WHEREAS Four hundred and eighty-one years ago the rediscovery of this Family of
Islands, Rocks and Cays heralded the rebirth of the New World;
AND WHEREAS the People of this Family of Islands recognizing that the preservation of their Freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to Self discipline, Industry, Loyalty, Unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law;
NOW KNOW YE THEREFORE:
We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognizing the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM IN SOLEMN PRAISE the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation, AND DO HEREBY PROVIDE by these Articles for the indivisible Unity and Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
We would be among the first to acknowledge that we as a nation have not lived up to the national value of being committed to “self-discipline, industry, loyalty, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law,” and we need to return and recommit ourselves to doing so. We believe that the government and government agencies should be an integral part of this process since they have an official charge to govern in ways that are consistent with our nation’s constitution.
As an independent, sovereign nation, God has providentially blessed us with an excellent constitution that allows for an orderly, democratic society. In this regard, it should be noted that the United States has a different constitutional context than we do in The Bahamas, and the “freedoms” that producers and consumers of pornographic, violent, profane, and other objectionable broadcast rightly or wrongly claim from their constitution are expressly curtailed in ours (Section 23 of our constitution is a prime example). Therefore, we have a constitutional context that allows The Bahamas government, in the interest of public morality, to pass reasonable laws that prohibit the broadcast of objectionable content that many American citizens rightly or wrongly claim that their First Amendment Rights entitle them to see. No similar claim can legitimately be made by Bahamians in The Bahamas. Accordingly, our response is premised upon the constitutional reality that we enjoy in The Bahamas.
Although we have many concerns for our nation, there are three particular areas that are touched upon in this draft Code about which we are especially concerned. The first is family values. We firmly uphold the view that human sexual conduct expressed within the boundaries of marriage between one man and one woman is both what Christians hold to and what is without argument in our national best interests. Therefore, it will not go well with us as a nation if we continue to promote, encourage, and seek to normalize deviant sexual conduct (whether heterosexual or homosexual), and government and government agencies should be helping to promote strong families, not undermine them. A strategic opportunity is available in the regulation of broadcast content, and we urge URCA on behalf of the government to embrace it.
Our second concern is crime and violence. In 2011, we have seen an unprecedented increase in crime, violent crime in particular. At the time of this writing, December 29, 2011, the murder count stood at 125 (the previous record of 94 was recorded last year). We don’t have the numbers for attempted murder, causing harm, rape and sexual assault, armed robberies, and other violent crimes. However, it is reasonable to assume that, when the statistics are revealed for 2011, there will be an increase in most, if not all, of these categories. Therefore, we find it inconsistent with this sad state of affairs that some of the proposed standards for broadcast content seem to be nurturing the Hollywood culture of being entertained by crime, violence, profanity, and obscenity. While we applaud the efforts in the Code that are aimed at the protection of children, it is our view that the Code does not reflect any acknowledgement that many adults in our country are being negatively influenced into criminal conduct through the crime filled and violence laced content being approved for them to view and listen to, and the wider society is being harmed, as is evidenced by the siege of criminality that our nation is under. We believe we are deluding ourselves if we fail to admit this. Therefore, we believe that government and government agencies should not be involved in facilitating such content that is harmful to individuals and our society at large.
Our third concern is for our nation’s youth, the ones we are to be setting examples for and raising to be law abiding, productive citizens. Our country faces very complex and pervasive social problems with young persons, especially adolescents (educational decline, moral decline, drug and alcohol abuse, disrespect for authority, violence and antisocial behaviour, sexual promiscuity, teen pregnancy, AIDS & STD’s, etc.). As church leaders, we know this first hand because we are regularly intervening to help some of them, and we know second hand because some persons in our congregations who are teachers, doctors, and health and social workers tell us about the horrors our youth face on a daily basis. Therefore, we find it is contradictory for the government and government agencies on one hand to express concern about these problems that our youth face and then on the other hand turn around and pass laws and rules that facilitate and help to promote the same harmful values, ideas, and conduct about which they appear to be concerned.
