April 25, 2016
Pastor Cedric Moss with members of his family launched the Think, Bahamas initiative yesterday to educate Bahamians on the approaching constitutional referendum.
Pastor Cedric Moss of Kingdom Life Church said yesterday that Bishop Neil Ellis' suggestion that it is "unacceptable and un-Christ-like" for anyone to deny Bahamians' rights by voting "no" on the June 7 referendum "betrays his lack of understanding of both our nation's constitution and the way of Christ".
In a statement announcing the formation of Think, Bahamas, a campaign established to educate Bahamians about the issues surrounding the referendum, Moss said, "Even if all of [the] four bills receive a majority 'yes' vote on June 7, 2016, our constitution will still deny some rights to some Bahamians that are afforded to other Bahamians under particular circumstances (including in the area of passing citizenship).
"In addition, voting 'no' to any or all of these bills is not un-Christ-like, nor is voting 'yes' to any or all of them Christ-like.
"The truth is that, come referendum day, all kinds of people will be voting in all kinds of ways, and the issue of Christ-likeness does not arise.
"Knowing some leaders who were participants in the press conference, I know that they disagree with Bishop Ellis' statement and I trust that they will distance themselves from his erroneous statement."
Think, Bahamas supports bill number one, which seeks to enable a child born outside The Bahamas to become a citizen at birth if either his or her mother or father is a citizen of The Bahamas by birth, but opposes bills two, three and four.
Bill two would allow a Bahamian woman who marries a foreign man to pass on citizenship to him in the same way that a Bahamian man who marries a foreign woman is able to do now.
Bill three would allow an unmarried Bahamian man to pass on his citizenship to his child born to a foreign mother in The Bahamas subject to legal proof that he is the father.
Bill four would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex -- defined as "male or female".
Ellis, senior pastor at Mount Tabor Church, made the statement about the referendum during a press conference last week. He and several other prominent pastors, including Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder, Anglican Diocesan Bishop Laish Boyd, Pastor of Faith United Missionary Baptist Church Dr. William Thompson, Bishop Franklyn Ferguson of the Church of God of Prophecy, Pastor of East Street Gospel Chapel Ed Dorsett and Rev. Derrick Browne, of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas (MCCA), support all four bills.
Insisting that it is not opposed to treating men and women equally, Think, Bahamas said it does not support bill number four because without an additional constitutional amendment it is not clear that same-sex marriage would not be permitted in The Bahamas.
The group urged Bahamians to vote 'no' and said the pastors who support this bill have failed to provide any evidence to support their view, but echoed what they have been told.
Think, Bahamas said its critiques are not personal attacks, but have been offered in love.
The group said it will use its resources to empower voters to better understand the four bills.
It launched its website yesterday - www.thinkbahamas.org.
"Unlike those in the government-funded 'yes' campaign, who are emotionally calling for a blanket 'yes' vote, others who are thoughtlessly calling for a blanket 'no' vote, and still others who are sending confusing messages, Think, Bahamas is calling voters to think about the issues at stake in this referendum and then vote," the group said.
The vote no campaign "Save Our Bahamas", formed by several other prominent pastors, is urging Bahamians to vote 'no' to bill number four and vote their conscience on the first three bills.
The pastors, including Pastor Lyall Bethel of Grace Community Church and Pastor Mario Moxey of Bahamas Harvest Church, said their view is "reinforced by the refusal of the government to amend the constitution of The Bahamas to define marriage as a union between a born male and a born female only".
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