Pastor Cuffie's Contempt for Orisa Marriage Act

September 12. 1999
By Corey Gilkes

You know, some people are so predictable. The echoes of the launching of Ella Andall's CD had scarcely died away when along comes Pastor Winston Cuffie with his usual simplistic, childish non-arguments and religiously bigoted rationale against things African and non-Christian. In his September 10 column in the Express, he once again took advantage of the average Trinbagonians' total ignorance and superstitious fear of African spiritual worship. I must admit I was expecting him to show his colours of contempt sooner with the passage of the Orisa Marriage Act, but, better late than never.

It is fitting that his comments were published after World Literacy Day, because the mere fact that he is taken seriously by so many people in this country proves that Patrick Manning's boast of our high literacy rate was pure drivel. Cuffie, Benny Hinn and others of their ilk are masters of what they do because they know how to manipulate the mentally and spiritually weak. They take full advantage of the centuries of mis-information fed to people. The exploitation of people during the Middle Ages by the Church does not come close to the manipulation by religious leaders in this century.

The intentions however, are still the same; to maintain economic and political power. They masterfully control what Lenin called the "useful fools" by saying what the people want to hear [I suppose I can't fault them for that, if my intentions were the same I would do it to] and adroitly skip the embarrasing truths of Christianity. After all, how many people would slavishly follow them if they revealed the true origins of this great religion? Does Cuffie ever tell how much of this African "obeah" can be found in Judaism and Christianity? And that the name and life story of the Christ myth is a reworking of very ancient African myths that crystallised along the Nile Valley - even St. Augustine acknowledged that much. Indeed, there is nothing, I repeat nothing, in the Bible and in Christian worship that cannot be traced to one pagan belief or another [the very word "pastor" is pagan in origin], but who is going to research anything? Research and development in industry is virtually non-existant in this country so why should religion be any different? It's easier to regurgitate whatever comes from "foreign". No wonder "Independence" and "Emancipation" have little relevance here.

Interestingly, even his bigotry has historical significance.A look at ancient multi-religious cultures reveals a level of religious tolerance and understanding that was non-existant in Christendom. This would change in Rome when Constantine wanted to unify his empire under one system of government and worship. Then as now, the goal was total political and economic control; it had nothing to do with any God and the other forms of worship were too nationalistic to be used.

Christianity, with a bit of "doctoring", fit the bill. To maintain that control the other belief-systems which were followed by the populace had to be discredited and suppressed [the word "pagan" itself is a Latin word which simply means "peasant worship"]. Throughout history, this tragedy would repeat itself over and over.

Does anybody care what could happen to this country if it is ever torn by strife brought about by that kind of religious bigotry? Or is it that the only way a society could be seen as civilised is when people are under the heel of one religion or another?

To my Christian brothers and sisters who would no doubt be offended by this letter [should it ever see the light of day], tell me; is it that the only way you can receive salvation is by disrespecting and displaying contempt for someone else's form of worship of which you cannot even write two well researched paragraphs? If so, then god is a bigot who advocates illiteracy and I am an atheist because in no way will I want to be associated with anything like that. I will not share in the blood of millions of people whose only crime was to worship the Almighty in a manner of their choosing and neither will I be party to the fragmenting of this beloved country along religious lines. Sing on, Sister Ella, continue to use the talents given to you by the Almighty. Do whatever you can to heal this nation.

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