Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tikkun Olam Response to the Gender Policy

NGO In Northern Belize Appeals To Locals to Read and Understand Gender Policy Jul 30, 2013  

For the past few weeks we have seen hundreds of Belizeans come out in support of the pro-constitution march led by Belize Action and Belize Can.  The two organizations led marches in all districts in a show of protest against the gender policy in its present form.  Now an organization in Orange Walk town is doing something similar, just this time it’s in support of the gender policy.

Tikkun Olam, an Orange Walk based NGO, seeking to educate Belizeans on the benefits of the gender policy 2013 will start it off with a standoff this Saturday in downtown Sugar City.
ELISA CASTELLANOS
“We are not organizing a march; it has been like a snowball effect but what we are planning to do is an activity of a standing and we want to send a strong message telling the public or asking and advising the public to take time, take a stand and read the gender policy. It is very important; we are not asking people to pick sides; what we are asking is for people to read for themselves and come to an opinion and come to an understanding of all the issues that the gender policy takes on.  This activity came about for me because I really felt violated and I felt that people were throwing in words like, ‘homosexuality’ and ‘gay rights’ to cover up and take away importance from the other issues which is that the gender policy is there as a tool to help women and as a woman in the community, I would like to ensure that there is a document out there that could be used as a tool for my protection.  At some point, I want to be married; at some point, I want to have children; at some point, I have to access health services; at some point, I want to develop myself as a woman in the community to be able to further effect change and so that is the reason why I am doing it.  I am just a bit unnerved that it’s taken on such a different connotation and people are throwing around words like, ‘homosexual’ or ‘LGBT rights’ and it’s really not about that.  This initiative is focused mainly on educating women and asking the public to really just read the gender policy; read the Bible, read the Qur’an, read whatever you want to read; just make sure you read, understand and can form your own opinions and not let Church-led initiatives or any initiatives for that matter, you don’t have to listen to me but I am asking you very neutrally and objectively to read the gender policy.”

The NGO director says they have support from National AIDS Commission and PASMO as well.
ELISA CASTELLANOS
“Like I said, it’s not a grand initiative we’re inviting everybody who supports the gender policy and who would like to really send a message out there that it’s necessary to be read, they can join us.  You can find me on Facebook, Elisa Castellanos or my cell number at 623-9500 for any questions, comments or suggestions and please no threats.”
Elisa Castellanos, Director of Tikul Olam. 

Source: http://www.lovefm.com/local_news.php?item=2340

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Belize's Dominionists: Scott Stirm and Belize Action

26th July, 2013



For the first time in Belize, Dangerous Liaison, a report written by the Southern Poverty Law Center offered Belizean's a  look into the influences, relationships and strategy that the Belize Representative Scott Stirm uses. He claims that Belize Action is "100% Belizean!" Here at the United Belize Advocacy Movement we beg to differ. A screenshot of Belize Action own website provides the first layer of evidence about the relationship it has with US Right wing Groups C-FAM and ADF.The site says so very clearly.


see link at http://belizeaction.com/homosexual-lawsuit/legacy-updates/

The 2nd layer of evidence that there has been a relationship with dominionist movement is with Patricia King. Her parent company Christian Services Association (CSA) has given the Belize Action representative and his  wife $14,000. The evidence can be found at http://www.charityfocus.ca/EN/Pages/CharitySummary.aspx?charityid=134175868RR0001&enddate=2009-12-31.  We know as well that between 2009 and 2011  a total of $73,600 bz or $36,600 Canadian was given to Stirm and Wife. In 2012, Canadian tax returns show that he received $3,000 Canadian. The evidence can be found at the end of this report.  While there is evidence of a monetary relationship we cannot ascertain,however, the reasoning behind the use of the  funds given. What needs to be made clear is that Patrick King of Extreme Prophetic Ministries relationship with Scott Stirm is years in the making.  Further evidence of a connection between Extreme Prophetic Ministries and CSA relationship can be found at this link were it speaks of  advisors in UK, US and Europe http://www.xpministries.com/about/xpministries-and-csa 

What is clear is that her organization uses very legitimate spaces to advance dominionists theology which is about advancing the seven pillars. What is this theology?  To be clear, Seven Mountains Dominionism seeks to place Christians in control over the seven forces that shape and control our culture: (1) Business; (2) Government; (3) Media; (4) Arts and Entertainment; (5) Education; (6) Family; and (7) Religion. Lance Wallnau, the leading advocate for Seven Mountains theology, explained that Jesus "doesn't come back until he's accomplished the dominion of nations."  And the way "dominion of nations" is accomplished is by having Christians gain control of these "seven mountains" in order to install a "virtual theocracy" overseen by "true apostles" who will fight Satan and his Antichrist agenda."

