Recently, local pastor Alson Ebanks of the Church of God chapel, made a statement on behalf of the Cayman Ministers’ Association (CMA) regarding same-sex marriage.
In his statement, he referred to the potential marriage of a Caymanian woman, Chantelle Day, and her female British partner, as an “attack” on the nation’s constitution and marriage law. He also framed this partnership as representative of a “misguided view of human sexuality.”
Furthermore, the pastor seems to endeavour to mobilise his audience into not just adopting these perspectives but also acting on them.
No matter how articulate, make no mistake, this statement is both dangerous and vitriolic.
It’s no secret to any resident of Cayman how a lot of our people feel about same-sex marriage and our LGBT community as a whole. (Colours Cayman was borne out of a clear need to address and overcome the prejudices attached to those very attitudes, after all.) And while we believe that everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, what we cannot stand for is the preaching of those opinions and beliefs as fact and calling for others to act on them, particularly when they have the potential to cause serious harm to those who are already at risk, namely our LGBT community and its younger members in particular.
Even more egregious is when such hateful language comes from those with power and influence. And given the significant power and influence the churches in Cayman hold, this is not to be taken lightly.
While I, personally, now identify as an atheist, I’ve spent the bulk of my life as a Christian, attending both a Roman Catholic church and school, so I’d like to think that I have a solid understanding of the values that Christianity champions. Perhaps those same values aren’t representative of the people who taught me them but to this day, I still hold fast to them, regardless. And chief among those values is to treat others as you would like to be treated.
So, to pastor Alson Ebanks, I would like to remind you of this cherished value. Marriage, to many, is the celebration of a union made in the name of love, and also a means of affording all partners in that union certain privileges to support and strengthen it. Surely, if we are to treat each other as equal and with dignity, we shouldn’t deny anyone those same privileges on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Please, when you preach to those who value your message about marriage, do so in the name of lifting people up, and not with the intention of dividing them. Do so in celebration of matrimony, not with disdain and criticism. Do so in the name of love. Because I believe, as any Christian or atheist should, that we are all deserving of it.