By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Two lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists on Monday accused Bahamas Faith Ministries International president Dr Myles Munroe of “rank hypocrisy” and said his statement about the LGBT community perpetuates discrimination against an already marginalized group.
Former lecturer at The College of The Bahamas Joseph Gaskins Jr. and human rights activist Erin Greene said they were alarmed by Munroe’s statement.
In his statement, titled “Homosexuality – Phobia or Principle”, Munroe said he has watched with horror over the years as people have “hijacked” and “raped” the meaning of the civil rights movement in an effort to fight for the rights of the LGBT community.
“This comes a little over 51 years after the march on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now iconic ‘I Have A Dream' speech,” Gaskins said.
“It was organized by Bayard Rustin, who was a black gay man, one of King’s top lieutenants, and the primary organizer for the march on Washington.
“I don’t know who Myles Munroe thinks he is to characterize the civil rights movement as one thing, when people who were deeply involved in this movement had made it clear that LGBT rights is not the same thing, but a continuation of the work for justice and equality for all people.”
Gaskins said other civil rights movement activists, such as King’s wife, Coretta Scott King (now deceased); John Lewis, a civil rights icon; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Julian Bond, a leader in the movement, support LGBT rights.
Munroe’s statement was in response to a gay pride event that took place on Grand Bahama over the weekend.
“In the guise of civil rights and human rights, the LGBT minority community [has] decided to celebrate the civility of [its] very uniquely-chosen lifestyle and sexual preference publically,” Munroe said.
“I am not sure what their mission or goals are in this effort, but obviously they have received enough incentive and motivation to attempt something that 90 percent of The Bahamas and Bahamians consider unacceptable and violates their collective convictions, moral standing and values.”
He spoke at length about the importance of fear and phobia and said there is a misconception surrounding homophobia.
He also objected to being labeled as homophobic for disapproving of the LGBT lifestyle and suggested the LGBT community has a heterosexual phobia.
Greene said she was shocked by Munroe’s statement.
“I would say, what Mr. Munroe labels as a fear of heterosexuals is, in fact, a fear of social and religious leaders like himself that would drive a nation to act... against a community of citizens,” she said.
“I sit wondering how a man who... fraternizes with a known polygamist – President of South Africa Jacob Zuma – would still be taken seriously as a social leader and a political commentator.”
Munroe traveled to South Africa over the weekend as part of a “diplomatic mission”.
He met with several senior government ministers, including Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Petterson, who welcomed Munroe and his wife on behalf of Zuma.
Gaskins accused Munroe of “rank hypocrisy” by making grand statements about homosexuality, but making no statements about the “sinful lifestyles” being displayed in nightclubs throughout the country.
He also questioned the type of democracy Munroe wants for The Bahamas.
“To use your influence to promote discrimination and prejudice is problematic no matter where you come from,” Gaskins said.
“Despite it being your opinion or religious belief, we all have a responsibility to protect the humanity of people in this country, and in general.”
GB gay pride event
The gay pride event over the weekend was cut short because members of the LGBT community expressed security concerns.
The Bahamas Pride Weekend is “designed to inspire, educate and celebrate the diverse Bahamian LGBT community”, according to a statement from the event organizers.
Speaking about the controversial event, Greene said she was disappointed, but not surprised.
Gaskins shared similar sentiments.
He said he was invited to attend the event, but did not because of business.
Greene, who was nominated for a Community Titan Award, said she did not attend because of a work conflict.
“Bahamians generally operate under gross misinterpretations of the law,” Greene said.
“But it is the government that does not understand its obligation to its LGBT citizens, and allowed the state affairs to occur.
“Bahamians coupled with their ignorance of the law have no respect for the law or the lives of other citizens, but it is nothing new.”
Greene said LGBT people have a right to freedom of association, freedom of consciousness and expression.
She added that, as an LGBT advocate, she has been stalked, verbally harassed and assaulted, and has faced several death threats in the last three years with no recourse.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian