By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Juan Edghill has shirked the calls by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) for him to be relieved of his ministerial responsibility and removed as a parliamentarian.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, Edghill who is also a Bishop said while he does not intend to give attention to a matter that is underserving, it must be noted that his attitude to the matter will be guided by a scripture from the Bible; Mathews 5:11: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
He deemed SASOD’s call a publicity stunt and made it clear that he will not be “bullied, intimidated or silenced in any form or fashion by anyone, organization or agenda.”
The local gay rights advocacy group said Edghill is guilty of making hate speeches in relation to homosexuality and persons who practice the act; reasoning that it could incite ill-will against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) persons.
The Body was making specific reference to Edghill’s recent comments on the Radio Program ‘Hard Talk’ on 90.1 FM where he supported views expressed by Pastor Ronald McGarrell where he [McGarrell] said that homosexuality is a learnt behavior and that all gay persons should live on an island by themselves to prevent it from spreading.
According to SASOD, “Edghill used the most inflammatory language describing homosexuality as destructive, unwholesome and unhealthy.”
To this end, Edghill said that it was unfortunate that in advocating for their rights, SASOD is seeking to take away his right to freely practice his religion, exercise his conscience and freedom of expression.
He maintains that his comments can in no way amount to hate speech and challenged the Body to play the progamme for the nation to judge him.
He said he has never supported hate against any group in articulating his theological positions and beliefs.
“I believe that gays should have rights, I love everyone,” he said; adding that “SASOD is being mischievous and looking to grab headlines and attention but I want to say they are barking up the wrong tree.”
He also accused the Body of twisting what he had said.
Edghill said he has never witnessed nor have evidence of any discrimination or abuse against gays in Guyana but said he has personally been abused by a homosexual.
“I want to know what name you would give to those persons, they call us homophobic but I want to know what you call a homosexual that abuses a heterosexual.”