by Colin Hyde
Many Christians, some of them Catholics, are disappointed in Pope Francis for his embrace of Gays. There isn’t overwhelming approval for the nonconformist Pope’s embrace of Muslims either. “Historic” is the word Margarita Arredondas used in a piece in Atalayar to describe the Pope’s 2019 visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace with Muslim leaders. In a 2022 piece in Catholic News Agency, Courtney Mares said the Pope had been to Bahrain, and while there he said “that Catholics and Muslims alike are called to work to promote peace in the world,” that “The God of peace never brings about war, never incites hatred,” that “We, who believe in Him, are called to promote peace…”
Most Christians, including many Catholics, believe that Muslims are pagans, in line for no eternal reward. Bah, according to that strict line, those of us who are Christians shouldn’t expect to make acquaintance with Leigh Hunt’s great hero, Abou Ben Adhem, because loving fellow human beings, God’s other children, is not enough to get us a seat on the plane to heaven.
Ah, our Pope, he is soft on other religions, and he isn’t too hard on gay people. David Crary, in an Associated Press story in 2023, said the Vatican had released a story in which the Pope “formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, stipulating that people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to ‘an exhaustive moral analysis’ to receive it.” Crary reported that Francis suggested such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if they didn’t confuse the ritual with the sacrament of marriage.
The Pope, a great man, hasn’t gone as far as Jimmy Carter, another great man, who said he couldn’t see Jesus turning down loving gays who wanted to get married. If you are reading me for the first time, I want you to know that I believe Jimmy is a really special brother. But I think he went too far with the nuptials thing. Like the Pope says, gays should be kept away from the sacrament of marriage.
He has no problems with gay men in the priesthood. Thinking about it, a law to block Gays from the priesthood would deny men from serving just because of their biology. And why should the private sexual inclinations of a man matter in the priesthood when they are called to celibacy? Unfortunately, some gay priests really messed up. We can expect that the non-gay priests and nuns are not too happy with their major failure.
None of my family in the US whom I’ve maintained close contact with are fans of Leviticus. I don’t think I was ever a real homophobe. I think when I learned about gay love’s existence I was shocked, incredulous. I will say I don’t like anyone bringing homosexuality around me, but I don’t like anyone exhibiting their heterosexuality around me either. I am comfortable with the civilized world, which is the polar opposite of the animal world between sunrise and sunset. In our world, asexuality is the rule in the daytime.
Yes, I think the Pope is great. But I think he does have to watch his steps. The Bahai’s teach that Jesus had to temper His teachings because His understanding was so above the people of His time. Staying in that same stream, our hero, Leviticus, he couldn’t have explored this bad behavior beyond its ramifications. Whoa, I just asked Google why Lot offered his daughters to the mob, and Quora popped up with a hundred interesting answers. The simple story is that he didn’t want the men to engage in homosexual sex. I don’t know what Lot’s wife was about when she looked back—I think that means “returned” to that hedonistic place. Eve sank Adam, but Lot, glory for him for keeping his head on the journey out of Sodom.
The reason I say the Pope has to step very carefully is that he could be drawn into the frivolous. This 2024 story I read in NBC News, by Matt Lavietes, said 28% of Gen Z adults – the 18 to 25 group – are LGBTQ “according to a report released this week by the Public Religion Research Institute.” Lavietes said “the report found 72% of Gen Z adults identified as straight, 15% as bisexual, 5% as gay or lesbian, and 8% as something else.” If you read what I read there, what that says is that 5% are gay, 23% can and are fooling around, and 72% are heterosexual.
I give props to the Pope for embracing true gays, stopping short of the nonsensical step of welcoming rice thrown on their heads. But this 23%, to embrace them is to embrace promiscuity, fooling around. He has to see the clear separation between fooling around and desperate prostitution. And I too have to watch my step, so I’m changing topics, heading to a more safe space.
A close neighbor looking to take a page from El Salvador’s book
Honduras has taken a page on violence control from El Salvador’s book, and now reports are that Costa Rica, one of the two wealthiest countries on the Central American Isthmus, is contemplating doling out a dose of the tough medicine El Salvador gave out to transform itself from the world’s most murderous country in 2015 — according to Dan Rivers at itvNews, El Salvador had “106 homicides per 100,000 people” that year—to one of the most peaceful as it relates to homicides today.
A 2024 report in Reuters by Alvaro Murillo and Isabel Woodford, “Once tranquil Costa Rica eyes Salvadoran-inspired response to crime surge,” said that while the murder rate in El Salvador “plunged to 2.4 after being the highest in the world less than a decade earlier”… “Costa Rica saw its murder rate jump to 17.2 per 100,000 people in 2023 from 11.7 in 2018.” The report said “whispers of support for tougher policies are growing, fueled by fears for the country’s $2 billion tourism sector”, and while El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, “was voted Costa Ricans’ favorite political leader in an October survey by research firm Indice”, the poll ratings of Costa Rica’s president, Rodrigo Chaves, “have plummeted nearly 30 percentage points since his election in May 2022.”
Reuters said analysts attributed “Costa Rica’s spike in homicides” to “gang warfare among cocaine traffickers.” The report said “gang recruitment was helped by growing social discontent and unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
No country escaped the economic ravages of the pandemic, and, as explained by sociologists the world over, bad economic times foster an environment for more crimes. Human beings, being animals, their first need is food, and the cost of that commodity has increased tremendously since 2020, the year when the pandemic hit.
Determining the borders
So, we have finally, finally arrived at the determination of what lands in the Toledo District will fall under communal ownership. This process should have started in earnest over a decade ago, and we are here now, at last. The MLA spokesperson who said they had gone through the process already and so it is only for the government to recognize, to effectively agree to, what the MLA considers to be communal lands—maybe they should be excused, maybe their argument is only a negotiation tactic.
I thought the theater, tearing up the draft proposal, was unfair to the country. The MLA must understand that GoB is negotiating on behalf of the people. This is a tikilish matter, drawing borders, and we must be respectful at all times.
We know the MLA has gotten financial support from friends from America, financial support that was essential to getting their position before the court, and the great victory won. But on the ground, the friends are clueless about the Belize reality. Too much zeal is spoiling a beautiful thing.