I think this man is making some sense here:
I’m a Christian, I attend a local church regularly and this is why the topic of this article reads like it does. To be honest I would have loved to talk about how all those who provide spiritual and moral guidance (irrespective of religion or beliefs) have been engaging with the problem of corruption. However, I have elected to talk from a perspective with which I have some experience.
Here in Nigeria, people generally accept and comment on the belief that corruption is rife in the land. Corruption here implying things ranging from misuse of public office and public resources, to soliciting for, taking, inducing with and giving bribe for (unmerited and merited) opportunities and favours, to even outright looting of public funds and property. The list for what qualifies as corruption is rather long but I’m sure we get the picture. THE CHURCH AND CORRUPT
So how does the church come into the picture of tackling corruption in our country?
I’m just wondering if people would act better if our churches condemned corruption a little harder seeing that a good chunk of Nigerians are ardent churchgoers, with many seeking the hand of the Lord to give them happiness and the sundry other items on their wish list.
I often hear people criticize and sneer at (some) churches for propagating what they call “prosperity message”. And this is nothing other than the encouragement from the pulpit that God after all desires to see his people enjoy a good, joy-filled and fruitful life while on earth. To paraphrase, God is not against his worshippers being rich and having good things. There’s a lot of attention paid to money (most things in life involve money) but truth be told it’s not limited to money in any way. This is because things like health, peace, safety, individual and family well-being all qualify as “prosperity”.
To be fair to preachers on prosperity (that I have heard), I’ve never heard any one preacher or pastor encourage any form of illicit or illegal wealth acquisition. Rather I’ve often heard prescribed that anyone following after the holy, righteous God and his principles- which include abstaining from stealing, lying and other forms of corruption- will have his/her needs met by diligence and the supernatural help of God.
Now I’m not really interested in doing an analysis of the merits and demerits of prosperity preaching, I just want to point out that while the Christian community contains a good measure of preachers who encourage people to desire and pursue a prosperous life (perhaps sometimes in ways that could be and have been misunderstood), it has not strayed in condemning behaviours that constitute components of corruption as unrighteousness, antithetical to the person and principles of the almighty God.
However one cannot help but wonder how a nation like Nigeria where people attend church (and other religious, spiritual gatherings) so much still have such high level of corruption. Where are people getting the encouragement to engage in such bad behaviour? Why do the church-going people remain so comfortable with the evil of corruption?
So I wonder what it would be like if the preachers went a little harder on the scourge of corruption and made their preaching just a little more specific to the issue of corruption like I’ve heard them do with other issues.
For example, I’ve heard preachers say, “if you’re sleeping with a man you’re not married to, you’re a fornicator” and then go ahead to condemn and mention some of the possible unpleasant consequences of such behaviour.
I wonder if preachers said more often things like, “if you’re taking money for yourself from government coffers illegally, you are a thief and the judgment of God is coming for you!” what would happened? Would people who attend their churches desist from these kinds of behaviour more?
If preachers told their congregants that giving tithes and offerings from bribes taken and other ill-gotten wealth would produce curses instead of the expected blessings, would more people begin to change? Would our nation be better for it?
If preachers told parents that paying for exams in “special centers” or “settling” lecturers for their children to get grades they couldn’t earn by the rules was pure evil, would our education and reward system get better for it?
If the men and women on the pulpit, with specific examples (so that no one would feign ignorance) roundly condemned corruption, telling people that anyone who continued in it was on a journey to hell, would we get a cleaner, more honest society?
By Omolola Ajayi