Anglican bishop chides false morality, economy
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
Anglican Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid, has questioned the moral authority of the country's leaders as he deli-vered the charge at the recent 141st synod of the Anglican diocese at the Breezes Resort and Spa, Falmouth, Trelawny.
Bishop Reid said the country was plunging deeper and deeper into an abyss of fear and despair as it struggled to define the line separating the constituted authority and the criminal underworld.
"What is the state of our Jamaican society at this time...in a case such as ours where the lines are blurred that should have differentiated constituted authority from the criminal underworld, and the ordinary citizens is most vulnerable not knowing who to trust and who to fear, where an honest person must compete with extortionists of various types and where the underground economy is probably bigger than the official one?" he asked.
These and other factors, he said, pointed to a pseudo-economy, which is skilfully manipulated by a few including cases where both underground and official are being operated by
the same persons.
"This false economy is skilfully manipulated by a few, while another group called taxpayers are required to pay not only for all the social benefits they enjoy but also for the high cost of corruption."
Bishop Reid also lamented the widening gap between the poor and the rich in the society even as he urged the Government to publish the survey of living conditions.
"We have not, since the days of slavery, seen such a wide gap between the richest and the poorest in the society. It is indeed a sad irony that fundamentalist Christians who reject Darwinism as it applies to my origin are the ones who fully embrace Darwinism as a social theory - that is to say that the powerful are those who deserve to be powerful and the weak are weak by their own fault."
He was also highly critical of the announced reduction in crime explaining that the nation was still being overwhelmed by vicious and violent acts of crime.
"Imagine congratulating ourselves on the dramatic reduction in crime while the incidence of vicious and violent crime is still way beyond the level any civilised country should tolerate. The dark demonic nature of these brutal and sub-human acts leave no one in the society free from deep anxiety and fear," he said.
The synod which was attended by more than 320 delegates, 144 of whom were clergy, had as its theme 'Transforming society to facilitate the development of a spiritually vibrant people'.