For some time now I have wondered why the overseas contributors to local debate are more often than not out of synch with the issues under discussion. I’ve wondered, too, about the clamorous latter-day Malcolm Xs, thankfully few in number, who seem convinced the fail-safe solution to every Saint Lucian problem must always involve boycotts, strikes, protest demonstrations and other mechanisms of chaos and disorder—despite the contrary evidence provided by the banana disputes, when out-of-control police in U.S. Army fatigues opened fire on defenseless, politically motivated demonstrators, and the equally political Plywood City fracas. I could cite further evidence of protest demonstrations that achieved nothing not achievable via our established democratic institutions, protest demonstrations during which believing innocents were battered with police batons and tear gassed. How ironic that the main promoters later joined and praised the Papa Jab they had themselves so expertly taught the people to hate. More of that later.
I’m still not sure I know what inspires the displaced Saint Lucians (they are particularly notorious for their virulent attacks on even their pseudonymous fellow bloggers) but I suspect what fuels their evident anger resides close to guilt. After all, as nationalistic as they all claim to be, they know in their hearts that they long ago abandoned the land that gave them birth in hungry pursuit of greener grass, that their brand of nationalism is synonymous with faraway safe havens and impenetrable disguises. Whether or not consciously, they seek desperately to assuage their discomfort in whatever way they can, including the use of outrageous hyperbole and mindless overcompensation.
How else to explain the largely overseas-based bloggers’ reaction to Father Biscette after he published in this newspaper an article entitled “Bless Those Who Curse You”? Note that I say the reaction to Father Biscette, as opposed to the reaction to his article. So much invective, so much scorn, so much evident madness. You’d have thought the Saint Lucian priest had been personally responsible for the molestation scandal that continues to afflict the Roman Catholic Church.
Considering he never attempted to deny the egregious atrocity, that he went out of his way to both acknowledge and condemn it, I am at a loss why the absentee vilifiers targeted poor Father Biscette, beating on him as if indeed he were an adulterer and deserving of a public stoning. Neither is Father Biscette guilty by association. Indeed his acknowledgement that something very bad happened within his church could not have been clearer.
Consider this from the cited article: “I do not write to convince anyone that evil has not existed in the church over the centuries. That would be like saying our politicians have over the years been beacons of virtue. Greed, hunger for power, lust, selfishness, pride and blatant dishonesty have been among the forms of rot we have suffered and it is true that many who should have been held accountable were not. It would be a crime to ignore these dark stains of our church history . . .”
Oh, but we remain ever so eager to not only forgive our politicians their indiscretions and constant betrayals of public trust, we seek also to defend the indefensible in the best interests of the party we support. And lest this statement prove too tempting, let me quickly remind the tempted that here I speak of all the political parties in Saint Lucia. Why do we refuse to put in place sanctions against parliamentary misbehavior—without escape routes? Why do we leave it to the politicians and the police to judge their offending colleagues when the result is always predictable?
And speaking of Father Biscette: As I listened from Florida to Timothy Poleon’s interview with William Braham, the local priest again came to mind. Where were the defenders of the Catholic faith when native son Father Biscette came under attack for his “Bless Those Who Curse Us” article? We know the man, we know his family, and we know he was absolutely undeserving of the attacks on his good name. Yes, we do. Yet we remained silent while the stones rained from the angry hands of throwers without sin upon his unprotected head.
Ah, but this complete stranger, this miracle worker of high repute, this prophet and apostle whose history is untraceable had us confirming without the smallest tangible evidence his special assignment to cure the sick of Saint Lucia in God’s name. Doubtless God also advised him to stay clear of our hospitals. Hey, we even made up excuses for the payment, by whatever name, his surrogates demanded, subtly or otherwise, for Braham’s special services.
It is by now well known that I have precious little time for arguments based solely on faith, especially when connected with the root of all evil. For all I know, the importers of William Braham actually believe all they said about him on Newsspin.
That’s what faith is all about, evidence of things not seen. And I suppose that if in the days ahead the “cured” lame and sick and dying should take a turn for the worse many among us would blame the devil, not Braham.
You won’t catch me taking sides on matters of faith; I’m having enough of a rough time keeping my sanity as I wrestle with belief based on empirical evidence and the other kind that couldn’t care less about logic, reason or provability!
As I see it, those who insist there is no God are every bit as arrogant and presumptuous as those who say with absolute conviction that the precise opposite is true. Both sides demand a suspension of reality. After all, to say God does not exist when we live—despite our best scientists—with so many unanswerables, so many imponderables, seems to me as mindless as the notion of a deity that in effect created itself. I suspect my wrestling with myself will end the moment I discover the ability to unravel how any body, spirit or otherwise, can have “no beginning and no end.” Obviously, millions claim to grasp that seeming imponderable with the greatest of ease. Wish that I were so blessed.
Ah, but you insist on knowing, dear reader, what I believe. My most honest answer at this time has to be that I am still locked in battle with myself, considering and analyzing as best I can possibilities I acknowledge are way beyond my comprehension.
Meanwhile, I hope Father Biscette does not permit himself to be put off—as
have other outspoken local priests before him—by those who would crucify him for his beliefs. Surely he knew what lay ahead when first he picked up his cross and committed his life to his faith!