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A Letter To The Bishop Blaming Gays For The Fort McMurray Fires

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Today I woke up thanking the Lord for allowing me to see another sunrise, only to have my spirit angered by a so called "man of God" who I once regarded as a friend and mentor while I was living on the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda.

As part of my daily routine, I visited the Antigua Observer's website, where I stumbled upon the headline "Bishop Browne: Buggery law must stay." Already upset, I opened the article where Mr. Browne was being quoted from an interview he did on ZDK Radio. In it, the bishop indicated that he had recently held talks in Canada.

"The session focused on several controversial issues including homosexuality, abortion, same-sex marriages, medically assisted deaths, which are indicative of end-times issues," he said.

Bishop Browne then used the opportunity to justify his position on buggery laws by pointing to the wildfires which have devastated the people of Fort McMurray: "They can't tell why these fires are breaking out all over the place. Our God is an all-consuming fire, Antigua can't stand those types of fire."

And as expected, he also mentioned the famous Bible story used to beat members of the LGBTQ community in the Caribbean and across the world. "Do not play around with God. He is a consuming fire, I am reminded of Sodom and Gomorrah," he said.

Are they not deserving of a little respect or is it OK to attack others as long as they are LGBT?

I read this article over and over to make sure I wasn't seeing things that are really not there and I do have a little message to share with my old friend:

Dear Bishop Browne,

Do you know what is going on in Antigua and Barbuda today? As we speak, there's an alleged "serial woman beater" creating havoc in our community. Isn't violence against women worthy of a public statement? It was a woman who brought you into this world, sir.

Where were you when Princess and Sherese (both open transgender women) were being attacked almost on a daily basis just for merely existing? They don't interfere with people unless provoked, yet they are constantly harassed and discriminated against. Are they not deserving of a little respect or is it OK to attack others as long as they are LGBT -- just like it was OK when one of your fellow churches kicked out a gentleman because they "heard about his lifestyle?" Is this what Jesus would do?

Where were you when our children were being robbed of their youth by grown men left, right and centre? What about the drug lords, dons and gunmen who have many of your church members living in fear in Antigua?

I won't even talk about the politicians and police officers who continue to rob poor people and abuse their power, since the church basically lies in bed with them. Nowadays you can't tell a politician from a pastor. Where are the public statements when these law enforcement officers are boldly breaking the law?

When I used to debate in high school, I remember sharing with you how I was being bullied at JSS and how much that affected my entire life. Where was your voice then to speak out against bullying?

The church continues to protect molesters who preach to us every Saturday and Sunday, but you know this already because they are finally being exposed thanks to social media.

It is time for these so-called men of God to stop using the bible as a weapon to hide their personal prejudices and hatred for us.

All of the above mentioned are issues worth ranting about. These are "end-times" signs that continue to halt the progress of our twin island state and other homophobic countries across the Caribbean. How does my love life or the bedroom activities of my gay friends affect Antigua and Barbuda? Please tell me!

Instead of focusing on the "stories of Sodom and Gomorrah" and using that in the same conversation about a horrific incident that has left many homeless here in Canada, you should go and find your heart because your comments are shameful and distasteful. I hope Canadian media groups are watching.

It was this same Canada that saved my life when I was forced to leave my country of birth, Antigua, because of homophobia; something that came about because of the type of teachings coming out of churches like yours. Countries like Canada are a safe haven for many of us coming from and still living in the Caribbean. You should be thanking this great nation for correcting your wrongs instead of suggesting that the LGBTQ community is to blame for something that occurs from nature or human carelessness.

All in all, do not confuse your personal beliefs and convictions with my personal rights and freedoms as a human being. There's a big difference!

I doubt the news agencies there will publish my statement, but I make no apologies for it! It is time for these so-called men of God to stop using the bible as a weapon to hide their personal prejudices and hatred for us. We are your sons and daughters! We are Antiguans and Barbudans! We are Caribbean nationals!

A Proud But Angry Caribbean Lesbian Living In Canada

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