Further documented evidence of a relationship with Patricia King can be found here at http://patriciakingministries.net/page/17/ . King link to Stirm can be characterized as creating a moral revolution and advancing dominionism theology and is further demonstrated in this video in which he appears at http://www.xpmedia.com/video/1351/alignment-to-the-plumb-line

 King relationship with dominonists theology and her relationship with Lance Wallnau can be found here as they appear in a video together explaining the theology http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/24/82239/9750/ .The Articles  "Lions In the Pews" written by Rachel Tabachnick  carried the tone that the movement is not waiting for the rapture. The following quote summaries that message:

"Sarah Palin's churches are being portrayed by many religion writers as typical of traditional Assemblies of God congregations.  This includes claims that she may share the endtimes belief that the godly will be snatched from the earth in the Rapture and therefore avoid the reign of the Antichrist in the Tribulation and the Apocalypse.  This conclusion completely ignores the fact that Palin's churches are deeply involved in the activities and beliefs of a nondenominational movement that is sweeping the globe.  The followers of this movement are not waiting around for the Rapture!"

 Stirm brush with the Dominionists Movement does not stop with Patricia King, ADF or C-FAM, he has history with a group called YWAM or Youth with a Mission. YWAM  is described in the following way and found to be influenced by the movement as well:

"In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of these change agents a message to give to the other. During that same time frame Francis Schaeffer was given a similar message. That message was that if we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we would have to affect the seven spheres, or mountains of society that are the pillars of any society." at link http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/.  

 What we do know is that YWAM  has Jason  and Sarah Andrews  as directors ..http://www.ywambelmopan.com/About-us/Base-Director.aspx...We note that Jason regularly appears on Rise and Shine with Louis Wade and Scott Stirm. Stirm does mention his affiliation with YWAM here at http://jubileebelize.blogspot.com/ The Global link can be scene here at http://www.ywambelmopan.com/About-us/YWAM-Global.aspx with Caribbean affiliates. Of note, Stirm started with Youth With a Mission and is still involved in. 

While not final, the surprise is finding the Belizeprayer network (BPN) which spells out the theology. The site speaks not only of the 7 pillars, but campaign to measure progress around the 7 pillars. The site can be quoted as saying, "In each campaign we identify short-range breakthroughs we need to make progress toward long-range goals.We work with and are accountable to the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches (BAEC). BPN is a branch of Tree of Life Caye Caulker, serving people of all ages."

This is important as George Ferrar imagery appears on the site for the Belize Prayer Network+
  and can be quoted as saying the following:

" In the process I got to know sixteen more intercessors–from all six districts in Belize–who want to connect with our new Belize Prayer Network, of which BC-HOP is a part (see Belize City House of Prayer Facebook page)."  at Belize eagles mission site located at  http://belize.eaglemissions.org/2012/06/07/ferrar-june-2012/

We see documentation of Scott Stirm work at http://belizeprayernetwork.com/testimonies/  as well, in the form of a timetable  and concerns over the gender policy which speaks to it being "approved secretly." The link provides broader reference to  "the government is now telling us that sexual identity is no longer male or female." Belize Action is now demanding the recall of this policy, or the recall of government leaders." link at http://belizeprayernetwork.com/2013/06/new-gender-policy-approved-in-belize/

The site Belize Prayer Network also speaks of  Pastor Howell Longworth of Eagle Mission on a sister visit with Mayor Darrell Bradley  to San Benito in April 2013. This visit is significant because it shows how inter-connected the theology is and how unknown it is in the wider social and political environment. Now how does this connect to the dominionists movement? Simply  George Ferrar have shown on his site that there is a relationship between the Evangelical Association, Scott Stirm and Belize City House of Prayers (BC-HOP) which we see Pastor Eugene Crawford giving him the lead to organize. At least according to what was said on Ferrar site for eagle mission. Of note, the BC-HOP is modeled on IHOP. Now what is IHOP you might ask?

