Plea for restraint in anti-gay rhetoric; invitation to Caribbean conference

Organizers of an April 2020 conference about religion and anti-sodomy laws have appealed for opponents of same-sex marriage to moderate their anti-gay rhetoric. They also issued an invitation to attend the conference.

This is the organizers’ press release:

Caribbean Churches invited to Intimate Conviction Conference about Anti-Buggery Laws

In response to heightened rhetoric by some Caribbean churches opposed to cases challenging anti-sodomy laws.

Anglican priest the Very Rev. Fr. Sean Major-Campbell, host of the conference, explained that speakers would review the history of criminalization of LGBTIQ people, identify the current position of different Christian groups, analyze anti-LGBT attitudes, and -- he hopes -- propose an international approach to ending the criminalization of LGBTIQ people.
Anglican priest the Very Rev. Fr. Sean Major-Campbell. (Colin Stewart photo)

As organizers of the Intimate Conviction conference series we note with alarm the heightened and sometimes hostile anti-LGBT rhetoric that is being generated by some religious leaders across the Caribbean, which is in response to current and impending challenges to regional anti-sodomy laws.  As people of faith we believe that Christians should show the world how to respectfully disagree.  We are therefore troubled that some of the language being used by clerics who oppose decriminalization will incite violence against LGBT people.

As such, we are urging all Caribbean bishops, pastors and priests to exercise restraint, even if they express their opposition to ending laws that criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy.

In addition, we would like to invite persons, on whatever side of this debate, to join us for the next Intimate Conviction conference from April 24-26, 2020 in Barbados. This global dialogue will continue to examine the role of churches in anti-sodomy laws that started with the first conference in Jamaica in 2017.  Any Christian leader from any denomination who wishes to make a presentation at this conference, which will be free and open to the public, is also invited to write to [email protected] expressing their interest by November 22, 2019. We have a limited budget and can pay for some presenters to join us from outside of Barbados. So, we welcome robust and respectful regional deliberations on this matter.

As Caribbean Christians we pray that this public dialogue will help our region to achieve greater harmony and understanding and in the meantime, we urge careful and critical discussions of this very topical issue by all stakeholders.

Very Rev. Fr. Sean Major-Campbell
Chair, Intimate Conviction Conference Series
[email protected]

Fr. Clifford Hall
Host Pastor, Intimate Conviction Conference, Barbados
[email protected]

Maurice Tomlinson
Coordinator, Intimate Conviction Conference Series
[email protected]

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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