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
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
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
and the Tribune
. You can reach him at