Categorized | National News

CFJ Calls For Action From Church

In the face of a soaring murder rate, an anti-crime advocacy group has called on the church and its leadership to take radical action in a bid to reduce crime and violence in the country by at least 50 per cent.

Citizens for Justice (CFJ), headed by Bishop Walter Hanchell, said while the police are doing an “extremely good job,” the church’s efforts have been disappointing.

“Crime is a national problem and all major stakeholders including the church have a role to play,” a CFJ released noted.

“CFJ is calling on the church to put boots on the ground immediately with a strategic plan of action to reach families that are dysfunctional and hurting. Quite frankly, we are extremely disappointed at the attitude of over 90 per cent of the estimated 3,000 churches that can be seen on almost every street corner, in urban areas and in our suburbs.”

According to the CFJ, these churches open only on the weekends for services, conduct midweek Bible studies and offer no outreach ministry to the communities around them.

“They ignore their most vital function, which is to go into the highways and byways and make disciples for Christ. We have created a society of young and middle age persons who do not know about family and Christian values. Too many of our pastors are focusing on money and preaching the prosperity gospel while our communities are killing, robbing, raping and holding our nation hostage and in fear for their lives,” the organization noted.

“We are disappointed with the inactivity in segments of the church in doing its part in the fight against crime, poverty and anti-social behaviour that is prevalent in The Bahamas. Almost every weekend people are murdered. Double and triple murders and shootings are happening more frequently. Every day someone is violently assaulted. Every week funerals are held for murder victims as their families grieve and cry out for justice, yet the cycle continues. Something must be done and it must be done now so that we may save some of our young people from untimely deaths.”

The CFJ’s urgent appeal comes a day after a young married father was fatally stabbed by his older brother.

According to police, the victim, Dereon Rolle, was stabbed multiple times while family watched in horror Sunday morning.

A day later, the decomposed body of man was retrieved from the South Beach canal. According to police, the victim was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

“We are thankful for the pastors and churches that have answered the call to minister to the people…but too many are simply doing nothing other than hoping for this crime epidemic to go away,” the CFJ said.

“There are a myriad of serious challenges in our inner-city communities such as increased drug abuse, high unemployment, absentee fathers, juvenile delinquency, gang wars, drug dealing, gambling, teenage pregnancy and a high level of violence. The church is vital in resolving these issues and reducing the unacceptable level of crime inflicted on our nation. Churches should implement massive evangelistic and The CFJ is convinced that when a family is healed, the nation will be healed.

“We in Citizens For Justice urge church leaders to put action to their prayers for faith without works is dead. They must get out of the walls and lead their members to visit crime hot spots and other neighbourhoods around the island. Give the people some help, hope and encouragement then teach them the word of God. The church has a pivotal role in the fight against crime and it is now time for more action and less talk.”

However, the CFJ acknowledged that in resolving the country’s social ills, the root causes must be examined.

“Our judicial system must be upgraded. It has failed. Cases take far too long to be tried. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. A huge capital injection is needed for education and training. Illegal immigration and the burden it has placed on the social and economic resources of The Bahamas must also be addressed if we are serious about reducing crime and poverty,” the CFJ said.

It also believes the government has a responsibility to properly finance organizations that are investing in the lives of its citizens.

“Government grants should be fair and should be based on the level of service to the community by each organization and nothing else. CFJ believes that Bahamians should be empowered through the acquisition of Crown land and opportunities to start small businesses on a large scale,” the CFJ said.

The anti-crime group further urged the government to assist those who are deprived of the basic necessities and have lost hope.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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