PRESIDENT MARTELLY: KEEP THE CHURCH & THE STATE SEPARATED

President Martelly of Haiti

President Martelly of Haiti

In this article entitled “Attention Danger!!!” published yesterday, Thursday, June 02, 2011 on the Radio Kiskeya website, the author, Lyonel Trouillot, did a tremendous job calling President Martelly out on his issuance of the executive order making Ascension (a Catholic Holiday) a National Holiday. http://www.radiokiskeya.com/spip.php?article7793

The issuance of that executive order was a reckless and miscalculated move on the part of the president. Doing so, he opens the door for people (friends and foes) to question his motives. Many, myself included, tend to assume that, by that decision, he is favoring the Catholic Church over the other religious conglomerates.

There is no question that the president was ill-advised. Whoever advised him to issue that executive order making Ascension a National Holiday has shown lack of democratic judgment; therefore, he or she has no place in the president’s team of advisers. Such decision is an embarrassment, and it is making the president look very bad. What has happened of the basic democratic concept of separation of church and state?

The democratic concept of separation of church and state demands that the state be kept away from matters of faith. As Mr. Trouillot eloquently stated in the piece in corroboration of the aforementioned notion, “The duty of the state and the government is to assure free exercise of religion and atheism by the citizens in their private domains.”

During and after the campaign, Candidate and President-elect Martelly had met many times with many leaders from the Protestant and Catholic communities; not even once, as far as I can recall, has he met with Max Beauvoir, the Ati or Supreme Chief of the Vodou religion. I was very bothered by that. This is suspicious on his part, and he needs to come clean on that.

Vodou, as a religion, had suffered in the past many atrocities from many of our political and Catholic and Protestant leaders. Today, we will not stand by anyone’s action sought purposely or otherwise to ostracize or treat it as a second class religion.

If the president claims to be of a certain faith, that is his business, not that of the state. Therefore, regardless what that faith is, in the exercise of his presidential duty, he needs to separate it from his handling of the affairs of the state.

Haiti is not a theocracy; it is a democracy. So we are calling on President Martelly and his advisers to keep in mind that this executive order has set a bad precedent for our democracy. Please, Mr. President, for the sake of our democracy, keep the state out of matters having to do with faith. This is not what we are paying you for.

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8 comments on “PRESIDENT MARTELLY: KEEP THE CHURCH & THE STATE SEPARATED

  1. First and foremost,as one President of the United State of America said . You cannot run a country without the word of God . As far as I am concern , Voudoo, is not a religion . It is a Cult ! So our President was right for doing what he did. God bless

  2. Um, actually, according to the Haitian Constitution (with or without amendments), President Martelly was wrong in what he did. Neither what you believe personally nor the US or its presidents have anything to do with this.

  3. I hate the hypocrisy of those who condemn Martelly for this unplanned holiday (he was wrong to do it!!!!) but do not pursue their reasoning to its logical conclusion.

    If we are truly serious about separation of church and state, then let’s abolish ALL religious holidays in Haiti. This means: All 3 days of Carnival (Catholic), November 1 (Catholic), Good Friday (Christian), December 25 (Christian). I am sure I have missed some holidays.

    One note about Carnival: It is celebrated ONLY in Catholic countries, as people rushed to enjoy the good things in life before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, While these holidays have become “secular” in form, they take their root in pure Catholicism and as such, they should be eliminated. Not only that, but it is a pure waste of time and productivity for the country.

    And to the person saying that Vodun is a cult, get a f****ing life. If you don’t understand the culture of your own country, then you are part of the problem.

    Franck

  4. Hey frank, I did not know your level of education; however, after I read your blog i realized that you are a retarded 3rd grader. Both you and your associate Ann Jerry Jerome are deserve to be in a 5×5 cell for a very long period of time.

  5. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s hypocritical to expect the president to adhere to the constitution of the country he’s running. So, if Carnival, Good Friday and the rest are considered national holidays according to the Haitian constitution, that’s good enough for me.

  6. @Nadeve – Article 275.1 of the Constitution of 1987 defines the NATIONAL holidays of Haiti. Neither Carnival, nor Good Friday, nor Ascension are listed in that article, so your argument falls flat on its face. As we would say, “vous êtes complètement hors sujet.”

    @Abraham – Why don’t you come up with a reasoned argument about what I wrote rather than launching a ad hominem attack on me? That’s the problem I face with Haitians all the time; they would rather attack individuals than ideas.

    Still @Abraham – had you read my post carefully, you would have noted that what I am saying is diametrically opposed to what Ann Jerry Jerome wrote. Not only do I NOT condone what President Martelly did – resurrect a Catholic holiday that had not been observed for the past 23 years – but I firmly believe we should go a step further and abolish religious holidays altogether to have a true SECULAR state. I am in favor of observing the NATIONAL holidays defined in article 275.1 of the Constitution. The only concession I would make is Christmas Day (which is NOT considered a national holiday as per the Haitian Constitution), as other secular countries celebrate it too.

    • @Franck – Did you notice article 275.2? Les fêtes légales sont determinees par la loi… Those include things like the aninversary of Dessalines’ assassination, Christmas and Mardi Gras. Not so hors sujet, right?

      Fwiw, I have no problem with having a truly secular state, but I also have no problem adhering to our current legal holidays.

  7. I agree with Lyonel Trouillot’s position and Emann’s post. @Ann Jerry: I don’t believe the U.S. is right in its position either. The whole “is the president Christian or not? is he Muslim or not?” adds to segregation and is WRONG, but the article is about Haiti and its new president.

    As Emann stated, there are different religions represented in Haiti and Voudou has a big part of our country’s history. People are allowed to believe what they want and it is wrong for the country’s leader to impose them to observe a specific religion’s holiday.

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