Barbadians are leaving the church in droves, pursuing pornography, encouraging single parent homes, and have created a society “prevalent” with sodomy, says a leading Caribbean pastor.
Danforth Francis, president of the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, has blamed renewed colonization in the forms of imported values through movies and other media, for luring Bajans away from godliness and into a world resembling the biblical Sodom.
“Have we been colonized and enslaved again by our former masters, this time via technology, and greed?” he asked yesterday while delivering the sermon at the Democratic Labour Party’s Independence church service in the George Street Auditorium of the party’s Bellville, St Michael headquarters.
“Today, we are more educated, our homes are better, there is more wealth, but the church is getting empty. Sports events have captured the imagination and the attendance of more people,” he told the small congregation.
“You’re even experiencing it here and now. I suspect if it was a normal party convention, this place would be overflowing, but it’s a religious service. People are more interested in other things. People are just ignoring God. The days of worship are no longer respected. God has lost out to Facebook.”
Arguing that “the lack of spiritual sensitivity creates the environment for a need for a moral compass”, Pastor Francis recalled a newspaper being harshly criticized for publishing a photo of teenagers apparently engaging in a sexual act in a classroom.
“But the . . . [publication] only revealed what was already on Facebook . . . was only quenching the thirst for pornography,” he said, adding that if Barbadians did not want the pornography they would not have bought the publication.
“If you don’t want what is selling, you don’t buy it. But on the other side, free moral literature is given and you throw it in the garbage.”
Pastor Francis decried the state of Barbadian morality.
“What we are seeing today in our country, beautiful paradise Barbados, is that sin is becoming more bold,” he said. “Could it be that this sad state of affairs has come about because we have glorified sexual intimacy, especially among unmarried people? Could it be that adults across the spectrum of society have modeled infidelity for too long?”
He went on to blame the influence of movies from the United States, India and Nigeria.
Zeroing in on the offerings from the African state, he said: “I spent some time in Nigeria. I came back to Barbados and was amazed that we were buying and looking at so many Nigerian films. All they promote in these films from Nigeria is Spiritism; we call it obeah, witchcraft.”
He said another main feature of the Nigerian movies was “somebody taking somebody’s spouse or somebody’s lover”.
“That’s all you see. But we consume it. So, I’m asking the question, could it be that the steady diet of movies over the last 50 years is bearing fruit and producing this harvest of single parent homes?” Francis asked.
“God himself recognized the importance of two parents in the home,” he stressed, referring to the biblical circumstances of God instructing Joseph to take on the role of father to Mary’s son, Jesus.
“He [God] didn’t say a mother and a mother, or a father and a father. It’s very clear what God expects.”
He went on to address the issue of alternative lifestyles, and described people “coming out” as a euphemism.
Pastor Francis said this would not be strange to all Bible readers who know the story of a place called Sodom, suggesting that the normalcy of such “coming out” may be a prelude to the return of the biblical messenger.
“The Bible makes it clear that just before Christ comes, that society would be characterized with the practices of Sodom. So, it should not be surprising that this is now prevalent among us,” he said.
“We must crowd out the evil,” the pastor urged an audience that included members of the ruling party hierarchy.
In this regard, he called on the Government to “provide the environment, the framework that what we see and what we hear could be more uplifting”.