5th of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: September 18, 2021 at 9:57 am
President Ali quotes Matthews 20: 31-46, but Matthews 20 ends at verse 34. There is no Matthews 20: 31-46. The president says he, like everyone else in the audience, wants to achieve eternal life.
President Ali touched down at the Lethem Airport yesterday, 4th of September, 2021. He was welcomed by a group of supporters and well-wishers. As he stepped off the plane, his “subjects” held umbrellas over him to protect him from the raindrops. It was drizzling that morning.
Soon, the presidential team entered their vehicles and drove off towards Barrack Retreat – Lethem’s main commercial highway – en route to the home of the Mayor – Mr. John Macedo. But as they rounded the turn at the junction, they were greeted by a not so welcoming sight – dozens of protestors at the side of the roadway holding placards and shouting, “our body, our choice!” The protestors were protesting against the government’s coercive and punishing vaccine policies.
That day, while speaking at the Regional Toshao’s meeting in Region 9, President Ali wasted no time in addressing the issue. He said:
We have never, at any time, made this vaccine mandatory, but we have a very important responsibility politically, socially, morally, economically, and clinically. And that responsibility is to ensure that we present to the people every opportunity that would lead them out of disaster…that would lead them out of danger, that would lead them out of (arm). As a government, if you are guided by Matthews 20: 31-46, it says all nations have to give account. All nations have to give account for your (stewardship). But more importantly, in giving that account, your destiny will be determined. Now I want to achieve eternal life like all of you. Which one of us don’t want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? And we all have to make an (estimation). But you see, when you are in government, you have that added responsibility of making a decision that impacts the lives of many people – of the entire population. The nation’s welfare, the nation’s health is in your hands. And you have to take a decision that is best in the interest of the nation’s health, and the nation’s welfare. So while you have a right not to take the vaccine, you do not have a right to infect those who took the vaccine. Everyone has a right.
I tried to look up Matthews 20: 31-46, but it turns out that Matthews chapter 20 stops at verse 34, so there are no verses 35 to 46. Further, Matthews chapter 20 says nothing about governments or nations. I checked every version of the bible from the KJV to the NIV but couldn’t find it. It made me wonder if the president is using a bible that I am not aware of.
So let’s take a look at Matthews 20:
20 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.
31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.
32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
*End* (King James Version)
Can you find Matthews 20: 31-46? What does it say about nations having to “give account of stewardship”?
President Ali is a practicing Muslim, and Muslims do not believe that the bible is the word of God, so for him to quote the bible to justify his actions is condescending at best and hypocritical at worst. The thing is, President Ali knows that Region 9 is a predominantly Christian community, so he had to “come down to their level of understanding.”
This is not the first time that politicians have crossed over into other faiths to try to justify their controversial actions. Before going into Iraq about 20 years ago, then President George Bush Jr., a self-proclaimed born-again Christian, quoted a verse from the Koran to try to justify his actions against Saddam Hussein.
This incident also made me remember an incident with Mr. Roger Khan after he was released from a US prison. When an associate of him, Mr. Ricardo Fugundes, was gunned down, Khan, a (former) Muslim, quoted a bible verse that “it is appointed for man to die once, and then the judgement,” saying that it was Ricardo’s time to die, but adding that the bullets were meant for him. Well, it’s possible that Khan, a reputed Muslim, might have been ministered by Christian missionaries in the US prison, as it often happens in those places, and it’s possible that he might have converted to Christianity prior to his release…or at least to some extent.
But this incident with President Ali bluffing the people of Region 9 with non-existent Bible verses made me remember the advice of a historical US politician, Mr. Abraham Lincoln, and the advice he gave to his fellow politicians: you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.
Let’s just assume that President Ali just got the numbers wrong. Don’t worry, he will go look up the correct verse in a few.