Co-founder of the Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination (B-GLAD), Ro-Ann Mohammed. (Picture by SDB Media.)
THE CHURCH DOES NOT encourage violence against homosexuals.
Reverend Paul Leacock, pastor of First Baptist Church, made it clear that while the church hated the sin, it loved the sinner.
His comments were in response to a charge made by co-founder of the Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination (B-GLAD), Ro-Ann Mohammed, who said that the church was “creating an atmosphere of violence to persons in the community”.
On Monday night, during a question and answer segment of a public discussion on Alternate Sexuality: Interest And Dangers, at Queen’s College, Mohammed claimed there were many anti-homosexual messages from the church but no condemnation of parents who evicted their children because of their sexuality, or the violent crime committed against members of the LGBT community.
“I think that is troubling. And I think because the church has so much power, they have the responsibility to condemn those things,” she said.
“When we hear the church speak about homosexuality, it is usually in a very damning and a very denigrating way. That creates an atmosphere of permission for people to feel free that they can go ahead and come with messages of violence and really volatile attitudes towards the community.”
However, Leacock poured cold water on Mohammed’s claim and said that although buggery was still illegal in Barbados, there were no tangible statistics to suggest there was strong violence against members of the LGBT community.
“I think it is very disingenuous to assume that the condemnation of homosexuality by the church creates a climate of violence against homosexuals. I think you are going to have some significant trouble drawing a correlation between those two entities, especially here in Barbados,” he said.
“Although we may have the most draconian laws against [homosexuality] out of all the Caribbean countries, we do not see any strong climate of violence despite our very strong Judean/Christian ethic in Barbados . . . . If that was the case, then the stronger the church where it is, you should see the spike in violence and I would challenge you on that.”
Leacock added that the church condemned all sins, be it homosexuality, fornication, murder or adultery.
Mohammed said adulterers and fornicators were not met with the same violence as many in her community.
Consultant sociologist at ProtEQt Inc., Dr Veronica Evelyn, who was one of the panellists, said the LGBT community was not special and discrimination and violence were not specific to them, as the old, women, children and others were discriminated against.
“As a church I think we have a responsibility to make things unequivocally clear and there is room for teaching. People have problems because people are not kind, but it is the LGBT community that somehow has isolated itself and its problems, and has magnified it as if this is the only community that is being mistreated.
“I know for a fact that if a member of the LGBT community went for a job and did not get it solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, I would march . . . . So we have to be very mature in this and it is so easy to get volatile; that is a trap that we must not get into,” Evelyn added. (SDB Media)