Vanuatu churches will not accept LGBT community - Bishop
Vanuatu Christian Council of Churches says it will not accept the gay and lesbian community there.
The Vanuatu Christian Council of Churches says it does not welcome the recent establishment of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender association in the country.
Last week, the president of the LGBT association, Gilio Baxter, said it wants to persuade chiefs, clergy, judges and the government on the community's rights.
But the chairman of VCCC, Bishop James Ligo, says the constitution is based on Christian and Melanesian values.
He told Hilaire Bule if the church accepted the gay community, it would cause a huge division and problems in society.
BISHOP JAMES LIGO: It is enshrined in Vanuatu's constitution that we uphold the Christian principles, and also we uphold our Melanesian values, within our diversity. Though we respect their rights, though we respect homosexuals and lesbians as people like us who are called human beings, we have to take into consideration the division that it will bring into the community, the division that it will bring into our families if we allow that to happen. And the Vanuatu Christian Council, and as the chairman, I stand very strongly against what is happening and the VCC is prepared to discuss this with the government, through the appropriate ministry, in order to make sure that something is done about the establishment of this organisation. Because it will definitely destroy the life of the younger generation, it will not bring in a lot of good to the communities, to the families, it will bring division in families and communities. Although we respect their rights, we have to understand what comes with their rights - that is the most important thing for this country and especially for our leaders to understand. Rights come with responsibilities. If right does not come with responsibilities, then what is there for us to uphold rights? Because rights would cause division and rights would create more problems for us if people are not responsible over their own rights. And for homosexuals and lesbians, we respect them as human beings, but people have to understand, the government has to understand, how to interpret the right that is theirs as homosexuals and lesbians, and how do we deal with their rights in order not to allow division to come into families, communities, the church and other organisations as well.
HILAIRE BULE: Now that we have the gay and lesbian association in Vanuatu, it seems that their activity is in progress. What is the main reason for such activity to develop in Vanuatu?
BJL: We must admit here that the churches are not doing enough in terms of bringing awareness to the members of individual churches, to members of different communities which the churches exist within them, in terms of what homosexual is, what lesbian is all about. Now that the situation is progressing, we have an association established, I call on all the churches to come together, to stand up, and defend the rights of their people, especially those who will be affected by what is happening. And I also call on the chiefs and the churches to work together with the government in order to address this. Because we are witnessing what is happening in other countries around the world. Vanuatu as a Melanesian country, with our diversity, we do not want to see the life that people are living in other parts of the world happening in our country. So VCCC is prepared to work with the chiefs, with the government, in order to see what can be done in addressing the situation.
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