Of morality and the next general election
At a recent meeting of the Christ Church constituency branches of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler gave notice of his party’s intention to make morality a key issue of the next general election.
Interestingly, Sinckler’s address was delivered 24 hours after Opposition Leader Mia Mottley had addressed the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) annual conference and had identified revitalization of the ailing economy and modernizing governance as priority issues for action by a BLP government.
A conclusion, which can be drawn from the timing of Sinckler’s statement is that the intent was to divert attention from Mottley’s policy statement in the hope of dampening any favourable consideration and discussion of it.
However, not surprisingly, Sinckler’s remarks have generated considerable debate in both traditional and new (social) media since morality happens to be one of those topics, which triggers strong emotions.
Weighing in on the issue on Facebook, senior Anglican cleric, Canon Wayne Isaacs, made what arguably has been one of the most sober contributions thus far. It was informed by sound theological reasoning and devoid of the emotionalism which others seemingly have brought to bear on this controversial issue.
Canon Isaacs said while morality is important, its use by Sinckler was in a very limited context, leading one to assume it was used as a distraction to shift public attention away from the main issues which need to be addressed. “It would appear to refer to sexual issues surrounding homosexuality,” the clergyman said, calling on Sinckler to say precisely what he meant.
“For many persons, homosexuality is a rights issue and not a moral problem. I venture to say that the Barbadian society is more interested in other problems that affect their lives and daily living and would not allow gender and homosexual discussions to be a distraction,” the Canon Missioner reasoned.
He went on: “If morality is going to be at the centre of the next election campaign, it has to be broadened to include bribery, kick-backs, victimization, squandering of taxpayers’ money, intentionally misleading the public and many other issues that are dishonest.
“If morality is going to be the focus in the upcoming poll, the main item should be vote buying which is a form of bribery. It is also a threat to democracy and the breeding ground for corruption,” he said, adding that “If homosexuality is a moral issue in this poll, it is the least of all moral issues.”
In sharp contrast with the hardline stance adopted by right-wing conservative Evangelicals in particular, Rev. Isaacs contended that one’s sexual preference should not be used to discriminate against anyone. Further, he reasoned: “One’s sexual orientation does not prevent one from excelling in any capacity and fulfilling the obligations of any office in which one serves.”
Calling on the Christian community not to allow itself to be used by either political party and to refrain from taking positions that cannot be biblically justified or stand up to sound reasoning, Canon Isaacs cautioned: “We must not allow our thinking on moral issues to be influenced by a ‘right-wing’ form of Christianity coming out of North America that is not in our interest politically, socially nor morally.”
“Using morality in a limited and narrow sense to create fear among the people is in itself an immoral act,” he argued.
Food for thought indeed!
It will be interesting to know where our Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and her BLP stands in this moral debate surrounding the next general election.