Clergy Against Crime

I see from the ‘PLP blog’ that the Government has named the chairman of the so called ‘Clergy Against Crime.’ The lucky candidate is one Pastor Damon Hendrickson. I have attempted to search for the actual government press release that I assume the PLP blog is quoting from but can’t seem to find it from here – readers feel free to post the appropriate link if you know of it.

The striking thing about the Clergy Against Crime in both this press release and its original mention in the Premier’s ‘roadmap’ speech in the wake of Kellon Hill’s murder and the drive-by shootings shortly before I left is that its really not at all clear what its function is.

I am very suspicious of any union of Church and State, and as such I am particularly wary of what this development means. The implications that I get from it are very worrying. To me it seems to be sending a message that the cause of rising crime is due to a crisis of religious belief (in particular Christian belief), and that in order to reduce crime we must strengthen Christian belief in Bermuda. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but without clarifying the role and scope of this Clergy Against Crime it does leave it open to intepretation.

I know that the PLP blog blurb states such nice sounding but meaningless rhetoric to the effect that: ‘…faith communities play a critical role in the lives of so many of our young people. And, it’s important to engage with our partners, listen to them and work together on preventative programmes that will set our young people on the right path.’ – But what exactly does that mean? What is the right path? Is it Christian belief? And what kind of Christian belief? Does this mean a socially conservative agenda of rolling back sex education, strengthening the role of Church and sermonising in our public education system (where it has no business being in the first place)? Does it mean a push towards preparing the ground for a return to corporal punishment – or capital punishment for that matter?

All citizens of whatever Christian denomination, and especially non-Christian citizens should hold this initiative with extreme suspicion.

I’m not denying that currently in our society religion is very prominent in large sections of the population. I personally think Sunday Schools and other forms of religious indoctrination are wrong and leads to indoctrination into ones faith rather than critical approaches to spirituality. I have more respect for the person who critically approaches spirituality and adopts the religion or philsophical position based on such than the person who is religion X on the basis of being born into and idoctrinated into such religion.

I’m sure that this Clergy Against Crime and its new Chairman are well-intentioned individuals and policies, but we all know that old adage of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

This Committee and what its scope and role will be needs to be elaborated on, and quite frankly I think there are a lot better ways of dealing with rising crime than this.

Thoughts anyone?


7 thoughts on “Clergy Against Crime

  1. On a simple note – one must surely ask the question whether we had a more acceptable level of crime when we had a ‘more’ religious society if that indeed is what we did have.

    And is there not a presumption here, that is false, i.e. that being religious = not being a criminal? Maybe I am over simplifying it.

    I worry also that there is a view that ‘one is born Christian’ when in fact ‘one is born OF christian parents’. It is incumbent upon all parents to support the concept of allowing one’s children to have an open mind on this and indeed all things, so that the child can make the necessary decisions when able and intellectually capable of doing so. Indoctrination is fundamentally wrong on so many fronts.

  2. I completely agree with the total separation of church and state as it has proven to be a dangerous mix many times over in the history of the world. One just needs to examine one of the most recent examples, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

    A Government should not impose the beliefs of one particular religion on a population. As Mike stated above this amounts to indoctrination, which is just another word for brainwashing. Let the individuals choose which religion best fits their ideals and beliefs on their free will. Some may find that they have no religous inclination at all and as we livein a democracy that is their decision and no one elses.

    While I applaud some of the initiatives which have been put forward by the PLP I am still skeptical as to how this particular one will work. For instance, is the “clergy” going to try and prevent individuals from leading a life of crime by intervening (or indoctrinating) in the lives of the younger generation of Bermuda? Honestly, I don’t believe that the church will have much influence of the so called “gangstas” or “gangsta mentality” from my generation (I am 26 years old). The church life cannot offer the riches and the lifestyle to which these individuals have been accustomed to from a young age and have now lived for years on years. So until a blueprint for how this “clergy” will approach this “intervention” I will remain skeptical.

    PS: Another thing which I STRONGLY believe should be kept separate from all politics and politicians is the press (in any shape or form). Freedom of the press is an essential cornerstone of democracy. Allowing ANY political party to control the means of information is another dangerous practice which should not be tolerated. Two prime examples of this are the national newspapers of Cuba and Zimbabwe. These publications are merely propaganda machines which manipulates the truth and champions the Government at all costs, despite the reality of the situation. With no checks and balances (toeing the party line)the Government of teh day will have the free reign of prinitng and publishing whatever they feel will reflect better upn them. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t become a practice in our island for ANY Government which is in power.

  3. The churches should boycott the Premeir because of his voting for homosexuality in 1994. The unification of church and state is an african belief. The beliefs of christianity and Islam are very similiar to african cults hence the ease to convert and even be multireligious. The practices however are different. many of these crimes are ritual killings. In liberal terms justified violence due to provocation. Because of liberal arts education black leaders are too liberal to bring back the death penalty and too dumb to legalize guns so law abiding citizens can defend themselves like that white man in new yorks subway. Bermard Getz. Sarah Palin i love you. Even she can shoot. Savage rents leads to savage poverty and savage poverty leads to savage crimes. Blame corrupt leaders in the PLP Government who hate welfare for the poor while Bush plans to give welfare to the rich. Bet you half of them never pulled a trigger. Pray for brains in the Government pray for guts.

  4. Most people are other people.
    Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions,
    their lives a mimicry,
    their passions a quotation.
    Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)

    Excellent statement, Jonny, and nice follow-ons from Mike and 9Ps, but I don’t know what the flip Blood Diamonds is looking for in life (or death) … but does he/she believe armed police and/or military should be on duty on street corners in Bermuda to protect the residents from each other?

    Religion always disappoints, god(s) only bring anxiety and heartbreak, and prophets are just politicians in no defining clothing at all. I really doubt that lot can work magic on the kids! How many people have been killed, beaten, kidnapped and enslaved “in the name of Christianity”? And has Christianity now had a make-over so that everything is alright?

  5. Is the Church seperated from the state in Bermuda.

    As for “Cuba and Zimbabwe” you behave like a youngster. Do some research and you will find besides the aforementioned, Germany, Italy, China, Eygpt, Viet Nam, Cambodia, al.

    The past is what it is. Have we learned from it? No. That is why we are were we are today. Yet those who make the statements and conjectures shy away yet expect their Governments to produce what you all have said.

    Until you get up, stand up for your rights and be known..I say..shut up. The world will spin without you and the cherries will still be picked but with a fruitfull purpose that will not reflect on your wallet.

    Whats in it anyway?

    There is a diferance between Genocide and incarceration……

  6. Savage people need savage policing. The only reason slavery worked was because of savage laws. Now that we are free out of the cage War and crime is back on our minds. Africans are the most savage people in the world. cannibalism, human sacrife and ritual killings. What is the difference between SWAT team and the death penalty? Politicans hiding in confusion.

  7. the clergy are the biggest set of criminals on the island…they r in the same low class as politicians. That have the churches done with all their wealth to fix the issues in bermuda? what proactive economic programms have they put in place besides the scam of getting their 10% in thides frm silly church goers?

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