So, I just got the memo about a faith-based group on facebook, whose sole purpose is to denounce the lust that is mostly represented in Carnival, T&T’s most celebrated holiday. The group, called ‘Blank Carnival 2013’ calls for Christians, especially youth following Christ, to refrain from celebrating or taking part in any way in anything closely related to Carnival, as it is not of God.
Now, for obvious reasons, I don’t completely agree with what the group is doing here. But that’s not at all the point. The real point is not whether they’re wrong about Carnival, it’s whether the’re wrong for saying what they believe.
I’m no libertarian, though. I do not believe that there is ‘more than one truth’ or that people should have the right to have their individual truths come in conflict and see who’s right. In fact, for the majority of my life I’ve been a complete asshole about other people having points of view. This was partially because I didn’t pull my own out of my ass. It was carefully thought out, often times out of a serious struggle with myself and every person or thing I held dear. But then I realized – that’s how every person comes to almost every single thing they believe.
Which is why I was deeply concerned when some friends of mine saw this page and made a scene out of it on facebook, saying that these folks were spreading hate towards people that make their own sexual choices. Firstly, it doesn’t seem like that to me – they’re saying form a place of belief that something negative is present that should not be, and that people have the option to get out of that if they want. Secondly, it’s not altogether unusual – when we had a friend that was obese and was eating KFC every day, I’d like to think that we would say something to that person. That’s not fat-shaming, it’s concern. In the same vein, this isn’t slut-shaming either, it’s simply a Christian moral perspective on Carnival.
I have the utmost respect and adoration for Christians, even though I don’t believe even 50% of the things they say to be true. What I respect about them is not that they have a belief that I share, but that they have a belief. They’ve managed to built this powerful part of themselves, that describes and explains their world to them, protects them and their loved ones from harm, allows them to strive to be better versions of themselves, and connects to a universal morality. That morality believes certain things, and for people to have those beliefs are not bad. In fact, if a belief system didn’t have something to say as far as right and wrong was concerned, it would be absolutely useless.
If people want to wine and jam for Carnival, nothing should stop them. In my belief, nothing will, especially not a facebook fan page. But people educating others about their beliefs of the celebration out of a place of concern and without crossing the Westboro Baptist line is still a wonderful thing. It allows a space for dialogue, and for people to address their own beliefs in healthy and mature ways. Truth be told, whether I agree with them or not, I think that the ‘Blank Carnival’ folks should have their right to reach out to others about what they believe about Carnival, in a sincere and Loving way. If that’s what they truly believe, then why shouldn’t they? If it starts to do things that actively bring harm to folks, then the buck stops. But until them, they should do their thing.