While we recognize that the explosion of technology and media sources make it impossible to quarantine our society from destructive content; further, we recognize the fact that other countries are doing exactly what we are asking our government not to do. However, we firmly believe that our government and government agencies should not be in the business of providing licenses for individuals and businesses to sell content to its citizens that is harmful to them and of a depreciating effect on the society as a whole. We acknowledge that these are hard decisions to make, but we believe they are necessary to help in the multifaceted efforts required to help to stem the tide of pervasive family breakdown, to arrest the culture of crime and violence, and to protect our children and their future.
Some will no doubt say that we are seeking to take away people’s freedom, but we are not. We fully understand and value personal freedom in a democratic society. However, in the words of Pope John Paul II, we believe that “freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Also, some will say that we are seeking to legislate morality and morality can’t be legislated. However, such a statement fails to see that, on the contrary, morality indeed can be legislated and is legislated every time a law is passed. In fact, the Code being developed by URCA reflects moral views concerning what is right and what is not right for broadcast in The Bahamas. Therefore, the question we need to ask is this: Whose morality should be reflected in the laws that are to govern us? We believe that the morality of the majority should. Here we hasten to add that we are not talking about the majority taking away the freedom of the minority to make choices that have no effect on others; we are all free to make such choices that do not harm or have the potential to harm the wider society. Accordingly, consistent with this view, we believe that the morality of the majority should be reflected in the Code governing broadcast content in The Bahamas, and we fully believe that the views represented in our response are consistent with those of the majority of Bahamians.
The time tested and proven words of Proverbs 14:34 tell us that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”; these words are still true today, and as a nation we would do well to heed them. In accordance with this preface, we have sought to engage and specifically respond to URCA’s consultative questions. December 29, 2011 published January 4th, 2012.
Original source material is located HERE
CALL FOR BAN ON PORN
Published On:Friday, January 06, 2012
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
THE Bahamas Christian Council is calling for a ban on pornographic movies from Cable Bahamas’ channel programming after watching 12 X-rated films from the home of a senior citizen.
The Council was making its recommendations to the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) on the draft Code of Practice for Content Regulation.
Citing their findings from viewing the titles and described explicit content on the woman’s basic cable package, the council said: “These pornographic movie titles and descriptions were viewed from the home of a senior citizen who is ignorant about parental controls and who in any event can’t operate her set top box.”
The findings went on to note that the woman’s home was frequented by many minors who are fully able to use the television’s remote control to navigate the channels and view the pornographic content.
Insisting that the nation’s decency and standards will erode over time due to the showing of such TV shows, the council said URCA should seek to protect children above catering to the perverted preferences of a small minority of adults.
Other recommendations made by the council included a revisit of the down time on television when explicit content may be shown.
“Children are staying up later and getting up earlier, and many of them have radios, televisions, and internet access in their bedrooms. Accordingly, we believe that the watershed period should be between 11pm and 4am.”
“This recommended watershed period is not unreasonable; it is the same as the watershed period in Jamaica.”
Noting last year’s “unprecedented increase in crime, violent crime in particular,” the council blamed a “standard of broadcast that has nurtured the Hollywood culture.”
The council is also calling for URCA to intervene on all illegal DIRECTV installations.
In a letter from the company, the council said they were informed that DIRECTV is not authorised to operate outside of the US.
“Thanks for writing. I understand that you would like to know if you can have DIRECTV service in Nassau, Bahamas and I appreciate being given the chance to assist,” said the letter from DIRECTV. “I’m glad to hear that you are interested in getting DIRECTV service. However, we are prohibited by law from offering service outside the United States. DIRECTV abides by all applicable legal restrictions and does not condone or support violation of law.”
Since URCA is charged with a responsibility to regulate the broadcast industry, the council said the authority should have an active interest in this regard.