Jamaican Pastor Apologizes After Being Accused of Encouraging Violence Against Gays
27 November 2018 | In a letter to the editor of Jamaica’s The Gleaner, Omar Oliphant, an Adventist pastor in the country, apologized for remarks that many interpreted as encouraging violence against members of the LGBT community.
The LGBT advocacy website, 76Crimes, quoted Oliphant’s remarks during a recent speech at Adventist-owned Northern Caribbean University. In his speech, Oliphant quoted the lyrics of a violent song that calls for the shooting of a gay man.
According to 76Crimes, Oliphant said of singer Buju Banton who is currently incarcerated, “I hear that dem releasing Buju Banton in December, and I can’t wait for his return, because him have a song weh seh boom bye-bye … yuh know I can’t say di words.”
Oliphant’s remarks were condemned and NCU issued a statement in which the university distanced itself from “uncivil conduct” but defended the pastor while condemning “alternative sexual practices.”
On November 22, Oliphant issued a lengthy apology for his remarks via a letter published in The Gleaner. In it he said that his reference of the violent song “gave the impression that I, along with the institution and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, hate persons of same-sex orientation. We do not. Further, neither myself, NCU, nor the Seventh-day Adventist Church supports violence against anyone or any group.”
In the apology, Oliphant said that he was withdrawing his reference to the song and affirmed that all humans, regardless of their sexual orientation, are children of God.
According to the Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives Statistics and Research, there were 304,021 members and 683 churches in Jamaica as of June 30, 2017.