Decommissioning Human Rights in Cayman

| 26/01/2010

The Human Rights Commission (which replaces the former Human Rights Committee) was established under section 116 of the new Constitution with a mandate of “promoting understanding and observance of human rights in the Cayman Islands.” However, the reputation of the Commission has been brought into question with the recent appointment of members who have a poor track record in the promotion and protection of equal rights for all.

While the new Commission continues to include members who have an unquestionable commitment to human rights, one (and arguably two) recently appointed member(s), Reverend Sykes, has on several occasions and over a period of many years acted and preached towards the exclusion of certain minority groups. By way of example, in 2001 when Cayman laws banning homosexuality were finally abolished, Reverend Sykes complained that this was ‘totally unacceptable’ and stated that such a move would lead to the mandatory inclusion of detailed acts of homosexuality in schools. The fact that this hasn’t happened has done nothing to dampen Reverend Syke’s crusade.

Reverend Sykes’ claims to defend a fundamental moral and biblical stance is little more than a matter of his own personal opinion. Many Christians argue that marriage rights for same-sex couples strengthens the institution of marriage and provides legal protection for partners as well as children of this family unit. The Archbishop of Canterbury has stated that “active homosexual relationships are comparable to marriage" in the eyes of God. South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that homophobia is a "crime against humanity" and "every bit as unjust" as apartheid.

Same-sex marriages are, according to many Christians, supportive of religions’ commitment to the equality and dignity of all persons.

But while religion’s stance on homosexuality may be a matter for interpretation, human rights law is without ambiguity. The universal declaration of human rights is founded on the principle that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights. The abolition of Cayman’s anti-gay laws was based on the fact that they were a violation of international human rights law.

This issue goes beyond the Cayman Islands. Caymanians on the whole enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean, and has considerable influence in the region. A message of intolerance here, particularly by members of the Human Rights Commission, can be translated into much worse in neighbouring countries. In Jamaica, Amnesty International has documented many cases of gay men and lesbian women being beaten, burned, raped and shot because of their sexuality. Sadly, we have increasingly seen signs of this in Cayman also. Reverend Sykes might not endorse such violence, but his public view that homosexuals do not have equal rights does little to help.

Reverend Sykes’ lack of tolerance of minorities may be viewed as inconsistent with his role as a religious leader; however I would argue that it is utterly and undeniably incompatible with his role on the Human Rights Commission whose primary responsibility is to promote understanding and observance of human rights in Cayman.

The Human Rights Commission is essential to upholding the basic freedoms that human rights provide: the equal treatment of all human beings regardless of the colour of their skin, their age, their socio-economic background, their sexual orientation or other forms of discrimination. To ensure that this important work continues, the Government which appoints members of the Commission should insist that Reverend Sykes publicly renounces his previous convictions, or replace him with someone whose views are not in conflict with the basic principles the Commission is established to uphold. Human rights are, before all else, an affirmation of our shared humanity. Any threats to the basic freedoms that flow from this principle are not a concern for minority groups alone. They affect all of us.

Danielle Coleman served as a member of the former Human Rights Committee from 2006-2009.

 

Category: Viewpoint

Comments (154)

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  1. Carolina Ferreira says:

    There is nothing that I can add to your brilliantly worded letter, Danielle.  I missed the opportunity to express the concerns which you voiced so eloquently and which I also share whole-heartedly. It takes a lot of courage in our society to voice an opinion that is perceived to be unpopular and taboo by the majority and to take ownership of those views by committing your name to thoughts expressed in writing.  Let me at least do my part, then, in letting you know that not only are you not alone in your views (which you can see from the responses below I’m sure) but that some of us are also willing to stand up for those beliefs and put our names on the dotted line.   

     

  2. Rev Nicholas Sykes says:

    The Editor, Cayman News Service

    Dear Madam,

    The letter from Danielle Coleman published in Cayman News Service on about the 28 Jan has been brought to my attention, and is similar to one published subsequently by Cayman Net News.

    I applaud Danielle for publishing her letter under her own name, and am surprised and honoured to have sustained so much attention. Nevertheless, in any case of accusation, the better way is sit down with the party perceived to have erred, and after that, where necessary, take the matter to a wider forum.

    I encourage Danielle to get in touch with me and arrange to meet and discuss these things with me, bringing her papers with her if she wishes.

    Yours truly,

    (Revd) Nicholas Sykes

    Human Rights Commissioner
     

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Government is doing what other countries have failed to do.  They are creating a human rights commission that actually has the ability to represent the whole society, instead of pushing the gay agenda on behalf of a small, vocal and crafty minority.

  4. Anonymous says:

    "Many Christians argue that marriage rights for same-sex couples strengthens the institution of marriage" ….. No my dear, that statement just is not true, and I find it hard to believe that you have identified enough people claiming to be Christians and claiming to support this view to label it ‘many’.  If there are ‘many’ Christians saying this, then I got some pork-eating Muslims that I would like to introduce you to.

    I just love how this whole conversation has been simply about homosexuality.  So let me get this straight, Reverend Sykes is the only person in this whole country, who has issue with one particular other group of people, for one reason or another?  I beg to differ!  People take exception to me all the time, mostly, because I am Caymanian, sometimes because I am black.  What about all of the other areas of human rights, would Reverend Sykes be a bad choice in relating to them as well.  It seems to me that there is a big gay rights lobby in this country, trying to hide itself under the human rights umbrella, for no other purpose than to try to guilt us into submission… by making us believe that we are backward and hateful because we hold true to our convictions.

    The worst part about it is that we in Cayman have a full experience of human rights, if you don’t believe me then go live in one of the countries where rights are the dream of the oppressed, instead of the extravegance of the spoiled; that will give a little perspective I think.

    But since the topic is homosexuality, let me state this, the Bible is very clear on God’s stance towards the practice of homosexuality.  It states that these acts are sinful, just like adultery and fornication and other sexual immorality.  I don’t say that to offend anyone or to pick a fight.  If you are a Christian, you  must recognize that the practice of homosexuality is a sin.  Any Christian that is saying something different, is like the pork eating Muslim, or the beef eating Hindu,  using the name, and not truly understanding the tenets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said! If we do not stand up for what we believe then we will be marginalized by these liberals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why does believing in equality for all make us ‘liberals’? or for that matter the gay lobby….?

        • Anonymous says:

          "Liberal" speaks for itself. Look it up in the dictionary.

          The point is that you don’t really believe in equality for all but for promoting gay rights over other people’s rights, e.g. no doubt you would argue that equality means that they should have the right to same sex marriage and  religious objections of Christian pastors to perform the ceremony are not important. You (mis)use loaded terms like "equality" and give them a meaning that they would never have in any other context. You try to equate racism with disapproval of homosexuality as immoral. You get to say nasty things about Christians on account of their faith but condemn this as bigotry when used against others. You don’t campaign for other immoral groups like adulterers and those who commit incest to have special constitutional rights. For all these reasons you are the gay lobby.  

    • Truth B Told says:

      Morality is incapable of proof.  It is a matter of personal choice.  You can choose to not participate in homosexual acts if that is you moral code.  But that gives you no basis to impose that moral code on someone who does not agree with it. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? Anything goes so we should have no say in what anyone else does? Do you approve of incest between two consenting adults? That is no doubt OK for their moral code (remember that if you object to this on the basis that there is a possibility of bringing children and a possibility of those children having ataxia, we must also judge any other conduct on what the health possibilities are as well). What about polygamy? Several consenting adults whose moral code it fits. What if it greatly promotes the spread of serious diseases (as the homosexual lifestyle does) should we not be concerned then?  

        To some extent practically all of us depend upon some standard of morality to judge right conduct. Some standards are higher, and others are lower. Obviously any society has to have standards that all must adhere to or there would be chaos, the only question is where to draw that line. Apparently, we now have so many "rights" that there are no longer any wrongs.      

