Religious leaders should speak out against post-election violence

Dear Editor,
Historically, the election results in Guyana have been an occasion for unusual tension – usually instigated by politicians, preachers, panellists, presenters, and partisan pulpiteers of various strands. Invariably, this tension results in violence, whereby property is destroyed and people lose their lives or are threatened in various forms.
As Christians, we urge others – especially church leaders — to take this opportunity at this critical moment to make a difference in the moral fabric of the nation through the things we do and say.
We implore Christian and other religious leaders, as well as activists, to use whatever means available – their meetings, pulpits, the print and social media, their tongues and their bodies – to proclaim the message of love and peace during these desperate times in the country.
As the Lord has instructed, at all times, we need to be salt and light to reflect the very character of God. Therefore, we need to refrain from saying and doing those things that could cause others to hate the other because of dissonance of one’s political choice, one’s ethnic background, or because of colour, creed, or texture of hair.
Perhaps it is also time for us to be introspective and examine ourselves for racism, even though we do not want to acknowledge it publicly or even privately, and approach God and society with a renewed spirit and heart.
We especially call upon politicians and leaders in civil society to denounce any form of violence following the announcement of the elections’ results. Failure to do so could result in wounds that could be broad, deep, and long-lasting, and could take generations to heal.
What constitutes acknowledgement and praise of God? Is it the quoting of Scripture or utterance of fanciful religious talk? No; it is being mindful of God’s commandments and walking the talk and emulating His grace in everything we do and say.
Indeed, brothers and sisters, in view of all we know about God’s compassion, we encourage each one to offer your tongues, your bodies, your actions, your holistic selves as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him (paraphrase of Rom. 12:1).
Dare we be a Daniel and take a stand for righteousness and holiness? Shall we betray the Lord, or deny Him with our resolve to close our eyes to wrongs for political expedience or tribal consolidation? Or shall we remain faithful to Him and trust in His faithfulness?
Our hope and prayer ought to be, “Not our will, but Your will be done, O Lord. Amen!” May our love for God and devotion to Him take precedence over political or racial preference – for His honour and glory, and for the healing of the nation.

Yours truly,
Devanand Bhagwan
Allan Johns
Oscar Ramjeet