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Churches Propose Marriage Controls

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Bishop Delton Fernander, President of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Christian Council yesterday released its proposal for a companion bill to the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act that seeks to establish another advisory council to set rules for Bahamian marriages, legislate counselling and effect tax incentives for married couples who live together.

The BCC withheld its position on whether it would support proposed amendments, which would criminalise marital rape, until after the final bill is presented by the government.

However, legal counsel Michael Allen explained there has been a general consensus from the body on the need for a legislative approach to abuses that can occur within a marriage.

Mr Allen said the council’s concerns centre on proving the abuse, and the strength and range of penalties; he added the council has suggested the sentencing tribunal is afforded the full range of options from counselling to life imprisonment.

It was also suggested the intervention of the attorney general in these matters be dropped, with an exception for cases involving people under the age of 21.

BCC President Bishop Delton Fernander yesterday said the council believes its companion bill, named the Sanctity of Marriage Bill 2018, will strengthen “God-ordained” marriages and offer corrective incentives that could prevent the incidence of abuse.

The proposed Marriage and Family Advisory Council would be chaired by a representative chosen from the BCC, and advise the minister of social services, according to the bill, which explains the council’s objectives will include a review and implementation of national public education on marriage and family life, and the creation of a guide for marriage preparation that will be used by marriage officers to determine the eligibility of engaged couples.

It gives marriage officers the right to refuse to marry people if they are “not satisfied” both parties have been adequately prepared for or understand the contents of the marriage guide, adding the officer did not have to provide any explanation for his refusal.

However, the bill notes this section does not apply to the marriages of non-residents of the Bahamas.

Bishop Fernander yesterday restated the council’s stance against all forms of abuse, but underscored it was a societal obligation to “fix some of the ills” that have been illuminated since the marital rape discussion was put back in the spotlight.

“We believe what was being presented to us (by government) was a law to fix marriages that were being challenged.

“We believe as the church we are mandated to do that which is necessary to strengthen God-ordained marriages,” Bishop Fernander said, “to put those marriages in a position that they will never have to go before the courts, never have to fall into these categories if it is that the church can help in that regard.”

The Sanctity of Marriage Bill introduces a “marital duty of care”, an obligation for married couples to treat each other with due regard, care and respect in an understanding manner, demonstrating a commitment to the welfare and meeting the needs of the other party as they would reasonably “wish” to be treated.

An aggrieved spouse under this section can then apply to a magistrate for an order mandating the pair seek marriage and family counseling, pay fees, and reappear to provide evidence of compliance with that order.

The legislation suggests a ten per cent reduction in annual car licence, driver’s licence, and real property tax fees for married couples that can prove they have been living together for a period of six months. Eligible couples would fill out a form that, once notarised, would represent a “certificate of residing together”.

Bishop Fernander continued: “To assist with implementation of a national educational plan, for the education of marital couples and family, maintaining what we call a healthy marriage. We don’t just want to give these ideas to the state, we are now going to mount a national campaign to assist marriages. We will do work necessary as a council to make our nation healthy again, to make our marriages healthy.”

The proposed Marriage and Family Advisory Council, according to the bill, would consist of two marriage officers, a family law attorney, a marriage and family counseling professional - all chosen by the Social Services minister and a representative chosen by the BCC.

Comments

kairosmatt 9 months, 1 week ago

This is scary. This is how the Taliban operates.

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joeblow 9 months, 1 week ago

Two sensible persons who know how to undertake responsibility, plan, resolve issues, and who mutually respect each other won't have any of these issues. People are getting married who are ill prepared for it, that is the core problem! Being an adult in body does not make one an adult in mind. There are too many getting married who are children mentally --- simple!

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sheeprunner12 9 months, 1 week ago

Politics and Religion should remain apart ........ it is radioactive to mix both. Let the laws remain as is and add spousal sexual abuse clause to cover the alleged loophole.

Now that France is going to get rid of sexual consent laws for teens, will this be touted by the church as well??

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vlmarshall 9 months, 1 week ago

“We believe as the church we are mandated to do that which is necessary to strengthen God-ordained marriages,” Bishop Fernander said, “to put those marriages in a position that they will never have to go before the courts, never have to fall into these categories if it is that the church can help in that regard.”

