As The Bahamas celebrates 47 years of independence, there are some critical issues that still need to be considered.
The preamble to the constitution is in jeopardy each year, as the country moves farther away from 1973. Should there be any concern about it? Is this concern founded or baseless?
There are many today who would love to see the back of that preamble, which they believe is hampering the ‘progress’ of the nation. But why did the founding fathers think it fit to single out the importance of Christian values for this archipelagic nation? I dare say it is common belief that it is there for an exceptionally good reason and ought not to be trifled with.
The biblical book Judges warns us against not doing the right things when we refuse to remind and teach subsequent generations of how good God has been to His people.
“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things He had done for Israel.” – Judges 2:10.
Today’s children and successive generations must be taught about the goodness of God to this land. Despite the tainted history of the land, God’s hand of mercy and compassion has always been seen and felt.
The education of each child must include the preamble and the reason behind its inclusion.
Only education will keep the original intent of the founding fathers now and centuries later at the forefront of the minds of every citizen, whether born or naturalized.
We have all seen that the courts in various jurisdictions around the world are reinterpreting the original intent of their constitution because of political correctness and sadly, to score political points and to not be excluded from the ‘civilized’ world.
Many deviously philosophical minds are claiming that certain things are not applicable now and some have found ‘new’ interpretation based on the current trends in society.
Anybody who has been paying attention would have seen that the English language is constantly evolving.
However, when the constitution is being interpreted, one must always bear in mind the vocabulary of that day since words will lose/change their meaning subtly with time.
For example, the word ‘gay’ began changing its original meaning from carefree to refer to a homosexual in the 1960s. We see a similar trend with the word ‘sex’. This word now is currently undergoing some changes and can refer to a myriad of things.
The founding fathers were intelligent enough to know that morality can never ever be legislated. Morality must be taught by the Word of God, hence the inclusion of an abiding respect for Christian values in the preamble. The inner man can only be reached by the unadulterated Word of God.
The past must be remembered to show successive generations how God has been faithful to this archipelagic nation.
At one time, Bahamians used to go to other countries to work to send money back to take care of the family at home. These said Bahamians worked hard to support their families and communities economically. The value of hard work must be taught and the respect for it as well, honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
The good Lord changed the economic situation of The Bahamas between 1949 and the 1960s.
The tourism sector and construction picked up and there was now no need for Bahamians to go on the contract. The contract was a good thing, but many Bahamians suffered hardships, overwork from unconscionable employers, and racism coupled with concomitant police harassment and confrontations with local whites just to bring food to the table. This part of history must never be forgotten.
The successive generations need to know that the switch to this booming tourism sector, which last year saw over seven million visitors, was not by our own might but by the power of the Almighty God, which is why this country continues to enjoy a thriving economy. This new blessing from God saw a great change where this archipelagic nation went from being an exporter of laborers to being an importer of laborers. God is amazing. This is worth celebrating.
The tourism sector has grown by leaps and bounds. The economic standing of most people has improved, and the GDP ratio is extremely high. The Bahamas, despite its small population, a minuscule dot on the map, has had much influence on the world in terms of sports, academics, culture, and service par excellence.
The writer of Judges is warning against not passing on the information regarding God’s goodness to the subsequent generations. There is a danger in forgetting the God who helped the founding fathers to argue their case for independence, gift the land with the words for the national anthem and pledge.
When the nation was being overrun by drugs, it was the people of God who prayed earnestly to remove this curse from the land, to restore broken and hurting families, and to bring drug addicts to sobriety.
There is a tendency to attribute wholesale deliverance to education and sagacity while woefully neglecting the important value of the spiritual. The hand of God was evident in bringing the scourge to a halt. There are many former drug users whose lives can attest to the transformational change by the hand of God.
The abiding respect for Christian values is being challenged daily by the so-called “erudite” among us with their atheological and philosophical education.
Have they willfully forgotten about their praying grandmothers and grandfathers who were up at wee hours storming the throne of God on their behalf while they prepared for those final exams in college/university?
Was their parents’ faith useless? The God of the Bible has proven Himself to be a present help in times of trouble, a way maker, a pain taker, and a chain breaker.
Christian values should not only be applicable when there is a looming disaster or some national tragedy, or when we need some miraculous healing because the medical professionals have given a bad report.
The traditionalists, baby boomers and baby busters need to share that the modern amenities that are now being enjoyed were not always so.
For example, there used to be slop buckets before modern day toilet facilities. Many of the well-established people in society, once lived in Over-the-Hill communities. But God has been faithful to lavish His blessings upon this land.
…. Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone, or their Labour exploited, or their Lives frustrated by deprivation.
As a former slave colony, still reeling from the effects, the founding fathers understood that no person, regardless of their nationality or skin coloration, must ever be a slave in this country.
No person’s labor must ever be exploited. Once the work is done, the individual must be given the agreed wages. “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9
There are some in our society who consider the church to be an albatross around the neck of the country and hence preventing it from advancing in the 21st Century.
Once the church is silenced forever on moral matters, then it cannot hold the government or any other entity accountable. The church may be used for ecclesiastical matters for those who deem it so fit.
An informal survey among people below 40 will find that many do not see the need to go to church. They see nothing wrong with having children out of wedlock, or with shacking up, or with gambling, or with homosexuality, or with sweet-hearting.
Are the leaders failing to pass on the abiding respect for Christian values?
Will The Bahamas be a stench in God’s nostrils?
This is certainly not the way to go. It is of paramount importance to get back to the place where God is worshipped, respect is accorded to the elderly, respect for people’s property, respect for people’s lives – even the unborn, respect for the employer’s time, and respect for government property.
The past must never ever be forgotten. It must be a reference point but not a resting place.
There is much more to accomplish but until then Bahamaland marcheth on! Selah.
— Carlyle Peart
Associate pastor of Christian education, Grace Community Church, Nassau