, I suggest:

 ( Cf. also here.)

9 --> And in the twenty centuries since, millions have personally met God through the Gospel, and have had their lives transformed thereby. Which includes this testimony, as at 55 AD, in a letter by the Apostle Paul that also summarises the official testimony of the C1 witnesses to the resurrection in Ch 15, dating to 35 - 38 AD, while the majority of the witnesses were still alive:
1 Cor 6:Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [NET]
10 --> And, likewise, the Apostle Peter, c. 64 AD, facing unjust death as being falsely accused of setting fire to Rome as the demonically mad and perverse emperor Nero sought to divert suspicion, went on final record:
2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur. 

  17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: “This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted.” 18 When this voice was conveyed from heaven, we ourselves heard it, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

  19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  

20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, 21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [NET]
11 --> So, Christians in our region and elsewhere have legitimate and arguably well-warranted grounds for their stance on the gospel, and on gospel ethics and the scriptures: our attitude to which is and must be that of our risen Saviour and Lord and that of the Apostles he sent forth with the gospel.

12 --> But what about the underlying allegedly scientifically grounded claim that homosexual disposition is genetically in-stamped and unchangeable?

13 --> I have repeatedly pointed to the online book, My Genes Made Me do It, which gives significant scientifically based corrective and balancing information, and will excerpt:

The West has been subject to such a campaign of misinformation and disinformation in the last 20-30 years that its public institutions, from legislatures and judiciaries to the church and mental health professions widely believe that the homosexual orientation is innate—in the sense of biologically imprinted—and therefore unchangeable. 

The implications of this are that anyone who makes the scientifically true statements below is considered the one who is misinformed.
• sexual orientation is not inborn but develops over some years in response to an individual’s response to life events— as many human predicaments do
• homosexual orientation can change, i.e half the homosexual population naturally moves towards heterosexuality over time (without any therapeutic interventions), and further and
faster with counselling and support
• The same-sex attracted are not 10% of the population but (including bisexuals) much closer to 2.5%
The West has lost its way on this issue, and today we are seeing the outcome . . . .

• Genetically dictated behaviour is something that has so far been discovered only in very simple organisms.
• From an understanding of gene structure and function there are no plausible means by which genes could inescapably force SSA or other behaviours on a person. Genes create proteins not preferences.
• No genetically determined human behaviour has yet been found. The most closely genetically-related behaviour yet discovered (aggression in Dutch males) has shown itself remarkably responsive to counselling.
• If SSA were genetically dictated, it would have bred itself out of the population in only several generations, and wouldn’t be around today.
• Generally, geneticists settle for some genetic influence of rather undefined degree, most agreeing that many genes (from at least five or six to many hundreds) contribute to any particular human behaviour.
• A genetically dominated SSA caused by such a cluster of genes could not suddenly appear and disappear in families the way it does. It would stay around for many generations. So SSA is not produced by many genes.
• The occurrence of SSA in the population is too frequent to be caused by a chance mutation in a single gene. So a single gene is not responsible for SSA. Nor would many genes all mutate at once.
• SSA occurs too frequently to be caused by a faulty pre-natal developmental process, so it is not innate in that sense either.
• The widespread age-range of first homosexual attraction is very unlike the narrow time-spread of genetically driven phases of human life, e.g gestation time, puberty, menopause, making homosexuality very unlikely to be genetically driven.
• The histone system which controls genetic expression is strongly affected by the environment, e.g nurturing, making searches for individual genes responsible for certain behaviours, mostly pointless.
• Same-sex attraction could be about 10% genetically influenced and opposite sex attraction about 15%. But this is weak and indirect, e.g genes making a man tall don’t also produce basketball players.
• SSA falls more naturally into the category of a psychological trait

14 --> So, in the teeth of Mr Stuart's assertions, we have to face the problem of a deliberately fostered, widely accepted cultural myth intended to create a turnabout, that instead of homosexual behaviour being seen as a moral challenge, it is those who challenge it who are seen as bigots. 

15 --> Then, despite serious issues over the further -- perhaps fatal -- destabilisation of marriage and family -- the advocates created out of whole cloth a notion of "marriage equality" and pushed for so-called "same-sex marriage." 

16 --> This notion is spreading far and wide across our civilisation, being wafted along by media fanning, which has now reached the point of feeding witch-hunts targetting those who dare to differ, which has now reached our region.

17 --> So, now, anyone who questions this agenda -- especially on grounds of morality, including that to claim a right one has to first show that what he is claiming is in the right (i.e. there is no right to the wrong or perverted) -- is likely to be a target for demonising accusation, stereotyping, scapegoating, silencing and scapegoating. 

