Christianity is not dynamic, it remains static. As society’s understanding of rights and freedoms evolve, Christianity must necessarily remain steadfast. Anything else would disturb the supposed infallibility of the religion’s tenets. It is against this backdrop that I approach the controversy currently surrounding the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica. The University stands accused of suspending a female student for “depicting homosexuality in a (cheerleading) routine”. This depiction amounted to dressing like a man and proposing to another female student, all in the name of fun. The decision of the University has come under fire from human rights advocates who charge that the suspension is in violation of the student’s most basic rights as a citizen, with many condemning the draconian and theocratic approach of the tertiary institution. While I agree that the action is draconian and startling, I am persuaded to stand with NCU in this matter. It is my considered opinion that the University has the right to determine, as a matter of conscience, what behaviours and attitudes it deems acceptable under the existing “ethos” of the campus.
It was barely two days ago that I posted [The World Is Ending…Again] and voiced my opinion on the whole judgement day saga. It then came to my attention that one Michael Lewis, no relation to L.A. Lewis guys, would be on Ian Boyne’s Religious HardTalk; defending and promoting the end of the world. I decided to tune in.
Quite apart from his obvious lack of confidence in his armageddon message, evidenced by his stuttering and general posture and appearance, Mr. Michael Lewis did Christianity a great disservice last night. Not only were there glaring inconsistencies in his basic premise, the logic was laughable.
For whatever reason, human beings have always been preoccupied with the final judgement, doomsday, end of time, world’s end; whatever you wish to call it, we’ve always occupied ourselves with that moment. Now apparently, that long awaited moment is at hand. The date has been set (May 21, 2011) and the countdown is underway. The world is ending.
Or is it?
The last serious judgement day was January 1st, 2000. We should all remember the crazed rush to be in a place of worship. By all accounts, computers would crash, time would stop and that great trumpet would have sounded and we would have seen the Christ coming on the clouds of heaven, in all His glory. Needless to say that didn’t happen. And many of us now regret spending our New Year’s Eve in church that night.
For as long as there has been art and religion, there has been controversy about how art portrays the sacred and the divine. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” to Madonna’s song “Like A Prayer”, there has been continued debate about hidden messages in art and allegations of witchcraft and wizardry against the artistes; whether they be sculptors, painters or musicians.
The latest addition to this list of controversial figures is the infamous and much celebrated Lady Gaga. Often eccentric, Gaga has been the subject of much discussion; from her choice of clothes to her lyrics. Her latest single titled “Judas“, released in the holiest period in Christendom, celebrates the figure who is largely held to be the reason why The Christ was crucified. The song flies in the face of all that christians hold to be holy and sacred. Listening to the song, one gets the impression that Gaga is making a mockery of the betrayal, denial and crucifixion of Christ. This of course raises the very important question, does she have a right to do this? This blog says yes, she does.
The bus is hot. Packed. A young man plays the latest Movado from his cellphone (not even a Blackberry enuh…pffffft). The school children are shouting and screaming. The smells. The sweat. I’m patiently counting the stops until I am able to get off this bus and then I hear it, “Good evenin passingerz, I ham ere wid a werd fram God.”
I searched my bag desperately for my earphones to block out the impending message of the apocalypse and of the fact that Jamaica’s crime problem was a direct result of our “wickidniss”. Alas, my earphones were not with me. I would have to suffer the abuse of preaching on the bus.
As I listened to the preacher’s message from God, I began to question why preaching on buses was even allowed. Why do we excuse religion for so much that we would condemn others for? For example, would we have been so accommodating if someone had come to preach against God? Or in favour of oral sex? Or in favour of homosexuality? Why is religion allowed special privilege? Why is a particular belief system given such leeway? I perhaps should say Christianity and not religion but whatever.
Having paid my $80, I was expecting a ride home without being intimidated by this “Messenger of God”. Not only was his message hateful and illogical, it was clear he had a limited grasp of scriptures and the English Language. His sole point of biblical reference would be John 3:15. At one point I even wondered if he himself understood why Jesus came. Though he referenced the scripture passage, you would have thought the whole island was already condemned to hell, he didn’t see Jesus’ redemptive work. He painted God as a vengeful and almost murderous being.
Why are christians so judgemental? Christians are the first to cast stones and sometimes I wonder if most have ever read the book which they quote so often. What about tolerance? Love? Patience? Seriously, what about these things?
As he continued shouting himself hoarse, he turned to the children and proceeded to frighten them with his hateful message. I’m sorry, but I think that’s just fundamentally wrong. A child should not be subjected to that kind of thing and that preacher’s message did nothing but disturb the already uncomfortable situation in the bus. The fact that it is a public transport vehicle should mandate that no one be allowed to be so loud and disruptive.
Christian or no christian, no one should be excluded from that general rule of thumb. If I want to hear your hateful and illogical message, I’ll visit your church. I don’t need you spitting and shouting at me. That’s not what I paid $80 for. Yes! Bus fare is $80! If I ever I’m in a position to legislate, that’s the first thing I’ll ban, preaching on buses. Yup, I said it.
After what seemed like years, the bus arrived at my destination. As I stepped off the bus, the preacher could clearly be heard saying “…if anyone wants to give me a donation now…”
Shouldn’t his “donation” come from heaven? It is, afterall, God’s work.