‘Churches Become Partners in Crime, When…’

first_imgAn executive committee member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rt. Rev. Dr. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko, has challenged churches to go beyond turning people to objects of charity in their various intervention programs in hunger and poverty. He said churches must be involved in sustainable and transformative livelihood intervention projects to target individuals and groups within their community spaces through micro-credit systems among many small initiatives.“When churches keep silent on the issues of hunger and poverty, they become partners in crime and demonstrate solidarity with oppressors and oppressive systems and structures.”Rt. Rev. Opoko, who is Secretary of the Conference of Methodist Churches in Nigeria, made the statements when he delivered the keynote address at the opening session of the just ended 29th General Assembly of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC, also known as “the church”), held at the New Water in the Desert Assembly Apostolic Pentecostal Church International in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.The Nigerian Methodist Church Bishop challenged the church to begin playing advocacy roles to question the underpinning socio-economic and political structures that hinder food production, food security and capacity building of its people. Bishop Opoko said the church must begin to hold governments and other corporate bodies and organizations accountable in the use and distribution of community and national resources and for responsible best practices in corporate organizations.In that line, he called on the church to wage war against every form of oppression, including the use of child labor for cheap profitability by some multinational companies. He said such devious activities deny children the right to education, capacity building and development.“The church,” Rev. Opoko said, “must, like the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, fulfill the biblical injunction to be in solidarity with the poor, needy, hungry and oppressed.“Our faith must be relevant to every facet of life and society. Any faith in Christ that is not relevant to the holistic needs of society equals failure. Any lack of relevance would mean complacency. Keeping silent in the face of the devastating impact of hunger and poverty that has ravished millions of people, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, is a disgrace.”The Nigerian Methodist prelate then challenged the church to be silent no more. He said they should keep awake, and rise up in solidarity with the poor so they could become responsive to the issues of hunger and poverty“The gulf between the haves and have-nots is growing significantly. Do we need research from the Food and Agricultural Organization before we see the grave impact of hunger and poverty in the land? Poverty not addressed begets more poverty,” he asserted.According to Bishop Opoko, it is pertinent to state when church members refuse to see the problems and pains of the poor; it then means they are blind. At the same time, when churches and their members refuse to stand up against unjust structures and policies that exacerbate hunger and poverty in whatever guise, it means they are without a voice. Based on this the Bishop Opoko declared, “The church must never be silent again.”Rev. Opoko reminded President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf—who attended the opening session of the three-day Assembly— that the church has roles to play in the fight against hunger and poverty, though he pointed out that some of the outlined roles are not exhaustible. “The church is at liberty to partner and associate with government and other well meaning stakeholders in the just fight against hunger and poverty.”The Nigerian Bishop concluded the lengthy address by reminding the gathering that the Lord Jesus Christ needs everyone to prosper in all things and be in health as their souls prosper, saying the Lord will judge all at the last day in accordance with Mathew 25: 35 – 40,: “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; 36. I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you visited me”. 37. Then the righteous will answer Him saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38. When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? 39. Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you? 40. And the king will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”.  He promised all present that they would never be judged as failures in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories Wilks was originally set to meet with the Cardinals, Giants and Colts, but with Indianapolis now out of the equation, it appears to be between two teams: Arizona and New York.Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who met with the Cardinals last Friday for the head coaching job, could wind up as Wilks’ offensive coordinator if Wilks becomes head coach.Shurmur, who will be coaching this weekend when the Vikings host the New Orleans Saints, could be looking at a defensive coordinator who hasn’t accepted a job – Vic Fangio.That would leave a vacancy in Chicago, which could be filled by Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher.Arizona has made one round of interviews with all nine of their reported candidates, but Wilks and Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher are the only two whose teams are not in the playoffs.New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who has also interviewed with the Cardinals for the head coaching position, has been linked as a favorite with the Lions, per Rapoport. The Patriots host the Tennessee Titans this weekend. One of the Arizona Cardinals frontrunners for the head coaching job may have his sights set on New York, according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Mike Jurecki.The appeal of the New York Giants and what they have to offer is quite tempting for Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Eli Manning is still under contract, they have a high draft pick — and it’s New York City.Another potential head coach, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, has decided against an interview with the Indianapolis Colts, per Ian Rapoport. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellingcenter_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 7 Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Why Europe may ban the most popular weed killer in the world

