Gays want to silence regional church leaders


Gays want to silence regional church leaders

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Organisers of the 'Intimate Conviction' conference series are urging Caribbean church leaders to exercise restraint, even if they express their opposition to ending laws that criminalise consensual same-sex intimacy.

In a statement, signed by Jamaican attorney Maurice Tomlinson, a leading gay rights and HIV activist in the Caribbean, the organisers said they were inviting the church leaders, “in response to heightened rhetoric by some Caribbean churches opposed to cases challenging anti-sodomy laws.

“As organisers of the Intimate Conviction conference series, we note, with alarm, the heightened and sometimes hostile anti-LGBT rhetoric that is being generated by some religious leaders across the Caribbean, which is in response to current and impending challenges to regional anti-sodomy laws.

“As people of faith, we believe that Christians should show the world how to respectfully disagree. We are, therefore, troubled that some of the language being used by clerics who oppose decriminalisation will incite violence against LGBT people,” the statement noted.

“In addition, we would like to invite persons, on whatever side of this debate, to join us for the next Intimate Conviction Conference from April 24 to 26, 2020 in Barbados,” the statement continued.

The organisers said that this global dialogue will continue to examine the role of churches in anti-sodomy laws that started with the first conference in Jamaica in 2017.

They said that any Christian leader from any denomination who wishes to make a presentation at this conference should contact Tomlinson, who is the coordinator of the conference, by November 22.

“We have a limited budget and can pay for some presenters to join us from outside of Barbados. So, we welcome robust and respectful regional deliberations on this matter,” the organisers added.

“As Caribbean Christians we pray that this public dialogue will help our region to achieve greater harmony and understanding and in the meantime, we urge careful and critical discussions of this very topical issue by all stakeholders.”

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