Two Hour Video: “Church & State” Public Forum

September 25, 2015

As part of their 145th anniversary celebration, St. Paul AME Church recently hosted a panel discussion titled “Church and State – Politics, Preachers & Politicians,” with the panelists for the forum including Rev. Nicholas Tweed, Bishop Nick Dill, PLP MP Wayne Furbert, OBA MP Leah Scott, and BIU President Chris Furbert.

At the forum, Bishop Nick Dill said, “I go to church every Sunday, and I know that within my congregation there are going to be people in my congregation of various different views. We have in the Cathedral those who avidly support the OBA, those who avidly support the PLP; how am I going to minister to such people without causing offense so that they’ll shut off to hearing good news of the gospel?

“Well, I speak about principles that can be applied equally to both, to wherever you happen to be, and we should focus on those principles and that we’re living them. Because before we are political, we are also brothers and sisters in Christ and we have to learn to love one another, respect each other, to listen to each other, and to work together.

“And that’s one of the things that, in my mind, will enable us to have good politics, if we can do this well together.”

St Paul AME Church Bermuda, September 23 2015-1

OBA MP Leah Scott said, “Dr. King said, ‘I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the Almighty God, nor is the Democratic party; they both have weaknesses and I am not inextricably bound to any party.’

“So, as Bishop Dill said, one of my goals as a person is to do the best that I can to follow the principles of Christ. I’m not always successful, but the good thing about God is that when you fall down, he picks you back up the he takes you right where you are, and I hope that we learn as a country to join together regardless of what our differences are, whether they be race, creed, colour, political affiliation, or persuasion.

“Because I think our ultimate goal is to see Bermuda the best that it can be and it can only be the best when we learn to love each other and treat each other the best that we can.”

BIU President Chris Furbert said, “I honestly think that when we look at this whole question of – and I heard what Bishop Dill said and what Ms. Scott just said – and I think the challenge is and will always be is that when you look at the church, the church has members, and those members are voters.

“Those members are also either union members or they’re non-union members, and as a result of that – and Ms. Scott is absolutely right – there are issues that’s going to come up.

“And while I agree with the Bishop that there are principles that the church is founded on, when your member has issues that need to be addressed, the church should be speaking out on those issues and not be silent.”

Two hour video of the “Church & State” public forum

PLP MP Wayne Furbert said, “I also believe that the church and its members have an impact because it’s what Parliament has impacted on you, and so you have the right to speak up on issues that come on a daily basis, or whatever the basis, whenever that may come.

“The only country in the world speaks about separation of about church and state is the United States. You don’t hear too many other countries speaking about it.”

Rev Nicholas Tweed said, “Hunger is an example of injustice. Therefore the church is compelled to challenge not just – see, nobody ever criticizes a church for giving someone a plate of food, because they don’t mind the church being a charity, but they do get offended when the church starts raising questions as to how people are hungry.

“And hunger is a consequence of government policies and if government policies are contrary to Biblical principles, then the church has an obligation to speak to those issues.”

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Comments (41)

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  1. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    I found this limiting in that it focuses on too much on the Christian/government dynamic, ignoring the greater statute that the separation of church and state represents. The purpose of the preparation of church and state is founded on the fact that we are not just a Christian society, we are also a Muslim society, a Jewish society, a Buddhist society… and despite the doctrine differences, there are inf fact common principles that tie us all together. And that is why government should never operate on any one religious doctrine, it has to be beyond that, a law for the people, not for a church. This is the only way to protect that principle of religious freedom. If you are voting because of religion, then you are doing democracy harm.

    • SPOT ON says:

      @Better Bermuda–you so hit the nail on the head.

      I reflect on the words of the Pope as he adddressed a congress of interfaith represtatives at Ground Zero in NY today.

      The message was clear–it was about, peace, compassion, and caring for your fellow man and it was INCLUSIVE.

      The Holy Father though is capable of very deep and compassinate thought thought process based upon a wide world view.

      This is the message for Bermuda—its reconciliation—I find the forum that we are discussing hard to been seen through that lense with sme of its participants and knowing from where there point of view emanates.

      Too bad the Holy Father couldn’t visit us with his important message-

      • It’s because of the barbaric history of the CHURCH the world is in this STATE.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Can’t figure out what is more limited, your grasp of world history, world view or reality

          • The reality is people like you cant handle a person like me who researches History and ties it in to the present situation of my world view.
            That’s why I’m glad we have people like Professor James Small and Irritated Genie to grace our shores to impart their Wisdom and Knowledge about OUR HISTORY, to Liberate the minds of those who have been intimidated to speak out against the powers that be, and to be enlightened to know the TRUTH about OUR RICH HISTORY so WE can progress in a society where the odds have been systematically stacked against US.
            So I’m flattered when people like you criticize people like me, Garvey, King, Malcolm, Dr. Gordon, Otti and MANY others faced WORST for SPEAKING the TRUTH for the PEOPLE, so you’re just a cog in the wheel for the opposing force that HISTORICALLY tries to silence those who speaks the TRUTH without apology, especially in this subliminally racist Beautiful Island.
            And until this is not sincerely addressed in Openness and Honesty, we will NEVER build a better Bermuda to Honor those who BUILT BERMUDA.

            • hmmm says:

              Thank you for admitting you are a rascist Onion Juice.

              That is the first step…Now you identified your problem, you must acknowledge that it is that and you that is holding you back, NOT OTHERS.

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              There is so many things wrong with your historical views in how you weave historical facts to create a historical world so full of convenient holes and misconceptions you miss the truth that I really don’t have time to waste to address them all. In your desire to dismantle the old flawed frame of Eurocentric history, you have created an equally flawed Afrocentric history. In order to maintain your own stereotyping, loathing and bigotry of others that don’t subscribe to your view and develop yourself a sense of racial superiority over others, you follow a racial centric world view that is based on as much half truths, misinformation and racial centricly flawed ideas as the views you say you stand against… OMG OJ, you’re a pre civil rights white person.

            • Hmmm says:

              irritated genie…that guy is a hatemonger.

              Anyone who clapped his talk needs serious medical attention.

            • Earth watch police says:

              Bermudians built Bermuda.

        • Earth watch police says:

          I don’t like this tweed getting involved in Bermudian politics we have our own Bermudian religious nut jobs don’t need no foreign ones.

        • jt says:

          Did you enjoy the Liberty Theatre presentation O.J.?

  2. Muhammad Goldberg says:

    Wow! what an intensely intellectual debate. Think I’ll have to watch it twice!

  3. SANDGROWNAN says:

    “The only country in the world speaks about separation of about church and state is the United States. You don’t hear too many other countries speaking about it.”

    I believe France is also constitutionally secular but happy to be corrected. Problem is Flip Flop, matters of faith have no place in formation of policy.

    • Mike says:

      Unless you listen to John McCain and other christian GOP’ers that is who believe and state the opposite.

  4. Balanced Facts says:

    Wayne Furbert thinks that Countries other than the U.S don’t speak about the separation of Church and State? WOW? He needs to do a little more sensible research, America is way down the list.

  5. Family Man says:

    Lots of countries separate the state from the church Mr. Furburt, at least as far as policies go; Iceand, Denmark, Sweden, even England no longer enacts government policies in accordance with Church of England doctrine.

    Read a little more instead of just chatting with your regular coffee clutch.

    Countries inextricably tied to religious doctrine include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Philipines, Paraguay.

    I know which countries laws I’d rather live under, do you?

    • navin johnson says:

      Wayne is not the sharpest tool in the box….Politicians in Bermuda determine policy based on the Church and fear of losing votes….Wayne would be the perfect example

    • mj says:

      @family man—-with the exception of “lost tribes” in many places throughout the earth , there is no other country that separtates church from state , all citizens belong to the state-run Lutheran church in denmark and Sweden, and are born into it without choice, and all citizens contribute to the priest and bishops of the Folkekirke..Bothe danish and swedish are also spoken only in denmark and sweden much like in bermuda we are only know as Bermudian, it has no value outside of Bermuda,Although most of the people do not attend regular church and they are very modern they still are much like many bermudians who attend church but do not practice or understand what they believe to follow the truth,,i.e. Minister Leah Scott says she falls but God is always there to pick her up, how exactlydoes he do this and where is she quoting from the bible itself says to quote it because it is not given to just the so called “wise” ,,I do not know of any people that do not have some affiliation whether it be through the Shia Law or Koran , and other places through catholocism which formed to MAKE christians out of people which is why it is diabolically opposed to its own belief, if constitutionally people are free to have religion, why is it not stated that the catholic church determines that religion, then there is no freedom after all . Seeking the truth about oneself is freedom andif the truth were to be revealed about the so called “black” or so called “negroe” history, then it will reveal the methodology of how we became called “christians” against our will.

  6. Watchman says:

    The following was written over a century ago, and today is unfolding before our eyes…

    In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” (Revelation 13:16), to receive “the mark of the beast,” yet the people of God will not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beholds “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2, 3. {GC 450.1}

    And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past centuries. Protestants little know what they are doing when they propose to accept the aid of Rome in the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once be established in the United States that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured. {GC 581.1}

    God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution. {GC 581.2}

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      One can be spiritual without religion and religion does not automatically make one spiritual

  7. SANDGROWNAN says:

    A quick look on Wikipedia indicates lots of constitutionally secular states.

  8. hmmm says:

    So the church obviously recognize the inequality of human rights for Gay couples needs addressed. Glad to hear they will be campaigning for Govt to address this and bring about equality and to end the suffering.

  9. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    this was a complete waste of everyone’s time and public money!

  10. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    The church is for God’s laws…The State is for Man’s laws.
    The freedom to choose is no longer there.
    Of All People, the Pope…God’s Messenger on Earth…Is changing or deviating away from his Father’s Words, will destroy the Catholic Church from within…This is his sole purpose of making his rounds and introducing the Blueprint of the NWO to World Leaders…implementation is about to commence…I guess that’s why he did a fly by and wished us good luck…but the ignorant sees it as a blessing…

    I’m sure there will be a few tinfoil hat remarks but it seems S though I’m not the one wearing it…because objectors obviously are wearing something that is hampering their receptors.

  11. Church and state….interesting posticulation….taxes are romoved from church…..but process requires money….each time a process from intuent transpires….it requires process and monies due to higher cost of law observance and pertinance tuit require abundant monies….correct me if i am wrong.

  12. I beieve in a higher power…

  13. In Babylon says:

    Do churches pay the same taxes as we do?

    • mj says:

      People that attend churches work and pay taxes,why should they be doubly taxed for their extracurricular activity?

  14. RBKing says:

    The church should have nothing to do with the state, other than in a very ceremonial way. It should have no influence at all on policy. We have democracy now.

  15. William says:

    get rid of the church and the damn churches influence in government. wish these people had the balls to deal with life without having to believe in magic and fairy tales.

  16. Though I have my believes, I do agree with them who believe church and state are and should remain separated.
    “It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. -Garrison Keillor, radio host and author (b. 7 Aug 1942)