Govt intrusion into the affairs of the church via the NPO

Dear Editor,

Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Delton Fernander’s apprehension regarding the Free National Movement (FNM) administration’s Non-profit Organisations Bill may be legitimate. The frontman for this controversial bill is Finance Minister K. Peter Turnquest. The East Grand Bahama MP and deputy prime minister has shown that he is not timid in pushing the envelope, no matter how unpopular, as was the case with the 60 percent hike in VAT earlier in the year.

Turnquest’s argument is that this particular bill is aimed at bringing The Bahamas in full compliance with the standards of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development. Christian fundamentalists typically view such international bodies as organizations which will be used by the antichrist in the last days.

Nassau Guardian columnist Simon took aim at Fernander and the BCC in a recent column, which suggests to me that the columnist views the BCC president as a Progressive Liberal Party supporter. Whatever Fernander’s political persuasion is, the Christian community will view this NPO Bill as an encumbrance and an intrusion by the FNM administration into the affairs of the church. I cannot imagine any of the thousands of churches facilitating terrorist activities, unless someone within the FNM administration believes that churches in The Bahamas will engage in terrorism much like Irish Republican Army Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland or like Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Iran.

Christians are of the view that taxes belong to the government, while tithes and offerings belong to God. The government should not be poking its nose into the financial affairs of the church, as such a move could be viewed as overreach. And the church should not be poking its nose into the financial affairs of the state. Both institutions have divine roles to play and must stay within their respective lanes. That’s just my view on this matter.

– Kevin Evans

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