Here is an idea to the church, how about you guys stop trying to build the biggest building and instead start a KYC movement. Know your customer (sorry, it's not congregation). Focus on the quality and stop being driven by quantity.

I just had an epiphany ( a blinding realization) , I the church would get back to knowing the members (who they are and where they come from), really get back to being in touch with people you know, actually doing GODs work, then maybe they wouldn't have to address issues like marital rape or all the other "ills" of society

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TheMadHatter 9 months, 1 week ago

Clearly when V. Alfred Gray advised the persons before the hurricane to hide in the caves, he didn't know about these BCC folks - the real cave dwellers. They could have been flown down to assist the island people with interior decorating and how to catch a nice meaty brontosaurus.

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ohdrap4 9 months, 1 week ago

As they say, the difference between genius and stupid is that genius has limits.

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ohdrap4 9 months, 1 week ago

The legislation suggests a ten per cent reduction in annual car licence, driver’s licence, and real property tax fees for married couples that can prove they have been living together for a period of six months. Eligible couples would fill out a form that, once notarised, would represent a “certificate of residing together”.

Why don't the preachers give tithes discounts or cash back to people for people who live together?

Better yet, exempt the people who live together from paying tithes. that is alot more savings than car license.

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stillwaters 9 months, 1 week ago

Before any of this can move forward, how in the world are we going to actually prove a husband is raping a wife? You think he is going to let her make a video? How about one of her friends tape it? Rape is difficult to prove, especially if she just continues sleeping beside him after the rape. So, it must be made very clear how this will be proven.

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hrysippus 9 months, 1 week ago

Paying tithes to a church is decidedly idiotic,.. ......... .. ... ... Buying entrance into heaven is totally neurotic, . . .... The pastor, he gets fat while your family staying thin, . . . . And when your time is done Saint Peter still won't let you in, .. .. . .. .. If you've stolen and you've cheated yet think your sin is washed away, . . ... You're in for a hell of a shock when you reach that judgement day, And that fancy car that the pastor just bought . . ... . . ... On that Judgement Day will count for nought, . . ......... ... There is a special circle reserved in Hell, . . . ... For those who Salvation seek to sell, . . . ... Now some of these council members may mean well, .. .. .... How many and which I cannot tell, . . . .. ... But when they seek to judge just who is fit to wed, . . . .. We should go back to the Good Book and see what Jesus said, . . .... Concerning splinters and a mote, . ........ ..... And marriages not subject to vote, . ... ... Of confidence from the local churchman, . .. .... Who will fatten his wallet whenever he can, . . . .... . By charging for counselling and license fee, . . ...... For an arrangement that should, and used to be, free.

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licks2 9 months, 1 week ago

HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE. . . COOL. . .I LIKE THIS! SMOOOTHHHHHH! This kid gat talent man!!!

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TalRussell 9 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrades, if wife abuse victims now thinks the process fast-tracking justice crimes committed under biblical license - "I does own this wife" - are currently difficult reach out for - just wait until the preacherman's starts siting as high court judges. The purple robes they done got's - just needs pass collection plates to order from England, some them horsehair wigs. {Beyond having make up these preacherman's - were there any preacherwoman's - sitting around da table?}.

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John 9 months, 1 week ago

*The Tulsa race riot, sometimes referred to as the Tulsa Massacre[2][3][4][5] or Tulsa race riot of 1921, occurred between May 31 and June 1, 1921, when a white mob started attacking residents and businesses of the African-American community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma,[1] in what is considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States.[6] The attack, carried out on the ground and by air, destroyed more than 35 blocks of the district, at the time the wealthiest black community in the nation. More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and more than 6,000 black residents were arrested and detained, many for several days.[7] The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics officially recorded 39 dead, but the American Red Cross estimated 300.

