Carmona: Shouter Baptists’ struggle one of tenacity
Sunday, March 30 2014
The struggle of the Spiritual Shouter Baptists in Trinidad and Tobago has been one of spirited tenacity, President Anthony Carmona said in his message on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day today.
Carmona said today’s celebration was “a sober reminder that as a nation, we can continue to grow positively and that wherever and whenever we confront social injustice, we first recognise it and affirmatively do something about it.”
Extending best wishes and blessings to the Spiritual Shouter Baptist community on behalf of himself and his family, President Carmona said the 63rd anniversary of the repeal of the Shouter Prohibition Act on March 30, 1951 and today’s celebration give an added sense of significance to the importance of Trinidad and Tobago’s Constitution that allows both “freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance and freedom of association and assembly.”
Describing the journey of the Spiritual Shouter Baptist as a long, arduous one and perhaps continuing, he said there was no denying that they displayed grit, spiritual force and determination in their struggle for freedom and equality.
“Historically, it was a cruel fate; they endured great humiliation by those who saw them as a nuisance. They were visited with arrest and physical violence by the authorities who were determined to curtail the freedom to assemble and worship.
“Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day celebrates our religious diversity and inclusiveness, our capacity as a nation to correct and make right a wrong of the past,” Carmona said adding that the celebration of this national public holiday “is testament to a successful struggle against persecution and injustice and the recognition that deep faith and conviction in a just cause can have a just resolution.”
“I always remember the spiritual vibration and great healing that the Spiritual Shouter Baptist generated throughout our small towns and villages and the positive impact they had on the lives of many in the rural communities of Trinidad and Tobago. “I feel a deep sense of pride, in my two deceased uncles, High Priests Eric “Papi” Murren from La Brea and Orichoe Murren from Tableland, who in the midst of social marginalisation and stigmatisation, kept their faith like so many of their brethren, spreading the message of a righteous God, His beneficence and his mercy.
“I do recall the religious importance to the Spiritual Shouter Baptist of going on the “mourning ground,” a ceremony of intense meditation, introspection and invocation where the spirit and soul are both fortified through fasting, physical sacrifice and prayers,” he said.
See Pages 7A and 16A