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Columns : The New Bahamian - Joseph Gaskins Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

A Brief Easter Message from the Less-Than-Religious
By Joseph Gaskins
Apr 13, 2012 - 12:31:25 PM

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If my memory serves me correctly, there is no holier time for traditional Christians than Easter. From Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday, Christians celebrate the miracle of salvation gained by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is this very salvation, that which spares us from Hell eternal, which makes living a Christian life paramount. Indeed, so important is this salvation that we Bahamians have endeavored to fashion our nation in the image of Christianity—giving the principles of Christianity primacy, leaning on the wisdom of Christian religious leaders, and ensuring that our political authorities are all practicing Christians. For us, Easter is not only a religious holiday; we can say it is even a political one.

In a world where the battle between religiosity and secularism seemingly rages on (but in actuality where a resurgence of religious fundamentalism is undeniably the trend), I would gather that most Bahamians imagine our nation as 700 islands of Christianity in a sea of profane popular culture on the verge of being submerged in its rising tide. Among the many threats to our way of life, in recent months religious leaders have turned the spotlight on pornography , gambling and a “ three-pack special demon combo ” plaguing our country. All worrisome dangers…meanwhile, in Grand Bahama, significant numbers of high school kids are getting hooked on cough syrup partially to “escape a seemingly unhappy reality.”

For most, these social ills are the result of a breakdown in the family. Rev. Mario Moxie suggested at the Democratic National Alliance’s  Townhall Meeting on Family and Social Development that as the family goes, so too does the nation. Part of the problem for Moxie is that parents are absent, after all God never intended for women to work outside of the home. There was no mention of how God feels about a capitalist economic system that gives women few options other than working in order for their families to survive or whether a Christian nation should implement a living-wage so people who work can actually afford to live decent lives. That’s just your regular dose of patriarchal hegemony; the same hegemony that makes marital-rape a controversial issue in a country where women are most at danger in their own homes.

The truth is that the Bahamian family has always existed in diverse and varying forms based on racial and class social norms. The appeal to a time when the nuclear family reigned supreme in our Bahamaland is middle-class nationalist mythology—any historical work detailing the history of the Bahamian family illustrates this clearly.

Despite prayer in school, national prayer breakfasts, churches on almost every corner, services on every radio station, Christian-biased religious education classes in public schools, ministers’ command of the print-media, pastors influence in politics and the other ways in which church and state are intertwined in the Bahamian national context we are observing the failure of both.

When you look out of your window, as you read the newspapers or watch the news, what you’re seeing is society ill-equipped for the complications of life in modernity—a horse and buggy nation in a Lamborghini world. 

While we argue about gambling, porn and drugs in the streets; while political propaganda machines tell voters to beware of “impending” same-sex marriage legislation, in your own home, right next to your anointing olive oil, is the latest chemical high.

Tell me, what kind of cognitive dissonance is required for us to take the streets and even fight for men whose effects on our lives as a people is debatable, when we do not fight for the men in our own homes—the men who are failing in our schools, populating Her Majesty’s Fox Hill Prison and being slaughtered in the streets in growing numbers each year?

We would so easily incarcerate and even hang our sons, while allowing our political high priests, themselves imbued with near messianic qualities by their followers, to sweep us up into pagan revelry with their empty sermons at party rallies and “grill-and-chills” only to find ourselves in another five years at the feet of a deity bereft of any will or power to fundamentally change our condition: the “golden calf” of Bahamian party politics.

I will not challenge the Christian claim to ultimate salvation through the one true religion, not in this article at least. Instead, I want to suggest that today, during this election season, we should be careful not to be drawn into the false religion of empty party politics that can offer no salvation at all. Indeed, we have begun to circle around our own version of the golden calf. I imagine there being three high priests attending this iridescent beast. And, while these priests may represent the different denominations of this perilous religious exercise, when all is said and done their reliance on the golden calf is clear. Whichever of these communities of faith come to dominate, we end up at the feet of a cold, metallic, empty idol that has no real power.

Joey Gaskins is a graduate of Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY with a BA in Politics. He was born in Grand Bahama Island and is currently studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he has attained his MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies and has begun a Doctoral Degree in Sociology. Joey also writes for  the TheBahamasWeekly.com,  Nassau Liberal  
www. nassauliberal. webs.com  and the Tribune . You can reach him at  j.gaskins@lse.ac.uk


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