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Jamaica, Uganda lose patience with preachers, and Ghana is to host a humanist gathering

ACTING on complaints from passengers getting ear-ache from Gospel-spouting fools, a transit company on the island of Jamaica has reportedly banned evangelising on its buses.

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) said it has issued a notice to all of its bus drivers to politely ask any passengers that seek to evangelize while in transit to zip their lips.

Harley Lewin, the director of JUTC, states that he doesn’t oppose the Gospel, but doesn’t think that buses are the proper place for proselytising.

I am all for evangelising but they can’t use the bus as their platform.

He said that the company took action after it received phone calls from those that didn’t like having to listen to the preaching, stating that it “disturbs” them.

Area Christians explain that while they will obey the prohibition for now, they may seek legal recourse under the Jamaican Constitution, which they assert grants the right to

To manifest and propagate [one's] religion.

Said one Bible buffoon:

We won’t be going back on the bus until the matter is resolved because we are being verbally abused, and the last thing you want is to be physically abused.

News of the ban prompted a Ghanaian blogger to ask whether a similar ban should be imposed on “eardrum-breaking” preachers in that country.

Bedlam on the buses: this picture shows passengers being harassed on a bus in Ghana (via GhanaCelebrities.com)

Jamaica’s ban follows a reported attempt last month by Ugandan legislators to sweep preachers off the street, describing their activities as “inflammatory”.

Said government official Alex Ruhunda:

We need to control these people before it’s too late. We cannot allow people who abuse other peoples’ religions; this will cause chaos in the country.

However, a local pastor, and many other evangelists said that a complete ban would be unconstitutional.

Simeon Kayiwa of Namirembe Christian Fellowship Church complained:

Open air preaching is an ancient Christian practice and shouldn’t be banned.

Latif Ssebaggala, who first addressed his concerns to parliament in the form of a letter, stated that the protests that had broken out around the world over the film Innocence of Muslims demonstrated the need to silence offensive speech. He asked the government to condemn those who promote “religious hatred” by using various forms of expressing to speak against Islam.

Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali advised that Muslims should notify police whenever they come in contact with those that denounce the Islamic religion.

While a decision has not yet been made about the matter parliament urged its fellow government leaders:

To ensure that street preachers do not plunge the country into chaos.

Uganda is 41 percent Roman Catholic, 35 percent Anglican, 8 percent evangelical Christian and 12 percent Muslim.

Meanwhile it is reported here that Ghana – said to be Africa’s most religious country – is to host a gathering next week of African non-believers seeking to find ways of promoting  an “enlightenment” vital to bringing their continent into the modern age.

Leading African humanist Leo Igwe

Nigerian humanist campaigner Leo Igwe said:

At a time when the dark and destructive forces of religious fundamentalism and superstition are ravaging the continent, the Ghana conference is a sign of light, hope and renewal.

Ghana’s newly formed Humanist Association, host of the three-day gathering in Accra from November 23-25, said that just the announcement that it is being held has encouraged closet atheists to “come out” and sign up. An association statement said:

We do not wish to eradicate religion from our culture but to show there are alternative ways of viewing the world and that asking questions and following the evidence is essential if we are to develop as a nation.

What is needed, Igwe told Reuters, is a process like the 18th century Enlightenment in Europe which loosened the grip of religion and churches on the popular mind and eventually all but removed their power to dictate to governments.

With its overwhelming religiosity and adherence to superstition like witchcraft, he notes, Africa also figures at the tail-end of United Nations indexes on development and heads those on poverty and early death.

Hat tip: Leo Igwe (Ghana conference report)

 

15 Responses to “Jamaica, Uganda lose patience with preachers, and Ghana is to host a humanist gathering”

  1. barriejohn says:

    I’m sure that I must have mentioned before how the Irish Brethren used to engage in a similar, yet more sneaky, practice (don’t know whether they still do!). Two of them would board a bus and sit a short distance from one another, and then strike up a very loud conversation: “Good morning brother Gibson, and what a fine morning it is. We truly have much for which to thank God, the giver of all mercies, who graciously took pity on us poor, vile sinners and sent His own dear Son to die on Calvary’s Cross so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Oh, my dear brother, if only people could hear the cries of the damned in that awful Lake of Fire which awaits all those who reject the risen, living Christ…” (continues in same vein for many a long mile). The sheer arrogance of these people is beyond belief!

