Be a bet­ter per­son

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Orantes Moore Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

PORT MARIA, St Mary: AS A serv­ing pas­tor and the As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in charge of Com­mu­nity Safety and Se­cu­rity, Bishop Dr Gary Welsh firmly be­lieves that his en­dur­ing faith in Christ makes him a bet­ter po­lice­man.

Speak­ing re­cently at a Safe School Con­fer­ence in Port Maria, St Mary, Welsh noted how re­li­gion of­ten works in tan­dem with law and or­der, and in­sisted that many of Ja­maica’s prob­lems could be traced back to its cit­i­zens’ un­wa­ver­ing pas­sion for con­sumer goods and ser­vices.

He told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion: “I’ve never had any prob­lems serv­ing in the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force as a Chris­tian. If you think about it, a po­lice of­fi­cer up­holds law and or­der, and that is ex­actly what re­li­gion is about, not just Chris­tian­ity. [Re­li­gion] has cer­tain guide­lines that say: ‘Sub­scribe to these ba­sic prin­ci­pals’.

“Be­cause of my train­ing as a po­lice of­fi­cer, it makes it much eas­ier for me to be a Chris­tian, so I make half the ef­fort to suc­ceed in ei­ther vo­ca­tion. I do not find any chal­lenges, par­tic­u­larly be­cause I use my faith to in­form the way I do law en­force­ment.

“My con­cept is: this is a tough ter­rain, and I need help. What bet­ter place to get help than from spir­i­tual pow­ers? And so it hap­pens that I am a Chris­tian who sub­scribes to the Chris­tian re­li­gion, and my help comes from God, so my job is half as easy as ev­ery­body else’s.”

SHIFT­ING FROM CORE PRIN­CI­PLES

Welsh, who has been a bishop in the New Tes­ta­ment Church of God since 2004, be­lieves the big­gest is­sue presently af­fect­ing the na­tion is the grad­ual move away from re­li­gion and other tra­di­tional Ja­maican val­ues.

He ex­plained: “I re­ally think we’ve been shift­ing from our ba­sic core prin­ci­ples. Our na­tional an­them is built on a prayer, ‘Eter­nal Father, bless our land,’ but we are shift­ing from that and be­com­ing too sec­u­lar and ma­te­ri­al­is­tic.

“When you think about ‘Do unto oth­ers as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31),’ that’s not just a Bib­li­cal prin­ci­ple, it’s a life prin­ci­ple; I should treat you in the same way I want to be treated. When we re­visit those ba­sic tenets, we’re gonna be a bet­ter coun­try.”

Look­ing ahead, Welsh hopes that peo­ple will be­gin to search in­side them­selves for the so­lu­tions that will help transform Ja­maica. He ex­plained: “It all comes down to the in­di­vid­ual. This is not some­thing where we can call peo­ple in to sign a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing; you have to make a con­scious de­ci­sion that you want to be a bet­ter per­son.

“What is hap­pen­ing now, even in our polic­ing, is that we are putting too much ef­fort on solv­ing crime, I think we should put more ef­fort on preven­tion. All I’m say­ing is, let’s have a level play­ing field and cre­ate safe spa­ces for ev­ery­body.

“China is not hav­ing the prob­lem we’re hav­ing with crime be­cause it has a cul­ture of law­ful­ness, and a re­spect for rights and prop­erty. This is hap­pen­ing over there, and we can do it too.”

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