 IHOP began in 2000 in a renovated strip mall on Red Bridge Rd. in Grandville, Kansas City.[1] In the past decade and especially in recent years IHOP ballooned into a major presence in Kansas City. There are roughly 500 people on staff. In 2009 they commenced a world headquarters including of how they partners with YWAM is supporting their vision of going Global. See more at: http://www.world view week end.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=7332#sthash.zKeIwqi9.dpuf YWAM is heavily dominionists driven. The relationship provides synergy. The International House of Prayer guy in Belize is From Living Waters Mission George Ferrar who is stationed on Caye Caulker. The Eagle Mission site can be quoted as saying... 
 
" I’ve spoken with 17 Belize City church leaders and they are all in favor of our Belize City House of Prayer (BC-HOP). They are glad that we’ll operate under the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches (BAEC)....BAEC President Eugene Crawford asked me to lead the house of prayer. I accepted with the understanding that I would raise up national-born Belizeans to take my place.... What our house of prayer is seeking is watchmen on that wall–plus other leaders for nights of praise and worship and soaking prayer and training in prayer. To begin with, each pair of watchmen will watch over one of the seven main mountains of influence over the nation–Family, Religion, Education, Economy, Domain (government), Onstage (arts) and Media.

They will recruit others to watch with them. At least once a month, each pair of watchmen–a worship leader with a prayer leader–will gather their recruits to make a strategic advance on that mountain in prayer. Further evidence of intent is here  http://belize.eaglemissions.org/2012/06/07/ferrar-june-2012/. BC-HOP (Belize City House of Prayer) is a prayer & worship ministry commissioned by the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches. So if George Ferrar is not connected to Stirm ,then how does Stirm explain  the presence of the http://belizeprayernetwork.com/about/and Eugene Crawford approval of the development of BC-HOP through George Ferrar.


Ultimately, what we see are basic is a better picture of Stirm ideology, influences and relationships. What we see is not only the interconnectedness, but a process that has accumulated on many years, building on lessons learnt and revised strategy. Only time will tell if their merging of relationships with Julius Espat, Anthony Martinez, Mike Espat, Rodwell Ferguson, former Mayor Zenida Moya, Mayor Lopez of Belmopan, among others will add to their effort of addressing the pillar of controlling government.

See SPLC Original Report: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/splc-report-us-groups-working-to-keep-criminal-statutes-barring-lgbt-sex-in-belize

See CSA tax return:http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form22sched2-eng.action?b=134175868RR0001&e=2012-12-31&n=CHRISTIAN+SERVICES+ASSOCIATION&r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cra-arc.gc.ca%3A80%2Febci%2Fhaip%2Fsrch%2Ft3010form22-eng.action%3Fb%3D134175868RR0001%26amp%3Be%3D2012-12-31%26amp%3Bn%3DCHRISTIAN%2BSERVICES%2BASSOCIATION%26amp%3Br%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.cra-arc.gc.ca%253A80%252Febci%252Fhaip%252Fsrch%252Fadvancedsearchresult-eng.action%253Fn%253Dchristian%252Bservices%252Bassociation%2526amp%253Bb%253D%2526amp%253Bq%253D%2526amp%253Bs%253Dregistered%2526amp%253Bd%253D%2526amp%253Be%253D%252B%2526amp%253Bc%253Dmission%2526amp%253Bv%253D%252B%2526amp%253Bo%253D%2526amp%253Bz%253D%2526amp%253Bg%253D%252B%2526amp%253Bt%253D%252B%2526amp%253By%253D%252B%2526amp%253Bp%253D1 

HOP began in 2000 in a renovated strip mall on Red Bridge Rd. in Grandville, Kansas City.[1] In the past decade and especially in recent years IHOP ballooned into a major presence in Kansas City. There are roughly 500 people on staff. In 2009 they commenced a world headquarters including a 5000 seat conference center. - See more at: http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=7332#sthash.zKeIwqi9.dpuf

See patricia king married name is Cocking:http://www.firstplumbline.net/html/patriciakingindex.html

See contact information on CSA: http://globalawakening.com/network/members-directory
 /item/christian-services-association

