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Charles: Religion could spark World War III

Published:Monday | January 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

North Central Clarendon Member of Parliament (MP) Pearnel Charles said Christians should not get weary, even as he suggested that the quest to preserve religious rights and freedom might culminate in World War III.

"We mourn the news of thousands of Christians across the world who are being slaughtered for their beliefs. Christians better look out because the next world war might be a religious one," Charles said.

"We should, however, be comforted by the fact that there is no atomic bomb or weapon that is more powerful than prayer, and that is the weapon that we have as Christians," he added.

The Opposition MP was speaking Saturday at the country's first staging of the Festival of Religious Freedom held under the theme, 'Our Right ... Our Freedom ... Let's Celebrate', at the National Arena.

"Freedom attacked anywhere is attack on freedom everywhere. Be prepared to defend justice. We have to be committed in the fight for the voiceless. Many Christians say they don't care about politics, but we must understand that the Lord places his servants everywhere, not only in the market or among civil society leaders, and so I call on the Church to pray for us," Charles said.

Robert Pickersgill, minister of water, land, environment and climate change, who represented Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller at the event, said the Government will be strident in its efforts to protect the freedom of every citizen.

"Religious infringement is a matter of great concern in many parts of the world. Indeed, Jamaica has a rich and long history of religious freedom, which we should never ever take for granted," Pickersgill said.

"We should also recognise the enormous impact that this freedom has had on the socio-economic development of our society. Countless schools, hospitals and charities are as a result of religious freedom and strong influence of the Church," the senior government minister said.