• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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Prayer and Fasting on Turks and Caicos

The latest Private Eye magazine (p. 14) carries a fascinating profile of Michael Misick, premier of Turks and Caicos, to the south of the Bahamas. Misick has been bogged down with corruption allegations, and he recently faced a rape accusation which was only cleared up when a second woman appeared and explained that it had been a consensual three-in-a-swimming pool sex romp.

Misick attempted to distract attention from his various scandals with some shameless religious humbug, as noted in Caribbean News Net:

He said that the nation is in need of prayer and healing and has declared Sunday, September 7, to be a National Day of Prayer and Fasting and he asked all clergymen and women and all persons to participate.

Oppostion figures were sceptical; Floyd Seymour told the media that

Reference has been made about the Premier’s apology for his private deeds and his call for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. While such an event is good, Seymour said, Christians should not be insulted with “such a ploy by the leader of our country.”

Seymour, however, called on the people to go to church on September 7 and “pray for deliverance of this country from the grip and greed and wrong centered leadership. The clergy and our churches are not toys and should not be jerked around from one year to next for political gain.”

Meanwhile, Seymour’s deputy Oswald Skippings decided to outdo Misick on the religious rhetoric front:

…A good place to begin is to remind you that you have categorically declared in parliament your separation of church and state. You then proceeded to sternly rebuke the clergy of this country when they were humbly trying to advise you on the gambling bill and, in essence, bluntly instructed them to back off when you told them outright to run the church and allow you to run the government.

Honourary Doctor Premier, you must realise that when you divided or separated God from government, you were busting the doors wide open for your demons to enter without restrictions. Now your demons have come home to haunt you. You have consistently conducted a public religious masquerade, repeatedly shed crocodile tears completely sanctioned by imported highly paid evangelists and local bishops and pastors at prayer breakfasts, made public confessions and, last but not least, passed around stuffed envelopes to pastors. I have never seen such spiritual shenanigans anywhere in the world…Let me advise you that prayer and fasting by the saints in this country is what has so far prevented this nation from total disaster by your hands…

Mr Premier, do you remember the altar call and the testimony service on the parade grounds during the last election campaign, playing with God? Didn’t your advisors tell you what is blasphemy and sacrilege? Do you remember the sacred worship songs where Christ’s name was replaced with yours during the campaign and you just soaked it all up?…You see, you can deceive the electorate and manipulate them for your own evil motives, but you can’t do that to God…When King Belshazzar, king of Babylon refused to stop, the writing appeared on the wall…

So how did the National Day of Prayer and Fasting go? As the Eye points out, 7 September turned out to be the day when Hurricane Ike arrived…