Being gay a lifestyle choice, says preacher
A conservative Christian preacher from the United States is in Bermuda this week to lecture churchgoers on why same-sex marriage could lead to society’s acceptance of paedophilia, bestiality and polygamy.
Brad Harrub, from the non-denominational Church of Christ, told The Royal Gazette he was not here to spread hate but to tackle the issue of homosexuality “from a little bit more of a scientific perspective”.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda responded today, stating that many of the claims made by Mr Harrub are not supported by “substantive science” and that propagating myths about the LGBTQ has “dangerous effect on an already marginalised group”.
Same-sex marriage supporter Tony Brannon described Dr Harrub’s views as “outrageous”.
Mr Brannon, who launched a petition for marriage equality last year, said: “This is the outrage: that this preacher would dare to sermonise this nonsense.
“That is devious dark nonsense to create fear — it is so outrageous. Marriage equality is about love.”
LGBTQ and human rights advocate Shari-Lynn Pringle said Dr Harrub’s words sounded like hate speech as they did not promote love.
“It is disturbing and disappointing that people who get to practise religion as a human right are desperately trying to deny other rights to fellow human beings with ludicrous statements which have nothing to do with instituting marriage equality.
“To say I’m disappointed in this latest import would be a great understatement. Bermuda’s people — including our leaders — are gullible and these jokers in the guise of religion have hit pay dirt since their claims of what would happen should marriage equality become law in the US now fall on deaf ears [there].”
Dr Harrub, a creationist who has a doctorate in anatomy and neurobiology, insists being gay is a lifestyle choice and that “at least three studies” have shown that homosexuality can reduce a person’s lifespan by up to 24 years. He could not name the studies during an interview yesterday and did not share details with this newspaper by press time.
The minister and author said if people were truly born gay then identical twins would always have the same sexuality, since it would be embedded in their DNA, and that simply loving someone was not a reason to give them marriage rights.
“I can love an animal or an 11-year-old child or five women or whatever,” he said. “Just because I throw that term out doesn’t mean I should have the right to do that.”
He said of his lecture: “It’s not about hate, it’s not about opinions.
“What I’m trying to do is provide people with evidence and allow them to then make an informed decision.”
Dr Harrub claimed the US was now starting to “reap consequences” from last year’s Supreme Court declaration which made same-sex marriage legal in all states, such as the introduction of same-sex bathrooms to accommodate transgender people and the lowering of the age of sexual consent in some states to 14. Mr Harrub could not confirm which states had lowered the age of consent to 14 since the Supreme Court ruling and research by this newspaper indicated none had. He said: “With the transgender movement, they are coming in on the heels of the same-sex marriage, using the same arguments as ‘this is our right’. Businesses are having to make gender-neutral bathrooms.”
He encouraged people to take the idea of same-sex marriage to its “logical extreme”. “Can I marry my dog? Can I marry three people? Can I marry a child? Can I marry myself? When you take the logic to its logical extreme, the foundation for the community dissolves.”
His views appear to mirror those of Opposition leader Marc Bean, who told Parliament this week that legalising same-sex marriage could lead to proposals to redefine marriage to include bestiality and who has previously said its purpose is to turn “civilisation upside down”.
Dr Harrub was invited to the island by the West End Church of Christ, which has a congregation of about 75, for a weeklong series of seminars tackling “cultures in conflict”.
Minister Thaddeus Bruno said the church was not looking at the issue from a political perspective or trying to tell the Bermuda Government what to do as it seeks to tackle the issue of same-sex marriage with a referendum and changes to the law.
“We are presenting what we believe the values are from a spiritual perspective,” he said.
The Rainbow Alliance said it is aware that Mr Harrub was invited to Bermuda by the West End Church of Christ “to speak against marriage equality — a human rights issue which the Rainbow Alliance supports fully”.
“Many of the claims made previously by Brad Harrub are not supported by substantive science, such as his assertion that ‘homosexuality can reduce a person’s lifespan by up to 24 years’,” the group stated.
“Propagating myths about the LGBTQ+ community has a dangerous effect on an already marginalised group. The assertions he makes dehumanise individuals within the community as a whole who identify as LGBTQ+.
The group added that it “strongly condemns such assertions and states unequivocally that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity deserve to be treated with respect and dignity”.
• Dr Harrub’s talk ‘The Facts About Same-Sex Marriage’ is at 7pm on Saturday at the church on Georges Bay Road, Sandys