One of the disturbing trends I have witnessed in the province comes from church leaders who neglect their families for their churches and think that is not a crime.
What they do not know is that pulling long hours at church and pretending to be too busy is also leading their children to a life of crime because some feel neglected.
However, this applies to all of us. This alone makes me wonder if the church leaders qualify to call a prayer meeting against crime.
So it seems it is okay when they call us all under one roof to pray for crime. I always wonder what qualifies them to think that a mere prayer can end violence, calamities or any crime.
It’s okay for them to tell us where the world is going and what we must do. What is strange to me is how unfashionable it is, to physically stand up to fight crime that even exists in their churches. There is no backup when people in their areas are up in arms to physically fight crime. Prayer to me is too passive to defeat the crimes we are facing. I know one will say, at least they are doing something. That something is a PR stunt, for crying out loud.
On Sunday there was a prayer by a religious forum that was not the first of its kind. There have been a lot of these PR stunt prayers. So as “sensible people” they tend to spit out when things are not going their way before the focus switches back to us (ordinary) lives. Something must have happened to one of them.
I felt, oh so it is okay when church leaders tell us to pray against crime. We have never got the results of the previous meetings. We do not know whether crime was subsiding or going up but they are continuing to call people to pray.
Crime to churches is killing, stealing and not money laundering that some are practising and gender-based violence (GBV) that is mostly practised by their leaders.
Before you hack me down by praying and telling me that I am a sinner who will go straight to hell, allow me to take you back to many incidents caused by the churches or their leaders.
Without mentioning names, the have raped, killed, abused, lied, stolen and committed many other crimes. Many are still languishing in jails. Church leaders, as people who are living on this earth, have no access to heaven, just like you and me.
Like you and me, they are sinners who only have a uniform that you and me do not have. What we do, they do. They sin too. How many stories have you read about rapes, GBV, abuse of spouses and even fighting the house of the Lord?
With all that I am saying and have said about the churches and its leaders will not be tolerated by me and many. That’s one of the things I have learned in this strange new world, is that alternative opinions are not encouraged and debate comes with risks attached. Something I am personally prepared to face head on. I know that to be misjudged, to be on the wrong side of a conversation can lead you to a dark place, to be wrongly judged and hated.
The calls by church leaders are just nonsensical, meaningless and PR for themselves and their churches. Crime does not need prayers. Crime needs proper actions, radical ones, from all of us. If you tell me that when we meet in one place to pray for crime, then crime will subside and go down and down, kanti why are we having church services every now and then?
Streets on Sundays are lit with different uniforms going to church. Do you want to tell me they only pray for their route to the heavens? Surely in their church itinerary, they do pray for crime. If our God was listening to that, we would not be in this mess. I guess God wants us to stand up, be seen and be heard by criminals.
Just a background on me and church, please know that I have been to church, in fact different churches. I have had dealings with church leaders who have been accused of rape, and assaulting their spouses and who have ran away with church money. I have read about leaders who have sold land to people. I have heard about those who have conned people of their few rands and millions. But that to them is not crime because “it is God who gives”.
Somebody needs to explain to them that taking somebody’s last cent who has nothing to eat is a crime. If you starve a church member, that is a crime. I truly understand that crime is complex but we should not see crime only when it is horrible or heinous.
Crime is crime no matter if you took a needle or a life. Don’t call people to a dark area to pray against crime, get up and take your spear and fight. We have had too many prayer meetings, but nothing concrete has happened. It is now time to act in a proper way. Crime is a sin to all.