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Opinions of Thursday, 5 February 2015

Columnist: Agyeman, Samuel

The conspiracy of silence

Spending my last vacation in Accra, I had an interesting conversation with grandpa one evening. We talked about a whole of issues, from sports, politics, academics to religion. One thing which caught my attention was the reason why he has stopped attending church. The reason was simple, the Church has lost focus. Going further, he bemoaned how the church has become so obsessed with prosperity gospel instead of the Christian doctrine of avoiding sin, loving thy neighbor as thyself and seeking salvation.

Some of his rants were; Wealthy people are revered not because of their selfless devotion to advance the cause of humanity but because of their money mindless of the means through which these wealth were acquired, civil servants, government appointees, public office holders and others whom, we know very well are spending beyond their earnings, but the church does not condemn because they make huge donations and give fat tithes and offering. They loot the state coffers and rush to church to flaunt their ill-gotten money through donations and tithes. If such people are held in high esteem because of their wealth, then there is a high probability of other church members also resulting to corrupt deals to enrich themselves. What I call the ‘’ contagion effect.’’

Reflecting on the old man’s rants, I think the he raises legitimate concern. It was Edmund Burke who said the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for the good men to do nothing. I have been thinking and brooding over the rate of corruption in our beloved Republic. I cringe whenever I hear or read about the aggressive pursuit of wealth, ruthless raping of the public purse, defrauding of public institutions among other vices. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are the same people we sit at church every Saturday and Sunday. In times like this the church remains our last hope to help combat the corrupt tendencies of our citizens but sadly the church does not seem to be interested in the purging its members off corruption. This is evidenced by their silence when it comes to the issue of corruption. Is the church waiting for the whole country to collapse before it begins to speak out? If the church wants to be taken serious, it should first start the crusade from their chapels.

When you do not warn against corruption or corrupt people, you are in a tacit agreement with their corrupt habit. Churches keep on springing in every corner of our country but moral decadence seems to be on the surge. The religious doctrine of avoiding sin, loving your neighbor as thyself and seeking salvation has been thrown to the dogs. Instead of preaching against corruption and other vices, the churches are talking about prosperity, how to succeed in life and how to get your personal problems solved. Instead of preaching about honesty, hard work and integrity; the preaching is all about the success in life and the fact that you would get all your problems solved. God love sinners and so would grant you your heart’s desire when you pray. Acquiring wealth, getting money has become the topmost priority for most Ghanaians and the church itself.

Our churches are so much interested in membership (the larger the membership the larger the offering) that they don’t want to appear preaching against some specific individuals. People who are acquire wealth trough dubious means like bribery and other forms of stealing, cocaine dealers and even armed robbers would not be reported or condemned simply because they give generously to the church. If the churches are not preaching against these corrupt practices, then the people might not be conscious of what they are doing. If all they do is to preach about success and prosperity, then obviously there might be a correlation with corruption in our society. The function of churches in controlling human behavior in our society is gradually eroding.

People do not actively think about corruption because the churches hardly talks about it. People do not seem to understand that there is something wrong with taking bribes, defrauding your employer, falsifying documents among others. Because our minds are corrupt, bribery and stealing go on everywhere including the church. All the bad things happening in our society are mostly perpetrated by church goers apparently because it is been sanctioned by the churches. I have heard and read on countless occasions where pastors have taken on politicians for their corrupt habit. But Mr. Preacher, when was the last time you openly condemned the corrupt civil servants, the fraudsters, cocaine dealers and even armed robbers in your church? You may pretend not to have seen nor heard that the man who always gives huge donation is a cocaine dealer or a corrupt civil or public official, but you should always remember that, the deepest places in hell are reserved for those who in moral crisis preserve their neutrality. In our fight against corruption, every onlooker is a conspirator. Maybe the next time you are given the opportunity to preach in your church, you may consider admonishing your people against corruption. We should be reminded that, the world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but those who watch them without doing anything!!!!

Samuel Agyeman

Political Science student-KNUST