Gilkes: St Akilah Speaking Sacerdotal Stupidness on Sex (again); why Christians get sex ed wrong

“One of my parishioners spent several years in Venezuela. He came back from there with a little boy whose mother he had left, but to whom he was not married. He had had the good luck at my arrival in the parish to marry a communicant.

“The mother of this little boy came recently from the Mainland to see him. The legitimate wife received her well. They went walking together in the area. I met both of them. The legitimate wife presented her to me saying: ‘This is the first madam with whom my husband lived’.”

From the diary of Fr Armand Masse (4th October 1880)

Photo: A couple in love.

“In the West Indies, at least in Trinidad, the majority of Negroes do not marry. They take what is called a keeper, that is a temporary or companionate marriage-partner. This relationship is especially prevalent in the oilfields.

“These temporary ménages generally work. If the pair do not agree, they will part… and make other unions. This goes on until a pair happen to hit it off, then they may, and usually do, live together for the rest of their lives and have large families.”

Trinidad Doctor’s Diary” — Vincent Tothill (Pg 9)

“[Most people] stay in disorder [common-law unions] without a scruple, without shame, and without it lowering them in the eyes of the world; it is the custom.”

Fr Armand Masse (23 February 1883)

Allyuh had a good Xmas season? Eat up and drink up and ting now so allyuh good right?

Nice, well lewwe go one time, no chaser. Plenty lingering issues that still eh dealt with because, face it, no matter how much they affect our society, most uncomfortable issues are not to be confronted in this land of featherless ostriches.

Such is most definitely the case with sexual awareness among school-age children.

Those opening quotes aren’t meant to develop an argument for wanton sexual behaviour. But it is meant to show that even at the height of colonial indoctrination and ignorance (as indicated by Masse’s comments), strong, practical customs and arrangements were developed/retained by our great-grandparents with a maturity clearly lacking in this age of neoliberalism.

Photo: A young lady holds up a condom in a sex education class.

Wha I talking bout? Well in the dying embers of 2018, the question of comprehensive sex-eduction in schools—that is, learning of sex, sexuality, reproductive health as well as the complexities of intimate relationships—or lack thereof came up yet again. In this space, one Alana Abdool take god out she thoughts and expressed an opinion that critiqued the know-nothing/teach-nothing attitude of our local ‘moral’ majority.

Well who tell she say dat?

Along comes Akilah the Pontificator blowing steam of righteous indignation wanting to know what qualifies her to speak to children about sex? Because from what St Akilah has read Abdool’s “moral values are questionable” and as such she’s “in no position to advise anyone about sex.”

Hold dat Alana. Know yuh damn place. Thus sayeth Akilah de Pontifica.

You see there’s this persistent school of thought—y’know, like them blue fly always buzzing around yuh food—that if the youths don’t know it, they won’t do it. And it’s not just religious people by the way.

Human sexuality taught to children and youths is the one unifying thing almost guaranteed to get both liberal minded people and conservatives ‘tizzik’. The idea of sex is welded to notions of degradation—that sexual awareness leads to the moral and physical destruction of society.

Human sexuality is the one social activity that can destroy civilisation and society as we know it; or so the religious types tell us. It runs very deep in our consciousness and few are immune from that reflexive fear of having our children ‘sexualised’.

Photo: Pop star Britney Spears plays a sexualised schoolgirl.

Jean DeLumeau writes in “Sin and Fear: The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture 13th-18th centuries” of all the things identified by early Christianity as being of ‘the world’ and thus sinful, sexuality was ‘the most ferociously attacked’.

Rev Dr Joseph Fletcher of the Episcopal Theological School wrote: “the Christian churches must shoulder much of the blame for the confusion, ignorance, and guilt which surrounds sex in Western culture… The Christian church, from its earliest primitive beginnings, had been swayed by many Puritanical people, both Catholic and Protestant, who have viewed sex as inherently evil.”

Indeed, the writings of early and mediaeval theologians, Catholic and Protestant, are replete with paranoiac, often misogynist rantings about sexual pleasure.

This is the context in which the level-headed among us must read the fulminations of St Akilah, Pastor Gill, members of the IRO and the Association of Pastors regarding the teaching of sex education, LGBTQI issues and the stillborn National Gender Policy. The foundation of divine sanction that they believe is rock-solid needs to be exposed for the foundation of straw that it is.