The riot began over a Memorial Day weekend after a young black man was accused of raping a young white female elevator operator at a commercial building. After he was taken into custody, rumors raced through the black community that he was at risk of being lynched. A group of armed African-American men rushed to the police station, to prevent a lynching, where the young suspect was held and a white crowd had gathered. A confrontation developed between black people and white people; shots were fired, and some white people and black people were killed. As this news spread throughout the city, mob violence exploded. Thousands of white people rampaged through the black community that night and the next day, killing men and women, burning and looting stores and homes. About 10,000 black people were left homeless, and property damage amounted to more than $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property ($31 million in 2018). Some black people claimed that policemen had joined the mob; others said that National Guardsmen fired a machine gun into the black community and a plane dropped sticks of dynamite.[8] In an eyewitness account discovered in 2015, Greenwood attorney Buck Colbert Franklin described watching a dozen or more planes, which had been dispatched by the city police force, drop burning balls of turpentine on Greenwood's rooftops.[*

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John 9 months, 1 week ago

How many black men have lost their lives or even now sit in prison on false allegations of rape? The only city in America that was ever bombed by American aircraft was when white woman falsely accused a young black man of rape. And when they don't want our young men on our own Bahamian beaches to try to make a living, they call them sub-human and rapists. How many young Bahamians are sitting in jail, even today, accused of rape or sexual assault and have not been brought to trial? and now they want to invade your bedroom during the most intimate moments even husband and wife share together and accuse you of a sexual crime. Why do you think they now have 'smart' tv's that are watching you while you are watching them, or smart phones that can turn the cameras on even while the pone is off. So now they putting cameras on both sides of the phone so that they can take pictures either way and yes, even when the phones are off.

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licks2 9 months, 1 week ago

John slow down. . .you ger soon be looking under the burgers and fries you get from McDs for cameras. . ."ferl ger be used fer more than totin". . .helmets fer keeping out mind-sucking" radio waves they ger be sending at we! Lol!

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John 9 months, 1 week ago

The truth has no speed 'ma bey'. maybe you did not read the spy bill an the other bills that accompany it. The part that says something to the effect that if you catch some agent of the state installing spying equipment in your home or adjusting it or repairing same devices and the penalties brought on you if you harm them...or even hinder or prevent them from installing such devices..or remove them.

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themessenger 9 months, 1 week ago

Hahahahah... John's rant gone from racist to rapist. ya tink he know da difference Licks??

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Aegeaon 9 months, 1 week ago

No one still understands to this very day...

I know no one wants this, but at the end of the day. Criminals are violating the veil of marriage for their own personal gain. You may not hear about these cases in the Bahamas, but it happens. Marital Rape exists, even God had predicted this because of Mankind's own dark ambitions.

Why people are opposing it is because of the Christian Zealots under the Roman Catholics wants power over the weak and defenseless, such as non-Christian religions and women themselves. They mold the truth from the Bible for their infamous gains, and it still works to this same day. We're being tricked. If we had the true original Bible, Men and Women in marriages are equals in leadership and respects each others' wishes. That is how a marriage is supposed to work.

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sealice 9 months, 1 week ago

why can't people just make logical ethical fair decisions without having to drag the BCC into everything.... all of their opinion is based on a purely FICTIONAL book that has changed over the course of time to suit religous "leaders" (talk about the blind leading the blind) . Some of these

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jus2cents 9 months, 1 week ago

People are walking away from churches (with their wallets) and that scares them. It is all a feeble attempt to stay relevant, they're always bastardizing the authentic bible/recognized-religious text to suit their self-serving (fear laced) misogynistic, propaganda and puffery. Trying to convince people they are helping them!? Hogwash! It is an insult to our intelligence. It is obvious most of them are pathetic egomaniacs who not-so-secretly simply hate strong-willed women.

They need to get some humility and to go back to doing what TRUE CHURCH LEADERS are supposed to do, and Help People. But I doubt they will, they only want the cars, cuff-links, self appointed 'Bishop' titles and adoration from the meek and lowly who worship them (& not God!). Just pay attention- What their mouth says, their actions will always give away their real agendas.

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John 9 months, 1 week ago

"“I will build my church,” Jesus Christ said, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Christ promised and prophesied that He would build His very own Church and that it would never die! It would remain in existence until His Second Coming. So that Church has to be on this Earth somewhere, or Christ is a liar!

But Christ didn’t tell us how to identify His Church in Matthew 16. God does that in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation.

