By Adewale Kupoluyi
SERIOUSLY, we are indeed in the end of times. Many strange things are happening almost on a daily basis. If there’s anybody still doubting the reality of end-times, that person must be in another world and far from reality. The height of wickedness and irresponsibility is what would make a pastor to descend so low that his church member could be taken undue advantage of, to inflict harm in a bid to satisfying his inordinate sexual urge.
Pastors, by virtue of their calling, are supposed to be above board, well respected and almost being adored. Apart from their piety, they are expected to be role models, source of inspiration and confidant to their followers. This makes them ever relevant in human affairs, going by the sacred place of the church as agent of social institution. This age-long and historic respect for the church cannot be easily jettisoned. The many challenges facing the family and school as other social institutions that have seemingly failed the nation puts the onus on the need to fill that big vacuum through the religious institution.
The failure of the state to perform its constitutional obligations has created dislocation such that the citizenry are forced to take solace in religious formations to provide for their financial, emotional and basic needs of life. The situation today in our dear country is difficult for many people to earn a dignified living due to the exorbitant cost of living. Many citizens have been so impoverished and yet nothing impactful comes from the government, acting for the state, to make life comfortable for the people. Infrastructural amenities and social services such as potable water, good roads, education, healthcare and pension are out of reach of the people.
To have access to all of these is to spend a fortune. At the end, it is only few rich people that can afford to live comfortably. Those who struggle to be educated are roaming the streets without any source of livelihood, thereby constituting menace to the society. In a bid to break the cycle of poverty fostered on the people, resorting to supernatural becomes a viable option, hoping that miracles can happen and good fortunes can smile on them. That is why our religious grounds are always full, with people looking for one solution or another. Many people have become pious overnight because of their psychological attachment to their churches.
Nowadays, there’s virtually nothing that worshippers do not tell their pastors. Churches now come in handy to provide succour and fill the gap created by the irresponsibility of the state. Apart from their many personal problems, pastors are bombarded with curriculum vitaes of job-seekers, complaints of turmoil in families and unending persecution in places of work, among others. The burden placed on pastors is so much that people have equated them to gods that can solve all their problems, whether real and imaginary.
Forgetting that the pastors too need assistance, they are desperate and ever ready to do whatever the pastors tell them to do. Girls, ladies and women seem to be more vulnerable. This is so for two reasons. First, they are more emotional than the male. Secondly, they are more passionate and committed to domestic issues. A woman would do everything humanly possible to make sure that her entire household is fine and happy, even at a very great cost, which an ordinary man can never bear. Without thinking twice, a woman would tell her pastor everything in a jiffy, because she is convinced that all things are possible through her pastor.
Unmarried ladies and those looking for the fruit of the womb would always visit pastors for healing and supernatural interventions to get results that they badly need. Most of them would do what they are asked to do, no matter how nasty. Women become easily gullible because of desperation and the fact that the so-called pastors are crafty enough to exploit the weak soul of the woman in dire situation. The women would simply give in and expect ‘miracle’ from their encounter with their spiritual leaders. What even makes matters worse is that victims are warned of dire repercussions of what would befall them should they attempt to voice out their raw deal in the hands of their abusers.
The great German economist, historian and philosopher, Karl Marx, had warned of the evil that religion would do for man. Marx’s celebrated dictum, ‘religion is the opium of the masses’, becomes relevant here. While Marx was not actually against religion because faith is a thing that ‘the people’ conjured for themselves, which is a sort of phony or artificial source of happiness to which they turned to help numb the pain of reality. In otherwords, religion becomes the intoxicant that lures people into ignorance. That is exactly what we are experiencing now with incessant rape in our clime, after several years of that Marxist’s postulation.
It is worthy of mention that some pastors are truly up to their calling. They are upright, honest and passionate about their duties. They are neither materialistic nor get carried away by worldly desires and ephemeral attractions. They listen to people’s problems and try to find a way out of them without demanding for any form of gratification, no matter how attractive. But for the bad eggs, who hide under the garment of being pastors, they wreak havoc in monumental proportions. And the way out?
To begin with, the state should perform its constitutional role by providing basic needs for the people. This would not only drastically reduce the avoidable and over-dependence on pastors. Secondly, any pastor found to have abused his office by engaging in illicit affairs with female members should be punished according to the law of the land. The moral veil should be lifted on such pastors.
Those apprehended should severely be punished without sentiments. They can be tried for criminal assault; women should endeavour to open up to their spouses when they are harassed. When this is done, many pastors would sit up. More importantly, victims of heinous crimes against humanity should summon the courage, come out and share their experience and not engage in frivolity, to score cheap publicity. To keep mute or silent in the face of the current situation is to remain a victim, the injured and at the same time, an accomplice.