Open letter to Grenada’s clergy

Dear clergymen and women,

Happy New Year! I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour, the One Creator of the Universe. I am a believer. I am one of your flock.

To be absolutely clear, this is a complaint, an admonition, indeed an accusation! It is now 2015 and our little nation has begun another fateful journey into a new year and I find you lacking. Frankly, I would have preferred not to have to say this, but when I reflect on the record of our churches in recent times I find it hard to shake off the conviction that the majority of you are nothing more than a bunch of toothless hypocrites.

We are witnessing an onslaught on the very foundations of our civilisation, a display of contempt for our long held spiritual beliefs and you, the church leaders, have remained silent. You are supposed to be the salt and light, standing up for your flock, as Moses did against Pharaoh and Joshua in continuation of the long march to the promised land.

It seems to me that you have abandoned your mission and purpose and you are going through an identity crisis. In my opinion you need to do an intense period of soul searching to find yourselves again. Maybe a stint in the wilderness eating wild honey and locusts might help.

Through your umbrella body, the Conference of Churches, you have become co-sponsors and collaborators with the government in the imposition of an unprecedented programme of austerity on the nation, sinking thousands of your own flock into levels of poverty and desperation that is troubling.

As a result of the crushing yolk of taxation your people are losing the very roofs over their heads. Ask the banks and they will tell you this is true. Then ask yourselves if this is what Christian charity is all about.

You remained quiet when the government attempted to muzzle the tongues of your flock with the Electronic Crimes Bill. Maybe you felt secure behind the walls of your cathedrals and chapels. Maybe you considered yourselves insulated from this repression, the way the church in Germany felt in the time of Hitler until he decided it was time to move against them.

You have displayed only token resistance to the legalisation of casino gambling in Grenada. The potential social fall-out of this development in the form of prostitution and crime no longer seem to weigh heavily on your consciences.

Some who have have masqueraded as men of the cloth in the past found it convenient to take a toilet break when this matter was being debated in parliament. Given the national silence, one might conclude that the entire Grenada clergy is still on toilet break on this matter.

Our passports are being sold again and you, the clergy, seem oblivious to the grave danger that this poses to the peace and concord of our little island. Does it not worry you that this whole business is shrouded in secrecy? Do you know who the recipients of our passports are?

In an era of the global spread of terrorism and the increasing concern over the vulnerability of soft targets, you continue to stick your heads in the sands like ostrichs. Is not the safety and well-being of your flock an issue here? Where is the voice of the church crying out in the wilderness?

And while you are not asked to do something as spectacular as parting the Red Sea like Moses, you are at least expected to act out of concern for the physical safety of your people.

And now to the matter of the Presidency of the Senate. You, our churchmen, may choose to ignore your consciences, but history and the Creator will judge you for this! This is not a debate about the right of an individual to his own beliefs, or whether an atheist can serve his country indeed, Humphrey can worship rocks and trees if he so chooses. That is his fundamental human right. And anyone can serve his nation, even convicted gun-runners. To a well-balanced reasonable individual, however, the problem is obvious. When the President of the Senate cannot sing the national anthem because of the lines, ‘ever conscious of God, being proud of our heritage,’ or cannot lead the Senate in prayer then he is not suited to that position!

More than that, the constitution affirms the supremacy of God over our nation. For narrow political opportunist reasons a self professed atheist has been given leadership of an institution that is supposed to be one of the pillars of our constitution, a constitution that, I emphasize, AFFIRMS THE SUPREMACY OF GOD.

Now, I ask the question, how could you, men of the cloth remain silent when something like this happens? Effectively, the role and significance of God has been undermined in one of our paramount institutions and not a peep out of the church leaders!

Come on Reverend Osbert James! Come on Father Sean! Say something! What would the Apostle Paul have to say about this, or Stephen who chose martyrdom over silence?

Now it is perhaps not a well-known fact that certain churches have been receiving financial contributions from the state. I would hate to think that a few pieces of silver would cloud the judgement of you, our churchmen who are, after all, towering giants of morality.

There is a crisis in leadership in Grenada at this time because individuals who hold key positions in civil society groups are looking the other way while wrong is being done. It is a conspiracy of silence! Some are afraid. Others are simply in alliance with the rulers of this country. The interests of the people is not being championed, except by a few.

The church has an opportunity to once more root itself in the struggles of the people, both spiritual and otherwise, and regain relevance. If you, our church leaders fail, then you will only have yourselves to blame for the dwindling numbers in your pews.

Let me state emphatically that my faith in the One God, Creator of the Universe remains unshaken. I and a growing number of others are beginning to feel a different way about our church leaders. You are failing your flock!


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