Antigua Observer:- A former lesbian and LGBT activist who has since become a pastor is arguing that Christian-based businesses in the country should have the right to deny jobs to LGBT applicants, in certain circumstances.
Sharleen Cothran is in Antigua for an event hosted by Concerned Christians for a Healthy Society.
She said that certain criteria must be met in order to turn away lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who apply for job openings.
Asked if it was okay to deny a person a job because they are an LGBT, the pastor said that it depends on the situation.
“Are you a Christian-based organisation? Are you a church… a faith based organisation with deeply held religious beliefs? Are you a counsellor for children at a Christian camp? I would have to qualify that question,” Pastor Cothran said.
She gave an example of when, based on sexual preferences, a person can be turned down from a job.
“If it’s Hobby Lobby [an American chain of retail arts and crafts stores]; for instance this is a Christian organisation, this is a Christian company. This is not a non-profit organisation, this is not voluntary, this is a job. But they have deeply held religious beliefs so they should have the right to say we do not accept a [LGBT] person who holds your beliefs because we have different beliefs,” Cothran said.
Pastor Cothran also gave her take on whether businesses can refuse to serve members of the LGBT community saying that it was unfortunate that LGBT members have taken legal action to force businesses to serve them.
She gave the example of a Christian baker in the US. “Every morning she served who she knew was a lesbian couple, served them bread each morning, had wonderful conversations with them. They were great customers of hers, but when they decided to have their own ‘wedding’, she simply said: ‘I cannot do it based on my deeply held beliefs but I would like to refer you to another bakery down the street’,” Cothran said.
The evangelist said that example shows why she is upset with the homosexual community.
“They refused and decided to turn on her, a person who had been a friend of theirs for all this time and they decided to sue her. And so this is the problem I am having with the homosexual community it’s not just co-exist, it’s co-exist or else,” the pastor said.