Too many of our priests, too many of our pastors, too many of the ministers of our churches have got into bed with the politicians, and those who do not have the best interest of this country and us at heart.
–– Canon DeVere Murrell, rector of St Matthias Anglican Church.
For this reason, Canon Murrell believes the men and women of the cloth are in grave danger of losing their identity as leaders –– leaders, we add, of a spiritual and moral nature, and in truth.
For the Anglican cleric, too many of his fellow preachers are in too much pillow talk with the politicians.
It won’t be the first time an Anglican priest is castigating his brethren and others outside his fold. The acerbic Reverend Charles Morris made much of a to-do himself recently about his perceived failure of the church and its betrayal of the people –– “sitting idly by as the social and economic decay of Barbados continued”.
Presenting the Anglican Church as being once “the mouthpiece of the masses”, the cleric said it had now gone silent, its leadership fearful of
speaking on controversial issues, “while the evangelists were in bed with Government and had gone to sleep”.
“The church has to shoulder the blame for what is happening in this country, for while the warning signs were on the horizon, the church sat by and said nothing. The church has representatives in the Senate, but not a word of condemnation. Where is the voice of God?” Reverend Morris blasted.
The irony of it all is this assailing priest was addressing a political party rally whose theme was essentially the censure and collapse of the Government of the day –– specifically, he was at a Barbados Labour Party People’s Assembly.
Was this pillowy political talk itself, or the reverend’s usual caustic rhetoric?
To tell the truth, though, the traditional church has pretty much gone silent, allowing these politicians of late to waltz into its edifices speaking on their parties’ behalf –– and the church’s to boot.
While it may be mollifying to see politicians going to church (for the purification and redemption of their souls, we would hope), it would be critically prudent to have them render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s –– separately and distinctly. Having church services to mark organizational anniversaries, at which one gives thanks to Jehovah for His being there when needed and for any blessings bestowed, is one thing. Having a politician give a feature speech at the holy gathering is disturbingly and unpleasantly another.
When a politician goes into church, he is entering the presence of the Lord, and he should do so humbly; the Father is not falling prostrate before him. The church is for prayer, confession, testimony and worship. It is not a place for policy pronouncements from Government ministers, or admonitions from Opposition spokespersons!
There are few other things as disgusting and disruptive as a minister of Cabinet in church on a Sunday morning taking up the preacher’s sermon time with a boast of how many houses his Government has built, or with making some other ministerial statement, or another pontificating on the purity of party policy.
This recent trend of political partisan defilement of the Lord’s house by obliging ministers of the cloth needs to come to an urgent end; and perhaps we can rely on Canon Murrell to lead the charge from inside. When we the people go to church, we do not want to be leaving it after a two-hour worship as divided as when we first entered it.
It is not unknown that in the past, the church ––the Anglican Church in particular –– concerned itself very actively with the rearing and education, moulding of minds and social development of our children. Nor is it any less known that it so influenced its active adult members and others within its environs with its system of principles and mores, that even those who were responsible for the public ordering of life –– the politicians themselves –– were guided.
Regrettably, for one reason or another, the traditional church seemed to have slunk into the background, surrendering this social human activity, while yet quietly presenting its message of spirituality at its private services
The traditional church, for Barbados’ sake, needs to recover this social leverage through which Christians and the Christian-minded would be inspired to act with Christian character in the public domain.
And as we ponder these things, we might as well mull upon Hosea 4:6:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.