        • Truth B Told says:

          If you can show an objective measurable harm to others besides the fact that an activity is immoral then the issue in question would not fall within the scope of my point.  I was pointing out that morality cannot be objectively provable.

          What is the objective harm in polygamy?

          • Anonymous says:

            "Objective measurable harm" is of course a very subjective (and false) standard. The point is that the human rights activists are not jumping up and down because polygamy and incest are illegal and this tells me that the their position is inconsistent and is not about human rights. The fact thatyou see no objective harm in polygamy only strengthens my point that it has to do with moral standards. On the other hand there is clearly harm in a homosexual lifestyle because it promotes the spread of serious diseases.  

  5. Dennis Smith says:

    “Tough Questions”

    Quoted from “Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/28/2010 – 17:28.”

    “Those lines are not so clearly drawn as your anology might suggest. For example, freedom of sexual orientation has been taken to mean that the homosexual lifestyle should be promoted in the school curriculum and others must be forced to accept that having homosexual ‘parents’ is equal to having heterosexual parents. Well that certainly does affect my child and my family.  I would not wish for him to be corrupted by such thinking. At that point my space has been imposed upon.”

    Tough questions: I agree that the concept of equality affects your child. I’m also sure that your demonstration of prejudice affects him as well. The question is: Does tolerance and understanding “effect” his gender choice as an adult? I don’t think so, but in either case he will still be your son, the difference is that tolerance will enable him to talk to you about his choices instead of running away. I would sooner have my child trust and confide in me.

    With regard to your comment about schools, I’m not sure that “forced” and “promoted” are the correct words. “Taught” and “Accepted” may be better choices.

    Intentionally creating a prejudice is a dangerous thing and training our children to think that way is even worse, so a school that teaches acceptance gets my vote.

    For a child with same gender parents, their parents ARE EQUAL to heterosexual parents! I would never expose a child to such emotional abuse and long-term damage; they are far too precious. If your gender choice is different than her (or his) parent’s does that make it OK to damage a child by telling her that her parents are bad or evil?

    Is your child corrupted by the idea of equality and free choice or is he corrupted by examples of prejudice that demonstrates a lack of for care for the feelings of another child? What kind of a person will he become?

    I applauded you for your concern about setting a good example for your son, just be careful that it is the correct one. Having sex with a person of the opposite gender is no guarantee of love, care and fidelity.

    As I said: “Tough Questions”
     

  6. Confucioused says:

    I don’t know if Reverend Syke’s opinion on gays is really the issue.  The issue is really that in his chosen profession, he relies on interpreting a religious text which represents a religion not every person on Cayman follows.  I am not questioning his religious beliefs, only pointing out that he will find it difficult to give an unbiased perspective because of his occupation where one is required as a member of the Human Rights Commission. He should do the right thing and step down if he can not do that.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not his occupation that gives Rev. Sykes his moral values but rather his religious faith and it is his moral views that are being ridiculed. Logically, as Gordon says, the objection would apply to anyone who is an adherent of any religion which contains the concept of sin. You are understandably seeking to evade that conclusion because it is so clearly preposterous.

  7. Gordon Barlow says:

    Danielle’s heart is in the right place, but I think she went too far by painting Mr Sykes as the devil incarnate.

    His attitude towards homosexuality does seem primitive, but it doesn’t amount to a prejudice.  Rather, it is a misguided (in my opinion) belief that homosexual activities are a sin in the mind of God.  Logically, perhaps, we should deny public office to all believers in the concept of sin, lest they be wrong.  Are we ready to do that?

    What do we know of the opinions of his fellow Commissioners?  They have never been examined; their opinions on human-rights issues are unknown to us.  In effect, Mr Sykes is being held to account for signing his name to his opinions.

    It is fair to argue against his suitability to be a Human Rights Commissioner because of his belief that homosexual activity is sinful.  I might argue against it myself.  But for all we know, some or all of the other Commissioners are unsuitable, too, for one reason or another.  Fairness demands that we publicly examine their opinions on human-rights matters, too.

    Let’s do that, before we go any further.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Logically, perhaps, we should deny public office to all believers in the concept of sin, lest they be wrong.  Are we ready to do that?"

      Gordon, at least you have been honest enough to acknowledge that that is the logical conclusion. That is of course unacceptable as it would amount to discrimination on the basis of religion, but it highlights the fact that the attack on Rev. Sykes is unwarranted and misguided.  

      You have also been gracious enough to acknowledge that the position tha homosexuality is immoral does not amount to prejudice 

      P.S. By the way although we disagree on the conclusions I appreciated your piece in the Net News on whether we are a nation. See, you can make your points without beingoffensive. Are we seeing a ‘new and improved’ Gordon Barlow? 

    • Anonymous says:

      A bit of an exageration Gordon, I believe Ms Coleman was pointing out that Reverend Sykes is an inappropriate member of the Human Rights Commission because of his very vocal opinions on certain minority groups….the fact that he holds such a strong opinion against any group is enough reason why he simply should NOT be on the new HRC……one thing I would agree on is the suitability of other members such as the Chairman himself.

      • Anonymous says:

        "…the fact that he holds such a strong opinion against any group is enough reason why he simply should NOT be on the new HRC".

        Really?! No one should ever have any disapprobation of any "group" in order to be a member of the HRC? This appears to be a self-defeating argument since it is clear that the liberals have very strong opinions against orthodox Christianity which is constantly being ridiculed here and with incitement to ostracise and regard its adherents with hatred and contempt.

        Of course the strong opinions are not about a "group" but about the morality of certain behaviour. The reference to "minority groups" is an obvious attempt falsely to equate moral objections to homosexuality with racism, anti-semitism etc. Can you honestly say there is no behaviour to which you have any objections? If so, then you are a very sorry individual indeed.  What about the incestuous couples? I suspect you really mean no one should be allowed on who has a moral objection to homosexuality.     

  8. Anonymous says:

    One of the posters has stated that he does not "expect the HRC to discuss whether a human right should be a right" and therefore Rev. Sykes is not qualified to be a member of the HRC.

    I would not expect that either, and I don’t think that Rev. Sykes would propose to do that. No doubt he will respect and apply the Bill of Rights in a Constitution that he helped craft. That is what the HRC is required to do and he is therefore qualified, perhaps more qualified than most other members. However, as I previously pointed out the dialogue is in respect of the interpretation and application of those rights. He will bring another perspective leading to real dialogue rather than having a coterie of liberals pursue their agenda unbridled.     

    Let’s pursue the argument to its logical conclusion. Judges will be called upon to uphold the Bill of Rights and declare whether legislation is compatible with it. Should we also ban orthodox Christians from the judiciary? I hope you will agree that this preposterous, and so the same argument applies to the HRC. Allow me to give an actual example. The U.S. Constitution contains a Bill of Rights. However, many of the constitutional rights have been derived not directly from the wording of the Constitution but from the rulings of the Supreme Court. There is always an effort by successive Presidents whenever vacancies arise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who reflect their values and philosophy (despite protestations to the contrary).  Some are social conservatives while others are liberals. They all respect and Constitution but hav cvarying views about how it should be applied. It makes for robust debate about how these rights are defined and applied which is good for civil society. 

    The HRC will not define rights (these have already been defined with Rev. Sykes’ approval as a member of the Constitutional Delegation) but it will certainly interpret and apply them since it is the first stop for the aggrieved person before the Grand Court. There is no reason why liberals should have a monopoly on appointments to the HRC.      

    • O'Really says:

      I would have been inclined to let this go, since you and I covered this ground extensively earlier in this thread, if you had been prepared to state my position accurately. But you either still don’t understand it or you are being disingenuous.

      To clarify, my position is quite simple. It is my belief that any member of the HRC must have an inherent belief in and respect for ALL human rights as set out in the relevant legislation. This should be a basic criteria for being appointed.

