Columns

Beware the actions of our leaders!

The overlooked principle of cause and effect

Al
Miller

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

If Ralph Waldo Emerson is right that strong men believe in cause and effect and shallow men believe in luck or circumstance, then we may have a nation of many shallow men. This type of man seems to be represented in all strata of society — from King's House to the poor house, from Parliament to tenement.

Wikipedia, the common man's dictionary, expands further with this unscholarly but correct observation: “The agency or efficacy that connects one process (the cause) with another process or state (the effect), where the first is understood to be partly responsible for the second, and the second is dependent on the first.”

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines causality or causation as: “The relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena.”

Monetary policy cause & effect

Remember the monetary policy pursued in the 90s; the interest rate policy, in particular? In hindsight, even the untrained mind can now see that the Government of the time didn't seem to understand cause and effect. Yes, there were a few Jamaicans who, it could be said, made a real bunting! That is if flags were regarded as an instrument of wealth. But look at the amount of good hard-working Jamaicans who were Finsacked! Were the financial policy wizards of the time at the Ministry of Finance aware that the monetary policy they were pursuing would have brought so many Jamaicans to their financial knees? Perhaps they didn't understand the principle of cause and effect!

Obeah law cause & effect

Speaking of wizards, the Obeah controversy continues to trend with other people joining the fray. This includes allegations of misunderstanding from the good minister, who recently raised the subject of repeal in the Lower House of Parliament. What cannot be misunderstood is that credible news sources reported that the minister had raised the issue and promised a repeal.

Nationwide News Network recently reported:

“Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says reports that the Government is to make the practice of Obeah legal are untrue.

“He says his recent remarks in Parliament on the matter have been misrepresented and has caused him to face much abuse on social media.”

I don't often try to represent the opinions of the Church in this column. However, please allow me, Church, to make an exception on this issue. Minister, the Church will not relent in our stand against this Obeah issue. Let there be no misunderstanding about that. We hope that the recent retraction of what was previously reported is not simply a ploy to allow the issue to blow over, then you come again from another angle. So that there is no misunderstanding, may I share a well-known song of our kingdom with you:

“All other gods

They are the works of man

But you are the Most High God

There's none like You (repeat)

Jehovah you are the most high!

You are the most high God!”

Some of you may be asking, why take such a strong stand on this issue? It is because of the principle of cause and effect. The word of God speaks against nations embracing witchcraft, sorcery and spiritism. It also speaks to the effect of bloodshed, that is murders, and it's the pollution of a nation that affects its economy.

Some of the learned among us, along with those who claim to embrace an Afrocentric sociotheolology, claim that such an injunction is not for us; it's for a different culture of people who imposed their beliefs on us. However, let's look at cause and effect to see if such an injunction from the Bible makes sense.

Ask yourself the question: Are the practices associated with witchcraft, sorcery and spiritism usually negative or positive, reparative or destructive?

Ask yourself: Why is it that the nations which seem most steeped in the practice of divination or witchcraft are the ones at the bottom of the economic ladder, with most citizens mired in poverty?

On Sunday, June 16, I wrote an article discouraging the legalisation of Obeah titled, 'What's the merit to legalising Obeah?' and some readers indicated their displeasure that I should even bother with the topic. One reader even wrote that perhaps Obeah should be legalised if only so people could see that it can't live up to the hype. However this is not about hype, it's about cause and effect!

From time immemorial, this principle has been in effect. The rebellion of Adam and Eve resulted in physical thorns and thistles springing up in the earth — cause (the rebellion) and effect (thorns and thistles).

Let's wake up to the realisation that violating spiritual laws sometimes has natural consequences. We must open the eyes of our understanding on this matter.

Crime and violence cause & effect

Our crime and violence issues have again warranted a state of emergency (SOE), this time in St Andrew South police division, a group of communities across our capital Kingston. When our earlier politicians and businessmen first began importing illegal guns into our island nation do you think they ever could have imagined the current effects that we are currently experiencing? Perhaps they didn't consider or had no understanding of cause and effect? For what first began as a need to control turf and political philosophy has now become a seemingly uncontrollable culture of power-driven wickedness and murder! Our original illegal gun facilitators perhaps thought that they could maintain control of 'the boys' they were empowering with guns.

Perhaps they should have been mindful of the observation of British historian Lord Acton, who in 1887 in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton said: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That's cause and effect!

The 'boys' are now so absolutely empowered and out of control that our island State has to engage states of emergency in order to try and contain them. Let's wake up to the realisation that our seemingly simple and expedient actions today have grievous physical and spiritual consequences tomorrow. We miss making this association to our peril!

Many are the challenges facing us as a nation in every sphere. Problems for which solutions are sought. National problems like crime and violence, corruption, poverty, abortion, the LGBTQ agenda, and even the review of the Obeah law, could all be instructed by the principle of cause and effect.

Beware!

Most of us make the mistake of ignoring cause and effect in our decision-making, but national leaders cannot afford to do that.

Take, for example, the historical account of the nation of Israel about 4,000 years ago. During David's reign as king there was a famine for three successive years. So David inquired of the Lord. The Lord answered, “It is due to Saul [the previous King] and to his bloody family, because he killed the Gibeonites.”

The Gibeonites were not Israelites, but rather a remnant of the Amorites. The Israelites had taken an oath concerning them, but Saul had tried to kill them in his zeal for the Israelites and Judah. So David summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (2 Samuel 21)

The historical account records that King David made an offer of restorative justice and an appropriate recompense. Subsequently, they were able to come to an amicable agreement and the historical writing concluded that a day after the restorative justice the rain poured down from heaven. As a result, the drought that caused the famine had been broken.

This story indicates a few issues for consideration:

1. The negative policies and actions of national leaders can have devastating effects on the whole nation.

2. The restorative actions of a national leader can have a positive effect on a nation.

Prime ministers and parliamentarians must therefore be careful as they make decisions, for their bad decisions can affect the well-being of millions of citizens for generations. Repealing or adding laws must therefore be wisely considered from all angles, considering their effects on all.

Another lesson the David story teaches is that the negative policies and actions of one leader can be overturned by the positive policies and actions of another leader. That's good news for cause and effect. That means that the negatives we are now experiencing (effect) as a nation because of the bad policies and actions of political leaders past (cause) can be overturned by the policies and actions of new leaders, thus ushering in new effects.

Rev Al Miller is pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle. Send comments to the Observer or pastormilleroffice@gmail.com.


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