Can The Bahamas remain silent?

Dear Editor,

Like me, I am sure you have been following the news story unfolding in the USA – our neighbors to the north.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer is not being taken lightly and has only ripped open the racial wound, which can never seem to heal.

The racial wound has been festering, and as I write, the pus is oozing out in “the land of the free and home of the brave”. The entire world is following the news/development and the handling of this new racial killing. What should be our response as believers? Should the church remain silent?

Genesis tells us that God created male and female in His own image and likeness. God created one race – the human race. Regrettably, sin has caused us to create many races, which have divided us as a people.

According to worldly standards, the vast majority of us in the Caribbean belong to the negroid race – the Black race. Some of us, however, have tried to find ways to escape our Africanness.

We gladly and proudly embrace and can trace our European ancestry but shun the Black part of us.

Sadly, the Black part is demonized by some – a “sin”, which must be avoided and never spoken of in private or public.

Some of us have secretly wished we were of a lighter hue, while others have resorted to bleaching. We do not believe that our complexion or hair texture is good enough unless it is closely related to our European counterparts. Mentally, we are still enslaved in the region.

In the story of Esther written in the Bible, Mordecai gets wind of the devious scheme planned by Haman to annihilate the Jewish people throughout the Persian kingdom.

Esther, having been crowned queen, is also a Jew and is now in a prominent position in the kingdom.

Mordecai tries to get her to plead for clemency at the highest level, but she hesitates, preferring not to get involved.

Mordecai tells Esther, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NIV)

Mordecai’s statement to Esther echoes exactly what we as the church (believers) and Black people around the world should be doing – seeking redress for all people regardless of their skin coloration since ALL LIVES MATTER.

Silence is a very typical behavior when we fear losing our privileged position, not wanting to suffer, not wanting to speak up for fear of repercussions.

As the church, we have been called to be salt and light in this world. The church is called to make a difference, to share with God’s people regardless of where they are. You may ask, “Who, then, are God’s people?” All people groupings are God’s people. God is a god of variety.

Every person on planet earth is being affected by the new coronavirus. The virus does not discriminate. Caucasians, negroes, mongoloids are all affected, and many lives have been snuffed out by the deadly virus. So, if we are the same, why should the laws favor one above another?

We cannot and must never, ever believe that one race should arrogate upon itself a so-called superior position while others are trampled on. That is certainly not what the Bible teaches. Jesus Christ died to save sinners. Paul reminds us in Romans 6:23 that all people groupings have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

The situation in Mordecai’s days required urgent action.

Should Esther fail to play her part in saving the Jewish people, she herself might perish as well.

As the church, we cannot stand aside and say/do nothing because what is unfolding in the USA has nothing to do with us since that country is not ours.

May I remind you that if you have ever traveled to the U.S. and/or have made plans to do so in the near future, you are seen not as a nationality but as a race – Black (regardless of the shade of blackness).

We are affected by the situation and therefore as a region and the church, we ought to speak out against injustices.

In a globalized world, people should be able to travel around freely without being discriminated against and the judicial system should represent objective truth rather than subjective truth. Whenever the system does not work, anarchy and chaos will reign.

There is some reassurance from Mordecai that God is well able to bring the salvation of His people by other means.

For the days we are living in the church is the solution and Christians need to stand up to unjust laws.

We have a mandate to speak up for the voiceless.

The sanctity of life is present all throughout the Bible.

The same Bible that most western countries use to take their oath to public offices tells us that we should speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.

Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.

Carlyle Peart, B.A.; M. Div., associate pastor of Christian Education, Grace Community Church, Nassau

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