Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 5th 2013 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Religious leaders have thrown
their support behind Archbishop
Joseph Harris, who drew the ire of
some last week for his public com-
ments on the e-mail scandal.
During his Corpus Christi homily
at the Queen s Park Savannah, Port-
of-Spain, last Thursday, Archbishop
Harris noted that some in society
felt T&T was in its darkest days.
Addressing the e-mail scandal
raised in Parliament recently, which
revealed what Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley alleged was a conspir-
acy on the part of high office-hold-
ers, Harris said: "Whether the e-
mails are true or not, whether they
were fabricated or not, whatever the
origin of these e-mails, it means that
crimes were being committed for the
sake of power."
On Sunday at another event, Arch-
bishop Harris defended his position
in the wake of criticism from some
members of the public who felt he
should not have addressed such a
political issue, saying the church
would not be silenced.
On Monday, his religious brothers
showed their support by saying with
a collective voice that the church
must not be silenced.
Presbyterian minister, Rev Elvis
Elahie, said religious leaders must
speak out on issues affecting society.
(See Page A22)
"The church must comment on
anything that impacts upon human
life," Rev Elahie told the T&T
"I would say though, the church
must never practise partisan politics.
Whoever is there (in government),
we need to be objective and critical
so the well being of the population
is always at the forefront of what we
are saying. The church must never
President of the Inter-Religious
Organisation (IRO), Bro Harrypersad
Maharaj, agreed with this sentiment.
"Religious leaders have a respon-
sibility and certainly, what affects
the country affects the people in the
country and vice versa."
He agreed too that the clergy
should not take political sides but
rejected the notion that religious
leaders should only preach about the
gospel and ignore social and other
issues such as those the Archbishop
He recalled that during the 1990
coup attempt, it was Anglican priest
Canon Knolly Clarke who was called
in to mediate between the Jamaat al
Muslimeen and the State.
Again, he said, during the tenure
of Prime Minister Basdeo Panday,
the IRO had to make an intervention
in a tense situation with President
Arthur NR Robinson.
"If we want to change the society,
we have to let our congregation know
what their religious leaders think
about their behaviour," Bro Harry
Also contacted on the issue, Canon
Clarke, who during his career was
very vocal in and out of the pulpit,
said: "I am supportive of him (the
archbishop). I would say the same
Noting Harris Corpus Christi Day
homily in which he talked about
crimes being committed for the sake
of power, Canon Clarke said: "The
archbishop is in line with all the
issues that affect the people. He is
"I understand some are saying he
is engaging in politics but there is
nothing like mere politics. We all
have to engage in politics, which is
dealing with concerns, social issues.
We are dealing with the justice of
people, the social aspect of people s
He added: "If there are issues in
the Parliament that affect us, we
have to deal with it. We have to deal
with it from a standpoint of truth,
peace, justice, integrity, honesty."
He quoted South African Arch-
bishop Desmond Tutu about the
healthy mix between religion and
politics and retired Bishop of T&T
Clive Abdulah s comment about
"putting horses before houses," when
Caroni lands were being exploited
for the construction of a racing track.
"The churches all have a social
responsibility. We have no pro-
gramme for how you can win an
election, we don t join any political
party, but the clergy, archbishop, Fr
Clyde Harvey, Bishop Berkeley and
me, we all have a voice and we speak
clearly on issues that affect the peo-
Leaders defend Harris'
speak on issues'
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Archbishop Joseph Harris
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