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2005-10-04 16:37:43

Preachers Have Got It Wrong on Katrina

Oh, what painful hypocrisy! What embarrassing ignorance!

According to some Bahamian preachers, Hurricane Katrina was not an act of nature, but rather the judgmental hand of a righteous God reaching down to destroy the people of New Orleans for their many sins.

And casting his heavenly eyes around the Earth on Boxing Day last year - that is if we are to believe these self-righteous preachers - God spotted a few southeast Asian nations that displeased him. He marked them down for destruction. An earthquake grumbled in the depths of the Indian Ocean, the seas sucked back its waters and with a mighty belch sent a mountainous wall of ocean smashing against the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. When God had vented his fury on "sinful" humanity, more than 175,000 dead were counted.

According to scientists the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami caused the entire planet to vibrate a few centimetres.

The preachers would probably say that this vibration was God's wake up call, warning the "righteous" that the time had come for them to straighten up and fly right.

Oh, what painful hypocrisy! What embarrassing ignorance!

Bahamians are fortunate that there is a compassionate God. If not, based on the premise of some of these holier-than-thou preachers, this archipelagic nation would have been at the bottom of our shallow seas centuries ago.

As Clement Johnson asked in The Tribune's Religion section Thursday: When Hurricane Andrew did so much damage to North Eleuthera in 1992 was this God's sign that North Eleutherans were far more evil than their brethren in the south, or than those in New Providence, both areas coming through the storm relatively unscathed?

Instead of worrying about the mote in another man's eye these preachers should concentrate on the beams in their own eyes.

Is it possible that the people of New Orleans are any more sinful than those of the Bahamas? Every sin that is found in Sin City New Orleans is flourishing right here in Sin City Nassau. New Orleans has nothing that Bahamians don't have.

Just last week a lawyer argued the rights of Russian strippers to perform lascivious acts - stripping down to a G-string, pole dancing and lap dancing - in a public club to attract and excite male patrons. The women were accused and acquitted of indecent behaviour and abetting indecent behaviour.

In their defence their lawyer reminded the court that Britannia Towers and Crystal Palace casinos also feature topless dancers at their cabaret shows. However, this was a poor comparison, because there is a vast difference between the two forms of dancing. Any lawyer could argue the difference between an artistically choreographed dance with bare-breasted women and near-naked women performing suggestive gyrations designed to arouse the basest instincts in foolish man. This is not to suggest that we approve of the former, but we can certainly appreciate the difference between the two styles of performance.

The lawyer for the Russian strippers questioned the hypocrisy of a society that would prosecute his clients, but take no action against sailaway events with naked girls; wet T-shirt competitions at Long Wharf during spring break; the former topless beach at Club Med and Cable Bahamas' explicit channels for viewing at a price.

This, he said, was "the standard" in the Bahamas. If this is the standard then the preachers should try to reach the consciences of their congregations to encourage them to change society's standards, remembering that each grain of sand put side by side can make an impressive beach. There is a limit to what legislation can do. It can't completely legislate morality. This is the province of the church. However, because the immoral behaviour cited by the lawyer is now the moral "standard" for the Bahamas, likening it to the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, does not mean that this standard is right or that it should be condoned. Nor does it mean that it should be extended to include strip clubs.

It's up to a community to set its moral standards. If the community is prepared to accept strip clubs as a moral norm, then the clubs will stay. If not then they will make their voices heard, and encourage their MPs to rethink legislation for clubs that are open to the public.

As we all know, although there are age limits to keep young people out, and prevent underage use of alcohol, club operators are very lax in enforcing the rules.

If the community does not want strip clubs then now's the time for them to speak up.

Source: Editorial, The Tribune

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