Setting Audrey Matura-Shepherd Straight on the Facts
October 3, 2013 at 6:06pm by Kay Johnson
The Message within the Message - September 30, 2013
Let us take this fallacy-filled diatribe apart, piece by piece.
"I do not know how many Belizeans know that Belize is a Christian democracy..."
Followers of Christian Democracy are FOR human rights, equality, and are accepting of CHANGE... I am sure Belizeans aspire to such a thing, but 'Christians' like Audrey and the lying liars of Belize Action certainly do NOT act like adherents of Christian Democracy...
* In contrast to conservatism, Christian Democracy is open to change (for example, in the structure of society) and followers are relatively progressive in regards to the social status quo.
* In common with liberalism, Christian Democracy places an emphasis on human rights and individual initiative.
Alas, historically speaking, democracy has NOT been very "Christian"
Many important Christian leaders throughout history have not only NOT advocated democracy, but have in fact been very authoritarian. Did Luther or Calvin ever promote democracy? How many popes lived and died before the Vatican agreed that democracy might be a good idea after all?
Where is democracy mentioned in the Bible or indeed in ANY early Christian texts? Where did Jesus or Paul argue for democracy? How long was it before ANY Christians decided that democracy might be a good idea? If Christianity is the foundation of our democracy, why isn't Christianity — or indeed religion generally — referenced as such in the Constitution? If democracy is based on Christian principles, why did early advocates of democracy have to argue so hard, and sometimes even FIGHT against Christians?
There is a good reason why the idea that "democracy is based on Christian principles" is not taught: it's a completely false claim that has no basis in historical reality whatsoever. To teach that democracy is based on Christianity would be like teaching that roses are part of the animal kingdom, or that Paris is a city in China. No reliable text or school would ever think to teach such a thing and so misinform students.
"...the Church is an actual partner in governance..."
FALSE: Belize is a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, its democracy is based on the Westminster model.
The word "church" (because there are MANY churches with differing beliefs and gods) is specifically NOT mentioned in our constitution.
"...any group of people can claim to have a “church” such as the church of scientology, which is a church for all intents and purpose, but it does not affirm the supremacy of GOD, rather it affirms the supremacy of science."
FALSE: the Church of Scientology is most certainly NOT based on science... but rather, has its roots in SCIENCE FICTION.
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard
Perhaps Audrey is confusing Scientology with Christian Science?
Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical–New Thought family of new religious movements. It was developed in the 19th century in the United States by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), and was first described in her book Science and Health (1875), the religion's central text along with the Bible.
"...when our Constitution speaks of God, one needs to note carefully that it uses a capital “G” because it is not referring to a pagan god, and it is referring to a Christian God..."
FALSE! Many different religions capitalize the word God, when referring to their god.
Theists, particularly those who come from a monotheistic religious tradition like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Sikhism, always capitalize the 'G'.
"...if the bible says that homosexuality is an abomination..."
IF the Bible said such a thing, which in fact, it does NOT...
The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were LACK of HOSPITALITY, greed, sloth, selfishness and gluttony.
The true sin of the Sodomites as described in the Bible has nothing to do with same-sex acts per se. Rather, the ancient Sodomites were punished by God for far greater sins: for attempted gang rape, for mob violence, and for turning their backs on strangers and the needy who were in their midst. In other words, the real sin of Sodom was lack of hospitality.
The biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah begins when two angels, disguised as travelers, arrive at the gates of Sodom. They meet Lot, a relative newcomer to the city, who insists that they spend the night in his house. The other men of Sodom learn about the two strangers in their midst. In contrast to Lot's gracious hospitality, which includes preparing a feast for his guests, the men surround Lot's house and demand that he turn over his guests so that they may "yada" them (Genesis 19:5).
Anti-gay Christians have interpreted this Hebrew word narrowly to mean "to have sex with" and thus have interpreted the sin of Sodom as nothing more than engaging in same-sex acts, as opposed to "rape" or "molestation."
It is clear that the real sin of Sodom is turning one's back upon the strangers and the neediest in our midst. Rather than welcoming traveling sojourners into their homes and feeding them, the men of Sodom wanted to gang rape them and exert their power over them.
The bottom line is that nowhere in the Bible does Jesus Christ ever condemn LGBT people. However, Jesus does expressly condemn people who turn their backs on strangers and on those who are the neediest among us. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus says that whoever fails to welcome such people has failed to welcome Jesus himself (Matthew 25:43). In my view, the anti-gay religious leaders, politicians, and "family values" advocates who turn their backs on LGBT people should spend far less time obsessing about LGBT people and far more time thinking about the true sin of Sodom: lack of hospitality.
"...this Independence Day address by Hon. Dean Oliver Barrow, was very telling of how far this worldly and secular administration would go to seek to establish their superiority or supremacy over the “supremacy of God”.
