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July 14th, 2014

On May22nd, Belize action and its crew protested, “Freedom under Fire.” Presumably christian freedom. In a story written by Adele Ramos of the Amandala, called “Belize protestors call for fund to fight Professor Bain Case,” dated May 30, 2014, Pastor Eugene Crawford, president of the Evangelical Association of Belize, called the termination of Bain “very, very unjust.”

Let’s speak about unjust Pastor Crawford,  who takes their baby out into the night to a bigoted event, knowing that child belongs in bed. Its one thing to have a bigoted parent, but must the child physically suffer in the spirit of religious-base bigotry which has the stamp of approval of the Evangelical leadership. As opponents, the message has always been don’t misuse children, but apparently, its alright in the spirit of bigotry like the mother in the right-side picture.  In addition when Belize Action, The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches and United Women’s Christian Alliance joined a rabid bigoted group of rights violators called Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society led by Dr. Wayne West and Shirley Richards along with 140 evangelicals groups in the region to block,” PANCAP Justice for All Declaration and Roadmap,” which was an investment in stigma and discrimination reduction, this was unjust. The groups went further and wrote Secretary General LaRocque on June 25th,  to say,”a number of these recommendations are objectionable and do not enjoy consensus support in the Caribbean.”  Ignoring that, at the end of 2011 there were 230,000 persons infected in the region with more that 3% of the Bahamian adult population living with HIV. Regionally, 10,000 died from advance HIV at the end of 2011. Yet, its christian freedom under attack.

In Belize, Belize Action  and its crew screamed freedom was under fire, but if that were so, 4,000 people marching across the country would have been jailed and the UniBAM effigy that led the so called constitutional marches in Toledo would have led to a criminal offense. How is freedom under fire when it was not the gay community who brought out people by the hundreds, its was Belize Action and its crew.

What was the issue you may ask, well, the PANCAP Justice for All Declaration and Road Map offered 15 recommendations for CARICOM leaders to endorsed, some of which included the following:

1). Eliminating mother to child transmission
2).Strengthening laws to drastically reduce domestic violence
3).Enacting over-arching anti-discrimination legislation and enacting equal opportunity acts
4).Prohibiting discrimination in employment practices HIV, disability, sexual orientation by 2015
5). Developing standardised modules for the delivery of HIV and AIDS
6).Developing social programmes for the disabled and
7).Accelerating evidence-base policies through research and training
8).Repealing laws that criminalizes sex between consenting male and female adults
9). Ensuring that there are provisions, for criminalising acts with the use of force with minors.

In its statement, JCHS spoke of” in the interest of transparency and accountability, ”  and called for a published list of persons who have been part of the consultation process. However, JCHS and its counterpart have never been honest about their US right wing connections  who has  funded their operations. In fact, when the Southern Poverty Law Center launch its report Dangerous Liaisons, Stirm himself, spoke of funding for Belize Action being 100% Belizean. However, a recent facebook conversation between Patrick Menzies and Kern Thimbrel revealed that Stirm’s Belize Action may have just one funder. The conversation can be seen below where he asked ” Who was the main donor for Belize Action? Tell us honestly, is that person the consensus person,” in a position of difference regarding the evangelical association divisions. Patrick further goes on to address a questionable email sent out to mislead non-BA members. 

All it seems, is not well with the slow brewing divisions among the the evangelical leadership. More importantly, Stirm skill at misleading the public is an artful skill that is to be respected. Stirm history of misleading  the public can be linked back to the Bain issue on May 22nd, 2014.

Stirm said in an interview on channel 5, “We are standing in support of Professor Bain. And we are saying to UWI that we are just absolutely shocked that they would cower to that level of pressure from the LGBT.”  He, Belize Action and its crew, then, turns around and signed on to a statement  of 140 church groups that essentially,  did the exact same thing, but this time, communication was sent to every Prime Ministerial Office in the region.

The statement issues by JCHS adds that ” We affirm the inherent dignity as bearers of the image of GOD.We are truly concern about the heavy cost on the physical, psychological, social and economic well-being of every Caribbean individual caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic…”     but goes on to be concern about the definition of discrimination.  The statement went even further and spoke of ” we hold the view that while discrimination per se is morally neutral , morals are necessary to enact sound principles for governance…” Totally ignoring constitutional frameworks of every country in the Caribbean and realities on the ground in every single country.

A study suggests that ,” The Religious Right and social conservative are “reframing political
losses as religious oppression,” PFAW’s study suggests, in an “attempt
to build justification for turning back advances in gay rights,
reproductive rights, and religious liberty for minority faiths.””

The point is made from Audrey Matura in her comment on Bain  in a Channel 5 interview …”You say you don’t want to be discriminated against and now you
want to make sure that you discriminate people.  Now, everybody has the
right to work.  Imagine, they don’t even want this man to work.”

She continues in another interview in the amandala on May 30th, 2014,  ” I was the first one. Now B, Dr. Bain… C. Who will be next?” she
questioned. “Will they ask the Bar Association [of Belize] to remove Mr.
Courtenay because he went to court and defended, or Mr. Chebat? Or
Nigel Hawke because he represented the Government [in the challenge of
Maurice Tomlinson to Belize’s immigration laws]?”

Inversing messaging of their opponents has  had a long history in the culture wars. The battle in the courts, in the media, in social organizing, in documentation and reporting, in political engagement is part of the culture war. The battle for rights recognition has gone regional, the regional players are now centered in Jamaica, as one side (the far right) compete to ensure rights restriction and social control, while the other (the left) seeks to balance rights protection and enforcement concerns.

Ultimately though, what the 140 coalition statement did was challenge regional leaders to play their  hand, of throwing out constitutional frameworks for theological positions and posturing rather than responsible  responding to the needs of the marginalised affected by HIV/AIDS which is over 200,000 per year. It is this author contention that, he did not know that the rights and dignity of the marginalised, of those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS required consensus. Apparently, good governance, matters not these days in addressing the economic and social disparities between citizens.

JCHS Statement

Belize Action Organises a peaceful demonstration in protest of Bain termination, May 22, 2014

Stirm Strikes back at SPLC

2nd Protest Against Termination of UWI professor is held a battlefield park.

Justice for All