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UNITED IN PRAYER...but Christian leaders divided on death penalty

People gather to pray for the country after a spike in homicides to start the new year.
Photo: Moise Amisial

People gather to pray for the country after a spike in homicides to start the new year. Photo: Moise Amisial

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POLITICIANS, government officials, clergy and members of the public gathered at Rawson Square to observe a National Day of Prayer in response to the growing murder rate in the country. Photos: Moise Amisial

By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS

Tribune Staff Reporter

lmunnings@tribunemedia.net

GREAT Commission Ministries president Bishop Walter Hanchell said yesterday that opposing the death penalty is against the will of God while retired Mount Tabor Senior Pastor Bishop Neil Ellis said if the government won’t enforce death penalty laws it should remove them from the books.

The comments of Bishop Ellis and Bishop Hanchell came after the Bahamas Christian Council held a National Day of Prayer event on Bay Street in response to the growing murder rate.

Dozens of Bahamians, government officials, and religious leaders from the Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, and Pentecostal denominations united in praying and singing in Rawson and Parliament squares.

 Eleven people have been killed in one of the deadliest starts to a year in Bahamian history, with the victims ranging from a 16-year-old girl charging her phone in her home to a 57-year-old grandmother driving her family.

 Last week, Reverend Harry Bain, during an Opening of the Legal Year event at Christ Church Cathedral, said he does not support the death penalty because “life is a gift from God and must be cherished”.

 Last night, Bishop Hanchell said: “I believe in capital punishment because it is completely biblical.

 “We need to go back to it and it is the only way we are going to see true change in this country when we start obeying the laws of God, when we go back to capital punishment, we go back to corporal punishment.”

 Bishop Ellis said: “Well my views are simple, I don’t know if you bring it back because it’s here, it’s here.”

 “You don’t have to bring back what’s here. My thing is if you are praying to solve problems and crime, at least keep the law you know.

 “If you are not going to follow the law, take it off the books, but I don’t think it’s a question of bringing it back because it is already here now.”

 Increased calls to reinstate the death penalty are common when serious crimes rise and typically decline when crime ebbs. Nothing suggests the recent expressions would lead to government action on the issue.

 Last week, former Cabinet minister Leslie Miller said legislators lack the guts to make corporal punishment happen again. Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martín, however, said she wouldn’t join the bandwagon calling for the punishment because its return is unrealistic.

 In 2006, the London-based Privy Council ruled that the country’s mandatory death sentence for convicted murderers was unconstitutional. Many believe the Privy Council would never uphold the death penalty.

 Yesterday, Mr Davis said the prayer event allowed the country to come together to pray for God’s guidance and intervention.

 “We must never lose faith in our power to make change, and we must never lose faith in one another,” he said.

 “This is not blind faith. It is faith in the love and mercy of our God and in the courage and resolve of the Bahamian people. So, we pray, as King Jehoshaphat did when he faced crisis.

 “He sought God in prayer, and the Lord responded, saying: ‘Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

 Bishop Fernander said the prayer service was the beginning of a movement within the nation.

 “We know that peace will not come to our streets until we take the gospel to every part of The Bahamas. In the weeks and months ahead, we will take over every part with a popup worship,” he said.

“Every place where they gather, every place that they smoke, get ready for God to show up.”

Comments

Sickened 4 months ago

Since we're praying... I'll pray for the death penalty to be reinstated, you know... since it is a law and all. I also pray that everyone follows the laws on our books, including (and especially) the politicians dem and the police dem.

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K4C 4 months ago

Confirmed, The Bahamas is truly reverted to the 1800's

Confirmed, successive PLP and FNM governments have achieved their goals, of having a LOW IQ country

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One 4 months ago

Soon we'll start slavery again.

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birdiestrachan 4 months ago

Perhaps the pastors can be the executors put on their collars and pop necks government killing people is not the answer pastors or so they say they are do not mention what Happened to Cain the pastors who thirst for blood can sign up to do the state killings blood on their hands should be fitting enough for them

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Sickened 4 months ago

I would prefer if the police do the state killing so that we can avoid the chaos of the courts where lawyers are changed and call in sick solely for the purpose of delaying trials so that these thugs get bail. Our legal system is sickening.

