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Aug 23, 2016

Christian Pastors Protest Section 53 Change on Independence Hill

Independence Hill on Belmopan felt the wrath and fury of the evangelical movement this morning. About a thousand strong, protesters from all over the country came out against the recent decision of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code. Government has decided that it will not appeal the ruling which criminalized private sexual conduct between consenting adults and therefore discriminated against the right to privacy and dignity. That decision has further incensed the churches. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Pastor Dennis Ten Kley, Resident, Spirit Lake, Iowa

“It’s a very close subject, I never thought it would happen to me, a daughter, you know, being that way but it’s terrible, it’s horrible and the United States has taught practically every country to do this and I’m ashamed of my country to do that.  But yes, it is very hard and until you go through it you don’t know exactly what it is.”


Dennis Ten Kley

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Sexual attraction to or sexual relations with somebody of the same sex, from the perspective of the family, is a matter of acceptance.  Parents, siblings and relatives have to come to terms with their son’s or daughter’s orientation, despite their own moral and religious convictions.


Pastor Dennis Ten Kley

“I pray that my daughter will accept Jesus soon or sometime because we’re coming to the end of time and I don’t want to see her go to hell and that’s what’s going to happen to all the homosexuals.  It’s in the Bible, it’s in Galatians and Corinthians all over.  If those people would realize and I just, my daughter won’t let me talk to her much so I can’t, yeah, it’s very hard.”


Pastor Dennis Ten Kley is surrounded by a throng of Christian protestors who have descended on Belmopan this morning from the far reaches of the country.  The mobilization of the clergy, as well as its flock, succeeds government’s announcement that it will not appeal the decision of the Supreme Court to amend Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code.


Vanessa Retreage

Vanessa Retreage, Attorney General

“Government is therefore satisfied that the case was properly argued and does not see any aspect of the decision that would benefit from further argument and as such, has taken the decision not to appeal.  It is also conscious that the option of appealing is open to one or more of the interested parties and it is not the government’s intent to influence or in any way preclude any legal steps which others may consider that they wish to pursue.  The government is however satisfied that it must not appeal simply for the sake of appealing but must ensure that its actions best serves the interests of the Belizean people.  The court has decided that Section Fifty-three which was challenged was a law which criminalized private sexual conduct between consenting adults and therefore discriminated against the right to privacy and dignity.”


That decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, in the context of the constitutional right to privacy and dignity, has raised the ire of the Church.


Louis Wade

Pastor Louis Wade, Organizer

“The word sodomy comes from the Bible, taken from a city called Sodom.  There is nothing the government or Retreage or anyone in government can teach the church about Sodom and sodomy.  We need to teach the government about the issue and about the ramifications for any society that embraces such.”


In spite of the particular amendment to the piece of law in question, Pastor Louis Wade is of the firmly held opinion that the CJ acted outside of the scope of the Constitution by interpreting the meaning of sex to also include sexual orientation.


Pastor Louis Wade

“I believe, even without looking at Section Fifty-three, we need to look at a breach that I believe took place in the Constitution itself, that in order to carry out the Section Fifty-three decision, I believe that the Constitution has been tampered with.”


The crux of the matter has to do with an interpretation of the fundamental laws of Belize.  The Constitution, as simple as it is in writing, is being rendered to mean different things to different people, including the Church.


Ashley Rocke

Pastor Ashley Rocke, Senator for the Churches

“The real question has been, in the church, two questions, one: concerning the God who’s written in the Constitution.  Which God is that?  Is that the God of heaven that we all know or is that the God of the world?  That’s a question that has been on the Church’s mind because if it’s the God of the heavens then what was ruled was wrong and will continue to be wrong.  And the second thing is, what we did we elected the government on a third term and on all three terms they were elected by the majority.  This ruling that was made was made by a minority of people which we feel is, to some extent, very hypocritical.  How can you determine that the majority is good to put you in parliament but the minority is good to break a very sacred law in the country and that is the law of morality.”


