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Govt is trampling on freedom to worship

Staff Writer
The Church has always been a place of refuge; providing succor to those who would otherwise have committed suicide, turning hardened criminals into useful members of society, giving home and hope to the hopeless, and shelter from the vicissitudes of life.

So, the Church has had a positive impact on the society and must be applauded for doing this good work.

Admittedly, there are Bible-living, God-fearing churches, and there are capitalist and criminal fronts that have used the Christian message to push their perfidious agenda. And therein lies the difference. The less spiritual is not likely to know which congregation comprises honest, God-seeking, Bible-abiding leaders and congregants, unless he or she attends their services, either as a member or as a visitor.

Granted, all honest Christian churches will have one central message: that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead to bring hope to a lost world. That notwithstanding, each Christian church has a specific vision and defined mission. One church may want to focus on young people, another on people in the maligned members of societies such as sex workers, prisoners etc.

So we have the more traditional churches such as the UCCSA on the one hand and the Pentecostal mainline such as Assemblies of God or Apostolic Faith Mission on the other.

There is a host others; some clap and dance in circles, others look like hip-hop or reggae outfits. It can be quite a headache for the person who seeks spiritual gratification to find the right place amidst the din. It would be equally confusing for a registration officer, a government minister or permanent secretary at the Registrar of Societies to tell the difference. So when government decides the country has enough ‘churches’, in what context does it use the word

‘church’? Can it regulate the so-called ‘proliferation’ of these entities without closing out the genuine ones, and without inevitably painting all with the same brush?

That is doubtful considering government, as aforesaid, does not have the requisite knowledge or tools to tell the bad profiteering, capitalist den of thieves apart from the genuine, God-fearing church. So, in its zeal to protect the citizen from the thugs who pose as Christian ministers, government has decided anyone who wants to register a church must have 250 members. What better way to stop registration of churches! For, even churches that have been in existence for decades do not have that many people. What immediately comes into focus then, is the fact government may have in its zeal to protect its people, trampled on the citizen’s right and freedom to worship.

Instead of trying to regulate the Church, government must allow it - especially the Pentecostal movement, which many new churches appear to follow – to design its own means of separating the chaff from the real thing. It must then move onto other sections: the bars, casinos, and traditional doctors etc. to truly protect the citizen.

                                         Today’s thought

“Religion is like a pair of shoes...Find one that fits for you, but don’tmake me wear your shoes.”


                                      – George Carlin




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