It’s mind-blowing how—no matter the age, no matter how easily information out there can be accessed—certain individuals and institutions maintain discredited ideas. Add to that the culturally reactive, mentally lazy Trini mindset that refuses to disassemble colonial-era indoctrination created for social control, not education or salvation; it’s easier to accept what the coloniser taught and preached, you see.

But over and over and over we see the results of a culture of sexual ignorance and body and sexual-shaming disguised as values; and, ironically, sexuality reduced to yet another commodity in the capitalist ethic. Despite all of that, people—including Jurassic Man in the Ministry of ‘Education’—maintain a tone-deafness that at times is nothing short of callous indifference.

Photo: Education Minister Anthony Garcia (centre) meets with students of Fatima College.
Garcia was a former Fatima principal.

So you could talk all you want about the dismal failure of abstinence-only ‘education’, the high level of sexual abuse in evangelical Christian communities, the models laid out in Scandinavian countries that one can compare with anthropological findings among ancient and mediaeval African and communities such as the Trobriand Islanders. You’ll have better success convincing a fish it could play cricket.

An examination of Akilah’s writings on this subject in the Express and in this space offers a snapshot into the world of disconnect, elitism and bigotry cloaked with a veneer of religious piety—the world of the religious evangelicals and fundamentalists.

In her (somewhat understandable) rant against low-level thieves and lock-neck specialists, she placed the bulk of the blame on the mothers who gave birth to them.

Her ‘Commandment to Unwed girls’ to ‘not open thy legs’ on 23 January 2018 was riddled with self-righteous, moralistic diatribes, almost all of which came straight out of very old racist and misogynist European narratives. In that article, we were treated to some real pearls of wisdom such as when she advised the ‘lousy, doh-care parents’ to ‘keep your blasted legs closed’ because ‘if you have no money to mind a child, if you still in school’ and, of course, ‘if you’re unmarried’, you are clearly a burden on society.

Her very worrying use of the term ‘pests’ (like Gary Griffith’s ‘cockroaches’ and ‘fleas’), that sum up how many of us feel about criminalised elements of society and their terrorising of law-abiding citizens speaks volumes—and also indicates the extent to which many of us have internalised that callous, dismissive ethic inherent in white supremacist capitalist ideology.

Photo: Actor Leonardo Di Caprio plays Calvin Candie, a colonial slave owner in the movie “Django Unchained.”
(Copyright Django Unchained)

She went further and cited sexual liberation as playing a big part in high crime. Where is the evidence to support this? Oh that’s right, she said she hadn’t any. She just believes the reasons we have crime—theft, gang violence, drug addiction and trafficking—is because of our supposed sexual freedom.

This charlatan is/was an educator with a Masters.

Soooooo it’s not because of a merging of the plantation economy and society that Lloyd Best, George Beckford and David Trotman spoke about, where a competitive, elitist capitalist system functions ‘successfully’ by having a servile, un/under-educated labour force that is also disposable. It is not the education—or, to be more accurate, schooling—system Ramesh Deosaran talked about that was developed in the context of that same plantation society.

Nor is it the creation of a culture of normalised physical, sexual and psychological violence; nor the glaring social inequality and culture of impunity where the labouring masses are constantly lectured to about the rewards derived from obeying the law, being productive, being ‘moral’ and doing the right thing, while seeing certain sections of society doing the exact opposite and getting away by frustrating the legal system—which their forbears created to maintain the then status quo anyway.

It’s not the sexual ignorance and repression that study after study after study has shown connects to all sorts of sexual deviance and violence. It’s not the racist reasonings of Juan de Sepulveda, Bartholome de Las Casas, John Locke, Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, that underpins all of this.

Photo: A cartoon depecting colonialism.

After all it’s their writings—along with other writers, theologians and forgers of biblical texts—that provide the ideological foundation for the slaughter of Native Peoples, enslavement of Africans, creation of slum barrack yards in east Port of Spain, Central and South Trinidad.

Trotman laid it all out to us in his book that examined crime in 19th century Trinidad. Deosaran has been doing the same in his works including his book ‘Crime, Inequality and Education in Trinidad and Tobago’; even David Simon—the creator of The Wire, which looks at the various dimensions in the drug and gang situation in urban USA—also spells it out.

But none of that is of any relevance. It’s just shitty (unmarried) mothers breeding pests that’s the root of our problem—oh and men who bulling. Any other explanation is just finding excuse for banditry, laziness and perversion.

In the Gospel of Akilah, our main problem is because of them black hen chicken ‘oman running around taking a setta man.

