The TT Council of Evangelical Churches says it disagrees with the stance of the CEO of the TT American Chamber of Commerce, Nirad Tewarie, that the Equal Opportunity Act should be amended to end legal discrimination against the LGBTQI community.
It said, "The council maintains that to do so would only serve to normalise the behaviour of LGBTQI people. In fact, the council has already made it clear that such behaviour contravenes the word of God, the Bible. Pro-gay rights advocates insist that the Bible is irrelevant in a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic world; however, contrary to that assertion, the Bible applies to all. For that reason, the (council) continues to insist that this behaviour not be sanctioned on any level in society."
The council said Tewarie, in framing the discussion of the legalisation of same-sex behaviour as one of the rights of individuals to “love and be loved” and as one of the debating of “a citizen’s right to fair treatment by the State,” had grossly misrepresented the issue.
"Firstly, it is not a question of an individual’s right to love, but a question of morality. It is a question of what is right and what is wrong. Moreover, loving someone does not mean that you sanction their wrong behaviour(s). In fact, Proverbs 13:24 states that ;Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.' Therefore, it is in love that the council speaks out against this behaviour. It is because we are concerned for TT and for LGBTQI individuals themselves, why we continue to militate against the legalisation of this behaviour."
The council also commented on Tewarie’s statement that the issue also amounts to whether or not these individuals are being treated fairly by the State.
"The council insists that to legislate that citizens of this country accept this behaviour, for this is what the passage of certain laws in their favour, in essence, comes down to, will result in Christians and others who share Christian beliefs being treated unfairly by the State. It is already taking place in the United States of America and other nations that have legalised same sex relationships."
The council said Tewarie argued that same-sex marriage legislation is not on the table right now, but the council believes that it soon will be.
"In fact, that it is not on the table right now is irrelevant, because anyone paying close attention to the unfolding of events around this issue will rightly conclude that it soon will be. That is the ultimate goal of the gay rights movement. Lastly, to Tewarie’s suggestion that Christians, in disapproving of same-sex behaviour, are presenting a God who dehumanises those who engage in it, the council’s response is this – in disapproving of certain behaviours, in forbidding them, God is merely protecting mankind. Also, because he loves his creation, he forbids certain behaviours that he knows will jeopardize their well-being."
The council also criticised as "presumptuous" statements by Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, father of Nirad Tewarie, that religious leaders should accept the world "as it is" and engage members of the LGBTQI community in healthy, respectful and rational discussions about strengthening the family.
It said Tewarie, a non-Christian, had no right to comment on the Bible, and his assertion that religious leaders should accept the world as it is made no sense, because the acceptance of that argument legitimised other wrongs.
"Should we accept corruption from any government? Should we accept a spiralling crime rate? Should we accept the daily moral degradation of our society? If something is wrong, we must say so. To say that 'God may have created everybody, but the world as we see it, as we live in it, is as it is' is to suggest that whether LGBTQI behaviour is right or wrong, the church must adjust for the sake of a peaceful co-existence.
But good and evil cannot co-exist, said the council. "One must cancel the other. Furthermore, as Christians, it is our moral imperative to speak out against immorality whenever and wherever it rears its head. Additionally, it is not a question of mere disapproval of their lifestyles, but a matter of declaring what the Bible says on this matter. Again, it is a moral issue."