From a pastor who has sold tickets to heaven for a staggering 500 US dollars assuring his congregation of a judgment-free entry to heaven, to one who claimed to ring God on the phone to help him solve a woman’s problem. Religious leaders and pastors have over the years done obnoxious things in an attempt to fraud their congregation.
On Wednesday 30th January of 2019, Manjiya County Legislator, John Baptist Nambeshe moved a motion seeking leave to introduce a Private Members’ Bill, the Religious Organisations Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to establish which religious organizations are registered and to ensure that these organizations are governed by one body. The debate on the floor of the house was heated and when the question was put to passing the motion, the house did not have quorum which compelled the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga to defer the matter to the next day.
On Thursday 31st January, MP John Baptist Nambeshe withdrew his motion seeking leave to introduce the bill saying that it had received massive opposition and sparked controversy. These events got me asking; is religion untouchable in this country? For how long shall we look on as unsuspecting conmen hide in the cloak of religion and manipulate Ugandans?
In Rwanda, media reported that more than 700 churches and some mosques were closed in March 2018. Rwandan government officials moved to institute guidelines for how faith groups operate and a draft law was presented in Parliament that requires Christian and Muslim clerics to attain university education before preaching in churches or mosques. The law would require clerics to have a bachelor’s degree and a valid certificate in religious studies.
It’s a public secret that worship centers are growing rather fast and exploiting people who are blinded by the belief in a supernatural being. They manipulate these people to follow whatever is preached with blind obedience, cutting out logical thinking, leaving them prone to endless exploitation. The masses definitely need to have some control over religious organizations and be able to sue the Church or Mosque and religious leaders who are suspected of exploiting them.
As a country, we need to have every religious practitioner registered and with a specified location where they conduct religious ceremonies. Religion should be held to the standard of any other career practice like medicine, the law, and banking and thus have regulations sanctioning it.
This set of laws and regulations should be used to monitor and interrogate the conduct of religious leaders and consequently, be evaluated. Until these leaders conform to the regulations that are set, then by no means should they be allowed to lead congregations or practice theology.