The thrusting aside of that rule of ethics, to use the United States as an example, has arguably led to a decay in the moral fabric of society.


Julie Mar

Julie Mar, Resident, Sioux City, Iowa

“I’ve seen the laws change to accepting gay marriage everywhere, all over America and I see that God is really judging America and not blessing it like he use to because of the rulings of sodomy and protection of sodomy and gay marriage.  It is really hurting our children.  They are so mixed up and confused.  Suicides have gone up tremendously, alcoholism, drunkenness, drugs.  They’ve all gone up, up, up because of the gay ruling because kids are all messed up.”


Can it be argued then that society’s ills are the result of a relaxation of government restrictions in areas of social and political policies?


Isani Cayetano

“What are your thoughts on liberalization?  Because there are those who argue that we are moving in a certain direction where we need to be open, in other words, live and let live.”


Pastor Louis Wade

“Belize is a moderate to conservative society.  The problem is that Belizeans have for some time now placed into government liberal and ultra-liberal politicians, then they want to pray for them and expect that they are going to make moderate and conservative decisions.  We are waking up to the realization that the people who are in government do not represent the moderate and conservative values of the nation.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Christian Pastors Protest Section 53 Change on Independence Hill”

  1. Katie Valk says:

    The same Sen Ashley Rocke, who when asked to testify at a murder trial recently, suddenly forgot what he had told police when questioned and refused to answer any questions?

  2. Kmh says:

    The pastors protest adult consensual intercourse but say nothing about the scores of belize children sexually violated each year and human trafficked sex workers from other countries. Their priorities are really misplaced.

  3. carlos says:

    Churches do not understand the significance of the ruling by C J . If they are against, why not appeal? Government has said that they can appeal. Let them go through the process and make the expenses. Why they want government to spend money which we do not have. This expense will bring no benefit to the economy. Why the churches did no speak out and demonstrated when we were speaking about corruption in government? about the passport scandal, about the decapitation of the pastor?

  4. Belizean Pride says:

    Awesome this is what we need people to try make a better country not a country to fail. We should accept what is worn g is wrong and not try to twist to accommodate a minority that is affecting the majority. How the hell did this happen that a minority would win? something about money must have played a big role in this case.

  5. Belizean Pride says:

    Juli Mar thanks for bringing some light t o this people, many call US a free country, but yes the impact of big immorality changes have the US going on a spiral that soon it will be the least powerful country it portrays. Since the time the US changed their schools from In god we trust and removing bible teaching as yrs ago it has been going down slowly with no means of stopping.
    So Belizeans open your eyes this are true things going on but many try to set it aside.

  6. Amilee bennett says:


  7. Brandon says:

    Pastor Louis Wade and most of the Pastors present in Belmopan LIED to most of the people who attended. I have a friend who went to the protest. This is what he was told. Our pastor told us that we must all take the day off and go to Belmopan. That it is VERY IMPORTANT that we attend. That the end of the world is near. So my friend and lots of his friends went. They had NO IDEA that they were going to Protest Section 53. Pastors now telling lies to their own congregation just to show numbers. I HOPE YOU ARE PROUD LOUIS WADE!! THE BIGGEST SINNER THERE. “Thou Shall NOT LIE”. A commandment that was broken yesterday by Pastors all over Belize. Perhaps we can have the interviews of the average persons like my friend, instead of just pastors and American citizens, that would have been good to see.

  8. Tylenol says:

    What is wrong is wrong, I am sure you are in contrary to the the pastor, you have a problem voice it out and don’t use your friend a a cause..

  9. Mellow Belizean says:

    What I find surprising is that these American evangelicals come to countries like Belize and stir up protests and unrest, but they don’t seem to command the same large audiences back home. In Iowa Pastor Key is only mentioned for his bad driving causing an accident, or his officiating at weddings or funerals. There are no mentions of similar anti-gay protests or major anti-government rallies. Why is it okay to come do it all the way in Belize?

    I see the same thing happening in African countries. If they spent as much time and resources doing good things, the world would be better for it.

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