THE TT Council of Evangelical Churches (TTCEC) wants Government to consider banning certain songs from the airwaves to discourage, what it sees as “the immoral sexual behaviour” that many local songs promote.
The council, led by the Rev Desmond Austin, is also training its guns on foreign songs and advocated that the Telecommunications Authority “begin to give serious consideration to banning certain songs, those containing lewd, vulgar lyrics that promote immoral behaviour from our airwaves.”
This was among proposals put forward at the National Faith Leaders' consultation on the fight against HIV/AIDS. The consultation was hosted on February 15 by the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS in collaboration with the National AIDS Co-ordinating Committee in the Office of the Prime Minister.
A statement from the council said issues discussed included removing barriers to stigma and discrimination, how the church’s response to HIV/AIDS can be strengthened, resolving the tension between the church’s value system and the recent court judgement in the Jason Jones case, human rights and the comprehensive sexual education (CSE) curriculum.
Public relations officer for the council, and chairman of the Faith Based Network of TT the Rev Winston Mansingh celebrated the work the church has already done to assist people living with HIV/AIDS.
“The church will continue its work in assisting (people living with) HIV/AIDS to the best of its ability, but will do so without compromising its doctrinal, spiritual and moral values,” he added.
During the discussion on resolving the tension between the church’s doctrinal stance and the Jones judgement (which decriminalised sexual activity between consenting adult males), the council, in agreement with other representatives of the Christian faith, maintained that while the church is always open to counselling and assisting members of the LGBTQI community “who acknowledge the wrongfulness of their behaviour, it cannot and will not condone LGBTQI behaviour."
The council disagreed that there was any legitimacy to the demand of the LGBTQI community for human rights, "since scientifically and biblically, no such gender categories exist.”
While the council acknowledged and applauded some government initiatives towards eliminating the scourge of HIV/AIDS, it believes the government is somewhat misguided in its approach, “particularly as it relates to its consideration of the inclusion of the CSE curriculum in our schools and its suggestion that the Christian community should sanction the behaviour of LGBTQI individuals so that they no longer feel discriminated against. The council believes that sex education should begin with parents."
In terms of its relationship with the LGBTQI community, the council feels that given that the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infections is among men who have sex with men, "the government may do better to educate the population on the medical dangers of this behaviour and discourage it." (In fact, statistics suggest there is a higher rate of infection among women.)
"For the well-being of those who engage in that behaviour, and the wider population, the better course of action for the government to pursue is to join the church in its stance against that behaviour and offer counselling to LGBTQI individuals." The church said it is willing to partner with government in offering counselling.