The Belize Council of Churches and the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches called a press conference to clarify what they say is an erroneous report by a Facebook blog written by Chrisbert Garcia, a correspondent for Belize Breaking News. The article speaks of the meeting that representatives of the churches had with PUP Leader, Francis Fonseca and a press release purportedly sent out by the Belize Council of Churches. At the press conference, Bishop Philip Wright, the Vice President of the Belize Council of Church told the press that the article misrepresents the churches’ position.
BISHOP PHILIP WRIGHT
“One particular sentence in that release condemns the current government stating “over the past eight years we have been in a struggle for the soul of our nation. We have fought and witnessed in utter disbelief as our nation’s sovereignty and Christian foundation continues to be eclipsed by a global secular agenda.” End of quote. It ends by stating, “Christians raise your voice, raise your vote.” end of quote there. And the last paragraph there says, “We note that this release from the church has upset many persons who have taken to Facebook to voice their concerns and disapproval for the churches’ involvement in politics and persuasion to vote for a particular party.” Those three paragraphs, in particular there, you could understand why we have tremendous concern. Accusing us of asking people to vote for a particular party which would never be anything near where we would go and to indict a current administration in the manner in which this article is doing, which is again against our principle and finally of course to suggest that somehow as a church we are encouraging a particular direction. So, my friends you can understand again why we take very seriously an article that misrepresents where we stand and what we have actually said and what we have actually said is contained in an official press release that was issued by the Council and that is the end of what we have said in terms of this political season. We have a copy and we can make available for you, the official press release of the Council of Churches which is what we would rather refer to than something that misrepresents what we said.”
Reverend Roosevelt Papouloute, President of the Belize Council of Churches and Howell Longsworth, the President of the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches say they do not want or have anything to do with the article posted by Belize Breaking News.
REV ROOSEVELT PAPOULOUTE
“We disassociate ourselves with what this article is saying. We had nothing to do with the particular press release that this article is referring to. There is no way as a church community that we would say to people “you need to go vote for a particular party”; no way; and there is no way as a church community we would, as well, especially in this critical time, criticize our government that is not our role as a church community. As a church community our role is there to be educating our constituencies to tell them about God’s will and God’s love and justice and what the church stands for. When it comes to the particular vote we do not have any right to say to any of our members “you need to go and vote for this particular person or that particular party.” So we disassociate ourselves with the statements that are made in this article from Breaking Belize News.”
PASTOR HOWELL LONGSWORTH
“My concern is that the desperation of some people to use and attack the spiritual leaders in our nation for political reasons is certainly one that we cannot agree with and I do concur that it is not our idea to attack any government. As a matter of fact, we work along with them for the best interest, best spiritual nation and of the people. We are called to pray for those in authority and so it would certainly not be any attempt by the church to pull down or to make such statements. I am here to agree with what the Bishop said this morning.”
Up to news time, the article has still not been rectified or taken down.