Brian wears sunglasses to hide his gray and lifeless left eye—damaged, he says, by kicks and blows with a board from Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton. Brian, 44, is gay, and Banton, 32, is an avowed homophobe whose song Boom Bye-Bye decrees that gays "haffi dead" ("have to die"). In June 2004, Brian claims, Banton and some toughs burst into his house near Banton's Kingston recording studio and viciously beat him and five other men. After complaints from international human-rights groups, Banton was finally charged last fall, but in January a judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. It was a bitter decision for Brian, who lost his landscaping business after the attack and is fearful of giving his last name. "I still go to church," he says as he sips a Red Stripe beer. "Every Sunday I ask why this happened to me."
Though familiar to Americans primarily as a laid-back beach destination, Jamaica is hardly idyllic. The country has the world's highest murder rate. And its rampant violence against gays and lesbians has prompted human-rights groups to confer another ugly distinction: the most homophobic place on earth.
In the past two years, two of the island's most prominent gay activists, Brian Williamson and Steve Harvey, have been murdered — and a crowd even celebrated over Williamson's mutilated body. Perhaps most disturbing, many anti-gay assaults have been acts of mob violence. In 2004, a teen was almost killed when his father learned his son was gay and invited a group to lynch the boy at his school. Months later, witnesses say, police egged on another mob that stabbed and stoned a gay man to death in Montego Bay. And this year a Kingston man, Nokia Cowan, drowned after a crowd shouting "batty boy" (a Jamaican epithet for homosexual) chased him off a pier. "Jamaica is the worst any of us has ever seen," says Rebecca Schleifer of the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and author of a scathing report on the island's anti-gay hostility.
Jamaica may be the worst offender, but much of the rest of the Caribbean also has a long history of intense homophobia. Islands like Barbados still criminalize homosexuality, and some seem to be following Jamaica's more violent example. Last week two CBS News producers, both Americans, were beaten with tire irons by a gay-bashing mob while vacationing on St. Martin. One of the victims, Ryan Smith, was airbused to a Miami hospital, where he remains in intensive care with a fractured skull.
Gay-rights activists attribute the scourge of homophobia in Jamaica largely to the country's increasingly thuggish reggae music scene. Few epitomize the melding of reggae and gangsta cultures more than Banton, who is one of the nation's most popular dance-hall singers. Born Mark Myrie, he grew up the youngest of 15 children in Kingston's Salt Lane — the sort of slum dominated by ultraconservative Christian churches and intensely anti-gay Rastafarians. Banton parlayed homophobia into a ticket out of Salt Lane. One of his first hits, 1992's Boom Bye-Bye, boasts of shooting gays with Uzis and burning their skin with acid "like an old tire wheel."
Banton's lyrics are hardly unique among reggae artists today. Another popular artist, Elephant Man (O'Neil Bryant, 29) declares in one song, "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/ It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/ That's two Sodomites who should be dead." Another, Bounty Killer (Rodney Price, 33), urges listeners to burn "Mister Fagoty" and make him "wince in agony."
Reggae's anti-gay rhetoric has seeped into the country's politics. Jamaica's major political parties have passed some of the world's toughest antisodomy laws and regularly incorporate homophobic music in their campaigns. "The view that results," says Jamaican human-rights lawyer Philip Dayle, "is that a homosexual isn't just an undesirable but an unapprehended criminal."
Liberal cultists love to paint anything that goes against their gay agenda with the tired misnomer of "homophobia". A fake word that liberals have successfully used with startling effect based on an age-old tactic that if you repeat a lie over and over and over again, eventually people will believe it and take it for gospel.
Little doubt too that TIME magazine had just as much to say about Jamaica's recent election of its first female prime minister or its status as one of the world's most popular tourist attractions.
Religions always reflect the social and geographical environment out of which they emerge, and Jamaican Rastafarianism is no exception: for example, Jamaicans are persistance in their stance against homosexuality because it stems from the beliefs of Rastafarianism. Rastafarians believe that homosexuality goes against the scriptures. They believe that we were put on this earth to procreate and only a man and woman can produce offspring. They also claim that it is stated in the scriptures that God only wanted man and woman together. Rastafarians believe that homosexual sexual acts are not normal and their utilization of the sexual organs are not being used in the way God meant for them to be used. They believe that sodomy is wrong and oral sex is impure and because of this they believe that there's no reason for a man to be with a man or a woman to be with a woman, because they are not utilizing their purpose on this earth.
I've always been of the resolve that no society has a right to impose their values on another. Same thing goes with any group of people, especially those who choose to live an immoral lifestyle such as homosexuality. I also remain unconvinced of the hype surrounding so-called "anti-gay" crimes - though I certainly don’t condone the actions of anybody beating up somebody unless its self-defense. But what the TIME article displays is just another example of the anti-God Left and their fortitude in pushing their agenda down people's throats. It's not about Jamaica being "homophobic" because homophobia doesn't exist. If you don't like how Jamaicans feels about homosexuality, then just don't go to Jamaica.