Lawyer Jomo Thomas says it is “unfortunate” that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has invited the churches get involved in the legal challenge to the country’s buggery and gross indecency laws.
Ten churches, calling themselves the Christian coalition, have asked the court to allow them to join the government in resisting the legal challenge. The court will hand down its decision on Wednesday.
For years, as the debate on the continued criminalisation of buggery among consenting adults advanced globally, the prime minister tried to get the church to lead the conversation on the continued criminalisation of same-sex acts between consenting adults in private.
However, one cleric, Anglican Bishop C. Leopold Friday had lobbed the issue back at the prime minister, saying it was a question for the state.
In doing so, Friday quoted the position of the Anglican Church, elaborated in 2015, that while rejecting homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture”, the Anglican communion “calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex”.
In the same resolution, the Anglican Church said it “recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation.
“Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships.
“We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ”.
In July, two gay Vincentian men filed a legal challenge to SVG’s buggery and gross indecency laws.
And, in September, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Legal Affairs, noted that the nation’s buggery and indecency laws date back to its colonial past.
Gonsalves said that some persons have suggested that his government could deflect the legal challenge by amending the laws to decriminalise same-sex activity among consenting adults in private.
He said others have suggested that the government leave the law as is and allow the court to pronounce on them.
“But, like everybody else, I would await the judgement of the court,”
Gonsalves, however, said that the church and civil society organisations in SVG were welcome to join the government as it responds to a challenge to the nation’s anti-same-sex laws.
Speaking on radio on Friday, Thomas said:
“One of the things that I thought was unfortunate from the get-go is where the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines told the churches that they should consider getting involved in the cases. I think that was an unfortunate thing.
“Based on the state of the law, maybe it was an astute gesture because this case was brought against the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
With the legal challenge coming one year before general elections are expected, there could be some political fallout if the court overturns the nation’s buggery and gross indecency laws, as it has done in other Caribbean jurisdictions.
Thomas noted that in recent years, Gonsalves had called on the church to lead the debate and Bishop Friday had lobbed it back and said that the government should do so.
“And then when this case was brought, the prime minister, at a press conference, said the church should be involved.”
Thomas said churches get involved in these cases all over the world, adding that was the case in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad.
He, however, noted that the matter before the court is a constitutional challenge, noting that in deciding matters, all courts consider issues of morality.
“… but in all the cases he has read, the courts have said that the states are secular societies and therefore, the deciding the case on issues such as the supremacy of God and morality are not germane to deciding constitutional provisions,” Thomas said.
‘Buggery is anal intercourse between a man and another man, a woman, or an animal.’ It is unrestrained act which akin to sexual vaginal penetration can happen through genuine emotional happenstances or through malicious promiscuous experimental deeds.
‘Sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.’ So who are these Pastors and others to categorize the value between one sin and the other? ALL ARE ‘ATTACKS ON THE FAMILY MORALITIES, our brothers and sisters.’ …..”The righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
To be honest, I am very confused as to the role the Churches are playing in this protest. This entire rampage is like the blind leading the blind, the ongoing contradiction stem through the many aspirations of pastors, divinity scholars, publishers etc. in the discernment or refining of the Bible.
I totally agree churches have no business in the legal and constitutional affairs of the state. This is a dangerous and an unnaceptable path to embark on. In fact its quite appalling that this decision was made . Thought we had move past seperation of church and State
In this vexed matter of buggery, Anglican Bishop C. Leopold Friday is totally correct in “saying it was a question for the state”!
In his attempt to placate both sides of the ongoing wrangle, Ralph Gonsalves is just being thoroughly cunning, which is his usual way of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. To which he hopes that whichever side comes out victorious, he however will come out smelling of roses. Not before God however as God will be holding him to account, Not that he cares!
However this will never do, for if he was really a true Christian and not a pretended one, being the person whose Government it is that is in control of the reins of power, the matter would be rather quite simple. After all, who controls the legislative matters in our Parliament if not his Government?
There are six countries who go as far as to effectively impose the death penalty on same-sex sexual acts. Three of these countries are in Asia and are (Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) and the other three are in Africa and are (Nigeria (the northern states), Sudan and Somalia (Jubaland region))”.
The death penalty is a possible punishment in another six other countries and these are Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates., Also in Iraq the death penalty could be said to remain too, as the offence has not been removed from the law for such sexual acts.
These foreign governments are all part of the world community and part of the U.N therefore, Ralph Gonsalves attempt to pretend that matters are not up to him and his Government and totally out of his hands, is nothing but a ruse.
Were Ralph to tell us that he would find it most difficult to beg the USA, Britain and the EU for financial Aid, were his government to side with the larger part of our nation and the Christian community here, would indeed be understandable. Perhaps Ralph needs to rely less upon foreign Aid and do what is profoundly morally best for us as a nation!
Further the following quote from the Bishop is nothing but a gross lie which does not accord with known recorded scripture one bit, but that is just typical of these Anglicans. All things to all men!
