Churches con­demn vi­o­lence

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Tefo Tefo

CHURCH lead­ers un­der the um­brella body - Chris­tian Coun­cil of Le­sotho (CCL) - have de­cried the “grow­ing cul­ture of vi­o­lence” in Le­sotho and ab­sence of mech­a­nisms to peace­fully re­solve con­flicts.

In a press state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day, the CCL said the es­ca­lat­ing cases of mur­der in the coun­try had left many “im­pris­oned by fear” thereby taint­ing Le­sotho’s long-held im­age of a peace­ful na­tion.

The state­ment was signed by Arch­bishop Ger­ard Tlali Lerotholi OMI of the Ro­man Catholic Church, Bishop Mal­lane Taaso of the Angli­can Church of Le­sotho, Rev­erend Tšeliso Masemene of the Le­sotho Evan­gel­i­cal Church of South­ern Africa, Rev­erend ‘ Mapeete Mokhosi of the African Methodist Epis­co­pal, Rev­erend BM Set­shedi of the Methodist Church of South­ern Africa and Rev­erend Mon­a­heng Sekese of the As­sem­blies of God Le­sotho.

The church body says mur­der cases were con­tin­u­ing to in­crease with each pass­ing year. The state­ment comes amid a cli­mate of fear that has en­gulfed the coun­try fol­low­ing the myr­iad of killings and at­tempted mur­ders over the course of the year.

“Crime sta­tis­tics vary year to year start­ing from 2013 to 2016, and we face far higher rates of mur­der in the coun­try,” read part of the state­ment.

“God cat­e­gor­i­cally says, ‘You shall not kill’ (Ex­o­dus 20:13). Our fam­i­lies are torn by vi­o­lence. Our com­mu­ni­ties are de­stroyed by vi­o­lence. Our faith is tested by vi­o­lence. We, as your spir­i­tual lead­ers, have an obli­ga­tion to re­spond.

“Vi­o­lence is de­stroy­ing the lives, dig­nity and hopes of the peo­ple. Fear of vi­o­lence is paralysing and po­lar­is­ing our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Hos­til­ity, ha­tred, de­spair and in­dif­fer­ence, the coun­cil states, were at the heart of a grow- ing cul­ture of vi­o­lence.

“Our so­cial fab­ric, as Ba­sotho who have been known by a cul­ture of peace, is be­ing torn apart by a cul­ture of vi­o­lence that leaves peo­ple dead and fam­i­lies afraid in our homes.

“Our so­ci­ety seems to be grow­ing numb to hu­man loss and suf­fer­ing. A na­tion born in a com­mit­ment to life, lib­erty, peace and pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is haunted by death; im­pris­oned by fear and caught up in the elu­sive pur­suit of pro­tec­tion rather than hap­pi­ness.”

The church lead­ers urge the gov­ern­ment to “se­ri­ously” un­der­take its role as a pro­tec­tor of the pop­u­lace.

“Gov­ern­ment ought to re­tain the pri­mary role for en­sur­ing the sur­vival, liveli­hood and dig­nity of the peo­ple. It has to pro­tect the vi­tal core of all hu­man lives in ways that en­hance hu­man free­doms and hu­man ful­fil­ment.

“It means pro­tect­ing peo­ple from crit­i­cal and per­va­sive threats and sit­u­a­tions. We, there­fore, urge the gov­ern­ment to se­ri­ously un­der­take its role to pro­tect the peo­ple.”

The first step in turn­ing away from vi­o­lence, says the coun­cil, is to have re­spect for life.

“Re­spect for life is a fun­da­men­tal moral prin­ci­ple flow­ing from the Church teach­ing on the dig­nity on the hu­man per­son (Gen­e­sis 1:27). We, there­fore, strongly con­demn heinous crimes,” states the CCL.

“We also strongly ap­peal to the peo­ple com­mit­ting these evil acts to stop im­me­di­ately. It is an ap­proach to life that val­ues peo­ple over things. Re­spect for life must guide the choices we make as in­di­vid­u­als and as a so­ci­ety: What we do and what we do not do; what we value and con­sume; what we sup­port and what we op­pose.”

The coun­cil also calls for a new ur­gency in fos­ter­ing peace: “It is time, in the words of Deuteron­omy 30:19, to ‘choose life so that you and your de­scen­dants may live...’ We must re­al­ize that peace is most fun­da­men­tally a gift from God (John 14:27).

“Let us, there­fore, hear and act with new ur­gency on the words of Je­sus: ‘Blessed are the peace­mak­ers; they shall be called chil­dren of God.’ (Matthew 5:9).”

Arch­bishop Ger­ard Tlali Lerotholi omi of the ro­man Catholic Church.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.