FALSE! Our Prime Minister said nothing even remotely indicating superiority over God... in fact, just the opposite:
TRUTH: “Government will therefore fully respect the right of the churches to propagate their understanding of the morality, or immorality, of homosexuality. But what Government cannot do is to shirk its duty to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law. After all, the Belize Constitution that affirms the supremacy of God also affirms fundamental rights and the dignity of the individual human being.”
"For a lawyer who supposed to know the Constitution and constitutional law, one would expect the PM to know that as the Constitution stands whether you are homosexual or not, or have any other sexual preference, you are already accorded all the same right like any of a different sexual orientation. Thus, to accord a special group of people special rights based on whom they chose to have sex with skews this delicate balance, while creating a new category of man-made rights that cannot be implemented equally. For it to truly be equal rights, then heterosexuals will need to equally be accorded some special right based on their choice to have sex with someone of the opposite sex, because homosexuals are being treated as special for having sex with persons of the same sex."
What is it about some people that they need to feel superior to someone... anyone? There are men who need women to be inferior, Christians who need non-Christians to be inferior, religious believers who need nonbelievers and atheists to be inferior, citizens who need foreigners to be inferior... and heterosexuals who need gays to be inferior. Why can’t those who are different be equal in their differences?
Complaints about “special” rights for gays often rely upon contrasts between homosexuality and characteristics like gender and race. Gender and race cannot be chosen, so it’s reasonable to bar discrimination because of them. Homosexuality, they claim, is a lifestyle choice which does not merit the same protection. That most research shows homosexuality to not be a choice is irrelevant — in part because they define homosexuality as same-sex sexual behavior, not as same-sex attraction.
Even if homosexuality were chosen, though, the “special” rights argument would apply equally to religion. Religion is arguably as much about behavior and lifestyle as homosexuality, if not more so. Thus, a principle argument used by the Christian Right here would deny anti-discrimination protections to religious believers.
When interracial couples fought for the right to marry each other, were they asking for equal rights or special rights? They wanted the same rights as other couples, but conservatives insisted they really wanted special rights. After all, no one was allowed to marry members of another race, so all were treated equally. Right?
It is a profound insult to tell people that their wish to enjoy the same basic rights is really a desire to have “special” rights unavailable to others. It’s possible that some Christians do consider housing, jobs, and medical care to be “unusual demands” - at least, when it comes to gays.
"Ironically, under his own government’s Gender Policy, true discrimination is practiced because the policy advocates for rights of “men having sex with men” but accords no such rights to “women having sex with women”.
The facts are: women were so lowly in social status back when the Belize criminal codes was written that only the MALE genitalia was considered important, and the only type of activity worthy of note, therefore lesbians and bisexual women's acts are NOT a crime in Belize.
"...the PM decided to defend moral corruption under the guise of equal rights..."
FALSE! (As well as insulting, and ridiculous)
Homosexuality is not 'moral corruption' except in the eyes of far-right religious extremists.
Reasonable people understand that gayness is not a 'lifestyle choice' but rather the way people are born. Scientific research backs this up, as same-sex behavior is found in MANY different species in the animal kingdom.
1,500 animal species practice homosexuality
I grasp the fact that some religious people desperately NEED for gayness to be a choice, so they can condemn gays from the pulpit, the media and the streets... and so they can continue to discriminate against gays... but the 'choice' issue is a STRAW MAN argument, based on a false premise, drawn from junk science .
"The corruption in our midst is a national issue needing serious attention, but instead the sexual preference of a few got the attention. I wish this government would just be honest and tell the nation how many of them in power and office have this personal sexual preference thus the energy that is expended to advance this agenda, while the rape our children is not even given half the attention nor money.
Here we see yet another typical false accusation, that progressive people who believe in equality for ALL adult tax-paying citizens must be secret homosexuals or bisexuals.
The REAL questions are, WHO is stalling the much-needed REFORMS to our criminal code? Who objects so vociferously to the new Gender Policy? Who doesn't want to make the crime of sexual assault on children to be re-written so it is gender-neutral?
Yeah, that would be the SAME people who want to keep Section 53 as it is, with the excuse that they need it to prosecute men who sexually assault boys, because that circumstance was not provided for back when the criminal codes was written.
It’s as if sexually abused children do not have equal rights as grown adults sodomizing each other do…. Outrageous!
Back in the real world, people who stand for equal rights for consenting adults comprehend the fact that the churches (with their vigils, marches and media falsehoods about gays being a danger to children) are seriously CONFUSED about terminology... constantly conflating consenting ADULTS with animals and children, (neither of which are able to legally consent to ANYTHING.)
THE FACTS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
The last four cases of minors being sexually abused in Belize were committed by CHRISTIAN PASTORS, men who are HETEROSEXUAL IN THEIR ADULT RELATIONSHIPS.
This behavior is termed 'regressive' molestation.
Regressive child molesters are attracted to other adults, but "regress" to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Researchers found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.
The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.
Falsely depicting gay men as a threat to children may be the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality — and for winning elections and referenda, as Anita Bryant found out during her successful 1977 campaign to overturn a Dade County, Fla., ordinance barring discrimination against gay people. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly, Cameron's work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations.
JULIO CESAR GARCIA - BAPTIST PREACHER, Frank's Eddy, Cayo District:
...an eleven year old reported that on two occasions, the pastor of the Baptist Church in the village had abused her. The physical contact occurred in the church and also at his residence. This morning, Julio Cesar Garcia, the Honduran pastor who has been in the village for merely three months, was charged with two counts of unlawful carnal knowledge. After the case was broadcast on Tuesday, two other young school girls are alleging that Garcia acted inappropriately towards them. - http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/78126
JASON NEAL - Christian Pastor, Roaring Creek, Cayo District:
A pastor, thirty-seven year old Jason Neal of the New Jerusalem Christian Mission has been charged with two counts of indecent aggravated assault of a minor. The boy, reported to police that in June of this year he was asleep at Neal’s house and when he woke up, Neal was touching his private parts. The minor also told police that in July his pastor again touched him inappropriately. - http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/62329
BRYAN SEARS - Christian Missionary, Sarteneja, Corozal District:
A Christian Missionary who was trusted and accepted in the community, forcibly sodomised three teenaged boys from the village. It came to light on Saturday - and a doctor has since confirmed that they were sodomised. The man accused of the crime is Brian Sears - a missionary who had been in the community for three years - and that's what makes the already hideous offence even more disturbing, that he used the cover of Christianity to gain the community's confidence and prey on three brothers. - http://7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=20774
NORMAN WILLACY - Baptist Pastor, School Principal and spiritual family counselor:
There is a serious allegation being made against the principal of a high school in Belmopan. A parent of a teen has alleged that the principal had sex with her daughter on the school compound and that the sexual relationship has been ongoing for a year. - http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/74738
ALL FOUR OF THE MEN listed above are MARRIED TO WOMEN, and heterosexual in their ADULT relationships. Three of them have children. They are NOT gay or bisexual, they are REGRESSIVE child molesters.
Now, technically, one might claim that Norman Willacy's victim was above the age of consent, but that completely denies the REALITY of his position of power, his role as family counselor, and the VAST age difference between the perpetrator and victim.
Where I came from, the age of consent matches the age at which a person can vote, own a business, sign contracts, buy and sell land, and other rights and privileges of ADULTHOOD, which is age 18.
Willacy did not get charged with unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor only due to the fact that Belize's criminal code FAILS to take into account the perpetrator's position of POWER over the victim (teacher, employer, pastor, etc.)
In my view, Willacy got off on a technicality, as the computer messages which were used as evidence against him were only dated after the child turned 16... I am certain the abusive "affair" BEGAN before that time, but earlier messages had been deleted by the victim, so there was no proof as to his crimes.
It seems clear that the REAL danger to children in Belize is from STRAIGHT CHRISTIAN PASTORS and PREACHERS.
"I wish this government would just be honest and tell the nation how many of them in power and office have this personal sexual preference thus the energy that is expended to advance this agenda, while the rape our children is not even given half the attention nor money."
*I* wish that Audrey Matura-Shepherd and the rest of the holy-roller contingent (Patrick Menzies, Scott Stirm, Louis Wade, Richard Smith, etc.) would JUST BE HONEST, and TELL THE NATION how many of the CHRISTIAN preachers, pastors and missionaries are CHILD SEXUAL PREDATORS, instead of trying to pray the gay away, shuffling molesting pastors to other churches, and FAILING or delaying the reporting of sexual crimes against children to the proper authorities.
Andrea Polanco: “Was it taken to the police though?”
Richard Smith: “At that time it wasn’t taken specifically to the police.”
Andrea Polanco: “Any specific reason why?”
Richard Smith: “Well the reason for that is because the victim per se was one; concern that when he goes to jail the wife and kids. And so you cannot go and report if nobody won’t gonna and testify if nobody about it. So those were some of the procedures and that really held us back. We can’t go to court if the victim is not willing to testify otherwise you gonna look bad.”
As we can clearly see here, Pastor Richard Smith is MORE worried about how things LOOK than about the welfare of the child victims. Smith appears more concerned about the pastor's wife and children, and how they would fare if the MOLESTER went to jail.
The most important line in the article from Channel 5 News is this: "Residents say that Neal was once a pastor in Hattieville, where he was accused of a similar incident."
In other words, the PASTORS covered up CRIMES, and moved the child molesting preacher to another church, where he could begin assaulting children AGAIN.
The churches in Belize need to pay attention to THEIR OWN, instead of marginalizing the gay community.
I wish that a FRACTION of the money being spent by Belize Action and their anti-gay allies (on marches, vigils, bus rentals, gas, media blitzes, meetings, printing and video expenses, etc.) would be spent to help abused children, especially those raped and molested by church leaders.
In closing, the message within THIS message is: May the gods and goddesses of the MAYA rain their blessings down upon Belize.