NO one had to go looking for Bishop Delton Fernander to find out his opinions about Bahamas Carnival – he released a statement.
“Vulgar”, he called it, “a direct contradiction and an affront to our national values”, and a “serious ticking time bomb waiting to explode”.
When it comes to the deadly toll of murders on our streets, though? No rush to Facebook to post a statement in that case. Oh no, instead, Bishop Fernander yesterday talked about the Christian Council’s work “behind the scenes”.
While such work is welcome to reach out to the families and friends of victims of crime, to help people pick up the pieces after their world has been torn apart, why is the work just behind the scenes?
Why the rush to reprimand the woman in a bikini, but an inability to use the same voice to denounce the man with a gun?
Yesterday, members of the council joined police on a walkabout in the Kemp Road area following a double homicide there, the second in under 12 hours.
That can bring comfort. It can bring a shoulder in a time of need. But it lacks the leadership that is needed to speak out in order to stop it happening again.
The victims will be known to church congregations, and so too might the killers. Church members will know who is in trouble with the law. Church members will know people with guns who should not have guns. Church leaders should be telling their congregations that lawbreaking and gun ownerships should not be tolerated, to exert peer pressure to stay on the right side of the law, to hand in the guns.
Of the many problems with the council’s statement on Carnival, there was the claim that “men and women flaunting near naked bodies” had the potential “to lead to sexual violence, rape and other violent confrontation most especially between our young men who may not be able to handle seeing their female friend in sexual contact with other men on the streets”.
In other words, they were blaming the victim rather than telling the potential attacker to control themselves – not to rape, not to attack.
We have victim after victim of violence on our streets, Christian Council. Let’s condemn the perpetrators of violence, not those affected, and let’s come out from behind the scenes to take the lead.
“We are trying to do what God has empowered us to do,” said Bishop Fernander yesterday in response to criticism of the council’s stance on Carnival.
It’s time to use that power against gun crime, Bishop Fernander. Step out from behind the scenes.