See CSA financials:http://www.charityfocus.ca/EN/Pages/CharitySummary.aspx?charityid=134175868RR0001&enddate=2011-12-31


 





SCALES OF JUSTICE: Philadelphia

Reposted July, 26th, 2013

 SCALES OF JUSTICE: Philadelphia
 
by anthony sylvestre:

Written May 25th, 2013

In the most powerful country on earth, there is a city called Philadelphia. It is in the state of Pennsylvania, one of the original thirteen states of the United States.
Philadelphia is a city renowned for the statute of Ben Franklin, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (not the one here on Queen Street).
Its motto is “Let brotherly love endure.” It is also known as the “birthplace of America” as during the American Revolution, it served as an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the USA; and it was there that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The city then, is regaled for its historic contours of liberty, freedom, and emancipation of the USA from Britain. It is therefore metaphorically referred to as the “cradle of liberty”.
Twenty years ago there was the release of a sensational movie called (you guessed it!) “Philadelphia”. The movie starred Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Hanks played the role of a prominent attorney who is homosexual. He also contracted HIV which later developed into AIDS. On the day Hanks is assigned the law firm’s biggest client, one of his bosses noticed a lesion on his forehead and he is told to look into it.
Hanks stays at home a few days to try to conceal the legion and works at home. He completes the work on the case just in time for it to be filed with the court on the last day and sends it to the office. But the documents are misplaced at the office and Hanks in the meantime suffers from bowel spasm at home and is rushed to the hospital. There, he receives multiple calls from his office about this important case for the law firm. In the end the documents are found in time to be filed with the court. The law firm, a couple days later, fires Hanks. They give the reason for his dismissal as incompetence, but Hanks knows that it is because of his sexual orientation and the fact that his illness was now becoming visible.
Hanks decides to sue his former employers for discrimination but no lawyer wants to take his case: a combination of homophobia and reluctance to take on the big law firm that Hanks previously worked with. Denzel, at first as well, refuses to take Hanks’ case as he himself is homophobic. But, he eventually takes the case for Hanks and in the end is able to establish in court that Hanks was dismissed because of suspicion of his sexual orientation and because of his illness.
Some weeks back, the issues of homosexuality, privacy, religion and discrimination came to a head the Supreme Court of Belize. And unless you have been living under a rock, you certainly would have been abreast of the constitutional challenge of my primary school and high school colleague Caleb Orozco. Indeed, over half the population of Belize (over 220,000 people) weighed in on the topic on channel5’s internet poll.
With this case, it seems to me that Belize is being pursued as the English Speaking Caribbean “Philadelphia” of the third millennium; that is to say, a place which is the symbol of liberty and freedom; the trendsetter, well at least in relation to the issue of sexual orientation.
Indeed, the case has been conceded to be a test case- a case which, if successful, will be a precedent to be used in the other territories.
Lord Goldsmith, former Attorney General of the United Kingdom under Tony Blair and one of the eminent attorneys who shouldered Caleb Orozco’s case, explained it this way:
“In all cases, we trace questions like this. It will be looked at in different parts of the world, to study and to see what the experience in Belize is and to draw from the decision of what the judge will make.”
Outspoken church goers have expressed the motive behind the case as being more sinister.
They claim that the case is being used to push a “gay” agenda throughout the Caribbean. They say that Caleb and UNIBAM are asking the wrong arm of government to implement their agenda. It is the legislators they should lobby, they say, not the courts, for no constitutional right of Caleb is being infringed by Belize’s sodomy laws.
Louis Wade, one of the more strident critics of Caleb and UNIBAM expressed it this way:
“As you continue to listen to the case – I’m going to ask the media and the representatives who have been allowed into the court room to ask yourself the simple question based upon the arguments that the attorneys are giving. Whether or not this situation should be in the court or it should be in parliament?
But those of us who went to primary school and high school with Caleb can attest to the incessant taunting, teasing, bullying and ridiculing that he was subjected to. Indeed such treatment is demeaning and dehumanizing and is inconsistent with the values of our democratic society and a person’s basic human rights.
But I see the point of Louis Wade and others of like mind- this intolerance that persists against those of homosexual proclivities do not stem from Belize’s sodomy laws. It stems from people’s belief systems. So, they question whether the court should be used as the catalyst to create the change in the norm sought by UNIBAM.
Court cases which serve as precedent inevitably are catalyst for changes in societal norms. Famous cases like the United States Supreme court case Brown v Board of Education are precedent setting cases which are catalysts for change in societal norms at the time. In the case of Brown, the United States Supreme Court held that state laws establishing separate public schools for blacks and white (racial segregation) was unconstitutional. The system in place at the time in fact perpetuated racial discrimination- the schools for blacks were inferior to those of whites.
In my view, the case brought by Caleb Orozco seeks to achieve this result; that is, act as a catalyst to change societal norms regarding sexuality in Belize. Whilst my personal opinions differ from that of Caleb and UNIBAM on the constitutionality of Belize’s sodomy law, I am an advocate for his right to bring the matter to court.
Justice is not reserved for the majority. For as a famous judge said, “[it] is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful … comments of ordinary men.”
It will be interesting to see where the scales of justice fall and what the judge rules in this case and whether Belize indeed becomes the Philadelphia of the Caribbean in the third millennium.

