Churches must take blame for moral crash

2012-04-21 10:49

When there are potholes on our roads, when RDP houses fall apart and when hospitals turn into places of trauma and incompetence, we know someone in the public service is not doing their job.

Immediately, (rightly or otherwise) our blame finger points straight at the government.

But when young boys rape a mentally unfit young woman, who do we blame? When a 17-year-old sexually assaults a six-year-old, when a parent beats a child to a pulp under the guise of discipline, when men drink themselves into a stupor daily, when suicide is the order of the day and the nation has become numb to horrors, where should that blame lie? Simple: the church.

As custodians of morality and values in society, the clergy must accept responsibility for the status quo as we know it. Naïve as I may be, I am not suggesting in any way that parents, families and individuals should be absolved from a sizeable portion of accountability.

I am saying, however, unequivocally, that churches and faith groups across all religions have failed us.

Tremendously. As frontrunners in the path of righteousness many of the leaders in this field have failed to behave in an exemplary way.

Self-importance has overcome the initially good intentions of some of these men and women of the cloth.

They have forgotten their vows of selflessness, service and dedication to their congregants and community.

On Easter Sunday I dropped off my wife and son at Orlando Stadium where Grace Bible Church was hosting a special service. It goes without saying that the venue was jam-packed.

Thousands had gathered to celebrate the risen Christ, raise their hands as the Spirit moved them and even speak in tongues.

I can only imagine that there were other many similar services around the country.

While my qualms are not with the numbers or the service, as I drove away I could not fathom why, when we have so many believers and churches in South Africa, the spread of evil is so great?

Why is it that the murder rate, although declining, is still sky high? Why are so many of our women raped and tortured? Why is it that the levels of corruption, insensitivity, vulgarity and hatred are so high?

Many of the perpetrators not only subscribe to one form of faith or the other, a lot of them are members of churches and other faith groups too.

Which means in more cases than not, the hand that inflicts pain in society also belongs to the faithful in one form or another.

The bloody hand of a murderer could belong to the member of a church constantly exposed to the good book.

Priests, pastors, imams, rabbis and other members of the clergy need to reflect longer and deeper on the calibre of the flock they release into society after their respective services.

They should also meditate on the leadership they have been providing over the years and ask themselves some hard questions like: “where have we gone wrong?”

Most importantly for me, they should ask themselves: “why is evil ahead of good in this long race of life?”
In utter desperation, I turn to the guardians of morality and ask: “If you were standing guard as vigilantly as you were supposed to, how come we have lost so many of our precious values in such a dastardly way?”

» Shole-Mashao is political editor at Kaya FM 

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