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Referendum on Gender Equality -Part II

Presented: June 5th, 2016

Once again as a Nation, we have come to a defining moment. Some promulgate that Tuesday’s Referendum will elevate us in the international Community’s eyes, while others contend it will change the Nation’s trajectory spiritually and morally. What ought to have been an occasion for sober, intelligent and mature debating, degenerated into name calling and vilification of those whose views differed. To add insult to injury in a most glaring expression of brain washing, public funds were used to fuel a one-sided campaign. With curiosity it was noted that, respected and well credentialed Jurists interpreted the Bills and their intentional and or un-intentional consequences in differing ways. While the Christian Church also had apologists for and against, all or some of the Bills. All the above have given rise to mass confusion, if not ambivalence/ideological suspicion. If trusted voices are so divided, how can it reasonably be expected that, the masses make sense of all that is demanded of them and to ultimately vote their conscience?

Let us now agree on some undeniable, non-negotiables:

• Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God – the Source and Ground of all being, without whom we cease to be. (Paul Tillich)
• Human being are given the gift of freedom and twinned to it, the power of choice.
• Human beings are free to choose to misuse or mismanage freedom.
• Since all human beings made in the image and likeness of God, gifted with freedom and the ability to choose, every human being is to be protected along with their inalienable rights.

N.B. While freedom is an inalienable right, the responsible use of freedom must be influence and informed by an ethical frame work that beings structure to morality

The biblical tradition of Jews and Christians affirms that, in the eyes of God, male and female are equal though differing in function (Genesis 1:26-30). Any undermining of this affirmation is dehumanizing and can only lead to exploitation. For those who spurn religious interpretation, simply put: there are rights that go along with being human.

Reality Check
The head win that challenges the upcoming Referendum is the secularization of societies by dethroning Judeo-Christian principles and values. From the 15th century there has been a transporting of Christendom to the West by the agents of European empires in search of gold and glory but in God’s Name. Without question, Judeo Christian principles influenced and informed Laws and the Christian Church enjoyed a place around the ‘Table of Decision Making.’ N.B. But, all this has changed as the ‘Empire of Money’ is calculatedly changing the cultural norms by peddling a mindset that morality (human behavior) must also be given the status of inalienable right without question or critical analysis.

Secularization in Roads:
✓ The notion of Absolutes was challenged
✓ The notion of God, critiqued and in some causes rejected and in other instances, the door opened for pluralistic expression.
✓ The notion of family broaden to the extent that new models of marriage are embraced.
✓ The notion of human identity and sexuality not just critiqued, but, totally redefined and libertine views embraced as progressive thinking.

So, strong is this ‘headwind’ that, every Country in the West that once were sympathetic to Judeo-Christian views and principles have colluded and conformed to secularity, while 20 Muslim countries have changed laws to reflect Postmodern ideology.

So the fear of unintentional consequences in light of global realities should not be dismissed and those who raise concern vilification and or labelled. To try and say words do not have meaning is a dishonest assertion, because words take on flesh. To say that Laws are not subject to interpretation is also a dishonest assertion, for daily opposing interpretations are posited and judgment in pronounced by those mandated to hear arguments and interpret them against the spirit of the law.

N.B. Since the Constitution is the highest Law in the Land, every citizen ought to be protected by it but not every action of citizens condoned in it. If such was not the case, there would be no prison built for those who are human beings, but by their actions misuse freedom and compromise the wellbeing of others and the safe/smooth running of society.

Questions for Consideration:

❖ Are human beings made in the image and likeness of God and therefore FREE?
❖ Are human beings created male and female (same but opposite) like the rest of creation?
❖ Does the dehumanization, exploitation, discrimination of a human being, honor or dishonor God?
❖ Is there a move to export cultural norms that are ultra vires to the Judeo Christian Religion?
❖ Does one have the right to stand firm in what he/she believes.
❖ Does one have to undermine his/her belief to accept be respectful of an others’ belief?
❖ What role does ethics play in morality?
❖ Should the choices human beings make be accepted without critique or challenge?
❖ Can or should one divorce one’s spiritual beliefs in a National debate?
❖ If one votes one’s conscience is that a form of discrimination?
❖ What are the true reasons for this referendum National agitation of international pressures?
❖ Why these four Bills out of the myriad of recommendations of the Constitution Commission?
❖ Has there been authentic/ unbiased education on the Bills?
❖ Why the current wording and positioning of each Bill?
❖ Are there unintentional consequences in any or all of the Bills?
❖ Has the process of or voting been clearly outlined?
❖ Have clear instructions been given as to where one is to vote?
❖ Is there a deliberate attempt to create mass confusion to prejudice the outcome of the Referendum?
❖ Is the populace being cajoled surreptitiously?
❖ Is there a time and point where the Christian Church and Christian must take a stand?
❖ Is freedom a license to permit any or everything?
❖ Is Democracy never to be critiqued and is it always rights?

By now each person registered to vote should have soberly and critically asked these or similar question and is now prepared to make a decision with a ‘formed conscience.’ No one has power over your vote and what you vote will determine what kind of Bahamas we all live in. Therefore, I leave the sage’s admonition with you:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.
Proverbs 3:5-8 — NRSV

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