      Rev. Sykes does not meet this criteria. Another poster below " Cayman Rights Watch (not verified) on Thu, 01/28/2010 – 06:02." gives ample examples to support this assertion. 

      If Rev. Sykes is a man of honour and I have no reason to suppose he is not, I fail to see how he can reconcile his public opposition to gay rights with his position on the HRC where he will be required to " receive and investigate complaints of breaches or infringements of any right or freedom contained in the Bill of Rights or international human rights treaties". To follow up on the example used in the original post, any Judge asked to give a ruling on an issue where the Judge had already made pertinent and contrary statements would immediately remove himself from the case for conflict of interest. I fail to see why this would not apply to Rev. Sykes’ position on the HRC; he has an inherent conflict of interest.

      I also wonder whether the other 4 members of the HRC consider themselves "… a coterie of liberals pursu(ing) their agenda unbridled." This seems immensely disrespectful to the individuals selected, as does the statement that " There is no reason why liberals should have a monopoly on appointments to the HRC".  Am I the only one who feels that in these contexts, "liberals" are anyone who do not share Rev. Sykes prejudices? 

      And prejudice has no place on the HRC.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t believe the discrimination part as in the UN Human Rights wre carried through into the constitution.  The Human Rights Commission is to  uphold the version in the constitution.

      • Anonymous says:

        I take it then that anyone who does not share your views is "prejudiced"? . 

        The coterie of liberals really applied to the previous HRC.  

        There is no inherent conflict of interest. The HRC’s job is to interpret and apply the Bill of Rights and any human rights treaties which have been extended to this jurisdiction. Often it is the interpretation and the balancing of competing rights that is at issue. For example, you interpret ‘gay rights’ to be a subset of human rights.  Also, no doubt in your mind this trumps other human rights such as freedom of religion. One matter that Chrstians generally object to is same sex marriage. If applied that this would force Christian marriage officers to marry homosexual couples. Although no doubt Ms. Coleman would like to interpret it in this way this is not mandated either by the Bill of Rights or any international human rights treaty.    

        You are quite incorrect about the analogy with judges as I demonstrated with my illustration with the U.S. Supreme Court. Judges are not (a) disqualified because they have views on morality; and (b) required to recuse themselves merely because they may find the behaviour of one of the litigants or defendant morally repugnant. They are required to apply the law regardless. However, our interpretation of the law will no doubt be shaped in part by our values. You apparently believe that this is fine so long as you are a liberal.          

        • O'Really says:

          I’m traveling and can’t do our exchange justice in the time I have, but you are still missing the point. Or maybe it simply suits your position to obscure it.

          I expect any member of HRC to bring their value system to bear on deciding any issue before them. But, it ought to be a value system which starts with the acceptance of all human rights as legitimate. Starring from a position of accepting all but one human right as legitimate is just not good enough.

          To address briefly your Supreme Court example, of course judges are expected to interpret the law in accordance with their own moral code. But that’s not my point. My point addresses the suitability of an appointee in the first place. If a candidate for appointment had strong convictions that amendment XIX to the US Constitution, relating to voting rights and gender, was inappropriate, there is no chance the appointee would be successful. This is the analogy to Rev. Sykes. 

          If  a devoted adherent to Sharia law was appointed to the HRC, one who had consistently and publicly declared that women were not entitled to the same rights as men, would this be acceptable?

          If a died in the wool Southern Baptist minister was appointed to the HRC, one who’s preaching made it clear that his views were racist, would this be acceptable?

          My answer to either of the above questions is no, they would not be acceptable. I think many would agree with me. Why then, is Rev. Sykes position acceptable, because I for one am struggling to see how it differs in concept?

    • Jury? says:

      Where is there going to be a jury in rights challenge cases?

       

    • slowpoke says:

       

      "he will respect and apply the Bill of Rights in a Constitution that he helped craft"

      If you don’t get the inherent conflict with that, considering his clearly stated, preconceived opinions (not only regarding ghey issues but also HRC’s in general), you will not appreciate the issue with his appointment.

      BTW, I am a happily married heterosexual with kids…. (just a little more open minded) 

      • Anonymous says:

        I am also a happily married heterosexual with kids…(just with a moral compass).

  9. Nomad says:

    "First they came …" is a popular poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. In Niemöller’s first utterance of it, in a January 6, 1946 speech before representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt, it went (in German):[1]

    First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.

  10. Anonymous says:

    ALL FOR GAY RIGHTS!!

    In the famous words of Dr. Suess!

    "be who you are and say what you feel, because thoes who mind don’t matter, and thoes who matter don’t mind"

  11. Anonymous says:

    VERY WELL WRITTEN DANIELLE COLEMAN

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yo my sistren, evertin u a say der tru u na!

  13. noname says:

    AMEN SISTA!

  14. Hannah says:

    Good Point Markus!

    We do need to address these things rather than sweeping them under the carpet. When we lift the carpet we’ll just have more to deal with right?

  15. ? says:

    Sounds like a girl with her head screwed on properly.

  16. Gonococal says:

     Putting Rev. Sykes on the Human Rights Commission is like hiring an arsonist to be a firefighter. 

    It doesn’t make any sense unless the goal is to undermine and cripple the Human Rights Commission. 

  17. Hannah says:

    I completley agree with the comment made in regards to the lady who wants her sons to grow up healthy.

    I have a young one too and that’s exactly how i feel!

    Good for you Danny!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who has guts to write something like this should be given a medal!

    This took guts! Well done Danielle!

  19. Markus Mueri says:

     2010 and growing

    Dani Coleman has hopefully started a trend, she stood up and written a letter about an issue which is in Cayman very controversial, I applaud her for that. Cayman still today is not willing to address uncomfortable issues which have been accepted globally in affluent countries. Cayman is not this little Caribbean Island time has forgotten, Cayman has a global presence in finance and is a wonderful vacation destination. We need to address many issues, may it be Crime, Drugs, Human Rights or Domestic Violence. We tend to brush them under the carpet, the problems will not vanish, lets address them with open minded people and  fix the issues. Cayman has brilliant minds, place does  people on the boards with a vision for the future and establish tolerance and teach to accept and respect all humans of all walk of life.
    Cayman deserves only the best, lets stand up and make it happen.

    Markus Mueri
     

  20. Anonymous says:

    As a parent raising Caymanian boys, I hope others will feel about their children as I do about mine; that my sons will grow up healthy, happy and confident that who and what they are is beautiful in the eyes of God, their family and their country.

    Shame on the policy makers who are so afraid of "sin" but are the first to judge, label and scorn.

    Human rights are paramount to the growth and development of our country and our youth.

    Congratulations to Miss Coleman for so clearly and eloquently taking a stand.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Are people threated by the gays? What’s so wrong?

  22. noname says:

    Your right! This world is changing and the sooner people open their eyes and see that, the better we’ll be!

  23. HKW says:

    I think that people who are biast shouldn’t be on the Human Rights Comittee. WE need people who are on both sides to be able to tell us whats right.

    "Human rights are, before all else, an affirmation of our shared humanity. Any threats to the basic freedoms that flow from this principle are not a concern for minority groups alone. They affect all of us."  –  Danielle Coleman 

  24. Anonymous says:

    People need to be more open minded when it comes to things like this.

    Good for you for sticking up for Gays! We need more People like you.

     

     

  25. Another issue says:

    The work permit system creates indirect discrimination against women because of maternity issues and the negative impact the permit system has on the availability of part-time work.  The HRC should look into this.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we need a Bill of Wrongs. Many segments of society, for lack of a better term, had very strong opionions on the Bill of Rights, but really and truely they wanted to list the "Wrongs" and make certain they could not be included as "Rights" in any way, shape, or form.