Did these women receive any sex education in school when they were growing up? No, because the Bible-wavers, Qur’an clutchers and Gita wielders always protest that that’s the parent’s role.

Did their parents teach them? No, because they too were mostly ignorant and are also uncomfortable talking about sex and relationships to children.

Photo: A satirical take on sex education.
(Copyright Notsandmutton)

Were there the support structures like the informal ones that existed in house-yards all over this country right up until the 1980s? Hardly, because neo-liberal capitalism forced almost everybody out de house to go and wuk—often through migration; see under ‘barrel children’.

So let’s have the sex ed in schools then. No, that’s the parent’s role. So how the exact f**k you wan dem learn bout sex Ms Holder, Immaculate Conception?

And if anyone has a problem with my cussing, get over yourself. The real obscenity is that the exact same diatribes and racist/sexist narratives that were and still are directed at us by white masculine supremacists, we so readily use against ourselves.

No serious analysis, no discussion to point out that much of these sexual strictures—supposedly to ‘save’ our heathen souls—were really part of a complex process of forcing indigenous peoples to abandon their self-sufficient, co-operative/co-dependent ways of living and accept white European/Euro-American authority while giving away their mineral resources. It was the same thing they did to their own peasants in Europe, during the early stages of capitalism.

In fact, there is almost no deconstruction of the role the stern, artificial image of an asexual persona—contrasted against the more open, fluid cultures of the global south—was and still is used as justification for seizing their lands and resources.

And if you think that that is past tense and not connected to present problems, guess again. All this is not only about egregious ideas that sexually aware children will be screwing down the place.

Photo: Time for sex education?

Today’s useful idiots need to wake up to the fact that the suppression of sexual education is connected to racist Far Right politics and economic policies merged with evangelical Christian ideas that both became entrenched in US domestic and foreign politics.

This is neither new nor restricted to the US. Likewise, today, military interventions are undertaken on the pretext of ‘rescuing women’ in predominantly Muslim countries from Muslim men, while economic bullying is the preferred way the US strong-arm countries into complying with current governmental policies such as their stance on abortion.

A common thread? Bible-Belt Christian evangelists.

The really frightening thing is that most of the people in this bubble St Akilah lives in sincerely believe they are doing good; that they are doing ‘god’s’ will. That is what makes them so dangerous. There can be no reasoning with them.

The colonials injected their own cultural fears mixed with racist ideologies that were in vogue at the time, which presented African and Indian cultural approaches to sex and sensuality as savage, barbaric and destructive. Well-intentioned locals, seeking to create a stable society acceptable to the omnipotent Euro, adopted these beliefs and thus became what Ludwig Von Mises called ‘useful idiots’.

So, in the long process of containing them—that’s all I think you can do—it’s crucial that others are made aware that none of this has anything to do with any god or morality. That’s the leverage many bible-wavers, Quran-clutchers and Gita-wielders traditionally use to cement their positions without fear of effective challenge.

Photo: Famous American evangelist Bill Graham (seated, centre) celebrates his 95th birthday with his son, Franklin Graham, as well as then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch.

Gerda Lerner says in “The Creation of Patriarchy” that a lot more progress could be made if people were made aware that the moral laws advanced by religious leaders and advocates were historical: that is, there was a period in which they were developed and therefore, if they had a beginning, there was a history with other customs before those mores came about.

Perhaps there may then be an investigation into what those cultures were for they juuuust may contain models we can use today.

Dr Yosef ben-Jochannan used to say that “god” is the deification of a culture. Here, we are dealing with a sexual moral code created by a people who were militaristic, nomadic and pastoral, revolving around the supremacy of the father-figure and their ideas of morality simply reflected that.

To counter that, one of the things we need to is examine the other cultures that existed before and alongside that patriarchal culture, merged with what we know today about the human species.

Or we can continue in denial and let your holy book do your job. Hope you can handle the result.

