“The state is not itself the source of truth and morality…nor can it produce truth via the majority…the goal of the state cannot consist in a freedom without defined contents. In order to establish a meaningful and viable ordering of life in society, the state requires a minimum of truth, of knowledge of the good, that cannot be manipulated” – Pope Benedict XVI
“Not only is religion the opium of the masses, the priest is also the moral equivalent of the hangman in upholding class rule” – Karl Marx
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise (sic) and every expanded prospect” – James Madison
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites” – Thomas Jefferson
Just last week, social media went agog with the news that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka had released his New Year message, in which he lashed out at the government of Nigeria, specifically asking for a change to the status quo. In his typical fire brand manner (which is alien to the Catholic Church), he took time to lambast the president and his cronies. Now, the irony of this matter is that sometime in November last year, it was this same priest that laid hands on the head of a kneeling First Lady and prayed for her goodwill and that of the president. He also voiced out his support for the regime. Turning around overnight to criticize the same government he supported about two months ago is what baffled a lot of people.
Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka is renowned for fearlessly speaking against oppressive regimes in the past (he spoke out against the regime of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, which nearly cost him his life). After the video of his message ‘From Goodluck to Bad Luck’ went viral, a lot of conspiracy theories sprung up. Some alleged that the Church was angry that he urged Ndigbo to support the president’s re-election bid after the First Lady visited his Adoration Ministries ground, thereby asking him to send a rebuttal in the form of a New Year’s message. Others alleged that after the message was released, the opposition party (APC) sent a powerful delegation to Enugu to woo him to support them. (smh…Naija and all the political drama). According to the priest himself, he stated categorically that it was a message from the Lord.
In a nation where corruption thrives, it is really appalling that religion plays a major role in the daily affairs of the citizens and in political affairs. At the commencement of any social function, the name of the Lord is called upon. PHCN restores power, the name of the Lord is mentioned. An okada man narrowly escapes being hit by a commercial bus, the occupants of the bus call on the name of the Lord. A public servant is caught red handed collecting bribe and he calls on the name of the Lord. This is a nation where people are willing to put the devil to test and quickly call on the name of Lord when shit hits the fan. A mother would gladly put her three kids on a commercial motorcycle and join them on it (just picture them on the bike) and wouldn’t hesitate to shout – “I bind you devil”, “Jesus! Jesus!”, “The plans of the enemy won’t work” – when an accident occurs. Alright, I am digressing.
Since the 18th century, the founding fathers of the United States of America struggled and labored so great in a bid to separate the affairs of the Church and the State. It was in this period that the phrase – Separation of the Church and the State – was coined. Other great leaders have also done their best to separate these two bodies. Many historians have argued that separation of the Church and the State is not attainable. A few are hopeful that it would come to pass.
In Nigeria, religious leaders have been known to be influential in the politics of the nation in various ways. The more common means is to influence their congregation during such key periods as the General Elections. It is no longer news that the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC is a pastor of The Redeemed Church of God. Just last week, the members of the church were encouraged to get their PVCs, come to church with it and raise it up for all to see. Any coincidence?
The separation of the Church and the State! Who are the new generation of kingmakers? They are God’s servants; those followers of Christ that adorn themselves in varying regalia depending on the particular ideology the priest has. One wears a ‘Jesus Piece’ and gold rings; you wouldn’t know the difference between Pastor Oritsejafor and a rapper wannabe. His romance with politics recently got him involved in the $9.3million arms deal scandal. A godless generation that profess God’s name at every minute.
In the good book, a woman (I guess she’s a Samaritan) met Jesus at Jacob’s well. Jesus begged her for some water and she refused, citing some ancient reasons and stuffs like that. Ok, fast forward to the end of the conversation…Jesus told the woman and I quote: “…but the hour cometh and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth…” This passage teaches us about Spiritual Rebirth and Rebellion against Spiritual Status Quo. It makes us understand that what matters is having a personal relationship with the Lord and not going from church to church to seek God, thereby making ourselves willing victims for manipulation by the new generation of kingmakers – God’s servant.
In these few weeks leading up to the General Elections, let our hearts guide us in making the right decisions for the good of the nation. Seek the face of the Lord, if you would. But don’t let your pastor or spiritual leader do the seeking for you. Make the choice on whom to vote (without any input from your priest) because in the end, when you are lost in the comfort of your echoes and silence is all that abound, you would realize that you (and you alone) would bear the consequences of the choice(s) you’ve made. Capisce! Se oti to?
May God bless Nigeria…this godless nation!