Editorial - A matter of truth and works, Rev Jackson
The Reverend Franklyn Jackson, a priest in the Anglican communion and rector of the Church of the Transfiguration in Havendale, St Andrew, unfortunately reflects the schizophrenia that is all too common in Jamaica with respect to the matter of crime.
So, the Reverend Father Jackson believes that Jamaicans should be "horrified" at the fact that 520 people were murdered in Jamaica during the first 116 days of this year, but would prefer if people did not know the figure. Or, Father Jackson would prefer that this newspaper not keep a running tally of the killings. And this sin, for Reverend Jackson, is compounded by the fact that the count is being kept on our front page.
On Sunday, Father Jackson told his parishioners: "If the intention of the editors in putting the number of murders on the front page of the paper is to remind us, then that for me is not editing ... . I am sorry, Mr Editor, but I don't like what I see."
Yet, the good Reverend Father Jackson made a particularly interesting observation about the worsening criminality in Jamaica and how the church has responded to this deep national crisis.
He said: "The church seems to be in a little sleep, a little slumber, safe in Jesus' arms. What are we, the good people who know Jesus, who feel safe in Jesus' arms, doing about it (crime)? While we are safe in Jesus' arms, the nation is in mayhem." And this, Reverend Jackson, is precisely the point.
Indeed, our running tally of homicides in Jamaica and our recent front-page editorials appear to have shocked the goodly parson into recognising the murderous reality of Jamaica. This truth, unfortunately, is shockingly frightening.
But the real fear rests not on the reporting of the murder statistics, but the reality of their existence. The fact that this newspaper has drawn attention to the numbers has jerked many people out of their comfort zone of denial, forcing them to confront a nasty reality. And in the case of the Reverend Franklyn Jackson, it caused him not only to speak to his congregation, but to acknowledge "the little slumber" of the church and its feeling of safety in "Jesus' arms".
Evidence of their salvation
But as Reverend Jackson knows, Jesus Christ did not expect his followers to have faith only, or to be merely pious. The evidence of their salvation is also in their actions here on Earth.
The fact is we occupy a space where criminals are running amok and everyone knows a friend, a neighbour, a co-worker, a son or daughter who has been murdered. That is the context in which this newspaper has issued its call for action. That is the context behind our often-repeated question about who is responsible. We have highlighted the bloodletting on the front pages of the newspaper and we have no intention of letting up until our political leaders, the church, private businesses, service clubs, citizens' associations, the media, and all Jamaicans understand that this cannot and must not be allowed to continue.
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