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  1. Dr Cliff Bertrand Caribbean and American Insights on Sports and Education
    Published by Cliff Bertrand · December 7, 2018 at 4:33 PM ·
    Human Sexuality; Not Sexual Education
    I was flabbergasted to read what the Honorable Minister of Sports had on her mind about Sexual Education .However, my status as a Health Educator with Graduate credentials in the Social Sciences from Yeshiva University, NYC
    I am an Administrator in the field of Teaching, Supervision and Curriculum Development from Columba University. The area of concentration should be Human Sexuality. The term Sexual Education has no place in modern day conversation. It a turn off which implies Male /Female contraceptives.
    Human Sexuality covers human interaction within the portfolio of the social sciences. This has the roots of development at all appropriate age levels.
    A contemporary view of human sexuality fosters personal reflection and critical thinking skills as they apply to the student’s vicarious versus direct experiences.
    If one examines the concept of Human Sexuality in our Changing nation landscape you will realize that this society’s landscape provides a very clear view of diversity ; this could be directed at helping students understand the consequences of misinformed effects of both biology and culture upon our public understanding of Human Sexuality.
    In order to substitute a more personal and impactful learning experience,
    Teachers must encourage students to reflect upon their own beliefs and involvements as they proceed through the learning familiarities.
    Trained Teachers must update their lesson planning with new content; they must engage students in adoptive ways in which the Internet and digital devices have impacted sexuality in many modern-day societies.
    The teacher must provide an interactive learning environment that enables students to read, practice, and study in one continuous experience in transition.
    Human Sexuality education is more than the instruction of children and adolescents on anatomy and the physiology of biological sex and reproduction.
    It covers Healthy Human Sexual Developmental engagement, Gender Identity, Interpersonal Relationships, Affection, Sexual Development, Intimacy, and Body Image for all Adolescents, including Adolescents with Disabilities, Chronic Health Conditions, and other Special Needs.
    Developing a Healthy Human Sexuality program is a key developmental milestone for all children and adolescents that depend on acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about consent, sexual orientation, gender identity, relationships, and intimacy.
    A Healthy Human Sexuality program is influenced by Ethnic, Racial, Cultural, Personal, Religious, and Moral concerns. A Healthy Human Sexuality program must include the capacity to promote and preserve significant interpersonal relationships; value one’s body and personal health; interact with both sexes in respectful and appropriate ways; and express affection, love, and intimacy in ways consistent with one’s own values, sexual preferences, and abilities.
    The various dimensions of Healthy Human Sexuality comprise the Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry of the Sexual Response System; Identity, Orientation, Roles, and Personality; and Thoughts, Feelings, and Relationships. Ideally, children and adolescents receive accurate information on Human Sexual Health from multiple Professional Resources…
    Dr. Cliff Bertrand
    Public School Administrator, New York City Board of Education

  2. If we were to track the fertility rate of the top 50 SEA girls and bottom 50 SEA girls for the past 10 years, over a 15 year period, what would we find?

    I wonder if there is a difference in the “sexual education” of the two groups.

    • Won’t the difference be internal discipline and fixed goals, more than sex education? (^_~)

      • I’m asking questions. I’m hoping those that have the answers explain how any of the following (God or lack thereof , slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism, sex education etc) explains any difference in those cohorts I identified.

        But we must first have the stats to see if there is any difference.

  3. Ezra Joaquim, I hear you. I’ll start by saying, the conservatives like Akilah who are for a version of Right Wing American Evangelical Shariah Law regarding sexuality are also part of End Times, Doomsday cults that basically do not have any vested interest in preserving humans on this planet. They are looking forward for the Rapture.

    However, even if they don’t manage to launch us into WW3 with their support of American Military Industrial Complex in Israel as part of their human-retroactive fulfillment of Biblical prophesy to usher in what they believe to be the return of Jesus, we do not have 100 years on this planet at our current consumption + reproductive rates and destructive foreign policies. Our species would have made the planet inhospitable to most biological life by then unless there is DRASTIC action taken.

    This is a FINITE space with FINITE resources. It cannot support infinite consumption unless we go “Elysium” (the movie) with it and relegate billions to a wasteland of poverty, violence and have a well-guarded utopia for the minority of upper classes. I will be non-existent (at least on this plane) by then, so really, it only my altruism and generosity of spirit that would make me want to consider the next generations to come.

    Media can influence a lot of things, I know because I work in that field, but it cannot influence things that are already innate, foundational aspects of your personality formed early in childhood development or even in utero. If that was the case, there would be zero LGBT people in times when no such thing was ever portrayed or in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria etc. Conversely, there would be majority LGBT people in ancient times (Greek, Ido era Japan, ancient Persia, Babylon, ancient India etc.) where homoeroticism and gender-bending were acceptable or in today’s societies where it has been decriminalized and mainstreamed for going on two or more generations now (Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Scandanvia etc.) But the numbers of LGBT people seem to even-off at around consistently around the same percentage. Heterosexuals, like right-handed people, will always be the majority. Queer people, like left-handed people, will always be the minority, no matter how much it is represented in the media.

