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West Indian church rejects call to decriminalize homosexuality: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 5, 2011 p 5. August 10, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Marriage.
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Bishop Philip Wright of Belize

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Diocese of Belize has joined the country’s other Churches in opposing reform of the Caribbean nation’s sodomy laws.

Bishop Philip Wright of Belize, along with Roman Catholic Bishop Dorick Wright and the president of the Belize Evangelical Association, the Rev Eugene Crawford, have urged the government to stand fast against attempts to decriminalise homosexual conduct.

In May, the Belize Council of Churches stated it would seek to join as interested parties the case of Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) against the Attorney General of Belize. The Orozoco case challenges the constitutionality of Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, Chapter 101 which prescribes 10 years imprisonment for “unnatural crime,” defined as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal.”

Gay advocacy groups along with the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Human Dignity Trust are seeking to overturn the law, and have engaged the former Attorney General of Belize and the former British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, to argue their case in December before the country’s high court.

In May, Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops and the president of the Evangelical Association criticised the lawsuit as being “heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a worldview that directly contradicts the supremacy of God as reflected in our laws, challenges our national sovereignty, and threatens our very way of life, not least by targeting our children.”

Decriminalising homosexuality was the thin edge of the wedge that would see homosexual behaviour transformed into a “right” that would inevitably see it promoted as a morally neutral behaviour, the bishops said.

“This homosexual agenda insists upon the promotion of homosexual acts in the schools and society, undermining the rights of parents as primary educators of their children and targeting even grammar school children under the guise of ‘comprehensive’ sexual education programmes that promote sodomy and immoral behaviour. It also demands that same-sex marriage must be recognised, and that no group may object to this agenda on religious or moral grounds,” the bishops said.

“Let us be clear what is at stake here,” they said. “In every country that has granted a new ‘right’ to homosexual behaviour, activists have promoted and steadily expanded this ‘right’ to trump universally recognised rights to religious freedom and expression.

On 26 July, the Belize Council of Churches — representing the majority of denominations in the West Indian country — stated that homosexual practices were sinful and contrary to the natural order.

They stated the arguments put forward by UNIBAM “on sex and sexuality”, on “sexual orientation and behaviour,” on the “concept of the family and on human reproduction” and on the moral good of “same-sex marriage” were “biblically unfounded and theologically unsound.”

The laws of Belize “reflect God’s law,” the Churches said and “all changes in the Constitution of Belize that will not promote the sanctity of human sexual relations as established by God,” should be rejected by the courts, the Churches said.