Bishop opposes gay rights move
The head of the New Testament Church of God has come out against any plans to extend human rights to Bermuda’s gay community.
Bishop Lloyd Duncan, the pastor at the Heritage Worship Centre firmly believes gay rights legislation will be followed by a push to allow gay marriages in Bermuda.
As a spiritual guardian the clergyman said as far as he is concerned “its time to raise standards, not lower them”.
In an interview with The Royal Gazette, Bishop Duncan said: “I can appreciate the Government’s position in seeking to protect the rights of every human being. But from a spiritual perspective I feel that I need to speak to this issue and voice concern.
“I would have to say categorically that I’m against the legislation. I’m against it because I see it as a door being opened futuristically for gay marriages for the next generation,” he said.
“We need now to be careful of how we sanction certain things or open the door because if you’re not careful in years to come we’re going to have another generation of people that are confused as to what is the correct sexual expression between people and it’s going to create another set of problems.
“From a spiritual perspective this sort of thing causes erosion in the foundation and fabric of communities,” said Bishop Duncan.
His comments follow the open forum held last Friday by Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda in support of human rights for people who are gay, transgender or bisexual. A take note motion on a proposed Equality Act was also debated in the House of Assembly in July.
Bishop Duncan noted that he has been married for 26 years with two children, a son and a daughter. “We know that there is no perfect marriage, there is no perfect family, but my wife and I have tried to model before our children what a marriage and a family should look like.
When asked if he, as a homeowner, would rent an apartment to someone who is gay, he questioned whether homeowners “should be forced to rent to someone if they don’t condone that sort of lifestyle and behaviour”.
“People working maybe 40 hours a week who worked hard to get that home or that house, do they not have rights? Maybe I don’t want this particular person who is involved in this particular lifestyle in my space if I can say it like that.
“I think what we need now is politicians who are going to stand strong and stand tall because I know in the political arena we have politicians that have been exposed to what a family looks like and we shouldn’t seek to alter that,” said Bishop Duncan.
“This is an issue that from time to time just evokes high emotions in people and I know the politicians are seeking their votes, they’re seeking to secure their spot and they’re seeking to satisfy all stratas within our community.
“They may say that we are just giving equal rights to people who are deserving of them but by the same token behind that, it may not be coming tomorrow but a few years down the line you’re going to have people pushing for gay marriages,” he said.
“Most of what we are seeing in Bermuda today is a direct result of breaking away from spiritual values. But from a biblical perspective this lifestyle is not condoned or sanctioned by the word of the Lord,” he added.
Bishop Duncan’s sentiments were echoed by his predecessor, the late Bishop Goodwin Smith; a former chairman of the Human Rights Commission.
Bishop Smith attacked Government’s pledge to amend the Human Right Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation back in 2004. He claimed the proponents of the gay lifestyle have declared war against those who do not subscribe to it and said it divides families and churches.
Bishop Smith was removed as head of the Human Rights Commission by Progressive Labour Party MP Randy Horton when he took over from Terry Lister as Community Affairs Minister.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Justice hopes to spark discussion about equality in Bermuda and continue its campaign to add sexual orientation to the existing legislation through a movie screening and panel discussion.
The film, ‘Children of God’ depicts the “struggles and triumphs of a society’s prejudices and battles with sexual orientation and everyone’s right to equality, respect and dignity”.
A spokesperson said: “It is our collective hope that the film will serve as a platform for advancing our social dialogue around equality in Bermuda.
“A petition to amend the Human Right Act 1981 so that sexual orientation can no longer be used as grounds for discrimination will be available at the event and online at www.justice.bm
The screening will take place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on August 23 starting at 6pm.
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