    It could be included in the Constitution as a list of things that are "wrong", butnot necessarily illegal. That way we could continue with the development of a sensible Constitution, while the Minister’s Association leads a sub-committee that could keep adding to the Bill of Wrongs ad infinitum.

    To prevent the Christians of Cayman (yes I am one) from becoming too involved in other issues, they should be tasked with producing a consensus report to Government of which day of the week is the Sabbath, so that it could also be included in the Constitution. That would keep them off their homosexual horses for a while wouldn’t it?

     

  27. Darquise Nantel says:

    In response to the comment above, regarding "Christians feeling threatened", how or why is one person threatened by another person’s lifestyle, being or existence?  When did it become so personal? A Human Rights Act is there to protect everyone’s rights as human beings, regardless of being black, white, hetereosexual, homosexual, Christian, Muslim or all of the above.  The Act isn’t there as a judgment call but rather a protection from being ridiculed by individuals, claiming their own personal beliefs.  Human Rights is a more Godly Act than the acts of people making judgment calls.  It sets aside religion and differences in our world and acknowledges and embraces love and compassion for people as individiuals.  Who can say that not everyone deserves the same compassion for being a human being? How I live my life should be of noone’s concern unless I am physically in another’s space.  I know that I practice love within myself and others, isn’t that a godly act?  I love my straight friends, my gay friends, my black friends, my white friends, my Christian friends and my Muslim friends.  The beauty is… I see love within each soul rather than a societal label!  Human Rights is simply about seeing rights rather than one’s perspective of wrongs.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Well said Dani

  29. Anonymous says:

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Thank you Danielle, your words that will hopefully point Cayman in the ‘Right’ direction.

  30. johnnybravo says:

    Go Danny Go you have my Vote its 2010 its time to move on Cayman need to get a life and move on with the times

  31. johnnybravo says:

    Go Danny Girl its time that people realised that its 2010 now and all things in the world are changing in all kinds of directions you are the newstar on the island go girl go all the way You can do it you have my Vote all the way

     

    Good Luck Cayman Vote for the Girl

     

  32. Anonymous says:

    The H in HRC stands for Human – how can Rev Sykes stand up for humans if he "cherry picks" what he considers to be the rights of some and disregards the rights of others. He is not the right person for the job.

    Well said Ms. Coleman!!

     

  33. Anonymous says:

    There is no such thing as "Gay-rights", homosexuals are only after equal "human rights".

    Those who claim being gay is a lifestyle chioce, it really does’nt matter. Human rights amongst other things covers political affiliations, which are a lifesyle choice, so homosexuals should be given EQUAL right as everyone no matter the arguement.

    Currently gays have even less rights from discrimination than a murderer

    • Anonymous says:

      Homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else. In fact, they want special rights to advance their interests as a group, i.e. gay rights.  Further, they want their rights to trump everyone else’s.

      • Anonymous says:

        Name one right that gay people want that you don’t have.

        • Anonymous says:

          Gays want the law to sanction an immoral lifestyle by providing for gay marriage and for their lifestyle to be taught in schools as acceptable.  I do not expect the law to sanction anyone’s immoral lifestyle, whether they be people who commit incest, engage in polygamy etc. For example, in the case of incest two consenting adults can decide that they ‘love’ each other and want to get married. They are a minority and on your argument ought to have special protection.  They ought to have incest lovers cruises and parades and special mention in the Constitution. Someone will object that it is different because of the possibility of birth defects (of course no one is concerned about the diseases spread by the homosexual lifestyle). Well let’s take birth defects out of the picture and say they can all get married if either party is infertile or has passed child-bearing age. What then?  In the second example, 3, 4, or 5 people can decide they want to get married because they all ‘love’ each other. 

          The human rights argument is a load of crock.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually no special protection, just the same protection as everyone else.

            Is not your Christianity a lifestyle choice, or being a member of the UDP or even being a skydiver

            Are you not protected for these choices?

        • Anonymous says:

          The right to kiss in public without being arrested?

          The right to leave your pension to your gay spouse?

          • Anonymous says:

            Those are not human rights, but gay rights.

            Some may want the right to commit incest. They are human. Does that make commiting incest a human right? 

            • Anonymous says:

              The right to kiss in public without being arrested?

              But I am straight and will not get arrested for kissing my wife in public, seems a basic human right to me

              as for incest, that is illegal, two men kissing is not (yet they still get arrested).

               

              • Anonymous says:

                That is the point – incest is illegal. Why? Since we are not to have any say about the sexual morality of others that should surely be legal.

            • Interesting says:

              You raise an interesting question.  The modern basis for the cirminalisation of incest do seem quite weak.  With the greatly expanded population and gene pool, the genetic issues in respect of offspring are watered down save for repeated instances of incest in multiple generations.  The only real argument is that many cases of incest take place in families where there has been a history of neglect or phsychological damage so that the "consent" in respect of sex is not sufficient.  Saying that there are rare cases of well balanced individuals wanting to enter into incestuous relationships and the foundation of the state’s right to interfere in that choice does seem more shaky than often thought.

              • Anonymous says:

                You demonstrate the point I was making. As interpreted by liberals, human rightswill lead to total societal breakdown.  

                I will give you credit for the honesty in admitting that it follows. Gay rights activists generally will not. The interesting defence they make is that with incest you have the possibility of having children with the possibility of Ataxia to which I answer:

                1. Why do not make the same health arguments against a homosexual lifestyle which has been shown to promote the spread of very serious diseases including HIV, Hepatitis, gay bowel syndrome etc.? The risks are actually a lot higher. 

                2. What if we ensure that at least one of the incestuous couple is infertile or past child-bearing age. Will it be acceptable then?    

        • Anonymous says:

          This is just a hypothetical scenario, but if the Human Rights Committee had their way during the debate on the new Constitution, one example would be: if I, as aChristian marriage officer did not want to marry a gay couple because I do not agree with the lifestyle, I could be prosecuted by law.  What about my rights as a Christian to stand up for what I believe? 

          • Touch it... says:

             A marriage officer’s job is to marry PEOPLE. He or she should not pick and choose who they will marry based on their likes and dislikes. If a marriage officer feels he or she cannot marry any couple, then resign. 

            • Exactly says:

              A marriage officer is conducting business as an emanation of the state and as such must complying with rights’ obligations.  If the marriage officer does not want to comply with his or her legal duty then they will have to move on. 

               

            • Anonymous says:

              I see, so the marriage officer’s freedom of religion is irrelevant since where gay rights are concerned it is automatically trumped! This is precisely the sort of attitude that demonstrates that the furore is not about human rights per se but about gay rights and foisting a liberal mindset on the rest of society. Apparently no one else’s rights are important.

              And you wonder why Christians are concerned?!   

      • Man says:

        I think that’s women you are talking about

    • Anonymous says:

      A homosexual person can claim discrimination for most jobs, whereas I can’t.  Doesn’tthis lead to positive discrimination?

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually only if they are descrimated against, and you have the same right if you are descriminated against in the same job.

        it’s just more likely they will be descriminated against than you.

        So no positive descrimination

        • Anonymous says:

          But employers still might be scared to not hire or fire someone if they think they’ll have to go to court over it.

          • Anonymous says:

            They have nothing to worry about as long as the didn’t refuse the gay the job due to their sexual orientation.

            COuld yuo not say the same thing about employers being scared to hire Caymanians as they are more likely to go to court than an expat if they don’t get the job and an expat does?

            • Anonymous says:

              Caymanians don’t take the potential employed to court over the issue, they complain to the related authority.  The law is designed to have Caymanians hired in preference.  This is different from what we are talking about.

               

              Expenses and the hassle of going to court are a deterent, especially if they have a good lawyer. 

