A group of church leaders brought down fire and brimstone on the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community today during a news conference prompted by an upcoming gay pride march and the need to clearly state their position “on the LGBT agenda”.
During the hour-long briefing at the New Testament Church, the group of approximately 20 leaders, led by Apostle Eliseus Joseph, the senior pastor of Apostolic Teaching Centre, accused LGBT people of trying to bully Barbadians into adopting the gay lifestyle.
“This is a classic definition of bullying. A small segment of the population wants to bully us into accepting their values and norms,” Joseph charged.
“Whatever they want to do that is their business, but don’t impose it on our population, don’t impose it on our children. That is bullying. We as a nation, we oppose bullying,” he stressed.
Despite his searing condemnation, Joseph said the church leaders had no issue with the LGBT community, but would not tolerate their “agenda”.
Therefore, he said, every attempt must be made “to challenge any agenda that propagates homosexuality”.
“We are condemning the behaviour, not the person . . . .We are very compassionate but the important thing we need to understand as a church is that we need to address sin. Sin has the potential to enslave us and rob us from having God’s presence and grace in our lives. Our attitude towards the homosexual community and all other is one of love and compassion.
“We want to make it clear that homosexual behaviour and preference is a learnt behaviour. God did not create anybody gay. It is not an organic behaviour. There is no homo gene; that is a myth. We oppose any attempt to deconstruct marriage and reconstruct it to legitimize homosexuality [and] same sex partnership, as opposed to the biblical narrative of Adam and Eve,” Joseph insisted.
Today’s news conference came just three days before the scheduled pride parade in Bridgetown on Sunday, bringing to an end the observance of pride month, celebrated here for the first time ever.
Pride month is a period during which members of the LGBT community come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.
Joseph saw the planned march as an affront, while suggesting that the very existence of humankind was threatened by the gay lifestyle.
“We feel that the homosexual, LGBT agenda is existential. It challenges our existence. The behaviour doesn’t perpetuate the human species,” he said.
“We oppose any attempt to rebel against God’s command to increase, multiply and replenish the earth.
“The first command the human race received from God was to increase and multiply. If we propagate the LGBT agenda we are going against the commands and undermining God’s desire for propagation and future generations. No same sex can produce an offspring.”
Joseph also passionately opposed any attempts at tolerance of homosexuality in schools, contending that there was a sinister plot to indoctrinate the country’s children in a quest to ensure that homosexuality would become the new norm.
“We oppose that. It is an attempt to indoctrinate and influence the next generation and we challenge that. They want to do it by changing the curriculum and eclipsing the sexes,” he said.
The LGBT community also came under attack at the 37th annual general conference of the Caribbean Baptist Women’s Union at the Barbados Beach Club, where Reverend Vincent Wood of the Emmanuel Baptist Church urged christians to unashamedly and publicly rebuke homosexuality and same sex unions.
“Those [who] are engaged in their kind of lifestyle . . . want us to feel guilty when we speak against it, but we are to rise up and to shout and to declare that God made man for woman and woman for man,” he said to applause from the predominantly female conference audience made up of representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, San Andres, Turks and Caicos, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Meantime, in response to Joseph’s charges, Ro-Ann Mohammad, co-founder of the Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination, dismissed the accusation that the LGBT community was forcing its agenda on the population.
“We don’t have a specific agenda. What LGBT people want is to be able to exist freely in a society which we contribute to. That means living without discrimination and being able to enjoy freedom like everybody else regardless of sexual orientation,” Mohammad told Barbados TODAY.
“We are all entitled to certain rights whether we are LGBT or not. We are dedicated to pursuing equal human rights for everybody. We all have freedom of expression and we are not forcing LGBT on anybody,” she said.
The LGBT advocate accused the church leaders of spreading “a narrative of separation instead of promoting love and acceptance and peace and respect.
“I don’t think it is fair that these church members continue to push this narrative that promotes negative ideas about the LGBT community,” she said.