Reverend says church in bed with government

Reverend Joseph Atherley addressing the People's Assembly at St Leonard's School.
Reverend Joseph Atherley addressing the People’s Assembly at St Leonard’s School.

The church in Barbados has come in for severe criticism for what one man of the cloth and former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) parliamentarian has described as their complicity with the Government and failing to speak out against the administration’s wrongdoings.

The labour movement did not escape Reverend Joseph Atherley’s criticism either, as he contended that they have become “soft”.

Atherley told the audience at the third People’s Assembly at the St Leonard’s School that many leaders preach the church’s non-involvement in politics but are very involved.

“They are in the leadership of the church…multiple persons who are bigger politicians than I am,” he said.

“The church in Barbados, in the face of the great betrayal by the Democratic Labour Party as a party in the last election has kept silent… In the face of all that is happening, the church has either been passive and inactive, or it has been complicit with the government in betraying the aspirations and visions of Barbadian people.”

Atherley also chided his own party for harbouring discord within its ranks.

“The psyche of the country need to be healed, but if the Barbados Labour Party is to provide that healing, the Barbados Labour Party must heal itself,” he said.

While he refused to comment more on the publicized disagreement between the party’s leader Mia Mottley and her predecessor Owen Arthur, Artherley had much to say about the church.

He alleged that church leaders have not only been supportive of the Prime Minister Freundel Stuart administration, but have been spreading the message:

“They are very partisan in their view, and they extend that partisan vision over their congregation.”

The former MP drew applause and a standing ovation for his fiery presentation in which he also warned against a lack of militancy of trade unions, forecasting severe consequences if the workers’ representatives do not take a stand.

“Unless the present posture of organised labour in this country changes and workers begin confidently again to believe that those unions are working on their behalf we will have an explosion in this country,” he cautioned.

“The unions need to come up to the plate. The church needs to rise up and step up to the plate.”

9 Responses to Reverend says church in bed with government

  1. Alx Edg
    Alx Edg January 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Oh take several seats, Mr Atherly!! Either you are speaking from the point of view as a ‘man of the cloth’ ,then you should know(see 2 Tim 2: 4) Or from the position of an ‘unbiased’ Politician, then you should know (1 Peter 2:13-14). As a ‘Reverend ‘you know better than to be ‘dropping remarks at/to another’ Man of God’. I see you!

  2. Steven R Leslie
    Steven R Leslie January 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    @ Shelly Ann, Adrian, Maria, Jennifer: Rev Atherley has NEVER included politics in his sermons to our congregation. Furthermore, the notion of the church and unions being soft and passive is a TRUTH

  3. Steven R Leslie
    Steven R Leslie January 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    i would also add that there is more truth about leaders in both areas (church and union) promoting philosophies that support our Government

  4. Renny Johnson
    Renny Johnson January 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Can someone, the one that’s surprised at this, tell me why this is news?

  5. Tracey Skeete-Winter
    Tracey Skeete-Winter January 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Speaking from experience

  6. Tracey Skeete-Winter
    Tracey Skeete-Winter January 18, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Speaking from experience

  7. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner January 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    He should say all governments not just this one,smell politricks once again.

  8. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne January 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    As John 8:7 says, “He who is without sin must cast the first stone”. I find the problem with the church is that they said they’re not politically inclined on one hand but on the other they’re all for the Government. I know it from experience since I too am part of the Church. We also need to check ourselves first before we pass judgment on others and among ourselves. So Rev. Atherley has a point.

  9. David Hall January 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Can’t say there was anything in the Good Revenant’s speech to disagree with. Church leaders like the rest of society, all have the right to agree or disagree with government policy and by extension they can vote for and support the part of their choice; but unlike the rest of society they owe it to themselves and others not to be bias, but to publicly speak out with respect to issues which are clearly not in the best interest of the country.


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