  34. Cayman Rights Watch says:

    It is obvious from Rev. Sykes’ writings that he is an opponent of human rights advances not a supporter of it.  There can be no doubt that his presence on the Commission is to hinder and stop the development of a secular approach to human rights consistent with the legal obligations of the Cayman Islands. 

    Here are a few examples of his previous comments:

    "If the voters listen to Sara Collins and the HRC, the same series of events and law suits will have to be filed in the Cayman Islands courts system to preserve the traditional family values and our continued freedom of Christianity, since these groups stop at nothing to get what they want. Christianity worldwide is threatened by these groups supported by the HRC, and we must be very careful not to allow this to happen to the citizens of the Cayman Islands."

    "HUMAN RIGHTS have overtaken that RIGHT that is in accord with the mind of God. Human rights, in contrast, are said to be intrinsic to our human existence, conferred upon ourselves (or arising from our own condition) by human agreement and codified by human convention."

    "If Human Rights have been severed from the Right that is in accord with the mind of God, we can only rely on human judgment to show us how to think about them, and in particular where some Right claimed by one party conflicts with some other Right claimed by another party, which one of these will prevail."

    "When we were struggling with the wording of the new constitution last year and early this year, I wanted to preserve the idea in that document that “discrimination” could be understood positively"

    "discrimination is a primary art of humanity, and until the late twentieth century, this was recognised in the standard approval of anyone described as a discriminating individual"

    It is an insult to the protection of human rights in Cayman that this man has been placed on the Commission.  The Governor should not be trapped into thinking that this body will be a reviewer and protector of domestic rights.

    Cayman’s rights protection is being reviewed very closely from within and from outside the territory.  This appointment has added to the concerns that have been aired by human rights advocates both publicly and, given the fetter on true speech expressed repeatedly by those advocates, privately.

    The ECHR codifies the human rights applicable in Cayman.  The Human Rights Act codifies the UK’s obligations to postively protect those rights.  The Bible is not a Bill of Rights, it is a religious text which is of relevance to those who chose Christianity as their religion.

    Cayman Rights Watch

  35. Joe Grinder says:

    Go fly a kite?.How apropos/Now if I ,was to call a Jewish person a kite,would I be wrong?.according to the Good Reverend,Sykes.No. Because it doesn’t fit in to his belief,even though 6 million of them ,all devoted God believers,didn’t agree with some one’s else’s beliefs.How narrow minded is this person ,to believe one thing and not another?Then to sit on a bar to tell us what is right and what is wrong.How hypocrite

    • Anonymous says:

      Your post is barely intelligible and do doubt reflects your confused mind.

      First, you are confusing "kike" (derogatory term for Jews) and "kite" (the flying toy).  

      Second, the issue has nothing to do with anti-semitism. You are falsely trying to equate racism with principled disapproval of homosexuality. Rev. Sykes (unlike the gay lobby) is not engaging in any name-calling. He is simply correctly identifying immoral behaviour. Is there no behaviour that you would identify as immoral, or does everything go with you? 

  36. Lucy Roberts says:

    Well said Ms Coleman!

    The arguments in the commentary seem to digress from the point of the original post. Rev Sykes is an innappropriate member for the HRC because some of his beliefs go against the International Declaration of Human Rights. He openly admits this and therefore should step down.

    Every member of the HRC should have the agenda of promoting equal and fair rights to all the people of the Cayman Islands. Period.

    • O'Really says:

      It’s difficult to keep these threads on topic but you’ve hit the nail on the head.

      In the modern secular world, the issue of freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation has been decided. The function of the HRC is to uphold and defend those rights as set out in the relevant legislation. The HRC should not be a battle ground for trying to redefine human rights to encompass certain non-secular beliefs.

      Rev. Sykes views are driven by his religious beliefs which is fine, but in at least one regard his beliefs are at serious odds with the principles the HRC has been formed to promote and protect. Rev. Sykes I am sure understands this. I have no cause to believe he is a hypocrite, so I must conclude that his objective is to work from within the HRC to forward his religious agenda. He should acknowledge that this is highly inappropriate and step down.  

       

      • Anonymous says:

        In the same way as the gay lobby’s objective is to work from within the HRC to further their agenda. It is all a question of perspective. Rev. Sykes participation will give the group some diversity, add another perspective on human rights and make for a very healthy dialogue.  Otherwise the conclusion must be to ban all Christians from being involved in public institutions lest their values impact upon their views which may dissent from those of liberals.     

        • O'Really says:

          It seems to me you are missing the point. I expect all members of the HRC to defend all human rights as prescribed by law equally and with a level of commitment undiminished by pre-existing moral objections. If they cannot do this, regardless of which specific human right we are talking about, they should not accept a position. This to me is the message of this article and the basis of my objection to Rev. Sykes, not the furtherance of gay rights per se. As for Rev. Sykes adding a different perspective to the HRC, would you expect a member of the KKK to be included on an HRC equivalent simply to give perspective on racial issues?

          Christians ( and all other religions for that matter ) have had an opportunity to shape the debate on what are or are not human rights; they have not been excluded, but there are those among them who are unprepared to accept the outcome of the debate, which from Cayman’s perspective is embodied in the Constitution as supplemented by EU law. Dialogue within the HRC as to whether a specific act of government or an individual infringes human rights is to be expected. Debate about whether the rights already prescribed by law should exist is not. 

          • Anonymous says:

            No, O’Really you are missing the point and blaming it on someone else. (1) It is the interpretation and application of existing rights that is at issue,  (2) particular members of the past HRC have pressed to extend the rights in our Bill of Rights beyond what is covered by the ECHR.  These are not closed issues. A Christian is entitled to be heard on this as much as anyone else.  The other side of the coin is that gay rights activists, such as Ms. Coleman, will seek to foist these values on society by for example insisting that gay lifestyles be included in the school curriculum. There simply must be a counterbalance.

            It is ridiculous and disingenuous to compare the Christian disapproval of homosexuality with membership in the KKK, an organization built primarily on racism and that has a history of violence against innocent victims. This is the equivalent of the Hitler comments. I had expected better from you.  

            • O'Really says:

              As far as I can tell, my concluding statement that: " Dialogue within the HRC as to whether a specific act of government or an individual infringes human rights is to be expected" is pretty similar to the concept underlying your point (1). What then am I missing?

              And while you obviously believe your point (2) to be correct, it is of course irrelevant. To use your example, the author of this article ( or as far as I am aware anyone sharing, in your words, her " activists’  opinions ) has not been appointed to the HRC, the Rev. Sykes has. This is an unusual form of counterbalance.

              But counterbalance is not the  issue for me and further the subject of gay rights is only tangental to my objection to Rev, Sykes appointment. My objection is based on my view that all members of the HRC should have, in their hearts, an inherent belief in all the human rights enshrined in legislation here and elsewhere. How could it be otherwise? Rev. Sykes does not meet this simple criteria, he and you acknowledge this and on this basis I say he should step down. 

              Your reaction to my KKK comment is of course totally predictable, as is your reference to Hitler. The context within which I used it is perfectly legitimate and like it or not I believe it to be an acceptable analogy. I wish it weren’t. 

               

              • Anonymous says:

                Ms. Coleman was a member of the HRC. Since only Rev. Sykes has met Ms. Coleman’s displeasure it suggests the others will represent her views just fine.

                Your analogy is obviously entirely inappropriate for the reasons I have already given and therefore my response would be predictable. It is predictable because it is the proper response. The only purpose your analogy served was to deliver an insult to Christians. It shed no light on the issue.

                You are missing the point that both sides need to be represented on the HRC in order to have such dialogue.

                • O'Really says:

                  I think we’re winding down on this so I’ll try to keep my points short.

                  I expect all members of the HRC to believe in and support all human rights. Period.

                  I do not expect the HRC to discuss whether a human right should be a right. Because of my first criteria, agreement on this should be a given within the membership of HRC.

