Political promises and spiritual declarations

Letters to the Editor

Political promises and spiritual declarations

Thursday, February 27, 2020

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Dear Editor,

At the risk of losing friends and irritating people I must point out that “has been/done” is not cogent proof of “will be/do” for humans, or even God.

OK, calm down and think critically. This sloppy argument is too popular among political hopefuls in Jamaica and the USA, and in a popular Christian hymn.

At best, all that has been/done suggests is the possibility of can be/do depending on variables like personal ability/willingness, character and non-militating circumstances.

On the campaign trail politicians promise almost anything that comes to mind, but they do not control the circumstances, local or global, even on the day of their promises or beyond.

Thinking critically, voters must demand evidence that would ground the move of such promises along the spectrum, possible, probable, likely, certain.

The very popular Christian hymn of comfort with the words It is No Secret (What God Can Do) blunders in part, as well. The promissory line “what He's done for others, he'll do for you” is too strong. The language, at best, should be He can/may do for you, but not He'll do, because one is never certain of what God will, in fact, do. Hence the caveat taught by our Lord in Gethsemane. “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.”

I know this irritates some Christians as nitpicking, but such is necessary and helps to temper spiritual hype and the current spiritual malady of decreeing and declaring without warrant.

So whether it is the track record of the Jamaican People's National Party or the Jamaica Labour Party (all mixed bags) or the acclaimed track record of Michael Bloomberg in New York after 9/11, the easily self-trumpeted accomplishments from Joe Biden, or even the exaggerated exploits of US President Donald Trump, there is nothing certain that follows from their history to ground political hope (confident assurance about the not yet).

If the coronavirus becomes the global pandemic feared by some health specialists, this eventuality could shipwreck most of the election promises of leaders in strong as well as struggling economies.

Not to mention the character factor behind political leaders and their utterances. Can/should one assume honest intention to keep promises or presume the likelihood of politicians giving the electorate a six for a nine?

I maintain that has been/done is not cogent proof of will be/do, without more, for humans or God.

Rev Clinton Chisholm

Retired Jamaica Baptist Union pastor


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