Pagans, infidels, and blasphemers are usually (dis)credited for supporting what some consider to be the detrimental, offensive, and at most extreme sacrilegious, doctrine of separation of church and state. In Cayman we point north to the United States as an example of what happens to a nation when “God” is taken out of the decision making systems of a government.
The US is the political version of the cautionary tales of our youth as political leaders will not fail to tell us that such would be our fate should we choose to embrace said concept.
What then is one to make of the believer who supports said doctrine, not because of the assumed “allowances” that it makes for immoral but not illegal actions on the part of politicians, but instead out of a sense of protection, respect and true deference to something that is so personal and sacred as one’s faith?
It has become more common place for people in our Islands to refer to our “Christian” nation while pointing out the numerous shortcomings and contradictions that are becoming more blatant as social unrest grows and meaningful strategies to combat this trend are nowhere in sight.
The word “Christian” and references to “Christian principles” are said with utter disdain, as the hypocrisy of the reality of Cayman and this self-imposed sense of grand moral and ethical standing drips from our mouths as it sours our tongues and our hearts in the face of so much lip service and so little Christian-like action.
We are told that our Christian heritage is under attack by these “outside influences” who wish to take Cayman and its people away from its “roots” and “God-fearing” ways.
The truth is that Cayman’s Christian heritage IS under attack and in many ways we have already lost our roots. The uncomfortable second half of that reality is that the culprits are not outsiders but the very people who profess their “godly” ways to any and all who will listen.
The very “Christians” who will choose to evoke Jesus and His teachings by quoting scripture as fuel at political rallies, those who use their faith as justification without reason or thought for decisions and comments made at the Legislative Assembly, and most recently those who will bring their Sunday fervour to the courtroom as a distraction and a LEGAL TACTIC; these are the people making a mockery of their “beloved” faith.
Christianity is the smoke and mirrors to divert attention from the issue at hand. Call on the Lord enough times, sing enough songs, make enough references to the external forces of evil and poof: crisis averted.
There are those within our political leadership who will go as far as talk about their trials and tribulations, their personal persecutions, the victimisation which they have suffered, all the while drawing imagery from the crucifixion of Christ as if there was a parallel between being a politician in Cayman in the 21st Century and the Christian Saviour who was nailed to a cross.
It begs the question: how are these actions NOT offensive to Christians? If we are to believe that the majority of our people believe the story of Jesus to be the truth, share this faith and its values, how is it that they have not joined forces to decry these truly sacrilegious comparisons?
“Politicians will be politicians, and will use whatever tool they can to gain support, further their cause, and fill their pockets.” That is the argument which we will make in an effort to explain or justify this behaviour, though it is completely contrary to those values which they so vehemently proclaim to hold. In that way, even though we would like to hold ourselves to higher standards, Cayman is like every country in the world.
What then of the lack of acknowledgment, much less response, on the part of our moral leadership on this clear manipulation of Christian doctrine?
One’s inner pagan will guffaw at the question given the churches’ own sordid history with the manipulation of Christian doctrine, but let us put our scepticism aside (how jaded our lot) and acknowledge that there are churches that are undertaking their God given missions. How much more disturbing is the perception that the churches’ silence on this matter has been bought by the patronage, now called “nation building”, of these same individuals?
If the hope was, from the church perspective, that the lack of separation would assist in maintaining the churches’ influence on the government and as such keep our nation from “straying” from the Christian path, then perhaps now they can see just how clearly mistaken they were. In fact, turn on the radio and listen to truly concerned believers talking about the undue influence that politicians have on their places of worship- with some even claiming that certain individuals “own” particular churches.
Christianity in Cayman has been reduced to currency. It opens doors, it assists in making transactions, it gives you face time with the “right” people, it gives you a job, and it certainly gets you votes.
Like currency, Christianity is recognised to have worth within our community, but whether it is of any actual value to the individual who spews said doctrine in every occasion is questionable at best.
If Christians continue to condone this manipulation of their faith in the most prominent and visible stage (nationally and internationally), then their beliefs will continue to play an unflattering and antiquated leading role in the circus, which has become our political arena, and thus will continue to be fair game in the criticisms and observations about the failings of our society. After all, if the believers of a particular faith fail to respect it, why should those outside of it act any differently?