The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has taken the decision to ban “lay preaching” on all its buses, according to the company’s Managing Director, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin. The decision has proven controversial as many christians have condemned the move as an attempt to “secularize the country” while “denying people their right to freedom of religion”. Many have gone so far as to suggest that the JUTC is seeking to prevent “the spread of the gospel”. It appears to me that an assumption has been made on behalf of all JUTC passengers; that assumption being that we all want to hear preaching on buses. Let me be very quick to point out that nothing could be further from the truth.
The decision to resume Sunday horse racing at Caymanas Park has attracted significant national attention over the last few days. The collective christian church in Jamaica has come out swinging, staunchly opposing the decision. Recently I gave my thoughts on the matter, albeit in a general manner; I wish to consolidate those thoughts. This is a classic case of the church vs the state, and I will attempt to deal with the issue in a substantive manner, now that I’ve thought about it and researched the issues at play.
I’ve always questioned the priority we place on religion and it’s formal institutions. As a country, we give a significant amount of latitude to the christian denomination and I for one have never fully understood why. There seems to be this assumption that every single citizen within a so called “christian nation” shares the ideology and value systems of christians. This is fallacious at best.
Recently, the General Manager of the Urban Development Coorperation (UDC) was quoted as saying the state would perhaps need to claim lands, currently owned by the Anglican church, in furtherance of plans for urban expansion and development. To my utter dismay there has been condemnation of the General Manager’s comments. From what I gathered, persons are concerned that there was no dialogue on the matter and the government seemed to be taking a unilateral approach to seizing lands. Having listened to the arguments of those opposed to such a move, I’ve concluded that the real issue is not that the state is being unilateral, but rather, we are having a hard time accepting that the institution of the church is being subjected to the same treatment that so many other entities within the society have had to face. You see, for so long, we’ve placed the church outside of the rule of law, we’ve exalted and exempted the church from so much, that we cannot now see the wisdom in the UDC’s proposal.
It was barely two days ago that I posted [The World Is Ending…Again] and voiced my opinion on the whole judgement day saga. It then came to my attention that one Michael Lewis, no relation to L.A. Lewis guys, would be on Ian Boyne’s Religious HardTalk; defending and promoting the end of the world. I decided to tune in.
Quite apart from his obvious lack of confidence in his armageddon message, evidenced by his stuttering and general posture and appearance, Mr. Michael Lewis did Christianity a great disservice last night. Not only were there glaring inconsistencies in his basic premise, the logic was laughable.
For whatever reason, human beings have always been preoccupied with the final judgement, doomsday, end of time, world’s end; whatever you wish to call it, we’ve always occupied ourselves with that moment. Now apparently, that long awaited moment is at hand. The date has been set (May 21, 2011) and the countdown is underway. The world is ending.
Or is it?
The last serious judgement day was January 1st, 2000. We should all remember the crazed rush to be in a place of worship. By all accounts, computers would crash, time would stop and that great trumpet would have sounded and we would have seen the Christ coming on the clouds of heaven, in all His glory. Needless to say that didn’t happen. And many of us now regret spending our New Year’s Eve in church that night.
For as long as there has been art and religion, there has been controversy about how art portrays the sacred and the divine. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper” to Madonna’s song “Like A Prayer”, there has been continued debate about hidden messages in art and allegations of witchcraft and wizardry against the artistes; whether they be sculptors, painters or musicians.
The latest addition to this list of controversial figures is the infamous and much celebrated Lady Gaga. Often eccentric, Gaga has been the subject of much discussion; from her choice of clothes to her lyrics. Her latest single titled “Judas“, released in the holiest period in Christendom, celebrates the figure who is largely held to be the reason why The Christ was crucified. The song flies in the face of all that christians hold to be holy and sacred. Listening to the song, one gets the impression that Gaga is making a mockery of the betrayal, denial and crucifixion of Christ. This of course raises the very important question, does she have a right to do this? This blog says yes, she does.