Letter: Concerned about Batabano and public morality

A friend sent me a few pictures of participants in the recent Batabano ‘sexibration’, as I am now compelled to refer to it, and out of his grief at the level of public debauchery that was celebrated, he suggested that this imported affront to public morality is a greater threat to Cayman than the issue of same-sex marriage. (Frankly, I am reluctant to forward those pictures electronically for fear of being accused of trafficking in pornography.)

I share my friend’s grief at this government-approved and supported celebration of moral decadence, but was minded to respond to him that it is not a matter of either or in terms of whether we oppose same-sex marriage or this imported live pornographic display that is supposedly ‘Caymanian’. Both these expressions have their roots in the same issue, which is the over-sexualisation of our culture and the concomitant death of public morality.

When human sexuality is viewed primarily as a source of physical pleasure, and is treated virtually on the same level as any bodily function, the logical progression is to remove it from the category of morality and transfer it to the elevated category of rights. Objections, then, from such persons as my friend or me are quickly classified as hate speech, which has much greater resonance with those who gyrate and simulate sexual acts in public than the now antiquated accusation of ‘prudes’.

Are there no laws governing standards of public decency and morality? Are we to complain, on the one hand, about cruise ship tourists parading through town in bikinis, while not only permitting but celebrating the level of public near-nudity and sexual simulation that is the hallmark of Batabano? Perhaps we need to refrain from referring to the Cayman Islands as ‘a Christian nation’ after all – not because we are not a nation, but because a great majority of those who inhabit these three rocks are not just post-Christian, but anti-Christian.

Finally, how can we expect that our children will be less sexually permissive, will not video and circulate their friends participating in sexual acts on our school compounds, and will refrain from risky sexual behaviour when our best-attended public function is a monumental celebration of sexual excesses?

The Rev. M. Alson Ebanks

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  1. I was a spectator at the recent Batabano and drew the opposite conclusion from the writer.
    It was wonderful to watch people of all ages and sizes having fun and not being ashamed of their bodies. In fact most of the costumes were no different or more revealing than the swimsuits we see on our beaches every day.

    I note from the letter that the good Reverend did not attend himself. So he only had a few selective pictures sent to him by a “shocked” member of his congregation.

    May I respectfully suggest he attends in person next year and makes up his own mind?

  2. Irrespective of whether or not the Reverend was there I really think this is a good question about ‘Western Society’ in general. Across the world, from the US to Italy and beyond, what is acceptable is changing hugely. The Reverend suggested that any objections people have towards the behaviour of others, as being rapidly deemed to be hate speech. This is a desperatly slippery slope. We need a balance of freedom to express what we feel and think, yet at the same time we must be considerate to the views and opinions of others. For example (and an extreme one to prove a point) would you go to a Jewish convention waving a swastika?
    On the other end of the spectrum, it could always be argued that if an event is displeasing for whatever reason, attendance is not mandatory, although being a decent individual would ensure that visitors to an event are welcome at any time, would it not?
    Either way, there will always be people who are not happy with something, whether it be the public displays of debauchery written about by the good Reverend here, tattoos, hair styles or even the open use of marijuana such as in Canada. The list could continue on inexorably. Therefore legislation is required, hence elections and people voting ‘with their feet’ so to speak. Yet inspite of all of this, and my agreement with both the Reverend, and Mr Linton above, censorship is a very dangerous thing to suggest or undertake. People need to be able to express themselves in whatever way they feel able and willing, whilst being considerate to those around them. I feel that the final few words are being slowly forgotten in the age of technology when people feel that they have to stand out, to do so they appear to turn towards ever extreme methods. Perhaps I am wrong, if so feel free to disagree, or perhaps I am merely too old fashioned.

  3. Piers, you are absolutely right. I personally have no interest in watching either cricket or football. Because I find them boring does that mean they should be banned? Of course not. They give pleasure to millions.

    In my view the only public events that should be banned are those that promote hatred of others. Such as the Klu Klux Clan marches in the USA or pro-Nazi in Europe. Otherwise my policy is, “Live and let live.”

    As the good Reverend says in his letter. Batabano is our best attended event. So I guess people have “voted with their feet.”