A senior Christian in the Bahamas has slammed clerics those who ‘demonize’ homosexuality and said they may be closet gays.
Bishop Simeon Hall admitted he ‘acted in ignorance’ in the past on LGBT issues – in November 2011 he referred to gay male sex as a ‘deadly’ practice.
But now the former president of the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) has accused other council members of focusing on homosexuality rather than dealing with other issues – like gambling.
In a press statement Hall said the church should affirm the humanity of gay people and indicated that those attacked LGBT rights were often secretly gay themselves.
He said: ‘The demonization of homosexuals by some pastors is the greatest hindrance to any positive dialogue or efforts the church might establish with them.
‘The Bahamian public in general, as well as pastors in particular, must be careful of what we demonize and protest. Psychologists tell us that sometimes the things we strike out against, we do so because a bit of it lies within us on a subliminal level.
‘I also believe that of the 133 sins listed in the Bible, if a pastor can only preach on one of them it could very well be that he has that problem – if not in practice then perhaps dormantly.’
He added the BCC appears to be ‘populated by a group of men who are number one homophobic and that’s the only time that they come alive or they pick small things to speak out against’.
His views seem to have changed in part because he believes the LGBT population is the ‘fastest growing subculture in the country’.
It was only in November 2011 when Hall, responding to a sharp rise in HIV infections in the Bahamas among men who have sex with men took a very different view.
At the time he said: ‘This sexual practice cannot produce anything and now we are seeing that, according to these latest statistics, it is deadly.
‘Homosexuality… is anti-family [and] it goes against what God has ordained. It is deadly.’
Hall is now emeritus pastor at New Covenant Baptist Church, where he was senior pastor for three decades.
Gay and lesbian sex is legal in The Bahamas and gays can serve openly in the military. But there are no legal protections against discrimination and no marriage or partnership rights for same-sex couples. The BCC has threatened criminal charges against pastors who marry gay couples.