Quote; “We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ”.
How on earth can they be loved by God being so immersed in their immorality and how can they being unrepentant as they are, be members of the Body of Christ? Looks like the Bishop needs to open his Bible more often! [1 Corinthians 6:9-11 & 1 Timothy 1:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
The churches got setup by the prime minister
Every evil spirits is having its day now in SATAN last world system the United Nations under the banner of Humanity’ there evil deeds and ungodly act is made legal st Vincent has signed there agreement in doing this the laws of God is to be changed humanity is the the main focus point world peace is their goal that will never be or happen Jehovah God word said so
Woe to those who call Evil. Good’, and good. evil
Who put darkness for light and light darkness who put bitter fir sweet and sweet for bitter!
The Churches should first and foremost correct the stance of their teachings, indoctrination, arrogance and self righteous indignation. If the churches were to live by the true examples of Christianity by being our brothers and sisters keepers, they would restrain themselves by giving rather than hands outstretched to receive especially those in need, and have opted to be the consciences of others by creating for themselves a protocol that entitle themselves as self-running and self-preserving small businesses. They are not necessarily following the ten commandments and teaching the words in the Bible with its true and real nature and intended insights rather than that they are misinterpreting, misleading and misguiding their followers with self-directed interpretations of the word to this world and these nations. This nation and these communities would haven better places to live in if these churches were true to the word. They have lost their role as leaders because people are understanding more the true meanings of the word, its original intent ad how it was and has continued to be used as a vehicle and it is being misused to have and to take control of others. We can see by their examples and the causes that they choose to uphold and support that they do not represent true Christianity, as they selectively support certain causes while at the same time the place hands over faces and eyes and pretend that certain causes are not worth challenging.
This selective approach in allowing victimization, family notably husband and wife abusing each other because of the written word, child victimization and child abuse, violence, human rights ,physical and mental abuse of the disadvantaged, mental health issues are some of the areas that get mire ire as I do not see much leadership in these areas of vulnerability. If you are going to be so pious then care for the weak, disenfranchised, disabled as these are all God’s children as the word says” For as much as you did unto my children, you did unto me.”
Well stated Elma!
Elma, that is possibly the best you have ever written. You are right! So many in Christianity can no longer see the trees because the forest is blocking thier view. Thier attitude goes against everything that Jesus stood for. Instead they embrace Old Testament Doctrine. The very teachings Jesus came here to correct.
I doubt a sustainable solution to this problem will be adopted in the near future. Most Christians in SVG seem to be indoctrinated into embracing arrogance, intolerance and hatred of those they are told to. This blindness causes them to be incapable of using thier brains and finding a viable solution. Jesus would be shocked!
UNFORTUNATE OR ‘CHURCH WAGONEERING’ OR STRATEGIC MOVE
Not sure who may gain more notoriety; the Prime Minister’s call on the Churches or Jomo’s representation of that which the people loathe and rebuff.
Jomo only saw the Prime Minister’s call on the Churches to support the fight against ‘homosexuality and associated relationships.
Jomo may call it anything, but ‘…Unfortunate.’
This could never be all he has in his vocabulary or in his ‘…craw?’
It would be most ‘…Unfortunate’ if he sees nothing other than two ‘…males’ seeking to cause God’s wrath to descend upon the nation and people.
Clearly, the PM, with shrewdness, showing the cunningness of a fox and might just be jumping on the Church Wagon.’
Outside the ‘…legal circle,’ this might be a ‘…Strategic Move,’ way beyond his comprehension.
There is strength in numbers, particularly where there is commonality of understanding of possible implications for further degradation of morals and the development of an unwanted ‘…homosexual society.’
Obviously, the esteemed attorney might be missing out on something more fundamental.
Even as he may have lost the desire, zeal or zest for elective office, Jomo might still be advised to look outside the ‘…legal circle,’ for that which lies ahead.
The political elite are a bunch of cowards. They have decided to duck their responsibilities to the citizenry and instead push the churches to get involved. I do believe that the churches have a particular stance and have the right and duty to defend it. However this matter is for the state and not the church to decide. Churches need to be careful that they are not being used by this Government that is seeking to protect itself from political fallout.
I agree with the Tari that the church get set up by being drag into an unwinnable battle. It’s akin to Herod saying I find no fault in this man but rather than freeing Jesus ,he handed him over to his enemies. This is hiprocracy at its highest. The man is a machevelian. One day he will have to atone for his betrayal of the nation. Vincentian I urge you to open your eyes before it is too late. Take back your country.
The frist duties of the goverment of any Christian Nation or island is to defend the faith for all goverment is set up and put in place by jehovah God Roman13 :1
I hope the PM understands and appreciates that the church doesn’t “wuk obeah fuh God”. He is so messed up. But the church will do its part with or without his input because the church understands its calling in the earth.
I think Jomo has started to feel the invisible ‘sting’ of the “Called Out”.He and Zita better take heed.
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