http://www.belizetimes.bz/2013/05/25/scales-of-justice-philadelphia/
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Perpetuating Persecution: When Will the Church of England condemn criminalizaiton

Reposted July, 25th, 2013

Perpetuating Persecution: When Will the Church of England Condemn the Criminalization of LGBTI Identity?

By Jonathan Cooper

 Eric Lembembe was a human rights defender, an articulate young man who defended the rights of the gay, lesbian, trans and bi communities. He was brutally murdered in Cameroon last week. As with other murders of prominent gay rights activists, Eric's death was particularly horrific. He will have suffered terribly. As news of his death emerged, I happened to be giving a speech in Canterbury Cathedral in England, and I used that opportunity to highlight the lack of leadership of the Church of England (or Episcopalian Church in the US) and the worldwide Anglican Communion in general in speaking out against the persecution of the LGBTI community across the world through often draconian criminal sanctions.

Over 80 jurisdictions still criminalize same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults. 42 of those jurisdictions are members of the Commonwealth, including Cameroon, whose anti-gay laws are a sad residue of a distinctively British colonial past. Introduced by their colonial masters in the 19th and 20th centuries, sodomy laws, buggery laws, gross indecency laws, call them what you will, are a British imperial legacy. Criminalization of LGBTI identity is not the sole cause of persecution in ex-British colonies and mandates, but it is the cornerstone.
It isn't hard to find the source of common law jurisdictions' anti-gay legislation: canon law, or rather its suppression by successive Tudor monarchs as part of their drive to create an English Church, separate and independent from Rome. In 1533 King Henry VIII introduced what has become known as the Buggery Act. The Act was to replace canon law sanctions and to shift the jurisdiction of such offences from ecclesiastical courts to civil. Popular anti-clerical propaganda at the time saw monasteries as hotbeds of same-sex orgies, or in the language of the Act "abominable vice". Through Parliament the Crown, whether intentionally or not, had placed the regulation of private conduct under the supreme power of the state rather than the Church. The result: a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon form of persecution of gay men was born with the full backing of the State.
The Buggery law, give or take a few amendments and additions (including the creation of new offences such as gross indecency in the 1880s that could only be committed by gay men), remained on Parliament's statute books and for over four hundred years the Anglican Churches followed, rank and file, the state. Then in 1954 the Church's Moral Welfare Council published The Problem of Homosexuality: an Interim Report, unexpectedly calling for the repeal of laws criminalizing gay men. This document, which fed into the later and more famous Wolfenden Report of 1957, recognized the role of the State in regulating society, but it also acknowledged that the rights of homosexual men were being violated and in the name of justice and humanity the Church called for a change in law.
In the following decade the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey vocally supported moves which led to the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England in 1967 through the Sexual Offences Act.
Since then the Church has been ominously quiet on the subject, despite the fact that in most jurisdictions where the Anglican Communion thrives criminalization remains. I appreciate the structure of that worldwide Communion and that Canterbury is first amongst equals, yet Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, does speak out on LGBTI issues, only statements tend to conflate all things related to human sexuality. Its position on gay marriage, gay clergy and gay Bishops should have no bearing on the serious and systemic human rights violation which is the criminalization of gay sexual identity. Nor is it sufficient for the Church to oppose the death penalty for consensual homosexual offences, which implies that criminalization can be acceptable, subject to the penalty.
To give him his due, the former Archbishop, Rowan Williams, pointed out that criminalization created an uneven playing field. The current Archbishop, Justin Welby, in his address to Synod at the beginning of July, also condemned homophobic bullying in schools and pointed with horror to the executions of gay men in countries like Iran. He admitted that ordinary people in the UK are increasingly intolerant of homophobic behaviour and that they "look at us [i.e. the Church of England] and see what they don't like". He mentioned the need to demonstrate "the lavish love of God to all of us", but still failed to condemn criminalization per se. Some individuals within the Church hierarchy have been unequivocal: the Bishop of Leicester has called on all countries to end criminalization and Archbishop Desmond Tutu went so far as to describe it as the "ultimate blasphemy"; others have been far less lavish in their love. Comparing same-sex marriage with the Holocaust, whatever your views are on gay marriage, as a previous Archbishop has done, is certainly of no help in bringing to an end the persecution of LGBTI people.
Why, when the Anglican Church has in the past been vocal in its support for decriminalization in England, is it so silent now in other Commonwealth jurisdictions? What is it about the quality of a gay man in England that makes us more worthy of the Church's benediction than a gay Ugandan or Belizean? In a recent legal challenge to the anti-gay laws in Belize, the Anglican Bishop there joined with other churches to intervene in the court proceedings against attempts to decriminalize.

