Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
The Mahogany Coconut Group will guard against anti-gay sentiment and the early signs of violence and hate crimes directed at the gay community, as witnessed during the recently concluded Crop Over festivities. We expect criminal charges to be brought against those deviants who engage in such violence against our gay citizens.
We will not and cannot oppose the democratic rights of citizens and those in the public eye, to openly demonstrate their anti-gay positions. However, when such attempts are littered with inaccuracies, we as a responsible group of citizens would endeavor to expose some of the myths and inconsistencies.
First, we want to inform the Prime Minister of Barbados, that it has been clearly established that homosexuality is a natural (nature) way of life for those who realize from very young, that they are naturally attracted to the same sex. There are hundreds of studies and literature, that empirically conclude that such individuals are homosexual in the same way that others heterosexual. For him to even suggest that the jury is still out on whether homosexuality is by “nature or nurture” is perhaps the first time that we can say, without fear, that he is deliberately being intellectually dishonest.
Mac Fingall’s column which appears in today’s press – Abnormal behaviour – makes for interesting reading. He gets points from BU for daring to state an unequivocal position about a subject which Barbadians remain largely hypocritical. His position on homosexuality and same sex marriage is one which accords with the Caswells and Bush Teas of this world Fingall uses the biological cum physiologically flavoured with the philosophical and religious argument to good effect given his audience
However, there is the other argument to the homosexuality debate BU raised recently and which Fingall never addressed. No we are not referring to whether the right to be gay is a human rights issue. Doesn’t matter the arguments Barbadians bring to the table, as articulate as they may seem, a heavy dose of pragmatism must be accommodated as well.
There is a financial and economic impact which Barbados will have to wrestle with sooner rather than later. The issue is not whether Barbadians are ready to remove what some believe is an obsolete law from the statute book as it refers to homosexuals. Or whether legislation needs to be affected to safeguard the rights of same sex unions (marriages).
BU continues to monitor the battle by same-sex couples to be married in the Church. A recent report out of the UK indicates the first legal challenge to the Church of England’s (C&E) ban on same-sex marriage was filed on 2 August 2013. When the issue of same-sex marriage is distilled the real issues which global societies must accept is that marriage is a matter for the state. And inherent in a marital arrangement are considerations like spousal privileges, tax concessions, issues to do with estates etc. On this basis should the Church be allowed to discriminate and possibly lose its license (issued by the state) to perform marriage?
Traditionally Christian societies, Barbados included, have adopted and institutionalize marriage as a religious ceremony. However if we are to be dispassionate about this issue, the question which Barbadians and other countries will soon have to answer is: How do we safe-guard the rights of same-sex couples under the law? Even if we were to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to equal privilege to be married in the traditional form, how does the law render unto Caesar the rights that are Caesar? In the current scenario we can have same-sex couples who have co-habitated for years but are left unsupported in law with regard to the rights to property accumulated during the union.
‘I’d rather go to hell than worship a homophobic God’
South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Submitted by St. George’s Dragon
There has been much debate recently about gay marriage and its acceptability or otherwise. Most of the debate hinges on what the Bible says and in defence of the status quo the phrase “marriage is between one man and one woman” keeps occurring. The argument is then taken further to say that if gay marriage is allowed, why isn’t polygamy, for example.
It now appears that the Bible was not that prescriptive about what constituted an acceptable marriage. From the DesMoinesRegister.com, an article written by religious scholars about what the Bible actually says:
“The debate about marriage equality often centers, however discretely, on an appeal to the Bible. Unfortunately, such appeals often reflect a lack of biblical literacy on the part of those who use that complex collection of texts as an authority to enact modern social policy. As academic biblical scholars, we wish to clarify that the biblical texts do not support the frequent claim that marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of marriage deemed acceptable by the Bible’s authors.” The fact that marriage is not defined as only that between one man and one woman is reflected in the entry on “marriage” in the authoritative Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (2000): “Marriage is one expression of kinship family patterns in which typically a man and at least one woman cohabitate publicly and permanently as a basic social unit” (p. 861).
