ON REFLECTION – Lord, come for your world!
We used to have crime, but not like this. Not that it has increased in terms of the much-vaunted statistics which the police quote when they say “crime down”. Down where? Down by me? But it’s far more brutal, so much so that it has me frighten’, not just scared.
Even when I think of being at church when I get a Sunday off, I get frighten’; for who is to say that some idiot won’t decide he could make a killing – literally? – out of the few cents people eke out in these hard times to put into the offering?
You’re not safe at work either, by the way. The girls at Campus Trendz were working. Nor at home; so all we can do is pray for at least one remaining refuge: church. Lord, come for your world!
And speaking of church, I’ve been studying the same-sex marriage issue which is now law in six states of the United States.
Can you imagine some of Barbados’ goodly priests and pastors, who interpret the Bible with razor-keen precision and can deliver sermons that change some people’s perspective on life forever, being mandated by law to marry any same-sex couple coming before them?
Remember this would be the law of the land and refusal to marry gay men or lesbians would be a breach of it, leading to arrest, a charge and a conviction.
Would our ministers of the Word in Barbados compromise? Or would they and their followers become like the first century Christians and be forced to hide and practise their religion, since being an official their church would mandate them to marry any gay couple at any time?
Sounds unimaginable? Far-fetched? We were on the way there in 2003 when the airwaves and headlines screamed that Government was considering legalizing homosexuality and prostitution, but debate and concern abated after Barbadians were told to “cease and settle”.
Now it’s drawing close to our shores again with American lawmakers voting recently to legalize same-sex marriage – effective July 24 – making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples can marry and, according to analysts, “giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born”.
As this law makes its way across leading countries of the West, namely Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden as well as parts of the United States, it’s likely that the Caribbean won’t be far behind.
But I wonder if the Church, though not silent, is aware of what the law will eventually do to it. Are church leaders seeing that true Christianity will no longer be on the side of “law and order” and Christians will therefore face prosecution, persecution and God knows what else?
As I ramble on about the United States, let me also note my concern for the partisan stance and greed that drive the Republican political machinery. The divisiveness in Washington is mind-boggling. Never have I seen a United States President so disrespected!
And the American electorate – daily facing job loss and other vagaries of this recession – is so insecure that the national problems have become, in their confused minds, the Obama Problem. Far from being America’s crisis, it is Obama’s crisis.
Job No. 1 is “get rid of Obama”! No one seems to remember the most recent wastage of the country’s resources by President George W Bush, who inherited a surplus in the economy and immediately proceeded to make the rich richer via tax incentives and loopholes, and then launched into full-scale war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The United States debt crisis talks in recent weeks have made local Opposition criticism sound like child’s play; for there seems to be not even a subconscious acknowledgement that America is their country and, whether Republican or Democrat, they all have to live there.
Sadly, the most authoritative voices on economic and social matters are joining the call for Obama’s head, as he articulates a balanced approach, shared sacrifice and tax hikes on the wealthy while criticizing the Republican-favoured “cuts only” approach that will make the “working poor” even poorer.
If you’ve got this far, dear reader, you’ll realize I’ve touched on various issues but, unlike fellow columnists, I can’t see the lighter side of any.
I’m too concerned about earthquakes – we recently had a small one off the island’s north coast; about people fit as a fiddle but dropping dead without warning; about not being able to turn on a light, store food or touch base with long-lost acquaintances via the Internet if Light & Power hikes persist; about some using hardship as an excuse to rob and kill people; and about any further pain that tomorrow’s Budget could bring.
I’m also a tad concerned for those who make light of these things.