Bars Open and Church CLOSE?!

A lot has been happening and I’ve had a bit of trouble keeping up. We had the Legend of The Oonka Woonka: A Tale of Two Side Chicks. Dr.Sands single-handedly, definitely by himself, broke curfew protocol and allowed Americans to enter the country. As is his right as the former head of Immigration, Customs, Aviation, National Defence and Health. There are 12 vigilantes missing from Quarantine and Cabbansiters are apparently a thing?

With so much going on in the world, it’s nice to know that we can find solace in one thing and that’s the consistency of chaos that many religious leaders bring us. The  Christian community has been rife with drama worthy of a Mona Scott credit and I’ve been all too happy to watch it unfold.

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know much about  Prophetess Nottage before this week.

Much to my Mother’s disappointment,  I’m not too clued in on the religious scene. So, when Mattie Nottage first appeared on my Facebook feed – in a blaze of fury, I automatically assumed that she was a cosplay fanatic heavily committed to her duties as a mage. I’d like to take this time to apologize to her for the misconception.

For reasons unknown to myself and the literate members of the voting public, Prophetess Nottage and the President of the Christian Council seem to think that bars in this country are open. In that same light, they also seem to believe that the churches, in a human rights slight towards them, have been shut down.

When the bar open but the church close

My deep dislike for organized religion has never been a secret but I have always understood its fragile necessity in society. The church wasn’t kind to me growing up, I’ve mentioned that in previous articles. I, however, have never been a fan of turning my own villains into someone else’s.

This past week Prime Minister (Medical Doctor) Minnis implemented phase 1b of his extensive five-phase pre-recession plan. He indicated that businesses that can prove they are able to offer curbside and delivery service will be able to open and share their goods with a starved for freedom Bahamian public. This naturally meant that liquor stores were able to finally start taking orders. They probably saw my desperate DMs to Kalik.

A time of uncertainty indeed.

Stores that were initially deemed non-essential quickly changed the ways in which they would normally do business. Websites were being launched, Apps were being built, Deliveries were being made. All while following social distancing protocols.

This obviously presented a problem though, because according to Bishop Fernander, the President of The protest only when it proves convenient, Bahamas Christian Council, we set a very dangerous precedent when all businesses except the church are open.

“I just told on myself, didn’t I?”

He’s right though, a good portion of Churches in this country are operating as businesses Or rather, cults.

Which leads me back to Prophetess Mattie Nottage. Recently she went live on social media, channelled her inner Prince of Egypt and threatened the wrath of God on Medical Doctor Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Clearly not a threat

Mattie Nottage, if you’re unaware,  is probably this nation’s most savvy business owner. With a Youtube subscriber count of 92,000, a Facebook following of 30,000 and a congregation of followers that are literally willing to purchase prayer alters from her at $150 a unit. She has mastered the art of evangelistic profiteering. She’s a Profitess, get it? Moving swiftly along.

Nottage has built a following so loyal that I’m almost certain her church must be some local branch of an occult.  This great priestess has been able to convince her homegrown militia that, despite them having the barest of minimums she deserves love offerings in the form of Bentleys. She has convinced them that holy water should be monetized and beyond that, she has allowed her followers to place her on a pedestal so high, that she low key reminds me of…

I’d be a fool to lump all pastors and religious leaders into one category. It would be highly irresponsible of me to not make mention of the fact that there are churches like St. John’s Jubilee, Calvary Temple and religious institutions like Jamaa’ Ahlu Sunnah Bahamas who have members and leaders that shut out the distraction of what we’ve tried to call religion and get deep into the mission of service.  They work tirelessly in the community to ensure that those in need know that they not only have a safe space, but they have people standing in the gap for them.

Mattie Nottage and her husband seem to think that, that’s them. The Rocket Power duo has made it a point to discredit anyone that calls in to question their suspicious messages from God and their flamboyant lifestyle. Her call for the opening of the church doors makes me wonder though. How many love offerings does she get per service? I’ve been in enough church services to know that atmosphere is key and one altar call can change the trajectory of an entire service. In-person, people can be swayed to do many things and I can imagine that Profitess Nottage and others are starting to feel this weight heavily on their pockets.

I mentioned her Youtube Channel earlier, what I didn’t mention though is how heavily monetized it is. At a little over 90,000 subscribers, Mattie Nottage’s Youtube videos can make anywhere between $8-$127 a day. We know that her videos are monetized because most of them have pre-roll ad placements.

This honestly doesn’t bother me. I’m not of the firmest belief that those who preach the gospel should be forced to endure all manner of economic hardship. It takes money to share a message, as fake as hers may be. I will say though, that coupled with the gimmick of selling this:

and this:

also this:

It’s hard to see her as anything other than a travelling salesman taking advantage of those in the depths of hard situations seeking any answer as illogical as it may sound to get out. 

Mattie Nottage has threatened the Prime Minister with a finite timeline. She has let us know that God speaks through her and has demanded the reopening of the church. Bishop Fernander, although not a part of her ministry has also let us know that he believes the church should be open.   

Here’s where they’re both mistaken. The Church is honestly more open than it has ever been. People that think they need to look a certain way or speak in the strongest of tongues are now able to access the word of God, without the distraction of a Sister Albertha judging the clothes they’ve worn to a service. They are able to access live streams from around the world and hear the gospel for themselves, in the safety of their own home. The very first week of quarantine DJ Ovadose hosted the largest digital praise and worship anyone has ever witnessed.

Church members are more in tune with what their neighbours need and as such are seeking to provide these things. The Church was never a building and it was never closed.

If you’re of the belief that you can only worship within the four walls of an arbitrary building behind on mortgage payments then maybe you should be taking this time of lockdown to look within and truly seek guidance because if I ever believed in the rapture I’m almost certain all of you missed it.

Graphic Credit: AMSEE Photography