Jamaica is not a Christian country. I know people think that the Church is the biggest baddest body on the island, but even though roughly 70% of Jamaicans claim allegiance to Christ, that still leaves at least 30% of us who are Buddhist, Muslim, atheistic and non-religious. To call us “Christian” is mean and cliquish.
If we’re being technical, Christianity isn’t even our religion. Thrust upon us by Spanish/Italian conquistadors and reinforced by centuries of post-colonial fear-mongering, we are clinging to our borrowed robes because now they’re the only robes we know. Before Europe’s God, we were polytheists and spiritualists who were deeply rooted in nature. I’m not complaining that that part of history and herstory is over because religion has to change shape with society. But it does not change the shape of society.
Society is the vessel; religion, merely the contents.
Religion becomes what society needs it to be in order to survive: a guidebook for communal life, an excuse for slavery, the opiate of the masses. When religion stagnantly opposes societal progress, it has lost its most basic function. Its purpose is not to stand in the way of our laws or dictate what we should be teaching our children. We have moved beyond that kind of empirical sovereignty, a realization our churches cannot or will not seem to grasp.
Because religions are largely dedicated to remaining the dominant power. An attack on the “morals of our country” is nothing more than an attack on the influence of Christian values, and Christian leaders are afraid that they will lose the clout they’ve scraped together through years of fire-and-brimstone indoctrination and self-soothing promises of a better life in the hereafter. The “homo agenda” has become the catch-all for rapes, murders, corruption and everything else that is wrong with our country because it is a threat to their control.
(If the church was genuinely concerned about the “moral temperature” of Jamaica, they’d be organizing 25,000 strong rallies to protest the 10,000 cases of child abuse that were reported just last year. But child abuse, unlike sexuality, drives people toward prayer, not to question Christian dogma).
I have no bone to pick with the tenets of any one religion (including Christianity) but the way most followers choose to carry out the principles of their faith leaves much to be desired. But I get a little upset when people quote Scripture first and ask questions later. Because our culture of pointing fingers and guns and Bibles will never solve our problems, but for some reason we haven’t realized that yet.
For us to get anywhere as a people, as a society, we need to have open, honest dialogue about the real evils (poverty, lack of education, discrimination) that plague us. Universal evils, not Christian or upper-class or lower-class evils, need to be the enemy we rally against or we’ll be playing the blame game for a long, long time.