Indeed, churches in South Africa are being used by pastors and some self ordained men of God as a business ground where they earn their living as most of them are unemployed. The CRL Rights Commission lamented on this issue in a hearing held yesterday.
Deputy chairman of the commission investigating the commercialization of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems (CRL Rights Commission) Professor David Mosoma said church leaders and pastors are using South Africans as a means of generating money.
“The challenge we have in this country is that each and every person who does not have employment, the first line of call is to start a church.
“People of this country believe. If you say ‘God has said’, they will follow you. So, because of that vulnerability, people exploit it for financial gain,” said Prof. Mosoma.
The CRL Rights Commission created for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities held a hearing in Mahikeng, North West yesterday with regards to this issue of exploiting the vulnerability of citizens using the name of God.
“Churches have become more like business. Some, when you walk into their churches, there are ATMs or speed-points so that they would not take the little donation you want to give willingly,” Prof. Mosoma said.
“Your donation is measured by how much you give and it creates your status more than your faith. It destroys the integrity of the word of God.”
One of the church leaders who appeared at the hearing was a Nigerian, Ebube Osuchukwu of Camp of Fire Ministries International.
The above named church has been in operation in Mahikeng since August 2012 and later registered as a nonprofit company in January 2013 with branches in Nigeria and Botswana.
Prof. Mosoma said that the concerns of the commission was based on foreign pastors coming into SA in their numbers using work permits and ending up staring churches.
“There are many of you,” The professor told Osuchukwu.
“People come into South Africa to start churches as if there is no religion in the country. They (come into SA on work permits) marry South Africans and then start churches.”
The professor describes this as a national crisis. These pastors troop into the country to start churches as if the country lacks religion.
“It is a national crisis.”
Osuchukwu could be used as a good example of what the commission was trying to explain. He came into SA from Nigeria in 1999 using a work permit for a housing agency. He then ventured into movies and worked on local dramas ‘Yizo Yizo’ and ‘Jacob’s Cross’. He said he was married to a South African.
Something should be done about this fast as it paints a terrible picture of the integrity of the church.