Skip to main content

Young Zealots or Audacious Hope?: Youth, Secularism and the MediaA

One week ago, September 18, 2012, there was a "Religious Hardtalk" episode, where two young Jamaicans, Javed Jaghai & Angeline Jackson, espoused secular humanist views; contrary to the privileged views of the Christian majority. Why did this particular episode create more angst among the Christian majority and result in censorship of those two young "questioners" of the Christian establishment and dogma? Are there not always controversial views spitted unto the nation from said show? Yes! But what was different about this episode? The Christian community is not homogenous (not everybody inna Christianity saying or believe di same sinting). Christianity is largely affected by sectarianism, hence the many denominations. Yet, they are united around a singular "truth" - something that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt - the existence of God. So even when these, otherwise enemies, are divided around doctrine, on September 18th, they rallied around a common cause to protect turf and annihilate the common enemy - the ATHEISTS (forget that one of the guests did not identify as atheist; that's irrelevant).
Many saw as offensive, the views being espoused on National (apparently Christian) Television. How dare these atheists/secularists ask:
1. That their voice be heard, too
2. That we countenance that for them, "god" does not exist
3. That Jamaica moves away from privileging one particular religious view if it ought to be considered truly democratic
4. That we respect the right of those who are not religious to not have religion IMPOSED on them in public spaces (just as we ask for smokers or homosexuals not to impose their practice upon the rest of the citizenry).
5. That they not be forced to abide by laws that are religious in their application and interpretation. (You may watch the programme here.
) Many took to social media to repudiate the explicit views and insinuations by those who sat with Ian Boyne on the programme. The overwhelming feeling was that Jamaica is a Christian nation and that those who dare to oppose Christianity not only were they offending god; they were NOT, in fact, being Jamaican. They were committing treason. This interesting assignment of patriotism and citizenship on the basis of religious affiliation is subtle but one that ought to be interrogated. Some went as far as accusing the two youth of being angry and "if dem nuh like it, why dem nuh gweh" (If they do not approve of religion/Christianity, why don't they leave [Jamaica]). This is quite instructive. We celebrate the silencing of other points-of-view. We say, if you do not think like, believe like, act like us, then you are not suppose to be here; there is no space here for you! no wonder TVJ could have highhandedly refuse to rebroadcast the programme on Wednesday, September 19, at 10:00 a.m.(even though that is the time every other episode is rebroadcast). They claimed it was offensive and not fit for morning TV. It was offensive because it was different...oops... was non-Christian.
The outrage is startling though. The many Christian "sympathizers" running out from the woodwork to defend god (who supposedly is not potent enough to defend 'himself') and Christian orthodoxy, revealed a nation in a paralytic state of dissonance. Said christian apologists are NOT adherents of the dogma they defended. many are not even regular church attendants; regular party goers, fornicators, adulterers perhaps. Here were these sinners (by the standards of the views they defend)defending something they could not live up to in real life. So what really are they defending? They thought that those positing anti-theist views were angry. And what if they are angry. When since has anger become terrible? We all become angry when we feel that we are unjustly treated and are being oppressed and SILENCED. If you think I am lying ask Nanny, Kudjoe, Tacky, Paul Bogle and those who felt the oppressive licks from colonial ideologies. It was their anger has brought the rest of us "black" folk to this place where we have enough power to turn around and oppress and silence those who disagree with us. The thing is, when the Christian majority spreads its exclusionary message with great passion, it is called anointed preaching... when atheists/anti-theists do same they are being hateful. It is just they way things are and donkey affirmed it in her now famous quote, 'di worl' nuh level" (there is no equality in the world). Who ever said donkey is an ASS, lied.
Despite appearing on the programme with the knowledge of the institutionalised silencing of non-Christian views in Jamaica (citing refusal to publish articles and comments of same sentiments), Javed & Angeline were audacious enough to HOPE that their views and voice will find expression. And it did!!! Despite the attempts by TVJ to muzzle them, social and new media have given them the platform to decry the TVJ's blatant attempt at censorship all in the name of protecting christian privilege. So far, I have read blog posts by Jaevion Nelson and Annie Paul, saying to the two, "we heard you even louder by the attempts to silence you." There is a cacophony of such injustice and intolerance of the other and people are hearing and are paying attention. Yes, Donkey, despite the undulation, there is audacious hope that will create CHANGE!!!


  1. I love it D, absolutely love it. Sharing when I get home.

  2. I only manage to see a last part of the interview the day, and from what i heard i agree with them. its OK for a wo/man to come and the bus and saying that they got a word from God to preach up a storm without any cry from passengers for them to be silent but if i come in the name of Mohammed, or Selassie everyone would want be to shut up. Christian would quickly call for the police to response to their calls for the shutting down of a dance but they are the one ready to go out in the street in the name of God to keep street meetings...donkey rite yaa

  3. Thank you, Friends for your comments. Thanks for sharing, Angeline!!! Muahhh!!

    Howard, a theocracy or religious tyranny (however we wish to identify it) is the ONLY threat to religious freedom as religions battle each other for dominance. We both are donkeys; though not asses! NAMASTE!

  4. Watched the episode and i share the similar sentiments as both, however I'm not an atheist, i do believe that they should be heard and given a forum for themselves and people alike. After all this is a "Free" country where we "openly" tolerate such views.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Comfort is OVERRATED & Will Stunt Your GROWTH!!!

I have been thinking a lot lately about success and growth. I think many of us aspire to success and there are different versions of how that may manifest in our lives. For some, success shows up in the accumulation of wealth, degrees, notoriety or accomplishing simple life goals. Personally, I believe that each of us deposited into this realm of existence came with a specific assignment to benefit the earth and that success will be measured by how well I have lived out my specific assignment.

(My Photo: Community Workshop facilitation)

Whatever success looks like to you, you will have to agree that success does not happen by osmosis or luck. Success begins with a paradigm shift. I call it the cultivation of the growth mindset. One ways of thinking that we have to cultivate in this growth mindset towards success is that we must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. We underestimate and undervalue the profitability of challenge, opposition and discomfort in developing intellectu…

The Wicked Woman We Love to Hate!

Choose a Caribbean island - any one. There's a mother who's just beat her child with the first thing that her hands fall on. The Caribbean is inundated with narratives of mothers who dare not spare the rod and spoil the child - mothers who dig up ants nest and put their child to kneel in it, on a grater with their hands tied behind their back; mothers who use a hot iron to burn the hand of their thieving child; mothers who go into schools to box up the disrespectful child for answering back teacher and bringing shame to her name.
These are the things that Caribbean mothers do. They do this, not necessarily because they are wicked, but in the name of discipline.

We are a people who have learned violence. It's become part of our social DNA. Our parents learned that violence was how transgressors are taught to do better and behave better. They learned such violence from their parents, and their parents from theirs and their parents from the plantation. The whip is what we le…


Social Media, and in particular twitter, has become a space for spewing caustic and vitriolic effluent at people with whom we disagree. I am sometimes amazed at how people feel so empowered and emboldened sitting behind a screen to descend into the bowels of utter nastiness to express dissent to something that someone else posted. It is worse now that we have 280 characters instead of 140. It means that the nastiness is times two. But social media can be and has been used as a source of good. I have been the beneficiary of deep friendships and formed a formidable network of people who have supported and pushed me along in my professional and personal life.Yet, we do not hear many stories about the power and reach of social media. In this post, I want to speak about a quiet Superhero that I encountered on social media.

I had been working in three vulnerable communities in the last couple of years on a urban disaster risk reduction project being implemented by Habitat for Humanity Jamai…