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Bean clarifies views on Church and State

Opposition leader Marc Bean has sought to clarify his views on the role religious institutions play in the formation of public policy.

The leader of the Progressive Labour Party claimed that he would never ‘use my role to silence any group’, despite saying that the Church ‘should not interfere’ in secular matters.

Mr Bean said he felt that a headline in

The Royal Gazette on Friday (Bean tells churches: Stay out of gaming debate) was misleading and did not fairly represent his view.

“Why would I say that and then show up to the national day of prayer?” he said.

“It’s almost as if the editors of

The Royal Gazette wanted to shift the attention of the church from the One Bermuda Alliance Government who today tabled the Human Rights Amendment Act and to bring myself and the Progressive Labour Party into that muddied water.

“But there’s no way I would be disrespectful to the church or any spiritual institution. Because as I said in my press conference yesterday, man is a triune being. We’re not just physical, we’re also mental and spiritual. And so you have institutions in society that cater to those various aspects of one’s humanity.”

He said the church has a role to fill and “never would you see me use my role to silence any group regardless of who they are or what their positions are because every group is representative of people and every person is a voter in this country.

“So it’s their right.”

Mr Bean said he was not speaking from his personal perspective when he answered a question at a press conference on Thursday about lobbying efforts by churches against introducing gaming in Bermuda.

“I said many people take the position that the church and the state should be separated,” he said. “I wasn’t speaking from my personal perspective.”

In the press conference, when Mr Bean was asked about the role of churches, and the influence they brought to bare when the topic of gaming came up, his reply was: “There is a multiple special interest groups, inclusive of the church, that have their position on gaming … But there is a reason why humanity and democracies have moved towards a separation of Church and State.

“Many will say that the Church has a role to fulfil, but under issues of this kind, the secular kind, they should not interfere, and just allow the people themselves to decide.

“Many will claim that churches are able to operate tax free, like many international businesses — tax free. So if you’re able to operate tax free, what weight outside of the moral persuasion that you’re bringing to the table, what right, what special right do you have, to speak on all these matters of the secular realm?”

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Published May 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 18, 2013 at 12:55 am)

Bean clarifies views on Church and State

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