                  Rev. Sykes does not meet this simple criteria.

                  You disagree, which is your prerogative. 

                   

                   

            • Mozzie Fodder says:

              And of course the Christian Church didn’t persecute, murder and torture innocent women for witchcraft? Looking back in history the actions of the Church are highly questionable.

              Secondly, you say that a Christian has as much right as anyone to be heard on this matter but I doubt you afford the same rights to homosexuals. Perhaps Elton John should sit on the comittee next to Rev. Sykes…..

              • Anonymous says:

                I would not object to homosexuals being represented. Clearly they already are.  

          • Tell da truth says:

            O’Really,

            Just a little point for the future, the ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights are not EU based.  They are separate (although the EU now agrees to conduct its business as an entity in accordance with ECHR principles). 

             

  37. Anonymous says:

     you go Danielle Coleman, this is the most honest and courageous letter ever written for gay rights in cayman, thank goodness someone is brave enough to stand up for human rights…about time!!!

  38. Anonymous says:

    They do impose their values and beliefs on others claiming that they are superior to Christian beliefs and values.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Has everyone forgotten that Cayman had the opportunity to stop this last year and didn’t?  Rev. Sykes was a part of the delegation that represented all of us in the UK in Feb 09 claiming that the Bill of Rights presented was what the Cayman people wanted.  Why so surprised that he has now been appointed to the Commission?  Did you think he would go away and not enjoy the opportunity to spread discrimination?  Don’t fool yourselves, the good reverend is not the only member of the commission that Cayman need to worry about.

  40. Cayman is walking backward says:

    What a brilliant and well written commentary. Wow. Very impressive and courageous.

    Sadly, it’s all so very true. Having someone like Sykes on a human rights commission is a cruel joke. 

    My only comment to add is that Sykes should be scrutinzed further. His well known record of being against equal rights for gay people is just the tip of the ice berg, I would guess. If the Bible informs his view of gays, let’s hear where he stands on issues like gender equality, science, and sex education too.  

    Cayman is a joke. Sad.

    Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if all sexually frustrated people, especially those who feel they must live double lives, could just relax and be who they want to be? I feel so sorry for these odd men who dedicate so much energy to trying to prevent people they don’t even know from loving eachother. How pathetic.

    I also can’t stand when someone like me stands up for human rights, for everyone, and is called the "gay lobby". What is up with that? I’m with the HUMAN LOBBY. And, yes, it includes gay people.

    The ironic thing is that people like me and Ms Coleman would be the first to stand up to defend Sykes if someone tried to prevent him from marrying who he wanted or worshipping in the way he wanted. He just doesn’t get it. Sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is clearly a well-orchestrated attack by the Gay Lobby.  Will those for moral decency please stand up.

      • Anonymous says:

        Defence of minorities against discrimination is not an "attack". Martin Luther King did not "attack" whites, he defended blacks against segregation and racism.

        • Anonymous says:

           Must be a local thing.  We also see the same reaction whenever anyone defends a point of view that is not the same point of view held by a poster:  the defender is accused of hating and attacking Cayman, when there is actually nothing to support such an accusation.  

        • Anonymous says:

          Defence of minorities is itself a misnomer. By the way Christians are a minority as well so I am also defending a minority. 

          You insult the memory of Martin Luther King with comparisons between blacks having civil rights and gays having special rights. There is no moral content in being black. Dr. King never engaged in the smear campaign that the gay lobby thrives on.  

          Having different perspectives on the meaning of human rights will be a healthy thing for the Commission. What we don’t need is a coterie of left wing nuts.

          • Anonymous says:

            "Defence of minorities is itself a misnomer." Huh?

            "By the way Christians are a minority as well so I am also defending a minority." Christians are a minority in the Cayman Islands? Really? You had a straight face when you wrote that?

            "The moral content" – I think you’re a liitle confused about what we are debating, which is freedom of conscience. If anyone was telling you that you cannot be Christian, if you were not getting jobs, housing, etc because you are Christian, if there was any chance that you would be subjected to violence because you are Christian, then human rights advocates would be the first to defend you. What is at issue here is that you are imposing your morality on everyone else.

             

            • Anonymous says:

              The misnomer is that it has nothing to do with defence of minorities, but about promoting a homosexual agenda.  

              It is fairly obvious that Christians are a minority here.

              I am not at all confused. You are trying to make an equation between racism and disapprovingof homosexuality. They are not at all the same. 

              The law always imposes a standard on everyone else otherwise there would be chaos in a ‘free for all’ ‘everything goes’ society.  

              You are trying to exclude Christians from public institutions on account of the fact that they hold Christian views. This is religious discrimination. You are seeking to impose your liberal views on everyone else.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Another paranoid reaction from the Homophobia Lobby. Will those for moral decency please tell the homophobes to sit down and get a life.

        • Anonymous says:

          Moral decency and the gay lobby crusaders are mutually exclusive.

          • Anonymous says:

            Only in your wildest, and frankly disturbing, fantacies is someone trying to make you gay at the point of a sword.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bigotry and "moral decency" are mutually exclusive in my book.

      • Another issue says:

        The Gay Lobby.  It is like the Straight Lobby but with better interior design.

  41. 'The voice of reason' says:

    The writer of the article, Danielle Coleman, has done much on our island to support the implementation of human rights and as such I feel she is well within her rights to voice her opinion on the role Rev Sykes fulfils as a member of the HRC. The Reverend is undoubtedly an articulate man who holds much influence over many people here. He is also undoubtedly entitled to his opinion, as should everyone. Unfortunately his views put him squarely at odds with his position in the HRC – He should never have been appointed or accepted the position and he should stand down at the first possible instance.

  42. Pastor Bucket says:

    Another step backwards for Cayman!

    EQUALITY FOR ALL

    This man is not a good choice, "men of the cloth" should not be in these positions for they believe a man in the sky watches us, hates gays yet made us perfect, and that bits of our genitalia (male & female) should be cut off to please him.

    This is like making Adolf Hitler head of Jewish Community Affairs

    GO BACK TO SLEEP CAYMAN! THE MINISTERS WILL LOOK OUT FOR YOU!

    just don’t forget to pay your 10-15%!

  43. Anonymous says:

    My suspicion has always been that those who protest too much about homosexuality have something hidden in their own psychological closets that frighten them.

    Everyone knows of the huge number of closeted homosexuals in the clergy and I for one am not threatened with homosexuality as I am very comfortable with who I am …thank you.

    Straight or gay if you are overly threatened by either then look into a mirror and get honest with yourself instead of pointing your finger at others.

    Those that claim the moral high ground based upon their opinion of a supreme deity make me sick…when the final judgement takes place, they may in for a surprise…Let the ranting begin…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well done! Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen would be proud of you. Straight from the gay lobby propaganda playbook ‘After the Ball’ : "always accuse those who oppose homosexuality of themselves being closet homosexuals".  In addition in their book Kirk and Madsen outlined a strategy to change America’s perception of homosexuality and it included the following six strategies:

      1. Talk about homosexuals and homosexuality as loudly and often as possible. (Through sheer perseverance the opposition will be worn down).
      2. Portray homosexuals as victims, not aggressive challengers..
      3. Give homosexual protectors a “just” cause..
      4. Make homosexuals look good..
      5. Make the "victimizers" look bad..
      6. Solicit funds. For example, get corporate America and major foundations to financially support the homosexual cause.

      In particular, as a tactic the book promoted "jamming", in which Christians, traditionalists, or anyone else who opposes the gay agenda are publicly smeared.

      In his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the following regarding homosexuality and the law:

      Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct

      This is what is afoot here.

      • slowpoke says:

         

        The reason it was a "dissenting opinion" is because Scalia is a right wing extremist, unwilling to accept scientific fact and totally out of touch with cultural reality.

