Opium of the masses it was called by Marx I believe, the man might not have been way off. Religion helps to keep many sedated much like laying down in poppy fields. Hell, that kind of sleep you might never wake up from. Why do I bring up what Marx said? Because in my country Nigeria religion has become something of a drug. It must be a hybrid between Opium and Cocaine. On the one hand it helps to keep many people in our country dead to the realities of the struggles they face, I cant blame them. In a country where there are almost no institutions that the people can believe in of course they believe in religion. Notice I said religion not God because in my opinion religion is man made, that is why people get fooled all the time by it. God is not a trickster. He wont tell you to bathe naked in a river and have sex with your pastor to conceive. No you nincompoop, that is science. The pastor put his miracle worker in you and you conceived. On the other hand religion is also like cocaine, not that I have any experience but going from the movie Scarface cocaine makes people believe they are invincible. Religion has made people think they can do anything and the wrong interpretation of religion has led people to kill others in the name of religion (Boko Haram).
In connection with the recent removal of fuel subsidy and the associated protests that have followed, I was terrible disappointed in the religious leaders of the country. Of course for the most part I can only speak for Christianity. I do not know what quota Baba Akpako from your village has contributed to the struggle. Why am I disappointed? The head of CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) called for fasting on friday for our country in relation to the removal of fuel subsidy. I m not disappointed because it means I will give up food. I am disappointed because it is such a passive way of trying to change the country. Do not get me wrong fasting and prayers work wonders but really though? You want the already hungry masses to fast and pray for their country when you hold in your hand as a pastor a tool that can help shape the future of your country, numbers.
We have heard many pastors especially of the prosperity tilt give wonderful sermons on sowing seeds and giving to the church. They have motivated people through the supposed help of the “holy spirit” to give away half of their fortunes to church. It then amazes me that none of the pastors of these mega churches which have membership in the tens of thousands and in some cases millions have thought it wise to not only encourage their congregation to match into the streets in protest against the fuel subsidy but also be seen to spear head and join in the efforts to make the voice of the people heard. Do you think that GEJ wont listen if millions matched the streets not the thousands we are seeing now? The Lord Jesus was a champion of the defenseless, then why are our clergymen content to preach about tithing but not the emancipation of people from bondage. Do they not know that once the whole country becomes poorer, the revenue they get from their congregation will reduce? Or have they forgotten the mantra of the prosperity gospel that poverty is of the devil and that God wants us to be wealthy.
I wholeheartedly point an accusing finger at the brood of vipers we have on our pulpits. Cowardly men and women who have sold their soul for wealth and do not pity the people they are suppose to shepherd. How can they? When even before subsidy was removed they were driving in fancy cars and private jets while people who attend their church are broke and living from hand to mouth. They mortgaged the souls of their followers to the bank of wealth and prosperity at the expense of freedom, justice and equality. Indeed one wonders if the single obstacle to a true revolution in this country is religious dogma and mental bondage. Honestly, I am of the impression that some of our christian clergy are way too excited to have a christian president and enjoy hobnobbing with those in power that they forget the interests of the people they are suppose to serve. The calling to clergy is a call to serve God and others and not to serve yourself and your selfish agenda.
It is imperative that religion speak up against injustice. Whether Christianity or Islam, I believe the clergy should be at the forefront of preaching the truth. They should not fear that the Senator this or that comes to their church. They should be bold because if they believe what they preach then they are serving a God greater than any political leader. They are serving an almighty creator of the earth and all things who is not shy to let the truth be known. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were clergy. So it is not farfetched for me to say that religious leaders should be some of the people at the forefront of the protests against the removal of subsidy. Your job as a minister of God or servant of Allah is make sure his people or ummah are not oppressed and are free to sing praises to their creator.
Dear Religious Leaders, Nigerians trust you. We are for the most part a very religious country. So why do not you use your influence to help free us from the shackles that have bound us. God is greater than any party, group of people, cabal or cartel.
Dear Reader, Am I wrong to tell religious leaders to speak against tyranny, to lead people in protest against a great evil that has threatened our nation? Or do I overestimate the influence some clergy have on their followers. After all, you call them “daddy”, powerful men of God and you are willing to give your wealth to them. So wont you march with them to protest injustice