‘Politics should not be practiced from the pulpit’
Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday that partisan politics should not be practiced from the church pulpit.
Fernander was asked about criticism leveled against Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and his attack on the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) during the Free National Movement’s recent church service.
PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said political parties should not use the church as a venue to attack other parties.
Fernander advised politicians not to use the church as “a political pandering tool”.
“I am saying that I think that every pastor should be concerned,” Fernander said in a recent interview.
“We don’t bring the pulpit that is propagating God’s gospel to a place where it’s a political pandering tool.”
He added, “In reference to the comments made from the pulpit during the celebration of the anniversary of the Free National Movement, there’s a general policy that pastors make the pulpit available mostly for greetings, when you want to acknowledge that there is the head of state or a leader of the opposition or a member of Parliament that would have gone out of their way to be at a special service.
“And, so, the pulpit is extended for greetings and for general remarks in a positive sense. We, obviously, as pastors, do not know what is going to be said when a member of Parliament goes to the podium. But we would advise, and it’s been a general practice, that partisan politics is not practiced from the church pulpit. So, whether it’s a head of state or any other member of Parliament, it is just a good practice not to use the house of the Lord in that regard.”
Fernander said the council plans to express its concerns to members of Parliament “by way of media and one-on-one”.
During a service at Cousin McPhee Cathedral AME Church, Minnis described the PLP as a party with “a sense of entitlement, mass corruption and widespread victimization”.
PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell appealed to the “Christian Council to rein in this kind of outrageous use of church pulpits”.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice