By Aaron Humes: An edited version of a video posted some eight months ago on the website xpmedia.com by the Shiloh Fellowship, led by evangelist Patricia King and featuring local pastor and vice-president of the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), Scott Stirm, speaking to a U.S. congregation, has raised the ire of Belizeans over certain statements made by Stirm in it.
But the pastor is not backing down. While he first offered but then decided not to go ahead with an on-the-record interview with this reporter, he insisted during a lengthy conversation by text message that the video is, quote, “a malicious attempt to discredit me” and said that the party who “chopped up” the video did so to imply things he never said.
Stirm also directed us to his own response via Facebook, where he claims to set the record straight. Stirm says on the video that he is part of, quote, “plotting the overthrow of power”, end quote, in Belize. He says it was in the context of joking around with the parent of a high school classmate, who 30 years ago questioned whether he was working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency or Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This was because he chose to drop out of a University honors program to come to Belize in 1983. When the parent would not take no for an answer as he denied the claim, he decided to play along, suggesting that they not tell anyone. The overthrow he refers to, he said, is in fact the power of darkness in the land.
According to Stirm, he has shared this funny story countless times in speaking to young people all over the nation, and at the meeting from which the video was taken, he and all in attendance laughed. Secondly, Stirm told us that his contention that Haiti was “given to the Devil 200 years ago,” supposedly at the time of that country’s fight for independence, is in fact “common knowledge,” as residents of that country have spoken to him about it.
Finally, Stirm denies being a racist or anti-Garifuna, based on his statements in the video where he speaks of converting a former Garifuna buye, whom he claims had used her arts to kill people, to Christianity. She later denounced the spiritual practices of the Garifuna people, particularly the Dugu ceremony, as “witchcraft” and calling to “demonic spirits” rather than Garifuna ancestors.
Stirm notes that his family has raised two Garifuna boys as his own. In his Facebook statement, Stirm insists that he is not ashamed of what he has done and will continue to do it; further, he characterizes the production as being of an “LGBT adversary” trying to malign him. But he says he has forgiven this person and those who are trying to vilify him.
In our conversation, Stirm predicted that the Government, quote, “is about to (make) some bold LGBT moves. This (video is just trying) to discredit the ones standing the way of that. That’s my gut feel.” End quote.
Stirm added that his statistics of over 80 percent of Caribbean children born out of wedlock and a majority not knowing who their fathers are is legitimate and promised to direct us to his sources, which he has not done as of news time.
Nonetheless, on Facebook, the debate has raged, with some Garifuna activists such as Rhenae Nunez calling on Stirm to apologize in particular for the statements about the Garifuna.
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