THE Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) has a new plan to fight crime, which is the same as their old plan: prayer.
The IRO used this plan last August, and got funding from the Government to do it, receiving money to buy food and drink and T-shirts for the faithful. One week later, western Trinidad had its worst floods ever; three weeks later, Section 34 was proclaimed; and, four months after, the year closed with 383 persons murdered: but maybe the situation would have been much worse if the religious leaders hadn’t prayed for peace and love and ecclesiastical grants.
In any case, this time the IRO has a new prayer approach, because they’re asking everybody to pray for 15 minutes against crime. That’s right—15 minutes, no more and no less. Apparently, if you pray to God for just ten minutes, you’re not really trying, and if you pray for 20 minutes you’re trying too hard. I myself don’t pray at all, but that is because I’m an atheist. I also don’t have an invisible friend, but that’s because I’m a grown-up.
Now I’m not saying that prayer doesn’t work, because that would be like saying that the sky is blue, or the Earth is curved, or Pastor Cuffie has a bogus PhD. For example, it is an irrefutable fact that the societies where people pray regularly are the most violent, corrupt, and poorly dressed. Which means that, if the IRO really wanted to reduce crime, they would mount a campaign to stop prayer, encourage rationalism, and wear clothes designed by Anya Ayoung-Chee.
But the IRO doesn’t rely on evidence, since their entire business model is based on getting people to believe without evidence. Nonetheless, the irony of having witnesses swear on holy texts to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth continues to escape the courts. Maybe this is why the Police Service, which is mostly run by born-again officers, has such a low detection rate since, in some part of their minds, they consider proof and logic to be mortal sins.
But I admit I don’t know how the believers believe praying for 15 minutes—no more, no less— will stop crime. Is it that God is up in Heaven and hears this extra amount of praying? “Trinidad again, praying to Me to stop crime,” He says, pulling out a stopwatch. “Okay, okay. Our Father, which art in Heaven...uh huh. Make the murderers turn from their wicked ways, uh huh, put fear of Me into their hearts, bring them into My grace. Protect those who believe in Me...hang on, which do you want, crime stopped or just non-believers to be crime victims? Grant us My mercy, hallowed be My name, etcetera etcetera, forever and ever Amen...and lap. Hm. Nope, nope, that was just 11 minutes 18 seconds. There goes another young black man shot, there’s a four-year-old girl getting beaten to death, Ish and Steve going free, Machel Montano paying 0.00001 percent of his Carnival earnings. Just another three minutes and 42 seconds and I would have answered the prayers. Nobody has stamina anymore.”
So, like I say, I don’t really understand how this prayer thing is supposed to work. Machel and Kernal Roberts both thanked God last Monday for helping them through their trial, but I don’t know if this means that God favoured them over the persons they beat up. Maybe God was using Machel to teach the victims a lesson about wine and get on bad. On the other hand, maybe the fact that Machel makes millions from making people wine proves that he is favoured by God, especially since any other black man found guilty of assault would have gotten a few years in jail. But, as an atheist, I don’t know if this is proof of God or Mammon.
At any rate, it may be significant that the IRO’s crime plan is the same as National Security Minister Jack Warner’s, who this week called on parents to carry their children to church/temple/mosque in order to reduce crime. Jack himself has said that he went to church as a boy and, as an adult, continues going to church at 4 a.m., when it’s still dark. Warner, however, has been often accused of corruption, has made several public statements which proved to be lies, and is now suspected of creating a secret police squad. Which can only mean that sports journalists Andrew Jennings and Lasana Liburd and everyone who’s ever badtalked Jack are agents of Satan.
Maybe the IRO should just pray for people in public life to not take God’s name in vain. Then again, if God answered that prayer, he might smite the IRO.firstname.lastname@example.org