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Miller rebukes preaching ban - Rev says move curtails freedom of religion

Published:Monday | November 19, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Al Miller

LOCAL CLERGYMAN the Reverend Al Miller has lashed out against a recent decision to ban preaching on Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses, saying it is "part of a bigger agenda to remove the strong Christian belief system inherent" in the country.

"It is thought that this is what is hindering the speedy advance of the liberties for embracing habits and lifestyles that are opposed by biblical Christianity," Miller said in a release yesterday.

He argued that preaching "on the bus, on the street corners, town squares with absolute freedom is part of Jamaica's Christian heritage," and that the Church would not keep silent on the issue.

"We will not sit by and allow the few, who are attempting to destroy 'faith' among our people, to advance negative destructive alien philosophies to overrun our nation."

"At a time of declining morals and values, increased crime, violence and disregard for sanctity of human life, a time when the cry is for a calmer and gentler society, it is certainly not the time to be reducing anything that produces inspiration and positive influence on the minds of our people.

The country has nothing that offers more positive thoughts than our Christian faith, whose central message is love: love of God and love of neighbour," Miller said.

Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, managing director of the JUTC, told The Gleaner last week that a directive had been given to the drivers to "politely" tell preachers that they could no longer trumpet their divine messages on the state-owned buses.

Yesterday, Miller, while claiming that the practice of preaching on buses is a harmless and positive act, called on Lewis to prove otherwise.

"Mr Lewin, tells us what harm is being done by persons preaching on the bus? Tell us who are the objectors and the percentage that consider it grossly offensive."

"Mr Lewin, I am sure you would not prefer the continued lewd, filthy and violence-invoking music that contaminates the minds and souls and, ultimately, the bodies of our youth," he said.

"Jamaica is still a nation with freedom of religion and Christianity is our national religious heritage. Any attempt to curtail, restrict, etc. will be met with serious objection," he said.