Arrant irresponsibleness

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

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Dear Editor:

Free speech is an offshoot of democracy which gives us the freedom of expression, but it also assumes propriety and considerateness. To say whatever you wish with no regard to others is not free speech but arrant irresponsibleness.

This irresponsibleness was recently on glaring display in a sermon by Pastor Gino Jennings, head of the First Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in which he described Christian women who dressed revealingly and wore accessories as “nothing but a prostitute”.

While the Bible speaks to how a Christian woman should adorn herself, it does not give any pastor the right to fulminate against them in such derogatory terms. Inferring from the teaching of Jesus, a pastor aught to display love, grace, kindness, tolerance, and temperance in conduct and speech. Pastor Jennings' behaviour did not meet any of these and could be therefore regarded as unchristian-like and render him just as errant as the women against whom he inveighed.

I assume the women in question were not of his church, because it would have been an indictment against them not to have walked out in protest. Now, if the pastors of those other churches had no issue with the way their women dressed, who gave Pastor Jennings the right to be judge and jury over other men of God? Was he not, by implication, calling these other pastors pimps? I would think his being a man of God, and assuredly more possessed of wisdom than the average man, he would have sought to deal with such observed errors among his members in the appropriate manner and place. The preacher's role is not to excoriate and shame, but to teach and lead as a good shepherd, the way Jesus, their Lord, did.

Notwithstanding Pastor Jennings' unfortunate utterances, there is a case for sartorial sophistication — a keen sense of occasion. If prescribed attire is observed in other sectors of the society it should be no less in the church. The changes that have taken place in the world of fashion does not obviate the need for occasion-dictated fashion. Despite gender or religious persuasion a person should thrive for some level of sartorial elegance. Simply put, dress for the occasion.

E Elpedio Robinson

St Andrew




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