Anglican Bishops Take Strong Stance Against Gay Marriage
West Indian Anglican Bishops have officially taken a firm stance against same-sex marriage.
During a meeting this past Thursday, the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies released a draft provincial statement urging Caribbean governments to turn a deaf ear to the international community that encourages same sex marriage.
The body, which is the body of leadership in the West Indian Anglican community, said that they were aware that Caribbean political leaders were being subjected to pressures from nations and institutions from outside the region.
“Frequently they are pressured to conform to the changes being undertaken in their redefinition of human sexuality and same-sex unions, under threat of economic sanctions and the loss of humanitarian aid,” they said.
“We urge our leaders of government and of civil society, as well as the people of our nations, to resist any attempt to compromise our cultural and religious principles regarding these matters.”
The collection of bishops in the region described the international pressure as the ‘dangling of a carrot’ to bring economic assistance to faltering economies, but added that Caribbean governments should not give in.
The bishops also noted that during their deliberations they paid note to the fact that during numerous international forums, the same-sex issue is being pushed as a promotion of human rights, one that must be accepted in a developed nation.
“Frequently, failure to conform by developing nations, like our own, results in the threat of various sanctions, including the withholding of economic aid,” they said.
“More specifically, there is a redefinition of gender to accommodate gay, lesbian and transgendered people, and the creation of a plurality of definitions which leaves the issue of gender to self-definition, thereby dismissing traditional definition of male and female.”
“Additionally, there is the passage of legislation among a number of metropolitan nations whereby marriage is defined as a human right in which any two persons may be joined, inclusive of persons of the same sex,” they added.
The bishops used as a point of reference the Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops of the Church of England in 2005 which defines marriage as “a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace.”
The statement also defined marriage as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman and said it is central to the stability and health of human society.
They also spoke of the cultural and theoretical grounding of Caribbean family life as being between a man and a woman and said the idea of marriage being between two persons of the same sex is “totally unacceptable.”
“While we recognise that the church’s mandate is informed by pastoral and doctrinal concerns and in drawing the attention of the faithful to the source and purpose of marriage, and in solemnising such unions, we accept that governments have the responsibility of providing the kind of legal framework for protecting, but not defining, this most basic social institution on which the stability of society and the socialisation of its members rest,” they said.
“However, the threat and use of economic sanctions are not new experiences to the region’s people, neither is the claim to a superior morality convincing for people who have known the experience of chattel slavery in our past.”
Back in January Archbishop Laish Boyd came under heavy scrutiny after his address to the Constitutional Commission was taken out of context and he was accused of supporting gay marriage.
The archbishop has since dismissed those claims and said that he supports the human rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, but believes that marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman.
April 29, 2013
The Bahama Journal