THE Claxton Bay Seventh-Day Adventist Church is among the latest places of worship to have been robbed, vandalised or desecrated this year.
The SDA church was broken into on Wednesday night and several electronic items, including a TV used for online worship, along with speakers, were stolen.
Commenting on the sacrilegious act, Pastor Clive Dottin lamented the loss of the sense of the sacred.
“The reason we are having so much crime and violence in this society is because people have lost the sense of sacred. There is no respect for God any more. We are not the first church in the last year that has been violated.”
During the year thieves broke into the Lakrani Ganesh Mandir, Penal, where they ransacked the temple, smashed a murti, stripped another murti of its clothing, stole items and left cigarette butts behind.
Another Hindu temple, in Caparo, was desecrated by vandals who cooked corned beef within its walls. Hindus revere the cow and abstain from eating beef.
In July, a 100-pound, 153-year-old bell was stolen from St John’s Anglican Church, Petit Bourg, San Juan, to be sold, many believed, as scrap iron. President of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) Allan Ferguson apologised for the theft, which may have been one of the reasons for the ban on the export of scrap iron.
The Effectual Doors International Church, Couva was robbed of an undisclosed sum of money, in July.
In August, parish priest of the San Rafael RC Church Fr Roger Paponette was tied up and robbed of a vehicle and personal valuables from the presbytery.
In October, thieves broke into the Kingdom of God Worship Centre, San Juan stealing $2,500 in cash.
Dottin commented, “The line between the sacred and the profane is being blurred. Every day they are disappearing.”
He was disturbed “that someone would go to a church to rob a church, when a church is supposed to be a sacred space.
“This is just part of the moral collapse of our society. It means that we, all stakeholders – Government, the church, businesses, all the NGOs, have to be more aggressive in terms of transmitting and helping the young people internalise moral and spiritual values.
The message can be transmitted by ordinary people being role models themselves, he said, observing, “Some are doing a poor job of modelling. Some of us in society are failing in terms of transmitting the values of decency, loyalty and spirituality to our young people.
"That is why we are not able to manage the large murder rate we have never experienced before.”
Instead of passing on these values, he said, families are passing on a different kind of legacy.
“I know triple-generational drug-dealing in this society, from grandparents to children to grandchild.
“Without these good and decent values, we are heading for a total collapse.”
The SDA is part of a March against the Assassins, expected to be 1,000 strong, which will take place on Sunday from Curepe Junction, ending at Woodford Square, Port of Spain, with a youth extravaganza and free screening by a team of medical professionals from the SDA’s Community Hospital.