Saturday, March 2, 2024

EDITORIAL: Stealing from God

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By any measure, the recent theft of monitors belonging to Barbados’ St Augustine Anglican Church was a shocking tell-tale sign of a society in a state of decline.

And we agree with the eloquent and cogent assessment of the situation by priest in charge of the house of worship, the Rev. Suzanne Ellis.

She said: “We have a society where people no longer respect God and things of God, and having broken and entered church, a place of worship, would stand on things of worship, the organ and the rector’s stall” in order to steal three 50-inch monitors that made it easier for people to participate fully in services designed to make us feel closer to the Almighty.

The robbery was a stark reminder that our churches aren’t museums of saints but are hospitals for sinners. They open their doors to all – the decent, faithful, crooked, killers, elderly, drug dealers, you name them – on any given day.

Obviously, it didn’t ease our pain when we later learned that the recent robbery wasn’t the first defilement St Augustine had suffered. A former rector recalled that thieves struck the church in the 1960s and stole the “tabernacle”, the tiny structure where consecrated bread used during communion was stored. That the tabernacle was later found in a cane field was of little consolation. The abhorrent act occurred when the bandits planned and undertook their sacrilegious act.

Clearly, such thefts affirm a biblical truth: there is nothing new under the sun.

What’s also true is that they sound a clarion call to us to end any blurring of the lines between the sacred and the secular. We often behave as if anything goes, meaning it is all right to act on our every impulse and need. Nothing can be further from the truth. A good place to reverse the destructive trend is in our schools, churches and courts.

Another thing: we must recognise that poverty, drug and alcohol addiction and greed are a lethal combination that propels people’s desire to satisfy every need. The crooks who broke into St Augustine wouldn’t think twice before ripping off the poor, elderly, businesses or the Government without fearing the consequences. They must be caught and hauled before the courts.

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