Victory by United by Ignorance?

This article was written in April 2007, and the relevant RG article for it can be found here.

I was very disappointed by the news of the ‘gay cruise’ cancelling its trip to Bermuda. I do however understand the concerns of its organisers, and understand why they chose to cancel the cruise. I do think the whole issue was totally mishandled almost from the get go. To begin with, I don’t really know why it was splashed all over the news media in the first place that the cruise was coming here, as I don’t see any similar headlines when a heterosexual cruise comes here, and it was bound to end up in this manner based on the concerns of the cruise and the expected reaction by the local peddlers of intolerance and hypocrisy. It would have been better not to mention it at all and just let it come, most of us would have been none the wiser, and at least the realisation would’ve come to late for those inclined to do so to arrange any organised harrasment of the passengers. I also think Mr. Kaminsky’s statements in reaction to the Churches here came across as purely belligerent and had the effect of pouring gasoline on the fire (‘…just one incident and etc…’).

Despite the compassion I would feel for the passengers should they have come and been harrassed, I do think that the visit would have served almost as a further catalyst for the gay rights movement here in Bermuda, and towards furthering the general debate on secularism and sexual equality as a whole. I think that the comments by the, I beleive Catholic, Reverend Kurtz that ‘It was controversial and now it’s not coming we don’t have to deal with all the issues around it’ reveal a lot about the feelings of many Bermudians. With the cancellation of the cruise we all don’t have to face the issues around it, we can avoid it, sweep it under the carpet, stick our heads in the sand, and carry on with our regular lives. The issues ‘around it’ involve basic concepts of human rights and dignity, of the relationship of the Church to the State, of heterosexual dominance, or rather the very basis of our patriachal authoritarian society. We can now simply avoid the issues and carry on with banality.

I bet not only the Churches are breathing a huge sigh of relief here, but also the politicians, especially as this is widely thought to be an election year, and in election years our politicians like to avoid anything of any real substance and rather waffle on about sweet nothings, empty promises, and a few practical tinkering jobs that should have been done decades ago anyway. Anything of substance, anything that makes us feel uncomfortable and stimulates actual critical thought, they all avoid like the plague.

Unfortunately for our dear Reverend Kurtz, his fellow clerics and for the poor politician who tries so hard to say nothing at all, I highly doubt that they will get their wish to ‘not deal with the issues around it.’ Perhaps the ongoing culture wars will lose a predetermined and highly anticipated scheduled battle, but the ‘issues around it’ will continue to be discussed whether the Holy Family likes it or not.


8 thoughts on “Victory by United by Ignorance?

  1. One day Bermuda’s outlook will cease to be that of a third world country when it comes to homosexuality. Until then ignorance and intolerance will be the name of the game.

    The sooner the HRA is amended the better, at least then Bermuda will have made its first step in the right direction.

  2. Nioe,

    Bermuda IS a third world country, albeit a rich one (for now).

    It’s unlikely that the HRA amendment will make much, if any, difference.

    And for all the bible-thmping hyprocrites out there, not once does it mention homosexuality in the ten commandments, but it mentions plenty of the other sins that our elected officials are guilty of:

    You shall have no other Gods but me. (money and power here)

    Honor your father and mother (seniors are getting a raw deal)

    You shall not commit adultery (it’s the national pastime)

    You shall not steal (going on as we speak)

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (politicians aren’t going to tell the truth, ever)

    You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour
    (that’s what got us in the current mess)

    Six down, four to go? Quite the success rate.

    But they’d rather worry about an obscure passage in Leviticus than deal with more pressing issues.

  3. I am appalled that in this dire, dismal state of tourism that we would turn a gay cruise away! Why don’t the people that have problems with gays STAY HOME and don’t go watch them get off the ship. Mind your own darn business.
    Don’t you realize ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE!(if you even believe in him)
    We are shooting ourselves in the foot!

  4. @ Sara – Well, the Ministry of Tourism was very much in favour of the cruise and promoting the island as a gay-friendly tourism destination, which is actually quite a lucrative niche. The problems facing such cruises are hardly unique to Bermuda though, with many similar events throughout the Caribbean. I fear we, as a society, have a lot of work ahead of us on respecting differences like this.

  5. I know they were, so they should have been more active in meeting with the church leaders and members to make it as clear as possible that ALL tourists are welcome and they(church people) have NO say in which tourists can and can not come onto this island.

  6. This was a good piece Jonathan. Really appreciated the quote from Mr. Kurtz on “It was controversial and now it’s not coming we don’t have to deal with all the issues around it”.

    I think we all agree that the issues haven’t gone away, they’re still there, whether it’s on the fringe or even closer than that.

    Now church leaders, they claim to answer to a higher authority, and that’s all good, and they’re entitled to believe what they will.

    However our elected leaders are supposed to answer to the people, all the people, and have an obligation to not sweep issues under the rug, but bring it to the fore.

    It’s believed that some politicians are simply willing to do what the church lobby supports in order to not lose votes. That in itself suggests a lack of conviction in their own (or their constituents, for that matter) minds on certain issues. Stand up, tell us what you believe as an individual.

    But like mentioned earlier in this comments thread, it’s extremely rich that we live in a country that claims to be Christian, that gay folk are the ultimate evil while people commit adultery left right and center, and greed, pride and gluttony prevail upon many of us.

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