When the lives of extraordinary human rights defenders like Eric Lembembe are cut short it forces us all into a degree of soul searching. We still do not know the circumstances of his death. We may never know what happened. Reports suggest that there will not be an effective investigation. What we all suspect is that but for the existence of those laws criminalizing LGBTI people, Eric may still be alive today caring for his family (he was their sole breadwinner).

As Archbishop Ramsey recognized, there is no such thing as benign criminalization. Gay men in countries which criminalize are unapprehended felons. The very existence of laws criminalizing homosexuality will undermine human dignity, a key aspect of human rights protection and, ironically, in part, a legacy of the Anglican Communion's development. With criminalization will come persecution and a culture of impunity. The levels of persecution may vary, but it is still persecution nonetheless. What the Church says, and what it fails to say, matter because across the world millions listen. We need the Church to lead and to give an unequivocal and universal statement calling for world-wide decriminalization now.





Follow Jonathan Cooper on Twitter: www.twitter.com/humandignityt 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jonathan-cooper/church-of-england-lgbti_b_3632337.html

Dangerous Liaison Report of Southern Poverty Law Center about US Evangelicals in Belize

 July 25, 2013


For more information:
Rebecca Sturtevant
(334) 956-8372


U.S. Religious-Right Groups Working to Keep Criminal Statutes
Barring LGBT Sex in Belize and Other Caribbean Countries
SPLC Report: Groups Spreading Anti-LGBT Propaganda Abroad

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people continue making strides toward equality in the United States, hard-line U.S. religious-right groups that have spent decades demonizing LGBT people are focusing their attention – and propaganda – on a legal battle over the criminalization of LGBT sex in Belize, the outcome of which could affect criminal statutes in as many as a dozen other Caribbean countries, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report released today.

Dangerous Liaisons: The American Religious Right & the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Belize examines how these groups are working in countries where anti-gay attitudes are strong and violence against the LGBT community is common. Several prominent groups have descended on the tiny Central American country of Belize to prevent Section 53, a statute criminalizing gay sex, from being struck down in court. Their efforts already have intensified anti-LGBT attitudes in the country, where the plaintiff in the case has been threatened and physically assaulted.

“Many of these American religious-right groups know they have lost the battle against LGBT rights in the United States, and they’re now aiding and abetting anti-LGBT forces in countries where anti-gay violence is prevalent,” said Heidi Beirich, report author and director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “These groups are pouring fuel on an exceedingly volatile fire.”

Groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) often refuse to even publicly acknowledge their efforts in these countries. The ADF, a prominent Christian legal group formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, joined the legal battle in Belize by providing advice to defenders of Section 53, a criminal statute that prescribes a 10-year sentence for “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal.”

