Evangelicals reaffirm opposition to gay marriage
Evangelical churches here have made it clear that they would staunchly oppose any attempt to legalize same-sex marriage in Barbados. In fact, outspoken pastor Rev David Durant has said that, in the United States, where the practice is legal, the Supreme Court should protect pastors who refuse to marry same-sex partners, and Christians and businesses that do not want to participate in such weddings.
A recent US Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages across all 50 states of the United States has caused jitters among religious leaders in Barbados and the Caribbean who worry that it won’t be long before regional Governments are forced to follow the US lead. Voters in Ireland also voted overwhelmingly in a recent referendum to change their nation’s constitution and allow same sex-marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so through popular vote.
Church leaders in Barbados have stiffened their resolve to fight possible attempts to adopt similar measures.
Speaking at his Brittons Hill, St Michael Restoration Ministries Church during a press conference organized by the Pastors Prayer Network, Durant said the Christian community was disturbed by two recent events hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community here.
Those activities were a panel discussion dubbed “How Gay is Gay?” at the University of the West Indies, where a male married couple sat on the panel, and a lecture on the theology of inclusion, sponsored by the US embassy.
“We do not want same-sex marriages to ever be legalized in Barbados,” Durant declared.
Quoting scripture, the evangelical minister argued that the bible clearly taught that homosexuality was a sin, and opposing that lifestyle was based on a desire to prevent individuals from falling into spiritual and emotional pain.
Durant urged Barbadians to remain calm because the churches had a “prayerful response” and he was confident that prayer would conquer the threat. He also prayed that the country would show “love, compassion and understanding [and] not condemnation, redicule or hostility” towards members of the LGBT community, even as Barbadian christians demonstrate strong objection to same-sex marriage. He compared gays and lesbians to drug and alcohol addicts, saying he believed they could be “changed, delivered and set free” from their inclinations.
“The church exist to see people saved and delivered, not to bless the means of their damnation. As a church we need not panic, but have a prayerful response to this situation. I believe anyone with an attraction for the same sex can be changed, delivered and set free from those desires, just as a person addicted to drugs, alcohol, smoking, lying or adultery can be changed and totally delivered,” Durant said.
The Restoration Ministries Church pastor adopted the position that those who engage in relationships with people of the same sex need counselling, and he called for the establishment of “a gay and lesbian anonymous centre for counseling and rehabilitation” with trained personnel to assist those who sought help.
Meanwhile, Rev Paul Watson of Messiah’s House announced that evangelical churches were running a campaign to strengthen biblical marriages, and would travel around the island hosting seminars on the subject. He suggested that Barbados would be walking down a dangerous road if it sought to legalize gay marriage.
“Once something is not legalized the country can’t accept it. A lot of laws would have to change, and that would be a sad day if we just react to a change that is taking place in other parts of the world and we immediately change our laws to suit that. [It] would send us down a slippery slope . . . and we have to be extremely careful [of] in the way forward,” Watson said.
A press release issued by the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI) today stated that PAWI “profoundly” condemned same-sex marriage because it “diametrically opposes the word of God”,and that it was against “the divine plan for marriage” and its purpose for procreation.
“Our organisation promotes the family unit as a fundamental institution, where a mother and father nurture children, instil faith, and inculcate moral strengths and spiritual values. Thus, legislation of same-sex marriage will destabilize the family unit and result in harmful consequences for the society at large,” the release said.