Bishop Paul Phillips, South African Religious Forum
It is with utter disappointment and dismay that I note the misuse of social media to spread negative messages and posts regarding the coronavirus.
What is even more disturbing is that these posts and messages come from some community leaders, activists and also some clergy. This is unacceptable as it is an illegal act when posting fake news; it’s unsubstantiated and in no way contributes towards addressing the challenge we are all faced with.
Secondly, with elections looming in the near future, we see opportunistic wannabe politicians and party leaders criticise government and all those who are associated in the drive to stem the spread of this deadly virus. This behaviour is unethical, uncalled for and statements made are sucked out of their thumbs, baseless and inaccurate.
Thirdly, there is the minimal role played by some clergy in our communities at this challenging time. This is the time to lift up our people’s spirits and to socially reach out on many levels through strategic and creative methods.
Lockdown does not imply we cannot still serve, reach out, help, donate and support. We have many means and ways to help at our disposal.
Let us speak life and not death, let us speak healing and not sickness and disease, let us open our hearts to give out of our lack, let us take each other by the hand and conquer and overcome this evil like we did with so many others in the past.
To the essential services workers in all government departments, to the community-based organisations, leaders, activists, volunteers and faith leaders who on a daily basis leave the comfort of their homes to serve and help to ease the burden, I salute you!
You are a special breed of people. You are God’s angels. Your kindness and stewardship will be rewarded.
Your labour is noted, appreciated by the elderly, children at risk, the poor and destitute.
Now is the time to unite by faith. Be law-abiding citizens – support our government and authorities as best as we possibly can.
Now is the time to set aside political and belief differences, to forgive past happenings and mishaps. Now is the time to show and give love across community boundaries and all other lines.