18 --> In reply, I clip Girgis et al, in a landmark paper on marriage, so we can better understand what is fundamentally at stake (apart from marginalisation, bullying radical advocacy, censorship and the like): 
[T]he current debate is precisely over whether it is possible for the kind of union that has marriage’s essential fea‐tures to exist between two people of the same sex. Revisionists do not propose leaving intact the historic definition of marriage and simply expanding the pool of people eligible to marry. Their goal is to abolish the conjugal conception of marriage in our law [F/N 10] and replace it with the revisionist [--> i.e. homosexualised] conception . . . 
[F/N 10:] Throughout history, no society’s laws have explicitly forbidden gay mar‐riage. They have not explicitly forbidden it because, until recently, it has not been thought possible . . . [T]raditional marriage laws  were not devised to oppress those with same‐sex attractions. The comparison [to racist anti-miscegenation laws that forbade inter-racial marriages]  is offensive, and puzzling to many—not least to the nearly two‐thirds of black vot‐ers who voted to uphold conjugal marriage under California Proposition Eight. [--> Note, the recent public witch-hunt against the then CEO of Mozilla corp., publisher of Firefox browser, for the thought-crime of daring to personally support this proposition, which forced his resignation; a plain case of "your conscience or your job." ]  See Cara Mia DiMassa & Jessica Garrison, Why Gays, Blacks are Divided on Prop. 8, L.A. TIMES, Nov. 8, 2008, at A1. [Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, & Ryan T. Anderson, "What is Marriage?" Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol 34, No. 1, p. 250 of 245 - 287. NB: Also note lesbian activist Masha Gessen's frank admissions of intent to destroy marriage, here. The socially destabilising effect of such, raises serious issues that need to be openly acknowledged and fully, fairly addressed.])
19 --> Going beyond, I must correct PM Stuart on a specific point:
At the time of its earliest manifestations, the general population tended to associate the contraction of HIV with the homosexual lifestyle. Since this lifestyle did not coincide with the general society’s brand of righteousness, it was easy for some members of the society to relegate persons living with HIV to the lonely status of social pariahs journeying, ineluctably, to deserved perdition.

20 --> There was indeed a problem of undue hostility to and fear of persons, and doubtless some Christians were guilty of this; which is wrong. But, equally, as Dr Bain shows, other Christians -- right from the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS crisis -- stepped up to the plate as Christian medical and other health care practitioners, and reached out to the sufferers with compassion and such care as has been developed over the years.  In all this, let us remember, it is still the case that with HIV/AIDS, there is no actual cure . . . only a postponement of the collapse of the body under the onslaught of this horrible virus through the use of expensive drugs, so "prevention is the only cure."

21 --> So, also, to leave the unbalanced and materially erroneous and misleading picture that PM Stuart has, is to erect a stereotypical strawman, set up to be turned into a scapegoat. And, as the headlined issue shows, Dr Bain is a target for just such stigmatising and bigotry against Christians who have dared speak unwelcome truth to power on this matter.

22 --> Nor is that without significance for ordinary students and staff in the institution, and onwards people across the region. 

23 --> For instance, just now, I heard on Antigua's Observer Radio, on how over thirty HIV/AIDS advocacy groups had called for Dr Bain's dismissal, and how they are demanding of UWI that it provide a policy to protect homosexuals and the like from "discrimination" etc, but even thought he news item noted that the Jamaica Association of Evangelicals had expressed support for Dr Bain in a letter to the UWI leadership, Observer Radio Antigua failed to note something vital from that May 11th letter of support, the JAE's observations in its opening paragraphs:
It has come to our attention that the University is planning to remove Professor Bain from his leadership position at CHART in response to demands from certain lobby groups. It is our understanding that these calls have arisen because Professor Bain submitted to the Supreme Court in Belize a document in which he stated his private professional viewpoint as it relates to HIV and its impact on men who have sex with men (MSM). We regard this demand as a case of viewpoint discrimination.

We ask that you demonstrate your unequivocal commitment to human rights, In particular freedom of speech and freedom of expression, by resisting the call for his removal and that you implement a UWI- wide policy which protects all employees and students from discrimination. Already we can tell you of cases of intimidation at Mona which have affected both students and employees because of their viewpoint on these issues . . .
 24 --> In short, as the attack on Dr Bain exemplifies, there is a very real danger of viewpoint discrimination, intimidation, stigmatising and bigotry within the UWI through the witch-hunting of Christians, whether students or staff. This is unacceptable, and The Observer Radio should have done better. Indeed, the May 18th Jamaica Observer newspaper online article, quite properly,  notes:
. . . it appears that any move to fire [prof. Bain] will be opposed by the evangelical movement which, in a May 11 letter to Harris, asked the UWI to "demonstrate its unequivocal commitment to the cherished principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression".

The church group also asked the university to "consider implementing a policy which protects all employees and students from intimidation", adding that it can highlight cases of intimidation at Mona that have affected both students and employees because of their views on these issues.
 25 --> But a deeper issue lurks, as PM Stuart seems to think that Christians single out HIV/AIDS victims and homosexuals as deservedly, "ineluctably" -- inescapably -- heading for perdition, eternal loss.

26 --> In fact, the New Testament, in 1 Cor 6:9 - 11 as already cited, teaches just the opposite:
 . . . the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals,  thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

27 --> Yes, despite the pleasures of sin for a season, the wages of sin is death, where all of us are in that same  predicament. But God, rich in love to us, has paid the penalty for sin so that the penitent sinner can be forgiven, cleansed and transformed in the loving, truthful, pure image of the Christ. 

28 --> So, while we must rebuke unrepentant sin, we must also hold out hope of grace for the penitent. (And where some of us have indeed failed to teach and/or live by this balance on a consistent basis, we too must repent of our sin.)

29 --> It is not for nothing, that Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, neither do I condemn you, go, leave your life of sin.

30 --> And so, we see surfacing many of the underlying issues and challenges we as a region and as people in it will have to face frankly, fearlessly and fairly. 


Let us heed the compassionate, concerned example and sound (albeit painful) counsel of Professor Dr Brendan Bain. END