Other groups working abroad include the American Center for Law and Justice, the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, Family Watch International, United Families International, and the World Congress of Families.

The legal contest in Belize is only the latest in a wider struggle that is simultaneously being waged in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and elsewhere. Overturning Section 53 in Belize could lead to the demise of similar statutes in a dozen other countries that are part of a single legal system culminating in the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Since the arrival of the groups in Belize, LGBT activists have reported an increase in anti-gay propaganda imported from the United States – such as the bogus claim that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles.

Caleb Orozco, who is challenging the statute that criminalizes LGBT sex in Belize, said he has seen a change after the ADF’s arrival.

“I didn’t feel as insecure [before the ADF’s arrival],” he said. “The majority of people had a live-and-let-live attitude toward gays, which is ‘Do your thing, just don’t bring it to my house.’ But the controversy really gave people permission to express their hate in a way they didn’t see they had permission to before.”

Orozco has been physically assaulted in the streets and threatened with death. His lawyers worry that he could be assassinated, an event that would end the lawsuit, since he is the only plaintiff.

A report released this March by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance, a human rights group, found that the LGBT community in Belize is routinely subjected to violence, even from law enforcement officials. The report cited, among other violent crimes, the bludgeoning death of an openly gay doctor and the murder of a politician’s gay brother in his own home. It also noted that border officials have regularly detained and harassed visitors they suspect of being gay.

Uganda, where a similar battle over the criminalization of gay sex has been raging for years, has seen violence as well. In 2010, a newspaper there published front-page photos and the home addresses of gay men under the headline “Hang Them.” Twenty-three days later, an LGBT activist on the list was murdered in his home.

“These American groups are clearly fanning the flames of anti-gay hatred,” Beirich said. “They need to explain how their stated goals of protecting religious liberty and marriage means bringing the full weight of the criminal law down on LGBT people.”

###

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education, litigation and advocacy. Its Intelligence Project tracks the activities of hate groups and monitors militia and other extremist, antigovernment activity. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org

  Report can be found here at : http://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/dangerous_liaisons_full_report_0.pdf

 

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

UNIBAM RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS ABOUT GRANT FUNDING



UNIBAM PRESS RELEASE

23rd, July, 2013



UNIBAM RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS ABOUT GRANT FUNDING



Serious allegations have been made in print and television media in Belize in respect of grant funds provided by the Oak Foundation to UNIBAM.

In the Amandala of  July 21, 2013,  at pages 15 and 30, in a column entitled “Right to the Point”, the columnist states that “that the monetary donation UNIBAM received from a certain foundation came through the Oceana account and was written on an Oceana cheque.” She goes on to state that Oceana was “ the means via which the said foundation siphoned their money to them.”  The columnist then goes on to say that “Maybe I should publish a copy of the cheque.”

On Monday, July 22, 2013, on the Rise and Shine Show on Plus TV, Louis Wade Jr. referred to these allegations as a “powerful revelation”. He went on to state that according to the Amandala guest columnist,  “money for UNIBAM came through Oceana.”  He then went on to say that  “the money from Oak Foundation did not go directly to UNIBAM, they did not want it to be tracked… the money was laundered, washed, sidetracked through Oceana.”  He also says that “the Oak Foundation under the leadership of Imani Fairweather” “channeled the money to Oceana as a legitimate reef issue and then channeled the money to UNIBAM.”

In both media pieces, the innuendo is that the process by which grant monies given to UNIBAM by the Oak Foundation via a re-grant from Oceana was done in a clandestine and nefarious manner. Such suggestions are insulting and reprehensible. UNIBAM would not usually respond to such outlandish allegations but values its partnership with both the Oak Foundation and with Oceana and cannot allow these claims to go unchallenged.

The Oak Foundation made a small grant to UNIBAM through Oceana Belize with the full knowledge and co-operation of its Vice President in Belize. Such a practice is not unusual where the recipient group and funding amount is small and the cost of processing and transfer of funds too onerous. We are assured that in the same re-granting process via Oceana, funds were also given to other organizations in Belize such as Haven House, a shelter for women, Alumni 90, a group supporting infrastructure upgrades at the Belmopan Comprehensive School and UBAD Foundation to support radio broadcast during Reef Week. It is ironic that the Vice President of Oceana in Belize did not see fit to mention that detail.