  2. barriejohn says:

    Would this sort of behaviour make you more kindly disposed towards this man’s particular faith or church?

    http://youtu.be/-kRgoLD-Fz0

  3. Barry Duke says:

    BarrieJohn, just 42 seconds into that video and my dog put her paws over her head and began whining …

  4. barriejohn says:

    She’s going to Hell, Barry. That’s what they did to Jesus!

  5. Broga says:

    The dam holding back secularism is breaking as more and more people realise they don’t have to sit silent listening to these howling preachers.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    Street preachers are a pet hate of mine at the moment. I find their very public displays of piety, arrogance and ignorance to be offensive in the extreme. How dare they stand there confronting passers-by with ludicrous and outlandish of claims, surrounded by other idiots who ensure that their blustering goes unchallenged?

    While I occasionally engage in a spot of heckling (and get great satisfaction from the disbelief on their faces when they realise someone has the temerity to contradict them), I generally just take immense satisfaction from the fact that not one single person is ever listening to a word they have to say.

  7. remigius says:

    Would the Uganda that is losing patience with preachers be the same Uganda that is bringing in anti-gay legislation as a Christmas present for it’s bigots?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20318436

  8. barriejohn says:

    Here’s one man to whom I will most definitely be listening – in fact, I would gladly ride with him all the way to the terminal, if that doesn’t sound like something rather rude!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00zsqsz

  9. barriejohn says:

    It would, most surely, Remigius, but you have missed the point, I fear. The preaching has to stop because the religiots, though united in their abhorrence of gay relationships and other perfectly rational behaviour, are “abusing” one other in their diatribes, just as we know that they are bound to!

    PS How can one possibly call preaching on an omnibus “open-air preaching”? Do they have no roofs?

  10. L.Long says:

    Do those countries have bans on how loud music can be played???
    If so measure the volume and turn them in to the police.

    The main problem is not the preachers but all the religious nuts that are on the buses. If the passengers would would follow the lead of just one person who starts laughing at these preachers and commenting on what a load of BS his words are they may tend to go away –They hate being laughed at. But they cant laugh at the preacher because they would be laughing at their own beliefs.

  11. Trevor Blake says:

    In a rare, little-known book, seldom read by Christians and definitely hard to find, we note: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:5-6.

  12. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Ghana is the most religious country in Africa? No way Jose. I was never preached at in Ghana, I never had bus evangelisers, I always found the people there to be quite open and honest, keeping their beliefs to themselves.

    Nigerians on the other hand couldn’t wait to tell you about their religion and how it was the only true one. I’ve had a nightmare journey on a Nigerian bus where evangelising preacher after evangelising preacher stood up and regaled the bus with their stories. Don’t take a bus in Nigeria, not unless you want to be preached at for hour after hour after hour after interminable hour.

    Funnily enough, I never had any problems in Uganda either, they tended to keep their beliefs to themselves as well.

    As for street preaching, I don’t like it but I would not agree to a ban. After all, you can walk away from these morons. On a bus, you are trapped.

  13. [...] Jamaica, Uganda lose patience with preachers, and Ghana is to host a humanist gathering (freethinker.co.uk) [...]

  14. Ian says:

    A couple of young Mor(m)ons were’witnessing’ to the heathens of a town in Lancashire a few months back, giving it the real hell fire and repent treatment. Much to their surprise almost no-one took any notice, except for the owner of a small music shop.

    He switched on the outside speakers, maximum volume and let rip with Black Sabbath.

    They lasted about thirty seconds after which they wandered off looking very confused.