Bahamas PM Backs Promise Keepers

ASSIST Ministries reports that the Promise Keepers are making headway outside the USA:

NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS (ANS) — Hundreds of Bahamian men and boys (and dozens of women) gathered at Nassau’s historic Clifford Park on Friday night, November 11, for the opening night of “The Bahamas Awakening,2 a cooperative effort between local Bahamas-based ministries and churches and the U.S.-based ministry to men Promise Keepers.

…The Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie saluted the organizing churches, the Bahamas Awakening organizing committee and Promise Keepers for their work on building up and encouraging the spiritual strength of The Bahamas’ men. Representatives from churches and governments around the Caribbean also attended.

The emphasis was, as ever, on repentance for sin, the need for fathers to take more responsibility, and the importance of living according to divinely-ordained gender roles:

One of the most well known voices in global Christianity is Myles Munroe, who addressed his Bahamian countrymen on the topic “Discover Your Unique Design. “You can’t let your manhood be defined by culture. Proverbs tells us that many are the plans in a man’s heart, but God’s purpose is more important than our own plans. That’s where we find true satisfaction.”

Munroe is a prosperity gospel preacher, whom we’ve seen before on this blog; he’s also a prominent Christian Zionist (and a major ally of Ron Wexler on the new Ten Commandments Commission). ASSIST also notes PK inroads into the country:

At Her Majesty’s Prison men worked for three days on renovating a building to be used as a pre-release training facility. On Thursday, November 10, PK president and CEO Tom Fortson and VP for Advancement George Fisher visited the prison along with other local ministers for an “inside-the-yard” event.

…Among the most respected women on the island is Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable Cynthia Pratt, who spoke at a women’s luncheon along with Florida businesswoman Bernadette Claybourne and Toni Fortson, wife of PK president Tom Fortson.

Claybourne is the wife of Broward Times publisher Keith Clayborne; her own company, Behold His Glory, Inc., produces religious-themed bedding.

The issue of Christian manhood is one that has vexed the Christian Council of the Bahamas for a long time, particularly in relation to homosexuality and the presence of gay holiday-makers. This last issue was used to pressure Prime Minister Christie last year, as the Nassau Guardian reported at the time:

Pastor Lyle Bethel of Grace Community Church challenged Prime Minister Christie to overturn the pro gay-cruise position recently put forth by Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe and keep with the anti-gay cruise position he affirmed while in opposition.

He said while Mr Christie was visiting his church, shortly after then Prime Minister Ingraham had insulted church leaders by calling them hypocrites as a result of their stance on gay cruises, he asked what the position of a PLP [Progressive Liberal Party] government would be on this issue. “Perry Christie said to me ‘Lyle, my government will be against gay cruises.’ Now I’m wondering how far that has gone, because I read where Minister Obie Wilchcombe suggested that we were open to this.” “I want to call on the Prime Minister to be reminded of the that conversation in Grace Community Church yard, that his government is going to be opposed to this.”

Munroe was also part of that campaign:

He said the only thing keeping The Bahamas from a homosexual onslaught was the preamble to the constitution, which declares that The Bahamas shall have an abiding respect for Christian values. “They (homosexuals) know that, but we know that too,” said Dr Munroe.

Munroe warned of “national judgement” if homosexual visitors were accommodated.

Back in 1998, Perry’s predecessor Hubert Ingraham had stood up to the country’s religious right on the same subject, stating that he had

been chilled by the vehemence of the expressions against gay persons made by some in our newspapers and over our radio talk shows.

…I believe that the hysteria being created by certain individuals against gay persons visiting The Bahamas and who represents themselves as the leadership of the Christian Council, is becoming irresponsible. I believe that the hysteria is, as is usually the case with hysteria, unfounded. It is also un-Christian.

Ingraham had the advantage that he was not seeking re-election in 2002 (although he has just recently returned to the leadership of the Free National Movement); Perry Christie, in contrast, has the Christian Council as a major ally. An op-ed in the Bahamas News from 2003 gives more details:

Since the PLP came to power on May 2, 2002, some pastors have taken a new approach to deliver their message. Since the infamous “If you ain’t PLP get out of my church,” speech , some pastors have gotten bolder with their directives. Even if government officials are in the congregation, stern warnings are given. The attitude now is that we will make you or break you!

…In fact, some politicians are so intimidated by religious opinion that they will not make a decision without consultation. The big joke in the Bahamas today is that the Honorable Cynthia Pratt is not the Deputy Prime Minister, but a flamboyant pastor who lives in a million dollar house…

And now with the huge resources of the Promise Keepers entering the scene, conservative religion and gender politics is likely to be an even greater force.

2 Responses

  1. […] Shaw, who has links with a controversial church in Congo; and Prosperity Gospel promoters such as Myles Munroe and Ulf Ekman. Hess has also edited a book that puts Maeliau in Charismatic A-List company: […]

  2. […] Gabe Bahlhorn. However, Bahamian prosperity gospel evengelist Myles Munroe (previously discussed here) was also part of the […]

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