BELIZE JOURNAL PT.1: On September 5-12 the Caribbean Villas Hotel in San Pedro will hold the first publicized LGBT pride event ever in Belize. They call it “Temptation Island Pride Week.” Temptation Island was the name of the notorious American TV reality show also located in San Pedro. It divided up three couples and put the men in living quarters with 12 female models and the women in living quarters with 12 good-looking men.
Now the LGBT pride week is attracting foreign gay tourists to an all-inclusive private beach resort. It has set aside all 61 rooms for event participants. It is advertising “nightly activities such as Drag Shows, Toga Parties, Leather & Lace Parties, a Masquerade Ball, Runway Model Shows and more.”
The LGBT pride week will take place at the same time that Belize is celebrating its independence from foreign colonialism in September. Many patriotic Belizeans feel such an LGBT pride event is an affront to the hard-earned sovereignty of Belize, where sodomy is illegal. For this reason, the hotel is planning for heavy security to barricade its activities from the public. Yet some are still calling for demonstrations and even confrontations.
The San Pedro Evangelical Alliance of Ministers are taking a different approach. Pastor Clive Welsh, director of Lighthouse Christian Radio, told me “we want to respond with love and truth, without outside disturbance.” SPEAM director Pastor Marvin Gomez told me their alliance had decided not to demonstrate. Instead, they are holding multi-church prayer every month this summer. This will be a summer of prayer in Belize. Belize Mobilization of Christian Missions has organized 30 Days of Prayer July 23 to August 21, with each meeting taking place in a different church in the Belize District.
My longtime friend Pastor Everette Palacio elaborated on SPEAM’s strategy. “We want to take ground before the LGBT pride activists get here. We are identifying strongholds in different parts of San Pedro. We will fight a spiritual battle & pray down these strongholds. This is not a battle against flesh & blood. We will love on the activists and let them know where we stand. We will win some to God if some can be won. Many of them know that their lifestyle is bad. With Jesus we can show them the way out.”
BAEC President Howell Longsworth agrees with their approach. He asked me to accompany him to San Pedro to meet with SPEAM second-in-command Pastor Alex Sib, since Pastor Gomez was out of the country. Pastor Sib gave us a tour of the fast-growing, fast-changing city of little local-owned businesses and big tourist resorts. He shared the pastors’ concerns about the rapid breakdown of family in Belize which opens the way for redefining family. “We’re resolved not only to pray, but to preach and teach on family structure. We want people to know what we stand for, not just what we stand against. When the gay tourists come here, we also need to share the gospel. People who want to come and demonstrate against them will leave us with problems that we’ll have to deal with.”
Instead BAEC President Longsworth offered to have BAEC leaders come to their next prayer meeting. Pastor Sib liked the idea and said he would recommend it to his pastor’s alliance. Both agreed that any other proposal for church gatherings on San Pedro should be cleared through the San Pedro pastors.
But how should the rest of the church respond to the LGBT Pride Week, and to gay activism in general? The whole nation is waiting to hear from the Church on this abuse of Belizean law and morality. We must speak the truth, but in love, seeking to free them from their self-destructive lifestyle. BAEC leaders have agreed to publicize the following Evangelical Statement to Gay Activists…
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