Some members of the Christian Community have published full page advertisements in three of the local dailies calling for the maintenance of laws prohibiting buggery and indecency.
But local gay rights group, SASOD (Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) is questioning why such righteous people are promoting discrimination against a minority and vulnerable group.
“With all the perilous, social issues facing Guyana, including gender-based violence, suicide, poverty, child abuse, and many others, why would these pastors spend time and money demanding that the Government keep a discriminatory law which directly targets a minority group?” asked Joel Simpson, the Managing Director of SASOD.
In fact, he questioned why the pastors would waste thousands of dollars on those advertisements.
“Where did the money come from for these ads? Collection plates from their churches?”
It costs roughly $150,000 for a single black and white pull page advertisement in the Sunday newspapers.
According to the advert, in countries where archaic anti-buggery laws have been amended, “these changes have threatened, eroded, and taken away in part and sometimes entirely, the freedom of speech, of conscience, of religion, and parental rights of people of faith.”
The ad further expressed that “the practice of buggery violates the laws of God and is unnatural, unhealthy, destructive to the human body and to society as a whole.”
The advertisement ends with a long list of signatories from pastors and other Christian leaders who support the anti-buggery position.
But Simpson argued that regardless of those persons’ personal views about homosexuality, Guyana is a secular and pluralistic country.
“Our basis of law-making and public policy is not the Bible or their interpretations of the Old Testament,” he posited.
He explained that the Government has a duty under the Guyana Constitution to respect, protect and fulfill human rights of everyone in the country. “No exceptions,” he stated.
Simpson noted that this movement by a few in the Christian Community is surprising especially since Christian leaders locally and worldwide have called for the review of same sex laws.
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Guyana, Charles Davidson is on record pushing for the review of same sex intimacy laws, which he believes are discriminatory.
Even Pope Francis, the global leader of the Catholic Community, has voiced his support for the LGBT community.
In this light, Simpson posited that the call by this group of individuals for the maintenance of discriminatory laws is not the unified position of the religious sector or even the Christian community.
SASOD was formed fifteen years ago with a commitment to push for the eradication of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, gender sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Guyana.
The organisation has made steady progress over the years and only a few months ago, the country hosted its first ever Pride Parade.
Asked whether the publication of the full page advertisement – which represents a growing resistance to the LGBT lifestyle – will deter SASOD’s work, Simpson responded: “hell no”.