         

        I am less threatened by the "gay agenda" than  by the "fundamentalist Christian agenda".  At least the former do not try to convert me or impose their values on my behavior and beliefs.

        • Anonymous says:

           Anyone who does not agree with you is a "right wing extremist". FYI Justice Scalia was joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Thomas in his dissent. They are all very sound.

          • slowpoke says:

             

            A) (21:19)  I said Scalia is a right wing extremist.  I have many friends and family members with whom I disagree but I do not consider themt right wing extremists. Thomas is a joke – he has not even asked a question in years and Roberts lets his ultra-conservative Catholicism influence his judgement in these matters.  

            The vote was 6-3, not exactly close…

            B) (20:48)  I am sorry if you have actually had that experience.  None of the homosexual (gay/lesbians) I have met have ever tried to convert me to "Gaydom".  Also,many are practicing Christians and attend church more regularly than I do.  Finally, I have a good friend that studied theology at Yale University and is a clergyman in the US. He fully supports gay marriage and firmly believes it is simply not a central tenet to the Bible or Christianity.

            Christian beleifs are more variable than presented by the CMA.

             This is my last post on this thread.

            • Anonymous says:

              This is the porblem with the gay lobby they think that you can be silenced by simply applying a pejorative label like "right wing extremist". Never mind that Justice Scalia’s record has been variable on social issues and that his thinking is not out of line with the American mainstream. 

              You will always have the contrary views from individuals who allow their personal opinions to trump the authority of scripture. It means absolutely nothing. If there is one thing that there is remarkable consistency throughout the Christian church, from Roman Catholics to Evangelicals to Adventists, it is this issue.  Anyone who supports gay marriage rejects, in whole or in part, the authority of scripture in respect of matters of faith and morals. The two are absolutely incompatible.  

              Christianity is more than about how many times you attend church (although there is typically a strong correspondence between frequent attendance at church and disapproval of homosexuality); it is at least in part about submitting your personal opinions to what God has to say on any issue. There are people who commit fornication all the time and go to church. This does not mean that fornication is right or that they are automatically Christian because they go to church.       

      • Anonymous says:

        Firstly, I have never heard of the authors or the book and have no intention of reading it. All I know is that I’ve known a number of gay people, some I liked and some I didn’t, but I’ve never met a homophobe I liked.

        The term "gay lobby" keeps being used in these comments asif those of us who believe human rights are all are trying to make everyone gay — waiving this book around that we’ve never heard of,saying, look it’s all a gay plot to make the world gay! And you wonder why we think you are paranoid.

        Honestly, I really don’t care if you are gay, straight or you like to jump around the house in your underwear (so long as there are no kids around). Your sex life (or lack of) is of absolutely no interest me. All we (the "live and let live" lobby, the "keep your nose out of other people’s bedrooms" lobby) ask is that you keep your opinions about other people’s sex lives to yourself. If you think it’s wrong to be gay, then don’t have sex with someone of the same gender. If you think that masturbating will make you go blind, then don’t masturbate. None of us care.

        The "homophobia" lobby is the one with an agenda. They are the ones who want to impose their beliefs, their morals on the rest of us.

  44. anonymous says:

    Caymanians should know that the books that our children are NOW reading in school already include pictures and definitions of “Families” that show gay couples and other variations on the theme.

    This is now built in to the British curriculum or should I say the “national Curriculum” as the British thought using the word “British” made it too exclusive to their new multi cultural society experiment.

    undoubtedly we will some day become “OOTCs”–Other Overseas Territory Citizens!– less exclusive and divisive. maybe OTCs. crazy stuff.

    I believe that a country should have the right, by its own (read as indigenous) citizens to choose its laws and morals. Those should then be reflected in their constitution and way of living. Force feeding an expat (used in its generic sense) view of the world on those people should be a crime against humanity (or genocide) which ever term you prefer.

    Think about it….

  45. Anonymous says:

    "…such a move would lead to the mandatory inclusion of detailed acts of homosexuality in schools".

    I doubt very much that the good Reverend said that. Did you mean the teaching of homosexuality including its sexual practices as an acceptable lifestyle as a mandatory part of the curriculum? If so, given your stance, there is little doubt that is what you would wish. Obviously we cannot drawn any conclusion from the fact that it did not happen before there was a Bill of Rights.    

  46. Anonymous says:

    It is about time that someone was bold enough to speak out about this matter.  It is however very sad that in 2010 minority groups such as homosexuals still have no voice here in Cayman.

    The appointment of Reverend Sykes is likely to cause untold destruction to the development of human rights here. One only needs to look at his sermons and his general viewpoint to know that he doesn’t truely believe that rights are for all…..rights for him are for those that follow his preachings.

    Please step down now Mr Sykes.

  47. Anonymous says:

     

    This entire article seems be an ignominious attack on Rev. Sykes in particular (and on orthodox Christians in general) by the gay lobby.  Rev. Sykes is an intelligent and article gentleman who is well able to defend himself but it needs to be made clear that he does not stand alone.
    The writer makes a number of inaccurate or misleading statements. 
      
                "Reverend Sykes’ claims to defend a fundamental moral and biblical stance is little more than a matter of his own personal opinion".
     
    That is of course utter nonsense. Rev. Sykes’ view is the view that the orthodox position of the Christian church that it has held historically, is clearly supported by scripture and is overwhelmingly the position of Christians today.  The writer quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury without disclosing that those sentiments reflect his personal views and that, as Archbishop of Canterbury, he recommitted the Anglican Communion to its orthodox position that homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture at the Lambeth Conference in 2008. Since the writer wishes to quote religious dignitaries as evidence of the views of Christians generally, it is a glaring omission not to have quoted the Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of 1 billion Catholics:
                "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must  be seen as an objective disorder"
     
    No doubt Rev. Sykes (and the Pope) would agree with Archbishop Tutu that homophobia is unjust. Malicious speech or action against homosexuals is unchristian. However, the writer assumes an equation between holding homosexuality to be immoral and homophobia. This is false.  
     
    According to the U.S. National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality: 
     
    "The term "homophobia" is often used inaccurately to describe any person who objects to homosexual behavior on either moral, psychological or medical grounds. Technically, however, the terms actually denotes a person who has a phobia—or irrational fear—of homosexuality. Principled disagreement, therefore, cannot be labeled "homophobia".
    The American College of Pediatricians, commenting on the pro-homosexual bias which indicts contrary views as "homophobic", stated that such a response is "scientifically improper and demonstrates an anti-heterosexual viewpoint".
     
    To term Rev. Sykes position as "lack of tolerance of minorities" is to wantonly seek to mislead. There is no basis in fact for this statement.  To suggest that Rev. Sykes should renounce his Christian convictions in order to be a member of the HRC is an appalling affront not only to Rev. Sykes but to every Christian.   
          
     
    • Anonymous says:

      Apologies. "Article" should of course be "articulate".

      • Anonymous says:

        Very well articulated rebuttal- I agree 100%.  Thank you for clarifying the definition of homophobia for readers, as this article is very misleading.  We do not hate homosexuals, nor or we afraid of their behavior; we diasgree with the lifestyle in principal just as we disagree with, say, abortion, which is murder because Scripture clearly speaks against it.  Its really that simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      The article forgot to mention his weekly newspaper column and his various published writings against homosexuals. Rev. Sykes is publicly and unashamedly anti-gay: however, the point of the article that he has a clear, public personal vendetta against a minority group which makes him an inappropriate choice for a human rights commission – that is absolutely right.

      This post "defending" Rev. Sykes is remarkably similar in style and tone to all of Rev. Sykes’ previous writings…

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice try. I am not Rev. Sykes if that is what you are implying. Our writing styles are not at all similar, and Rev. Sykes will no doubt respond with his name attached.

        To describe his upholding of Christian morality as a "public personal vendetta" is ridiculous and unfair.

        • Anonymous says:

          it is not unfair at all. He is not "upholding Christian morality" – there are many Christians and clergy who do not share Rev. Sykes intense hatred of gays. 

          Who put Rev. Sykes in charge of "Christian morality" ? why is his definition any more right than another?

          its just HIS personal vendetta

          • Anonymous says:

            Every Christian is called to be a witness to God’s Word. The orthodox Christian position is very clear, consistent and universal. Those claiming to be Christians who promote their own opinion over the word of God will account to God. You can scream and stop your ears but you will not stop our voices. 

            • Anonymous says:

              Nor would we want to because we believe in freedom of speech. However, we will not stop disagreeing with you…..because we believe in freedom of speech.

              • Anonymous says:

                You believe in freedom of speech if the views expressed are in agreement with yours. Therefore Rev.Sykes voice is not to be heard in the HRC. The whole effort here is to silence Christians by making them feel as if their values and principles = hate.    

    • Joe Bananas says:

      Your entire post IS totally in defence of The good rev. and his view.  However its is just YOUR view of him .  He most likely is a good reverend to his flock but they are free to choose to believe and follow him or not.  (A human right)  His view is all about a specific group and their beliefs and therein lies the rub.  Human rights should be about the rights of all and not just a specific segment. To put someone in charge of human rights that have a specific view of Who is entitled and who is not is just one of the many reasons that Cayman is not ready to be part of the modern world and should be considered just another self serving country.  Freedom for the special ones (in this case Christians only) always means freedom denied to the rest.  Christian rights are not and should not be considered Human rights.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. As I explained my post was not only a defence of Rev. Sykes but of our rights as Christians who share his views.

        If I understand correctly you are saying that gays have rights but Christians do not. This is only exposes the hypocrisy of your position.  We are also an endangered minority.

        • Mozzie Fodder says:

          That makes things twice as hard for gay Christians then…….

        • Joe Bananas says:

          You do not understand correctly. Read this twice:( Human rights should be about the rights of all and not just a specific segment.)

            Unless you are actually saying that it is your God given right as a christian to say who else has rights and who does not.

           If you still do not understand then I can not help you any further.

          • Anonymous says:

            You also said "Christian rights are not and should not be considered Human rights."

            • Joe Bananas says:

              Christian rights as in all Christians.   Humans as in all Humans.

              Hint:  All Christians are Human but not all Humans are Christians.

              If you still don’t get it then I am happy for you if you are happy being just a Christian.

              • Anonymous says:

                That response is just "bananas". It makes absolutely no sense. If gay rights are human rights because gays are humans, then Christian rights must be human rights because Christians are also humans. If Christian rights are not human rights because not all humans are Christians, then gay rights are not human rights because not all humans are gays.

                Simple logic really.

                • Joe Bananas says:

                  And the key word here is "simple".  One more time because I think you are really trying to grasp this concept.

                  Gay rights are gay rights.  Not human rights.

                  Christian rights are Christian rights. Not human rights.

                  Women rights are women rights. Not human rights.

                  Etc. Etc.

                  Human Rights are Human rights.  All Humans, Gays, Christians,women,etc. with no one left out.  Especially on purpose.  O.K.?

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Let me see if I understand you correctly. You agree that the suggestion that gays be permitted to marry is not a human right, but instead something gays are claiming as a right?   

                    • Joe Bananas says:

                      I now understand that you do not have the capacity to understand.  Hence your dependence on others to tell you what you should understand.  Please stop TRYING to understand.  Go ahead and just trust your pastor to lead you to Wherever he wants you.

        • Dennis Smith says:

          When slavery was abolished a young man joyfully ran down the road clapping his hands and swinging his arms with wild abandonment. Shouting: “I’m Free, I’m Free” he accidentally hit an old man in the face. The senior halted him and said: “Son you might be free but your freedom stops at my nose.”

          Catchall phases like “Christian Rights”, “Gay Rights” or perhaps even “Farmer’s Rights” are useful for some purpose, possibly to emphasize an injustice or as a campaign slogan for change.

          A human right is something different: it is the freedom to choose – to be – Christian, Gay or possibly a Farmer.

          My right to choose is equal to yours. Believing in a god or having a sexual preference is your personal and private choice, neither superior nor inferior to my personal choices. But your freedom to choose stops where mine begins.
           

          • Anonymous says:

            Those lines are not so clearly drawn as your anology might suggest. For example, freedom of sexual orientation has been taken to mean that the homosexual lifestyle should be promoted in the school curriculum and others must be forced to accept that having homosexual ‘parents’ is equal to having heterosexual parents. Well that certainly does affect my child and my family.  I would not wish for him to be corrupted by such thinking. At that point my space has been imposed upon.  

  48. Anonymous says:

     A well written and brave commentary ! we need to all start speaking out against such person or persons who use the word of God to excuse their actions to discrimination and encourage intolerance for individual differences.

    Well said and keep speaking out 

  49. Anonymous says:

    Thank God for Reverend sykes, he’s the kind of X-pat that we welcome to this country.  He is one of us and he cares about our island and its people. He is a real Christian, he is for real. His principles are Godly  regarding his stand against homosexuality, while he loves the homosexual and hopes that God would save them and change their lives.  I find no fault with the reverend. He is a man of God.

    God Bless Rev. Sykies. He is a blessing to the Cayman Islands I would approve of one million work permits for anyone coming to this country if  they  all had the character, personality and charisma of our dear Reverend Sykes. We need a decent person on the Human HRights commission, and he is the right person for the job. Leave him alone. God placed him there and don’t you touch him.

    He has proven character, and anyone questioning his character and his beliefs need to go fly a kite !

  50. No rights in Cayman says:

    Our rights will be protected by the UK imposing them on Cayman after a resident sues the UK for failing to meet its obligations under the Human Rights Act by signing off on a Constitution which failed to bring the ECHR into force in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      The new Constitution did bring the ECHR into force in Cayman. There is no right protected under the ECHR that is not protected under the Bill of Rights.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where in the ECHR is the right not to be discriminated on the basis of national origin exempted in the case of business and economic activity? 

        Where is our current right of domestic recourse for a breach of rights obligations?

        Where is the right to vote and stand in elections protected to the standards required by the first protocol?

        Where . . . .

  51. slowpoke says:

     

    Not only was it totally inappropriate to nominate the Rev. Sykes to the HRC in the first place, it was even more outrageous that he accepted this appointment. 

    Here is a man that has repeatedly publicly spoken about the dangers and threats posed by such Commissions.  His sole purpose in accepting this nomination is to thwart Human Rights in Cayman and impose his “truth” (as he states in his recent letter to CNN).

    He is undoubtedly bright and a Biblical scholar.  However, the requirements for being an effective member of a HRC go beyond that. There is a requirement to be open to new ideas, appreciate interpersonal and cultural differences, accept and come to terms with one’s personal discomfort about differing values, behaviours and lifestyles, etc.

    Doing “more of the same” because I read it in a book, based on stories from 2000 years ago, translated and revised many times, that I now interpret this way, and I want you to go along with my beliefs… is simply not appropriate for someone on this Commission.  

  52. Anonymouse says:

    The problem with articles like this is that it just promots the idea that if you don’t agree with the writer’s opinion you should shut up and keep quiet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apparently, this is not true.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Funny, but it doesn’t look like that is what has happened.

      However, I can’t imagine how anyone could agree that hebelongs on a HUMAN RIGHTS commission… How can he stay true to his religious convictions when it infringes on others human rights…

  53. what a mess says:

    Very well said Danielle!

    I agree 100%. The Human Rights Commision should be made up of those with open minds. Those who respect that ALL humans deserve and are entitled to Human Rights.

    The ONLY qualification being that one is human!…period!

    • anonymous says:

      I believe that each of the members of the HRC are human…… Did you mean humane?