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`Discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability, national and social origin is repugnant because these features of the person are not the result of choice or behaviour. We do not have a voice in deciding where we are born. The colour of our skin, the texture of our hair, our sex, or other physical and mental characteristics of our person. No justification whatever can be sought in religious belief for acts of discrimination or for harbouring prejudicial attitudes.’ - Bishop George.
CITIZENS have every right to look to political leaders for solutions to the political and economic crisis in Guyana but people must look to themselves for a solution to racial, domestic and other forms of violence, says Anglican Bishop Randolph George.
“Our personal behaviour is our responsibility and each of us has a contribution to make to the healing of our nation,” he told Anglican priests in the Guyana Diocese at a St. George’s Cathedral service at the commencement of the annual Synod.
The Synod that was held from May 6 to 8 serves as an Annual General Meeting of the local Anglican lay delegates from all parishes’ and priesthood countrywide, which now numbers 42.
Sessions of the Synod to discuss church business, which included matters of evangelism, stewardship and a programme aimed at returning the gospel to fundamentals, were held at the Mothers’ Union Day Care Centre in Queenstown.
In his speech, Bishop George reported: “The past year has been for most of our people profoundly depressing, dominated by crime and violence. We have witnessed a hardening of racial attitudes and a loss of confidence in the capacity of political leaders to guide the country out of crisis.”
“Many Guyanese are being forced to question what the future holds for them here. Clearly, we cannot hope to survive much less prosper if Guyanese with talent, initiative and drive from every race and station in life feel compelled to seek a better life elsewhere.”
Bishop George urged that locals confront the crisis and reflect on their own role in resolving it.
“In the past, we survived bizarre and irresponsible politics because we had some beacon of hope to strive for. Free and fair elections provided light at the end of the tunnel for a number of years. Once achieved, however, we realised that it was not the panacea we had hoped it would be. We then placed our hopes in constitutional reform, which so far has also failed to produce the peace and security we desired,” Bishop George stated.
“Dare we hope that with the recent normalisation of Parliament we are witnessing the dawn of a new era in our troubled political life? Dare we hope that this recent move represents that longed-for leap into the path leading to national progress and development?” questioned the Bishop.
He added: “I ask you to pray constantly that with God’s guidance all our hopes in this regard will come to fulfillment. The situation in which we find ourselves tests our resilience as a people…It is even more alarming how we seek to lay blame for the crisis we are in.”
Bishop George asserted that “few among us have the courage and clear-sightedness to condemn absolutely and without equivocation all forms of violence.”
“If we honestly examine ourselves, we shall discover that most of us find some forms of violence defensible or tolerable. It all depends on who the victim is.”
According to the Bishop, it is this tolerance for violence of one sort or another that has encouraged discriminatory attitudes towards people who are different.
“Discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, disability, national and social origin is repugnant because these features of the person are not the result of choice or behaviour. We do not have a voice in deciding where we are born. The colour of our skin, the texture of our hair, our sex, or other physical and mental characteristics of our person. No justification whatever can be sought in religious belief for acts of discrimination or for harbouring prejudicial attitudes,” the Bishop said.
“Each act of discrimination on the grounds of who a person is - as contrasted with what a person does - drives a wedge, deepens division, creates distance between people. We cannot be ambivalent either about violence or about prejudice and at the same time claim to be fighting discrimination. Our opposition to both of these evils has to be absolute,” he charged.