Controversial Church/State Agreement Signed Amid Constitution Reform Concerns

Controversial Church/State Agreement Signed Amid Constitution Reform Concerns

Just before the Christmas weekend, we told you of the Church/State Agreement that was signed, that essentially looks at the Supremacy of God to be enshrined in the Belize Constitution.  The agreement comprises ten essential points that outline the shared values and commitments of the government and the church communities.  Love News understands that the agreement has been in the making since the Dean Barrow administration, and was ultimately signed last week.  There have been objections to the agreement, however, particularly by the Executive Director of UNIBAM, Caleb Orozco.  According to Orozco, the agreement comes at a time when the constitution is being reformed under the People’s Constitutional Commission, and that it could possibly interfere with the process.  

Caleb Orozco, United Belize Advocacy Movement: “This agreement that the community of churches created claims that the human dignity claims, that human nature claims, that human rights is a gift from the creator. No, it’s not. Human rights is grounded, for example, in millions of people who have lost their lives over the years with their blood. For Belize, it’s grounded in the colonial struggle and grounded in the national movement for independence. It was not grounded in the creator. And so the idea that they can misrepresent the history of human rights is cause for concern. Separately it speaks of well this is government function and this is the church function. The idea that they can say that with such a straight face and ignore the fact that the government is yet to uphold its own constitutional obligation about addressing the economic and social disparity between citizens tells me that the representative of the state does not appreciate the function of government or in acknowledging the government or in this case the state is there to provide a social contract with its people and in failing to acknowledge that there’s a social contract within the context of this agreement says something about the negligence or the lack of knowledge of the representative himself or whoever signed this agreement.”

The agreement was signed on behalf of the government by Minister of Religious Affairs, Henry Charles Usher and by Senator for the Council of Churches, Bishop A Moses Benguche.

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