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Removing misconceptions about Spiritual Baptists*

Trinidad Express / Spiritual Baptists belong to a “cult of devil worshippers,” and practise obeah. These are among the misconceptions which persist about Spiritual Baptists or “Shouters” in contemporary society. Prof Hazel-Ann Gibbs-De Peza cleared up some of these misconceptions during her recent presentation on “Growth of the Baptist Faith in T&T” at the celebration History Fest 2017 Week, at St Augustine Campus of The UWI. During his presentation on “The Shouters Prohibition Ordinance of 1917: Constitutional Issues in Enactment and Repeal” campus historian Dr Claudius Fergus reiterated the call for reparations for Spiritual Baptists. Both De Peza and Fergus’ academic presentations dealt with the theme “1917: Liberating Indian Indentured Labourers, War Veterans and the Baptists”. History Fest ended on March 21. It is a precursor to Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day which will be celebrated tomorrow, March 30. Among those present were The UWI History Department chair Dr Gelien Matthews; and History Department lecturers/facilitator Dr Allison Ramsay, Dr Sherry Ann Singh and Dr Michael Toussaint. They were joined by Express columnist Prof Bridget Brereton and businessman Ray Brathwaithe. Each speaker identified struggles the religion underwent, discussed why it was not initially considered a religion, and made reference to its tenets like “shouting” and ringing of bells.

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