Portia defends her religious utterances

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has attempted to assure the public that her unabashed references to Christianity since being appointed, are not intended to force the religion onto the nation’s people.

The Prime Minister’s comments came on the weekend in response to ongoing criticisms of, among other frequent references to God, her announcement earlier this month that she intends to appoint pastors to state boards.

“I don’t want to impose my spirituality on anyone – that is for me,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said to thunderous applause during the prophetic conference of the Word of Life Ministries International, held Sunday night at the Hilton Kingston hotel, New Kingston. “And I don’t want anyone to judge me, lest they be judged.”

The Prime Minister added: “I am of the belief that Christian values are good for this nation. When I publicly express my Christian faith, I don’t mean to put anybody down who is not a Christian or to impose my belief on anyone. I believe the God of the Bible is the true God.”

She said, however, that no leader could succeed without the support of the majority and, therefore, she was seeking the assistance of those present.

“You are strategically placed where you can help with the re-socialisation of our communities in this country,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The Prime Minister added that the country needs the church because it instils family values that can help rid the country of crime and violence. She said that if people forgave more, there would be fewer murders.

However, the Prime Minister said Christianity is not the only religion that teaches these values.

She said all religious groups have similar morals, but Christianity has “lift(ed) the bar high” because it teaches people to plan, strategise, work and pray.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also challenged the church to make its teachings more relevant to the needs of the country.

“The few critics believe Christianity is just about religious dogma, rituals, ceremony and praying. We have to show how the Christian faith relates to all the practical problems which this country faces,” she said.

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