    Also, art reflects life. If you are seeing it in the media it is because it is a mirror. When interracial marriage was legalized in the 1960s, more interracial couples came out in the open, got married, you began seeing interracial couples on television, Captain Kirk kissed Uhura in Star Trek, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” etc. Art reflects life, far more than it determines life.

    I am against the ALL sexualization of ANY kind of ALL children. It does not matter if it is a girl being dressed provocatively “Toddlers & Tiaras” like a sexpot or a boy being dressed like a sexy woman. So I and many LGBT people and LGBT allies often disagree with the drag queen thing and kids, because often the drag queen characterization is some version of “slutty prostitute” or “sexy performer”. It’s not so much about whether a girl wants to dress like a male character or a boy wants to dress like a female character to me. Some girls like male superhero characters and want to dress like them for example. The issue for me is whether the character is too sexualized for someone that age.

    (Just one small correction though, a drag queen is not an identity, like you mentioned, it is performance art much like cosplay is.)

    Sex education should start in the home. I agree. Rules about sexual behavior by kids under 18/living in their parent’s home should be set by parents. I agree.

    But keep in mind the information quotient many parents have is dismal. I was told by my father that I was not allowed to use tampons because it would ruin my virginity. There are parents who upon learning their child was molested, blame the CHILD and never address the issue.

    That kind of medically inaccurate and sexist and ignorant nonsense is why you also need QUALIFIED sex educators giving age-appropriate sex education to the youth. It’s why you need guidance counselors teens can go speak to when they are dealing with ignorant or abusive parents.

    When it comes to the FACTS, it clearly shows that countries like Denmark, Iceland, Canada etc. with comprehensive sex education in schools have less teen pregnancy, less STIs, less sexual assaults in schools, less mistreatment and bullying of students who identify as LGBT and more support for students who are being sexually abused in their homes.

  4. Very good read. While the prevailing themes on discussing or teaching sex education will center on sexuality, emotions and implications etc. It’s important that there is context of the unique place and effect of colonial and culturally inherited sexual narratives. Likewise it’s almost impossible not to bring in the place of legislative issues that young people need to understand regarding consent, rights and risks, which sometimes may be in the context of legally allowed partnerships in the form of common law relationships and marriage. It’s such a huge topic. There’s a limit to what can be introduced and when in a schooling system as it will have to take into consideration a child’s development and stage of intellectual reasoning. Nonetheless the conversation must persist long past completion of schooling to keep pace with shifts in societal needs for healthy relationships. Another evident cycle that needs to be broken and one that may be taken for granted is both the need to educate the educators and address the deficits in a school system to be able to support more than it seems capable of bearing. That’s quite a tall order given that there’s a fundamental right to protect religious freedom that sometimes has interpretations to oppress and oppose different ideas that are regarded as sexual immorality. There’s a disturbing trend in the growth of far right religion and the dichotomy of a two fold ‘punishment’ that follows ‘I told you so’. There’s no rhetoric except theirs and in the absence of more progressive ‘liberal’ education the consequences of misinformation and lack thereof on sexuality becomes a self fulfilling prophecy to basically follow the same mentality. That’s something for everyone to understand…the inability to reconcile religious beliefs with sexual liberalization or immorality is not a dismissal of religion or sexuality…it’s just the limits that have been handed to you.

  5. Their Abstinence-Only Education a FAILURE! ABJECT FAILURE! As the evidence indicates.

  6. Corey Gilkes, I find it interesting that you narrowed in on me in your article, even though it is about “Why Christians Get Sex Ed Wrong.” I, the TTCEC, and other religious organizations have voiced our dissent of CSE, so there is absolutely no reason for you to narrow in on me. That you chose to, is revealing. I am not your problem, let’s get that straight. What offends you is the truth that I speak. So focus on addressing the issue at hand, and not the person who raised the issue, because it’s not just me who spoke out against it. If you’re discussing an issue, discuss it objectively, and don’t narrow in on one of the dissenters, for several voiced dissent. Try sth called professionalism.

    Smh. Anyway, the truth always offends. You and others who agree with you are what one relative calls “educated jackasses.” In other words, book sense till your stupid and can’t see straight. So keep braying, God’s truth will always prevail, and His Word will always endure. Keep on your blinders, you and everyone else who stand with you. Keep them on. Whether you believe or not, it does not nullify him or his word. Keep braying. The truth will always offend.

  7. Thank you so much for this article A Corey Gilkes. Brilliant!

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