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Demonic forces and symbols: Cutting the ties

Published:Saturday | August 13, 2016 | 8:08 PMCecelia Campbell Livingston

Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil: prayer, fasting, good works, and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon. - Terry Pratchett.

In Christendom, it is a strong belief that evil is invited into one's life by the kind of symbols one embraces. In similar fashion, a number of Christians are particular about the kind of figurines they put into their homes for decoration and they will not wear clothes with certain symbols depicted on it.

They see it is an open invitation to demonic possession and unleashing evil in people's lives.

Bishop Rowan Edwards of the Lighthouse Assembly in Spanish Town is now pushing for one such symbol, which he believes is having negative repercussions on the country, to be addressed.

In an interview with Family and Religion, he said it was time for the real cause of crime and violence in Jamaica be addressed.

"As a pastor serving the community of Spanish Town - and Jamaica on a whole - for the last 35 years, I cannot sit back and watch crime and violence take over Jamaica. ... We are dealing with crime by fighting it on a pruning basis. You cannot prune a tree and have the tree die. You have to deal with things from the root," he said.

At the root of Jamaica's problem, Edwards believes, lies one of our national symbols.

"We have a coat of arms that has a crocodile sitting on top of it. Those days are finished. Why should we have a crocodile sitting on top of us as a nation? Why should we have two Indians with swords in their hands, saying, 'It's time for war' in this nation?" the Bishop queried.

Stressing that it is wrong, Edwards said crocodile speaks of fear and that it is out of place on the coat of arms.

"Secondly, if you notice the Bank of Jamaica, their monetary symbol is a crocodile holding a key. Who wants to have a crocodile hold their key? No wonder why the financial condition is so bad," observes Edwards.

According to Edwards, Jamaica's problem with crime and poverty is a spiritual one, and it will not be alleviated until the issues surrounding the emblems are addressed.

"Crocodile is something more like a cannibal. Why should we use a carnivorous kind of creature on our national emblem? So if it is a spirit that is hanging over Jamaica, it must be removed. It must be taken off our banking symbol, which is the Bank of Jamaica, [and] it must be removed from our coat of arms," said Edwards.

He noted that Jamaica's coat of arms was designed by the British and yet when the Bank of England designed its monetary symbol, a crocodile was not used.

"They used something else. They used a man sewing seeds on a chariot. Bank of America used a beautiful crest. Canada used a beautiful flag. But we are using a crocodile on our national symbol and also on our monetary symbol," he noted.

Edwards said the time has come to cry for a change, noting that Jamaicans should jump on the bandwagon for change.

"We want to see where this negative trend of violence is coming from in Jamaica and approach it head on and deal with it from every angle," he shared.

Acknowledging that a strong message must be sent to the criminal elements of the country, he said, at the same time, attention must be given to what the country is inviting through its emblem.

"Jamaica needs to be changed, so we are looking at a whole lot of stuff that we need to give attention to. Why the other Caribbean nations are not as hostile as Jamaica - because they don't have a coat of arms symbol. We need to look at it and deal with it seriously," he said.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com