One of the crafters of the Barbados Charter says this country must do better as he questioned whether Barbadians were so ‘holy’ that they could not accept persons struggling with their sexuality.
Independent Senator Reverend Dr John Rogers responding to criticism which has erupted over some terms used in the charter reminded a debate in the Upper Chamber that all sin falls short of the glory of God and that every human being deserves the right to exist in their Father’s world as his beautiful creation.
Noting that there are people struggling with their sexual identity as identified in medical research, Rev Rogers said they have battled with everything while trying to live with what society considers to be ‘normal’.
“It is time for us to tell them it is okay, especially at a time when we are begging people to follow the science. Follow the science for once,” he suggested.
His comments came on Wednesday as he addressed criticism of the Charter of Barbados 2021 during debate in the Senate Chamber. The Anglican priest sat as a member of the sub-committee on the Republican Status Transition Advisory (RSTAC) Sub-committee on Fundamental Principles, Rights and Freedoms which was tasked with preparing the charter.
The other members included sub-committee’s chair, Chereda Grannum; Co-Chair of the Charter Committee, Senator Rev Dr John Rogers; Coordinator of the RSTAC Legal Support Team and former High Court Judge, Shirley Belle, Advisory Consultant to RSTAC and political scientist Cynthia Barrow-Giles.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Lower Chamber engaged in robust debate on the legally non-binding document which sets out the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Opposition leader Bishop Joseph Atherley voiced strong objections to the use of the words “sexual orientation” and with “Creator” used instead of God.
Senator Rogers noted in today’s debate that a key section of the Charter speaks to the strengthening of the family and he lamented that discrimination against sexual orientation was tearing too many families apart.
“It is not only that person that is discriminated against, it is that parent that has to grow up in a society that says ‘you raise that child wrong. It is your fault that the child turned out the way it is’, when the parent knows he or she has done everything to create the best possible child, and they have. In many cases they have produced respectable young men and young women.
“It is time for us to seriously have a discussion about what we are doing to our children, our families, and by extension our community, when parents feel it necessary to estranged themselves from their children, just to hold their place in society, just to keep their face up as we say, where children have to leave the only place that they have been nurtured and feel estranged in the only society they know,” he said.
Senator Rogers also sought to clear the air on the purpose of the Charter, which he said, was established to set out the hopes and aspirations of the people of Barbados.
He was adamant the document was never intended to replace the preamble or the Constitution of Barbados, or have any legal power.
The Anglican cleric also took aim at criticism about the word creator being used in the document, instead of God.
Saying it was shocking to hear the rhetoric, Senator Rogers revealed that the committee sat for long hours and deliberated every word in the charter, and opted to use the word creator, which is the primary attribute of God from which is derived all others.
“It was God’s interaction with this world and the creation of humanity that gave us access to all the other attributes. It is true that we come to learn of his mercy, we come to rely upon his divine Governance, and ultimately all the attributes which are ascribed to him. Creator as the primary attribute of God is the one all humanity can access.
“I am flabbergasted, I expected that not to come from Christian circles. Not after we have adopted a Constitution with its preamble in place speaking about the supremacy of God. Where is the beef?”. [email protected]