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birdiestrachan 4 months ago

The police should let the blood thirsty pastors do the killings to appease their thirst for blood in the USA A man who did the state executions when he became an old man was resmourful

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hrysippus 4 months ago

Several hundred years ago Bishops of the Christian churches would regularly convict and condemn people who had a different belief of the teachings of Jesus to be burnt alive publicly. These were sick and evil men who understood the teachings about as well most people understand quantum mechanics. Did the church people who appeared to perform on Bat Street for the so called National Day of Prayer get paid for their performance? Are their actions governed by simple greed and a lust for the power of recognition? Do evil acts perpetuated by those falsely claiming to be speaking for God merit a retribution greater than that afforded to regular sinners? The pronouncements of these evil self-satisfied charlatans is justly sickening.

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One 4 months ago

Most of these pastors are greedy evil men using Christianity as a source of power. No one should be getting paid by the church. It should be a voluntary unpaid contribution to the congregation.

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Sickened 4 months ago

The prayers seemed to have worked. No murders reported since! Thank you Jesus!!! I hope that they prayed for no murders for the year and not for just this week. We shall see.

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hrysippus 4 months ago

Well Sickended, three days later and you have your answer as to the effectiveness of this political pastoral performance.

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John 4 months ago

PRAY also that when police start confiscating ‘shiny tings’ from people, they give the person proper receipts or documentation for what they take. And PRAY also that when citizens show up to police stations with their receipts or proof of purchase, the police and /or the goods hasn’t disappeared.. you know this was a problem before when police would pull up on individuals, take their leather caps, phones, jewelry and even cash and tell th ‘come to the station to claim it.’ And PRAY it ain’t still like that !

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Observer 4 months ago

"Wherewithal shall a young man(woman) cleanse his/her ways"? Look it up. You will find it in the same Book.

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ted4bz 4 months ago

How did egging-on the government for the road construction, the COVID-19 lockdowns, the destructions of the shanty towns and everything before that and after that helps where we are now? Hopefully, those united in prayers and divided on the death sentence are not the same cheerleaders of the government. . Why go begging the governments to bring solutions, when we already know they will deliver only deficits, destruction and more disaster. “Government is not the solution” - President Ronald Reagan. When will we ever learn?

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TalRussell 4 months ago

Why get your religious knickers in twist? ---- The Colony's ruling government --- Doesn't call for enforcing hundreds of imprisonment penalty laws; it hasn't bothered with taking-off the law books. --- Yes?

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sheeprunner12 4 months ago

Jesus said that he didnot come to abolish the Law ............ what Law???

That was the Mosaic Law .......... The Mosaic Law says that

Jesus said that the Greatest Commandment was to love God and Man ........ so, if someone kills, then the Law must take effect because NO love was shown to God nor Man.

God forgives .......... The Law (Mosaic & national) must be applied.

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TalRussell 4 months ago

The way the law would work --- More effectively, --- If Judges. would arrive at --- Alternatives to Imprisonment --- Sentencing to enforce the law --- Whenever there is some other way -- You could work the thing out. --- Yes?

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John 4 months ago

Remember the Bible also says to ‘pray without ceasing’. Meaning one must not use a prayer like a birth control pill that when you know you are at risk, you must go to God in prayer and expect everything to be alright. Everything will work out and be ok. Or even prayer as the ‘morning after pill’ when you pray only for forgiveness after a sin has been committed. The Bible says ‘in all things give thanks’. So you must give prayers if thanksgiving, of direction, of blessings received and safety and security, prayers for others, prayers when in doubt, when in sorrow, when disappointed.. in ALL things give thanks.

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stillwaters 4 months ago

i am thinking that this is how it started in Haiti....nobody knew what to do when the gangs started becoming more powerful and more deadly than the police force.

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