“Colour prejudice is a terrible sin,” Archbishop Jason Gordon declared as he called on citizens to rid themselves of racism and discrimination.
He was delivering his Ash Wednesday sermon at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in San Fernando.
After the revelry of Carnival, hundreds came to the doorsteps of the church to take ashes on their foreheads in a symbolic act of repentance.
Reminding the congregation that they must turn away from sin, Gordon said 1970 was a very special moment in T&T’s nation because it reset the class and colour divides which affected life in T&T.
“We benefited because 50 years ago, people were courageous enough to say that colour discrimination cannot continue to pervade in this country we call T&T, and we can’t tolerate that anymore. Colour prejudice is a sin. All kinds of prejudice are sin and if you have a prejudice against somebody because of the colour of their skin because they are male or female because they have money or don’t have money, that is sin, that is a terrible sin,” he added.
So why is it a terrible sin? “It’s because each person was made in the image and likeness of God and to treat people less than that is to treat God less than that so this Lent, I want us to look at prejudice,” Gordon added.
He also said in 1970, the African community and the East Indian communities came together and acted in solidarity.
“It was one moment when that difference in the race didn’t make any difference, and that’s the country we need to become where race and class and gender are no longer dividers as to why we treat others special or bad,” he said.
He added, “We should treat people based on their character and based on who they are and based on the fact that who they are is a child of God and therefore they deserve to be treated well.”
He expressed hope that at the end of the 40 days of Lent, prejudice would decrease.
Meanwhile, Father Wilfred John urged the congregation to carefully examine themselves.
“Our hearts must be temples of God and we must rid our hearts of sin and shame. Root out all the anger, jealousy, hatred and cleanse our minds,” John said.
John said many people in the society were suffering from depression and loneliness.
“What are we doing about this? Start thinking about ways that you can help others. It is easy for us to complain about what we don’t have but we need to be more appreciative of what we have as well,” John said. He urged the congregation to write down their blessings and to be grateful for them.