Carnival in its present form is an unproductive, drunken, lewd exhibition that does not lead to better living or life
This past weekend, The Bahamas experienced its fifth edition of Bahamas Carnival. If persons want to establish a parade or cultural event, that is certainly their right – whether we are in favor of it or not. I personally never favored the idea because my perception of it was that it was an imported culture that was not intrinsically Bahamian and did nothing to add to the cultural identity or development of Bahamian culture.
The idea seemed to be flawed from the beginning, and to me it seemed to be a bad investment for the country since it was not enhancing the cultural, moral or spiritual values of a country that has stated that it prides itself on these things.
Without injecting moral or spiritual issues it seemed to be just a bad idea period. My personal views aside, however, the organizers have a right to follow their passion and develop what they feel is in their interests and the interests of those who share a similar view. We have a free country and cannot take away the right of persons to stage whatever event they want to as long as it does not violate the law.
This leads me to my personal views about carnival. What has been happening and circulating on social media from all appearances is against the law of the land. A parade with skimpy attire is one thing; lewd and indecent public behavior is another. I cannot understand how Bahamians can seek to defend something so vulgar and perverted happening in front of children and young people in public view. Something is wrong with this picture. Yet, we find persons attacking those who question this behavior and deriding those who object – particularly church leaders.
My question for those who are defending this is: does this type of behavior make us a better people and enhance our culture? Does this help to produce decent citizens and encourage children to act with decency and order in their behavior? I think not. This type of unfettered debauchery only leads to a more decadent society, exacerbating the things we say we would not like to see in The Bahamas. This activity does not promote modesty or decency; does not help young people to have a healthy view of sex and decent behavior; and in fact reduces us to a level of sexual decadence that is sure to erode the moral fabric of our country and lead to further decay. We want a decent society built on family values, but we are promoting something that is guaranteed to produce the opposite.
It is interesting to note that from a biblical perspective the Word of God (Romans 8-6) states that “to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”. If we follow our fleshly desires in an unbridled manner, the result is certainly death. It all begins with a breakdown in morals and values, which in turn causes a breakdown in foundational institutions, which in turn creates and perpetuates disorder.
The job of the church is to hold up the mirror of the Word and to warn the nation of the consequences of the choices we make. Someone needs to speak when they see people preparing to walk off of an upcoming cliff and fall to their own deaths. I have been on both sides. Years ago, I would have been part of the crowd, looking for “loose” women and intoxication. Something changed in me and I saw the light; I saw the words of the Bible (Proverbs 14-12) where it says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is death and destruction.” I have been there, and I have also helped to rescue many who have fallen victim to what I had once fallen victim to. You can attack me if you want to, but truth is truth, and sometimes people cannot or are unwilling to handle the truth. The choice is yours, but you cannot determine my choice; I choose to speak. I choose to warn. I choose to show that there is a better way.
Carnival in its present form is an unproductive, drunken, lewd exhibition that does not lead to better living or life. It appears to bring out the base nature of our people and distorts an opportunity to have a cultural expression that is potentially a festive activity without being indecent. I cannot support it, but I support the right of persons who want to stage events in a free society as long as it does not violate decency, order and our written law. Hopefully we can do better and in the future at the very least the organizers will prohibit lewd behavior under their watch. There is a right to stage a festival or carnival but, as far as I am aware, there is no right to public indecency and to break the law.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.