first_imgWho uses glyphosate?Just about everyone who hates weeds. The herbicide is widely sprayed to fight weeds along railroad tracks, in backyards, city streets, parks, and elsewhere. Many kinds of agriculture rely on glyphosate as well—and farmers are by far the biggest users. (Sales skyrocketed in the United States and Latin America after Monsanto and other companies genetically modified soybeans and other crops to withstand the effects of glyphosate. That means farmers can easily kill weeds without harming their crops.) The herbicide has done more than benefit farmers’ profits; glyphosate has also curbed soil erosion by facilitating no-till agriculture, the practice of spraying fields before planting instead of plowing up weeds.Why is it controversial?Environmental advocates have long worried about health effects of pesticides and herbicides, including glyphosate. The U.K. Soil Association, for example, wants a ban on pre-harvest spraying of wheat fields, a practice that kills green heads of wheat and allows an earlier harvest, but also leaves residues of glyphosate in the grain. Trace amounts have been found in bread and beer, causing anxiety among consumers. If you’re a chemical company selling herbicides in Europe, it’s very bad news to mess with the perceived purity of food.What makes glyphosate a big issue in Europe right now?A bombshell report. Like other regulatory agencies, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviews the science on pesticides and herbicides every decade or so. If the evidence still suggests that the chemical is safe enough, EFSA allows member nations to decide whether or how they want to make it available. EFSA was in the process of reviewing glyphosate, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—which independently gathers health data for the World Health Organization—declared glyphosate  a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015. Nongovernmental organizations began a vigorous campaign to prevent the reregistration of glyphosate. Meanwhile, chemical companies and agricultural trade groups defended its safety record, pointing out that every regulatory agency had given glyphosate a green light. Wait, why didn’t the health reviews of glyphosate come to the same conclusions?One reason is that they ask different questions. IARC evaluates the hazard of a chemical—in this case, whether it could cause cancer. It does not ask how likely that is to happen, or in how many people. Regulatory agencies like EFSA also evaluate the risk of harm, depending on factors such as the toxicity and the way people are exposed to a chemical. Given the trace amounts of glyphosate that people typically ingest, EPA and other regulators have concluded that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer or other harm. IARC noted “limited evidence” of a cancer risk to farm workers, but regulators have not been convinced that glyphosate is a danger there either.Is that the only difference between IARC and the other reviews?There’s also an issue of transparency and trust. IARC only considers peer-reviewed scientific papers and government studies. Regulatory agencies also look at unpublished and confidential studies conducted by and for the herbicide manufacturers. Industry critics are highly skeptical of such data.It’s not just about cancer, is it?No. Many Europeans are worried about the environmental impact as well. And glyphosate has come to symbolize industrial agriculture and corporate control of food and farming. Europeans who value locally-owned agriculture and organic farms (which can’t use glyphosate and other synthetic agro-chemicals) are more likely to support a ban, regardless of whether glyphosate causes cancer or not. But the only “easy” legal mechanism to clamp down on glyphosate is because of its alleged human health risk.What happens next?So far there’s been a deadlock. The decision was in the hands of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF), which is made up of representatives from the European Union’s 28 member states. But PAFF has failed to reach a majority in several past meetings, even as the proposals were scaled back to ever-shorter reapproval periods for glyphosate. On 23 June, an appeals committee will vote. It may decide to renew the approval for a short period, say 1 year, to keep glyphosate available while the debate continues. Without a qualified majority deciding to renew, the approval will expire on 30 June, and the compound will have to be taken off the market in all E.U. countries.And what would happen then?Industry’s Glyphosate Task Force warns of dire consequences, such as rising food prices, falling exports, and crop yields dropping by 5% (for oilseed rape) to 40% (for sugar beets). Environmental advocates point to alternative strategies for weed control, including mowing, plowing, and rotating crops. Other herbicides are available, but they’re not as effective. Without glyphosate, fighting weeds will get more expensive and more complicated. It’s hard to find an herbicide like glyphosate. It’s cheap, highly effective, and is generally regarded as one of the safest and most environmentally benign herbicides ever discovered. But a report last year that glyphosate could cause cancer has thrown its future into jeopardy. Now the European Union faces a 30 June deadline to reapprove its use, or glyphosate will not be allowed for sale. Here’s a quick explanation of the issues.last_img read more