A measured Response to Damion Crawford’s Unwarranted Rant on Twitter
As the global south face the new challenge of a growing push towards human secularism and an emergent number societies that are embracing the post modernist mantra of religious scepticism. Damion Crawford musings on twitter in which described Jamaica as a Christian country- whose core belief is under siege by atheists and agnostics. Is a very amusing but deeply offensive and misleading narrative .This statement is bound to offend secularist of Jamaican descent so his statement should not be let off the hook as a light hearted banter.
First, let me declare my hand. I am Jamaican and an avowed secularist and proud of it. Damion Crawford’s twitter feed would have gone unnoticed. If he had not been a government minister whose duty is to protect the fundamental rights and freedom of all Jamaican citizens. In addition, in his private capacity as a human being the expectation would be that his augments should have been characterised by respect for alternative beliefs or a lack of it. Having read the tweet it comes over as the musings of a controlling and desperate “religious housewife” and not that of a responsible Minister of Government.
Let us extend the debate in order examine the flawed philosophical argument raised by Mr Crawford. Because it may create a collision course with politics and secularism for Jamaica that in future that may be fraught with insularity.Damion has taken us down the dark “Hobbesian ideological path “.In which religion is seen for its divisiveness and as a vanguard for protecting the motley political status quo. His argument is in line with Thomas Hobbs who argued long-ago that the sovereign has the right to determine which opinions may be publicly espoused and disseminated. Mainly, because in the past religion was seen at that time as a vital instrument of power that was necessary for the maintenance of civil obedience. Or has he taken the feudal 17th century protestant position: those atheists cannot be trusted to take part in society peacefully because they do not see themselves bound by divine law and not beholden to a transcendental god.
Our position as atheist and agnostics Damion, is that we take exception to your religious exclusiveness the misguided idea that: all Jamaicans are Christians and that they are under attack from atheist and agnostics. It is at is conceptually “thick” and misleading metaphysical concept that you have dreamed up to ferment hatred against us. In Jamaica religion is a practical political idea used by politicians in for the purpose keeping the common people quiet. Christianity is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich and the political class in Jamaica who have historically plundered the economic coffers.
The burgeoning of the Secularist movement in Jamaica is indeed a challenge to the political class and rightly so. We are seen a threat to the political class. Mainly, because we increase the rank of the undecided voters due to our scepticism and apathetic to a constitutional arrangement that abhors human rights of alternative lifestyles and no religious belief. Because we are sceptics who call for a deconstruction of this conservative arrangement it’s easy to single us out for culpability for the countries moral failings as the the god and devil hypothesis is currently under assail.
Politicians and religious leaders can no longer fob us off with bogus prayer breakfasts any more. They normally do so unchallenged before we arrived on the scene. Those religious tenuous events are normally rolled- out whenever the government become bankrupt of ideas of how to fix the sliding Jamaican dollar. Or whenever the many youths in the garrisons that they create by geo-political gerrymandering – are hell bent on shooting their way out of poverty. When infrequently caught in the crossfire with the police these vulnerable “shotters” are often found clutching a gun with one hand and holding desperately to a bible in their back pockets with the other hand.
As Atheist and agnostics we see religion and Politics as two utopian concepts that continue to placate the poor. There is an unhealthy co-relationship between, the Jamaican constitution, the education system, religion and the state that we hope to challenge through constructive engagement. It is our belief that the state must neither advance nor inhibit religion.This collusive arrangement has resulted in excessive entanglement between government and religion and creates legitimacy for Ministers like Damien to insult us in parliament and on twitter.
Finally, Mr Crawford as you” grope” your locks in the dark and wrestle with a complex religious identity crisis- Kindly, be enlightened that we secular humanist- are small in number but not short on brain space- before you decide to spew religious vitriol on us.
Donovan Reynolds is a Blogger and Independent Writer. He is a British based Social Worker and Human rights Activist. He has an interest in Secularism Politics, Culture, and Human Rights. Readers may comment on this blog or email feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org