Our Readers' Opinions
August 23, 2016
The church and politics

Editor: The churches in the Caribbean and especially those in St Vincent and the Grenadines have a very important role to play in shaping and molding our society. As a predominantly Christian society, we depend on the guiding principles of the pastors, preachers and deacons to steer us in the right direction. Further, church leaders are supposed to be the watchmen to politicians to ensure that they lead the country on a path that is right and Godly.{{more}} However, our church leaders have either turned a blind eye or developed deaf ears amidst the continuous degradation of our morals and standards of behaviour in our society. The voices of the church leaders have been absent. Some may ask the question “Do our churches have any role to play in politics?”

Jerry Newcombe, in his article “Ten reasons why the churches should not abandon politics,” reminded us of William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament in the 1780’s, who was converted to Christianity and sought counsel from Rev John Newton, an ex slave trader. He asked whether or not he should leave politics and pursue the ministry. Newton advised him to stay because maybe God could use him where he was. Wilberforce’s crusade to free the slaves in the British Empire took half a century; however, it was a direct outgrowth of his faith in Christ. I am of the belief that had it not been for Wilberforce’s Christian faith, we in the western world may have still been enslaved.

The church has a moral obligation to be the voice of the voiceless. When politicians use fear tactics to steal the rights and voice of the people, it is the duty of the church to restore the voice unto the people. They are to speak on things that are wrong. To condemn and rebuke leaders who have lost moral ground. However, in St Vincent and the Grenadines, we have witnessed church leaders who seemed to have forgotten their role in our society. Some seem to have lost their moral standing and have sold their souls for material and worldly things, including duty free concessions, scholarship opportunities, a trip overseas and jobs for themselves and their children. Can you imagine that there are church leaders who are stealing, bribing and deceiving their people all for the sake of their own selfish benefit and for their political parties’ benefit? Politics have taken over our churches and leaders don’t have much faith in the Almighty anymore, but rather put all their trust in man. Last Sunday, a very energetic Methodist preacher spoke about the Gospel of inclusion. He stated that everyone wants to be comfortable in doing things that are wrong, which should not happen. This, to me, should remind church leaders to revisit the word of God and to be a living example to our nation. When the church does not speak out, evil can fill that void; silence in the face of evil can signal assent.

Brenton Smith