According to the story of Babel, after the flood there was a united human race with one original language. They upset God when they attempted to build a tower that would reach heaven.
We are familiar with the story of how he intervened and confounded their speech so they could no longer understand each other causing them to scatter around the world.
They built nations according to their own language which brought about different societies with diverse cultural rules.
In some societies these rules known as tribal rules put up barriers commonly referred to nowadays as discrimination, where some people reject those who do not ascribe to the same culture as theirs.
While some question the story of Babel, one thing that can’t be disputed is that discrimination is real and is a major concern throughout the world.
But here in The Bahamas where almost everyone is attached to someone who is attached to someone via kinship or friendship, the question is why do we condemn others simply because they do not adhere to our traditional rules?
Why do we discriminate against others because they listen to different music, wear different clothes and their choices of food and drink are not the same as ours or because they speak another language?
Do we have such tunnel vision that we can’t or don’t want to see the broader picture, not realizing we are not an island unto ourselves and the world is watching?
I remember reading in the Bible (yes I believe in the Bible) how the Jews debated over traditional laws that caused great dissension amongst them. But Christ came and was crucified leaving us with a new command: “That we love one another.”
We all know the story of the Samaritan, about how the man was robbed and left to die by the wayside. The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans yet it was a Samaritan who showed mercy.
It would be to our advantage if we were to follow Peter’s convictions as he spoke to centurion Cornelius and others in a room full of people in Acts 10:28.
He said to them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or even to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.”
Jesus’ brother James said, “It is my judgment that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” (Acts 15:19).
Coming to Christ in faith alone is hard enough for some people. Why should we make it more difficult by rejecting them because they don’t adhere to our tribal rules?
I’m not a biblical scholar, but the good book admonishes us not to judge others and not to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.
What we must accept is that we can’t force our rules on people outside our cultural circles. Our rules are not supposed to keep others out but to keep us aligned with each other.
The last vestiges of discrimination in The Bahamas as we know it should have been buried when Collins wall was broken down.
Unfortunately, society will not let it be put to rest as it is still alive and rears its ugly head in many different ways and places.
It is everywhere. In the office, the secretary believes she is better than the janitor. The suit thinks he is better than the T-shirt; the foreigners ostracized; gays demonized; the lighter is better than the dark skin.
You know what they used to say, “If you black stay in the back.”
The rich is better than the poor. It’s not what you know, but who you know. The list goes on and on.
Lest we forget, we are all just sojourners on our way to another place.
After having experienced a most turbulent year, the worst we have ever seen and will take years to recover from, one would think we would not be harboring any negative feeling towards anyone and are overwhelmed with thankfulness and love as we try to rebuild.
Still, the question goes unanswered: “Where is the love?”
Even though we live in a democratic society we are at a place where some of us in fear of reprisals are afraid to exercise our God given rights.
Someone said,“You may not agree with the choices others make, but as long as it does not violate your rights you must recognize their rights to make them.”
Writer Robert Ingersoll said, “This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.”
Author Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in her book “The Friends of Voltaire”, (great read ) said it best: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
No. I’m not an advocate for any group or cause, just someone who believes all men are equal in the sight of God.
As Christmas approaches and we celebrate the birth of Christ, let us pray for people everywhere and that peace on earth and goodwill towards all men prevail.
Merry Christmas and God bless you.
– Anthony Pratt