For anyone, particularly one with access to full disclosure of the matter, to characterize such a re-granting process which was facilitated by Oceana Belize in a transparent manner as  “siphoning” or as “laundering” or “washing” is irresponsible, scandalous and disingenuous.

UNIBAM is pleased to be able to have the support of Oak Foundation, an organization with a solid track record of funding human rights issues worldwide. We are also satisfied with the assurances that Oceana International has provided our Board of Directors that “Oceana has a strict non-discrimination policy in regards to sexual orientation as well as race religion and sexual orientations”. We are grateful for their kind courtesy in facilitating the re-granting of funds to our organization as well as to other organizations in Belize.

In the zeal to put forward another point of view on any issue, which is a democratic and fundamental right guaranteed under our Constitution, truth and fact must not fall prey to distortion and misrepresentation.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ms. Gay Goddess 2013

Reposted July, 23rd, 2013

Jul 22, 2013

Miss Gay Goddess Belize 2013

On Saturday, protestors in favor of the existing laws of Belize took to the streets of Corozal Town in demonstration against the content of the Revised Gender Policy 2013, as well as a constitutional challenge brought against the government by Caleb Orosco, who is seeking to have repealed Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code.  While that religious crusade winded down after several weeks of touring the country, a group of openly gay men was making final preparations for Miss Gay Goddess Belize 2013 later that night.  Amid the controversy surrounding the pageant, many have expressed disdain over such flamboyant display of homosexuality, despite the fact that it was being held privately in Belize City.  Notwithstanding public criticism, the organizer, who goes by the pseudonym Chuck Chuck, spoke about its success with a reporter from Love FM.

Voice of: Chuck Chuck, Pageant Organizer, Gay Belize National Pageant
“Last night Gay Belize National Pageant finally had the opportunity to host our pageant here in Belize City.  It was a great success.  We had a few people who came out and it was a great show.” 

Reporter
“Now there are some controversies in regards to the pageant when it was scheduled to be held in Orange Walk.  Why was it decided to have it moved to Belize City?”

Chuck Chuck
“Well there are two main reasons why we came to Belize or why we changed the venue per se.  For one, I was concerned about the safety of my guests attending the event.  I wanted to ensure that the event would have been a peaceful event for us and secondly, we found a better location in Belize.  And that’s two of the main reasons why we came here to Belize.”

Reporter
“Are you somewhat thinking of or worried about the backlash that this pageant probably will receive from the wider community?”

Chuck Chuck
“I’m not.  We have received a lot of support from the community, to say the least.  I believe that the churches are the only ones actually that are actually up in arms in all of this but the community has been supporting us.  We’ve gotten a lot of support from the local businesses, internationally as well.  We’ve received a lot of support, so I’m not concerned about whatever they wish to do after this.”

Reporter
“Now, how many people attended this pageant and was there any money raised?”

Chuck Chuck
“We received approximately at the start of the event, there were approximately ninety-seven persons in attendance and we had people coming in after the event pretty much.  Some people were concerned about their safety due to the first protest that was staged in Orange Walk so we had people coming in after the event.  But roughly it was about, I would say, a hundred and seven at the end of the night.  We did garner funds from the event in the thousands; we did actually make some proceeds from that.”

The Miss Gay Goddess Belize 2013 was initially scheduled to be held in Orange Walk Town; however, public outcry prevented the organizers from proceeding with the pageant there.

Source: http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/88350 

 Female Impersonator Crowned Miss Gay Goddess 2013-2014


And while that Queen will be competing amongst some of the most elegant females from the Central American Region, this weekend there was another very different kind of pageant. It’s the Gay Belize National Pageant and according to a press release, female impersonator Adrian Candy Lemar was crowned Miss Gay Goddess 2013-2014. The event – which the release says was held at a private location – was the subject of controversy for weeks leading up to the event. The release adds that
"Gay Belize National pageant is in no way link to Unibam but is a private organization owned by Gay Men in Belize, one that, quote, seeks to create a positive and productive space for members of our group to express themselves.” Unquote.
And of the queen it says that quote, she is expected to conduct 120 hours of Community service in this country during her one year reign and her next stop will be Panama City where she will participate in the International Centroamericano Gay.
Source:http://www.7newsbelize.com/index.php#story10