These seven churches in Revelation 1 through 3 are, prophetically, seven eras of the New Testament Church! These messages are actually a series of remarkable prophecies about the future of God’s true Church. They describe seven successive Church eras, beginning with the first-century Ephesus era started by Jesus Christ when He was on Earth and continuing to the seventh and final era in these latter days—Laodicea.

Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The history of the Church would fall into seven distinct eras—each with its own strengths and weaknesses and its own special trials and problems. Just as a message could pass along the mail route from Ephesus to Laodicea, so would the truth of God be passed from era to era. It was like a relay race—in which the baton is passed from runner to runner, each one doing his part, until the finish line is reached” (ibid; emphasis mine throughout).

Many people say that these seven churches are only history. But think on this. Remember what it says in verse 1: This book of Revelation is meant to show God’s servants “things which must shortly come to pass.” Revelation is a book of prophecy. It puts all prophecy into a time frame—a chronological order. That is why this book is so critical!

The seven eras became history only after their prophecy was fulfilled.

Smyrna and Ephesus were only about 35 miles apart, yet one is in tribulation (Revelation 2:10), and the other is not. Why, if this is only history? The Sardis Church is dead (Revelation 3:1). A few miles down the road is Philadelphia, one of the best churches (verses 7-12). This wouldn’t make sense if it were only history.

But there is a much greater proof that those churches refer to more than just history. The sixth era, Philadelphia, was fulfilled under Herbert W. Armstrong, who died in 1986. He left a superabundance of history and prophecy of the Philadelphia era and how it tied to the five eras preceding it.

Now we are in the last hour of the seventh and final era—the Laodicean era. There is abundant proof of this era being fulfilled now and how it is connected to the other six eras of God’s true Church—and, more importantly, to the prophetic Second Coming of Christ!

The world has never understood these messages. Christ addresses them specifically to the seven eras of His Church. They give the all-important overviewof the history and prophecy of God’s true Church.

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John 9 months, 1 week ago

"In the Midst of the Churches In Revelation 1:12, John turns toward the powerful voice he heard and sees “seven golden candlesticks,” or lamps. These golden lamps symbolize the seven successive Church eras (verse 20). Each lamp would be the only source of spiritual light in a very dark world. God’s saints clearly see this glorious light. The world ingeneral, however, is oblivious to it.

In the rest of the chapter, John describes a vision of the glorified Jesus Christ. “And in the midstof the seven [lamps] one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle” (verse 13). Read the next verses to get the vision of this spectacular Being! John was so moved that “when I saw him,” he wrote, “I fell at his feet as dead”! (verse 17).'

Take note that this fiery God is standing “in the midst of the seven candlesticks“—the seven eras of God’s Church. The glorious Jesus Christ isright in the midstof the seven churches, deeply involved in them! That is how each era does a dynamic work for God. It all depends on Christ dwelling in the middle of God’s Work. Christ personally and powerfully guides and directs His true Church, era by era. He explains our responsibilities and provides guidance to help us fulfill them. The power and dynamism of each era exists in direct proportion to how much it relies on Jesus Christ!

God the Father gave the book of Revelation to Christ, and Christ then distributed it (Revelation 1:1). But if you have a red-letter Bible, you’ll notice a portion of the book is printed in red letters, which denotes Christ’s own words. In other words, Christaddedto the book of Revelation (verse 2) as God the Father directed Him. What He added, you and I really need to understand in this end time.

All of Revelation 2 and 3 is red-letter. It is what Christ inspired John to write for His Church! Christ has an important message for each of these seven eras. He gives His people encouragement and praise, as well as some profound correction. Yes, Christ does correct His people—and sometimes it can become extremely difficult to do God’s Work! But all these challenges lead to the Second Coming, and that should keep us inspired forever!

Christ sends this message to the seven Church eras. He uses those seven churches to deliver His message throughout those eras. God has given us the greatest commission He has ever given to man! In a time of increasing global crisis, we are here to deliver this message for God to this world."

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Aegeaon 9 months, 1 week ago

What does this have to do with marital matters now?

That's why there's a line between reasonable and absolute madness, as it does help the separation of church and state in the Bahamas, and it could help us figure out this mess. Plus, that second coming is also doomsday for all of us. Bahamians should stop using that scare tactic because that doesn't help our situation, plus the world is still beautiful, enjoy it while you're still alive.

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