The phrase “at least one woman” recognizes that polygamy was not only allowed, but some polygamous biblical figures (e.g., Abraham, Jacob) were highly blessed. In 2 Samuel 12:8, the author says that it was God who gave David multiple wives: “I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom. … And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more” (Revised Standard Version).
BU has written and posted extensively about the issue of homosexuality. BU’s position is well documented. We do not subscribe to the lifestyle but will defend the right of the homosexual to co-exist in our society as defined by our society. It has proved and will continue to prove not a simple matter to resolve.
In the case of Barbados the homosexual debate has become interesting on a number of fronts. It is an issue which Peter Wickham has taken to wearing on his sleeve. He uses his weekly newspaper column and the talk show on Voice of Barbados radio to bombard citizens with his view. But guess what, this is his prerogative to take. Perhaps his advocacy would take on credibility if he were to declare his hand.
It is interesting to note that leading up to the last general election Ministers Adriel Brathwaite (Attorney General) and Stephen Lashley (Family and Youth) reaffirmed government’s position to support what BU describes as the traditional lifestyle of man and woman, and marriage, man and woman. It is obvious the two ministers felt bold to make public their positions because they believe it resonates favourably with the majority of Barbadians poll or no poll. Where do we go from here if government is not inclined to endorse homosexuality as a normal way of life?
David Cameron has threatened to withhold UK aid from governments that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality. The UK prime minister said he raised the issue with some of the states involved at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia. Human rights reform in the Commonwealth was one issue that leaders failed to reach agreement on at the summit
Prime Minister of England David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson have become champions for England to host the Gay Games in 2018. Is it BU or has Cameron and Mayor Boris lost the plot. The history of Olympiads record that there have been many gay Olympic champions; Greg Louganis and Robin Cousins spring to mind. We need not bother with the lesbian category.
If the object of ‘gay liberation’ is equality why do we have the Gay Games? Isn’t what is playing out akin to having the Black Games or the Oriental Games? Recognizing that China won the most gold medals, and the Black Usain Bolt took centre stage in London at the last Olympics this ‘what if’ scenario makes for interesting conversation.
Barbados is a country built on so-called Christian values and where Barbadians boast that a church can be found on every street, in every village and highway. The dominant religion remains Anglican-Christian.
The recent announcement by the Church of England (C&E) to allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops has the potential to split the C&E. The implication for Barbados given our Commonwealth affiliation and willingness to use the United Kingdom as a proxy for decision making is wide.
BU’s last blog on a related issue – Church of England Under Pressure to Change – addressed the failure of the C&E to allow the female clergy to be elevated in the role of bishop. After 12 years of deliberation the House of Laity in the C&E shot it down. Some commenters resorted to technical positions to explain the two issues which continue to challenge the C&E; that is, they are driven by different considerations. BU disagrees.
The scenario as we understand it: you can be gay and in a civil partnership and the C&E will allow you to be a priest and bishop, so long as you declare celibacy and make a confession of your sins of homosexuality. We all know that this change can easily be described as bollocks! How can one expect a priest in a homosexual relationship to declare celibacy? How honest, realistic and sustainable is this expectation by the C&E? Bullocks!
It is no secret that the BU household frowns on Gay couples being allowed to marry in Church. In our simple view, the institution of marriage, related customs, the Church and reproductive sex are all elements we factor to define marriage.
Interesting to note from our research that Canada has had same sex marriages since 2002 and churches are not allowed to refuse to marry people, only the individual priests. Many believe marriage is a legal matter and to obtain a license to conduct marriages, an institution must conduct ALL marriages.
The news that the UK government will “unveil” plans next week to allow Gay couples to marry in Churches is set to raise another firestorm between Church and State. BU recently reported on Church of England Under Pressure to Change by its refusal to allow women Bishops. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government stated position is to protect “churches, mosques and synagogues which do not want to marry gay couples on grounds of belief.”
The Church of England considers a celibate person of homosexual orientation to be eligible for ordination, even if the person has entered into a civil same-sex partnership, noting “The Church should not collude with the present assumptions of society that all close relationships necessarily include sexual activity.
