Jamaica Gleaner / For the country to claim a future of productivity, prosperity, and peace, Jamaicans must turn from moral insensitivity and move towards clear-minded moral clarity where citizens live for each other as people of truth, the Rev Astor Carlyle has asserted.

In his compelling address to the 38th National Leadership Prayer Breakfast yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, Carlyle, the pastor of the Webster Memorial United Church, maintained that Jamaica’s alarming murder rate threatens to undermine the country’s potential for growth.

“The cold, calculating, and callous ways in which our Jamaican sisters and brothers – old and young – are made to exit this life points to an assault upon the soul of our nation, a daunting side of our Jamaican reality,” Carlyle exclaimed.

The clergyman reasoned that the shift towards national uprightness would require each Jamaican to make a moral choice.

“We cannot expect to sow seeds of iniquity and reap a harvest of righteousness,” he declared. “Moral challenges require moral choices being made, and every moral choice has a moral consequence. The heart of the problem is the heart. The preferred future calls for a circumcision of the heart. To combat the prevailing moral insensitivity, the virtue of truth must be a signpost of our relations and operations.”

He added, “In order for the valuable resource of trust to be reposed in our clergy, in our security forces, in our political directorate, and other various institutions that labour for nation building, we must become more than acquaintances with truth.”

With the audience of political, corporate, civic, and civil leaders hanging on to his every word, the clergyman did not relent, earning rousing applause.

 

CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMBALANCE  

He went on to charge the Independent Commission of Investigations, the Office of the Contractor General, and the Auditor General’s Department to continue in their quest for truth as it relates to the stewardship of public resources and operating standards.

He then advised the Government to create credible crime- and corruption-fighting strategies that act as strong deterrents to criminality and allow for the flourishing of truth.

But it was when the St Andrew pastor started to air his concerns that the atmosphere reached fever pitch.

“It must concern us and stir us to action when in 2017, the roadways in the communities of some of our sisters and brothers are watered by sewage and the amenities are less than acceptable, yet for years, they remain very loyal to the political process,” he said.

“It must concern us and arouse us to action when people live in squalor and the fanciest building on the street is the church, filled with people who are comfortable staying in the four walls instead of connecting with people on the ground to bring a little heaven to their earthly existence, and pastors are more concerned about wrapping themselves in titles rather than in towels of service as Jesus did.”

Carlyle preached, “We can no longer allow for anything to hinder the preferred future that is in store for our nation. We are called upon to circumcise our heart and engage in moral revolution.”

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