By Marion V. Ali
Members of the church and various groups participated in an anti-gay protest last Friday at the Battlefield Park as a way to voice their objection to the recent firing of Professor Brendan Bain from the University of West Indies (UWI).
The protesters, who carried placards and wore pieces of tapes marked “Freedom Under Attack” over their mouths, specifically rallied against the “agenda” of gay activists who demanded Bain to be fired, because he offered his expert testimony in last May’s Caleb Orozco-UNiBAM (United Belize Advocacy Movement) versus the Government of Belize case.
“Whenever we have someone, especially someone like [Dr. Bain] who is a decorated awardee – has done so much good as a doctor – targeted because he spoke out…and when you keep silent about these matters then they will think that it is okay. It is not okay”, said Pastor Eugene Crawford, president, Belize Association of Evangelical Churches.
Crawford said, however, that he can see the concern that the gay community has raised – that they have lost confidence in Dr. Bain because he gave his testimony using data he compiled based on private information.
“But it is convenient to them at this point to cry foul. They are saying that [they] must be treated with special care…the church doesn’t see it that way,” he concluded.
Dr. Bain, who was the UWI’s Director of the Regional Co-ordinating Unit of the Caribbean HIV/AIDS Regional Training (CHART) Network and regarded as a leading medical authority on the HIV epidemic in the region, essentially gave evidence that homosexuals are among the most vulnerable to contract HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) and cancer.
He testified that the behaviour of homosexuals poses serious costs and risks to public health should not be encouraged.
This prompted a coalition of about 33 organizations – mostly groups that advocate on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients, and a handful of LGBT organizations, including UNiBAM – from across the Caribbean to lobby for his removal.
Crawford said that he was pleased with the gathering, which numbered around 150 because it was lunchtime (on a working day) and the event was planned only a day earlier. The church represents about 76 percent of the country’s population.