Last week those who follow matters of the ecclesiastical variety would have been stunned to learn that the House of Laity – part of the General Synod of the Church of England – killed a twelve year effort to allow women to elevate to the position of bishop. There is the ridiculous situation developing where the David Cameron government is considering repealing equalitarian legislation to force the Church of England to accept women to perform in the role of bishop. The Church of England is answerable to the UK parliament which makes the decision to block women from attaining bishophood the more intriguing given its declared position on human rights.
Submitted by Old Onion Bags
Four thirty AM. I most thankfully arose to see yet another Barbados sunrise, after giving all due homage to the The Almighty for allowing me the now enviable privileged to see yet another beautiful morn. At my age, you know you blessed as you hear daily of peers going on to the ‘Great Beyond.’ It was Saturday, and not living too far from the highway, I could hear the party owls making their treks home after a night of enjoyment. So what I thought, I too was once a party animal with all the indulging that went with it, it’s all part of growing up.
What I was not prepared for, was what next greeted my still yam-peed eyes. As I peered through the small opening in the curtains, I received the shock of my life. No this could not be so I pondered, looked at my watch and rubbed my eyes again. My neighbor Harold’s beautiful twenty-something year old daughter Melissa, planting a serious tonguing on another female. It was as passionate as her father would Betty his wife, or my son Hilary would his girl friend Jasmine, definitely a hot and steaming Kodak moment. She apparently had just gotten out the another young female’s car, definite tired from all the partying the night before, and was seemingly expressing gratitude for that most enjoyable night before encounter with the bomb shell.
Submitted by Yardbroom
Some time ago I wrote a submission on BU (Barbados Underground) – A Step Too Far Or Fairness And Equality: Same Sex Partner’s Legal Rights – asking the question with reference to same sex couples, Is Marriage A Step Too Far? The subject matter generated much debate. The BBC picked up the article and it was interesting to read/hear the views of that international audience who were not only divided but had very trenchant opinions.
I revisit this subject only because in the interval between then and now the situation has completely changed. In the submission I asked a tentative question, now with the likely change in the Law in England there is a possibility of same sex marriages being permitted in the churches there.
“Some” members of the Church of England – with strong religious views – are against the proposed change in the law and have been vociferous in their opposition. If you ask how can a decision made in England impact on Barbados? I simply add the church plays a major part in the lives of many Barbadians and the Anglican Church is a long established Church here. Although an island Barbados cannot be completely insulated from the wider world, geographic position is no barrier to what we do or how we interact with others and sometimes that interaction influences our thinking.
A lobby group formed by MPs bishops and others who are against gay marriages in church have produced a leaflet:
Submitted by HAMILTON HILL
With the state this country finds itself mired in God knows that some sense of levity is necessary, if only for one to maintain a semblance of sanity in these the most oppressive of times. Dennis J and Fireworks to some extent were able to do just that. Then came the monologue from one Peter Wickham on Thursday’s edition of “Brass Tacks. With three times the passion exhibited in defence of a poll that said exactly what all right minded Barbadians say publicly, Peter Wickham called to task the powers that be at Starcom Network. With the gumption of a man firmly grounded on the courage of conviction he brought to the table a subject that for one reason or another has worn the status of “Taboo” if only because hypocrisy, like the broken trident is symbolic of things Bajan.
It was on the aforementioned Brass Tacks that a caller told us that the food fed to the unborn infant created a homosexual. As if to bolster such vapidity the announcer played a nursery rhyme composed by the ANNOUNCER [Calypsonian] which sought to tell us that one could not be brought onto this earth as a person attracted to another of the same sex. Truth be told “BOTSY THEOLOGY” then as it is now, is nothing more than gift wrapped toilet tissue. The wrap and the gift both go in the same direction. Lets look at the blatant hypocrisy that has attached itself to this vapid train of thought.
This Thursday (17 May, 2012) is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. This year’s commemoration comes at exciting time for the world and our region in terms of advocacy and political leadership to address the human rights of sexual minorities.
We hope that on Thursday you will share with your audiences the attached message from UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team Director, Dr. Ernest Massiah. It speaks directly to Caribbean people about our context and strides on this issue. Also attached is a message from UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé which may be used to enhance your IDAHO coverage.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.