At different times and from different perspectives, the
churches of Guyana have been a source of opposition to government
policy. In the 1950s, the Christian churches were vocal opponents
of Jagan and the PPP's Marxism. These churches also drew
international attention with their criticisms of the Burnham
government in the 1970s and 1980s.
Much of the criticism of the national government has come from
the Guyana Council of Churches (GCC), an umbrella organization of
sixteen major Christian denominations. Anglicans and Roman
Catholics, confident of foreign support for their positions, often
have taken the lead. Some of the smaller churches with ties to the
PNC have been instrumental in getting the GCC to soften its
criticism. One sect, the House of Israel, has been reported to have
close ties to the PNC
, ch. 2). The sect's members were
accused of disrupting a 1985 meeting of the GCC.
Hindu and Muslim religious organizations traditionally have
played almost no political role in Guyana. In contrast to many
Christian organizations, which receive support from adherents
abroad, Hindu and Muslim leaders rely strictly on a local base.
Religious leaders often are dependent on local political bosses,
and the PNC has successfully recruited many Hindu and Muslim
leaders into party organizations.
Data as of January 1992