A significant number of the journeys I’ve taken on Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) buses have been blessed with the lectures of one of several preachers. While I believe that everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs and should freely express them; I think these ‘messengers’ have chosen a rather invasive method. I am all for spreading the message on ‘highways and byways’ but on a bus you are almost forced to pay attention and I need to exercise my right to not listen to them.
On one occasion, I was sitting right before the ‘side door’ on one of the newer JUTC buses, the preacher was stationed at the back step, which means his very loud and thunderous voice reached my ears first. It is perhaps mind over matter, but I did feel a few ‘water’ droplets at a certain point.
On another occasion, one dreadlocked Christian preacher, Turban and all, screamed and sang all the way from Spanish Town to Marcus Garvey Drive, and instead of collecting the usual offering, he invited the passengers to purchase a (bootleg) copy of Jabez’ new album for only $100. Quite a severe violation of the eighth commandment, don’t you think?
I believe that the bus company and government should be more stringent in regulating what can and cannot take place on public passenger vehicles. I was happy when they banned the radios, but I see where nobody even attempts to disguise their radios and video players anymore.
In a country that is predominantly Christian, there won’t be too many people who speak out against this. As I write, I anticipate the comment that will be something to the effect of: “the blood of Jesus is against you”. In fact, these bus preachers are quite aware that they don’t enjoy 100% popularity and come equipped with phrases like “some a unnu no like see the preacher man”, “low me make me preach” and “me no care who want vex”.
This is not persecution, Christians, so please do not take me on. The truth is, not everyone is religious and not everyone is a Christian. Passengers are stuck on buses for the duration of our journey; we should be allowed to enjoy peace and quiet, or at least the opportunity to choose our own media.