Churches ‘Take A Stand’ Rally against UNIBAM
Emotions are running high on both sides of the fence locally as Caleb Orozco on behalf of UNIBAM is challenging Section 53 of the Criminal Code, but the Churches are opposed to that and have been organizing country wide. On Saturday, in down town Belize City, a rally was held, the numbers were not as high but the message was passionate. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
On Saturday morning, hundreds of Christians, of all ages, from across the country congregated at Battlefield Park for the ‘Take A Stand’ Rally. On December ninth the preliminary hearing for Caleb Orosco’s UNIBAM versus the Attorney General, will take place in the Supreme Court. Pastor Scott Stirm says they are sending out a resounding ‘no’ to UNIBAM’s call for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Belize.
Pastor Scott Stirm, Belize Action
“We realize that what takes place in the court room is not dependable on what takes place out here. We recognize that whatever happens in Belize should start and end with Belizeans. We are on the list of eight countries to topple their agenda. This was started by the Human Dignity Trust and pushed by international attorneys, but when they pack and leave, we will be left to deal with the consequences of that. If that becomes legal then they have license to be able to go into the high school to be able to teach this and to be able to move forward. Number two, our attorneys plus a number of other attorneys have identified to us that section fifty three is one of the only laws that is there to protect young boys in situations of sexual abuse. If a male violates a female, our criminal code defines that as rape and if a male violates a male that is not defined as rape. Section fifty three is one of the only laws that is there to protect our young males. And if you change section fifty three our young boys are gonna become prey and that’s part of the whole agenda. All you have to do is to look at the countries where the first step was made and then the law of precedence, once you change this one, this one is next and once you change that one, this one is next and the homosexuals deny that. But we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that that is their agenda. They’ve already told us that we are going for same sex marriage and we are going to be able adopt children.”
This high profile case has attracted international attention, but most importantly, it has brought together leaders from around the country:
Simeon Lopez, Mayor, Belmopan
“I want to publicly, publicly acknowledge, that I as the Mayor of the City of Belmopan, stand with you all against this agenda of the UNIBAM people.”
Julius Espat, National Campaign Manager, P.U.P.
“I am here today representing the Leader of the Opposition of the People’s United Party, Hon. Francis Fonseca. And this is the official position of the People’s United Party. The P.U.P. doesn’t support the efforts of the Human Dignity Trust and UNIBAM to strike down or amend section fifty 53 of the criminal code of Belize.”
Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, Minister of Works
“I am here as the son of God. I am not here before you as a minister of Government. When the time comes for me to use that hat to fight to spread the word and to fight in what I believe is wrong, I will do. Ladies and Gentlemen, my message is simple and clear. From when I was small I know that God mek wah man and ih mek wah gal. From I small when yuh reach a certain age, certain things inside ah yuh tell mi that I want wah gialfriend.”
Henry Gordon, Senator of the Churches
“This one is the Bible, this one is the constitution and I want to remind you that this one stands on this one. Never forget that. The constitution stands on the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. I want to point out a few things to you because what we are looking at here is not only an attack on the Bible but an attack on God. I want us to understand a couple of things; the Constitution begins by saying, “Where as the people of Belize affirm that the nation of Belize be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God.”
And central to the discussion is the procreation of life. The church says that the agenda of UNIBAM is anti-life. Homosexuality doesn’t foster the concept of ‘family’ as defined in the Bible:
Reverend Eugene Crawford, President, Evangelical Association of Churches
“This is really a family focus; today we are highlighting the beauty and responsibility. It is God who said who said in the beginning in Genesis 2:24 that therefore shall a man leave his mother and father and cling to his wife and they become one flesh. It is God who said that; God addressed the emotion of loneliness that Adam was expressing and says, I make a mate for you and therefore he made a woman.”
“We are in our forty-second year of marriage. In other words we have gone through more than forty-one already and we have been together for all of those years. Oh there was little ups and downs like any other family, but if UNIBAM gets its agenda then very rarely will you see a couple like this standing up here. You will see a couple of a different manner.”
Canon Leroy Flowers
“Now a part of that agenda, as we saw the Mayor’s grandchild, and I am thinking of my eight children and nine grandchildren, that I see everyday. I thought it means that if the other agenda is affirmed, we are not going to see that. Your sons will not be able to bring home their grandchildren to you.”
In his words to the gathering, Canon Flowers told the audience that it is paramount to remain steadfast in what they believe:
Canon Leroy Flowers
“We must not be confused, we must not be side-tracked, we must focus that it is because of Calvary, we have life; and therefore we can stand on our principles, regardless of what is said. Now, we need to be mindful that many aspersions and bricks and blocks will be thrown at us but if we keep focusing and that is what our agenda must be. Now, just across from where we are standing will be the litigation of this case. Regardless of the outcome, number one, we as a church should know where we stand and regardless of what the courts rule, we should know what we are about and what we are to do. Number two; let us not judge the judges, so that we will not call that they be burned to the stakes in the event that they rule against us. Let us therefore take a stand but let us focus on what that stand is, it is about bringing men and women, boys and girls to a saving grace, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Have a good day Belize, and let us continue to stand honestly, without fear or favour. We don’t need to allow them to allow us to become like them in our behavior.”
Galvanized in a common belief, echoing messages ‘say not to the changing of section 53 of our constitution,” the Christians at the rally waved their banners and joined in a praise and worship, chanting down the agenda of United Belize Advocacy Movement:
“God will give the victory. We are serving a God of victory and today, praise God, let us raise our voices and give God thanks, Hallelujah; we are moving on to Victory in Jesus’ name.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
The case has picked up traction internationally and high profile lawyers will be representing UNIBAM as well as the government and Churches.