Pastor rips banks for abusing power
Pastor David Henry on Sunday used his sermon to call out rapacious commercial banks and corrupt public officials, challenging them to stop abusing their positions of power, and instead, start to truly serve the people.
Speaking at Swallowfield Chapel in St Andrew during the service to launch National Journalism Week, which runs from November 20-26, Henry made clear his dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the country's governance system.
"Our taxation policies must have special regard for its impact on the poor and vulnerable. You know we have a history in this country of usury, you nuh, some wicked interest rates I not even going call them high and they have decimated many businesses and families. (Currently) I personally believe that interest charges on some credit cards are iniquitous and exploitative," he declared to loud applause.
"Interest rates really are meant to protect re-inflation, not to excessively fatten the coffers of lenders. Reasonable profit is fair, don't misunderstand what I'm saying, reasonable profits is fair but we must not diminish and decimate the borrowers," he explained.
Henry, who is an attorney-at-law by training, was speaking on the topic 'Revival - Love Well'.
Basing his sermon on the story of Nehemiah, an Old Testament prophet, he also addressed the issue of corruption in Jamaica.
"We have a history in this country of abuse of state funds. That has happened whereby taxpayers' money is improperly used and spent, where established principles or protocol for the awarding of contracts may be violated. This must cease. It must become a part of the history of Jamaica and stay there. We need to be in the vanguard of ensuring that corruption is a thing of the past on the part of public officials, and we need to hold our leaders responsible and accountable.
Defend against exploitation
Henry charged his congregation: "We are obliged, as a people of God, to defend from exploitation of the weak and the poor and the vulnerable, those who can't defend themselves. We must model integrity and morality in our own lives in the use of our own resources, including our finances. We must love people and not money."
He continued: "One of the problems in our nation is that we don't call people out and give them an opportunity to repent. It doesn't mean that they must repent, but they must hear the word."
Acknowledging that truth is a double-edged sword that challenges everyone, including the preacher, to live up to God's high standards, regardless of political or other persuasion, Henry challenged Jamaicans to embrace truth as a central tenet of their daily activities.
"I want to say to us, we need to speak truth to all as the people of God. Those of us who are in positions of authority, you need to speak to the truth in the context of the associations you have ... wherever God has placed you, whether it's in politics, the economy, the law, the environmentalists, family, religion, entertainment, arts, sports, media, education. We have to be advocates for truth."