Religion is a touchy subject, and one should tread carefully when debating issues of religion. When news first broke out weeks back that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) might not attend this past weekend crusade organised by members of his church in Botswana due to Visa restrictions, social media went bananas.
There is nothing wrong with people debating issues that affect their lives. Bushiri for reasons best known to him decided not apply for a Visa, as is required of him by the Government of Botswana, and his decision for some reason seemed to divide the society. Some people sought to find out why the ‘Man of God’ decided not to apply for a Visa, while his followers were in a fierce defensive mood. The debates took a different turn when people started hurling insults at each other and using offensive word towards each other.
Batswana pride themselves in being a tolerant nation, but where is the tolerance, when we cannot express our opinion, which might differ with another’s opinion, without using offensive language? Human beings are bound to have different opinions and perspectives on different issues, and that does not in anyway, give one individual the right to force their own opinion on others. Let’s agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone who is of legal age to choose what religion they subscribe to, and be given space to worship without harassment of any sort.
There are people who sternly and openly criticise Bushiri, and his church as a ‘fraud’ and some try their level best to support their arguments.
But let us learn to disagree without insulting each other. Most of people in this country are Christians, and it is disheartening to see people who refer to themselves as Christians, using foul language against each. Over the past two weeks The Monitor has come across a number of different posts from Facebook and Twitter, some of which were for and some against.
Followers of the prophet were of course with all they have to defend their ‘Man of God, while other strong opinionated people were also trying to convince them that the prophet is not a ‘Man of God’. Disappointingly enough, both sides here and there were using offensive language bordering on insults.
One of the hottest topics was why the prophet chose not to apply for the Visa, citing the choice to mean that it was out of fear that secrets might come out. The answers from his followers were not only angry, but judgemental as well. Let’s show tolerance towards one another and debate issues without using insulting or demeaning words.