THE Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) is probing the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems after numerous media reports about incidents at churches where congregants were asked to drink Jeyes Fluid and Dettol. The commission is also looking at drafting a code of conduct for all religious leaders. The commission was responding to public hearings held last year with religious leaders around KZN and other provinces. Professor David Mosoma told Coastal Weekly that the commission’s aim is to protect the religious and linguistic groups in ensuring that the rights of the people are not violated.“We are aware of the fact that there have been many things done in the name of the Bible that are not actually good. These things violate other people’s rights. “As the CRL, we believe that [a pastor] cannot make the congregation drink blood in the name of religion. People are free to believe in anything they want to believe, however, the question is what comes of that particular belief? “We want to make sure that there is justice and tolerance in every aspect of the religion,” Mosoma said. The commission held a meeting to discuss the findings of the report about the commercialisation of religion and abuse of people’s belief systems, as well as the development of a code of conduct for religious leaders. “If the pastor rapes the congregants, we as CRL have to intervene because we protect the rights of those parties that are affiliated to the churches and other groups. Mosoma said the findings and recommendations in the report for 2017 were meant to address the many problems the country has witnessed in the religious sector. These include the drinking of jik, eating snakes and grass, drinking petrol, being sprayed with Doom, eating Omo washing powder, drinking Jeyes Fluid and Dettol, and giving away hard-earned money, including retirement and pension money.Pastor Solomon Perumal for the UCC Family Church in Verulam said: “The eating of snakes and drinking of petrol are all not in the will of God. “The servant of God operates in the holy spirit that is in us [servants of God]. The anointing that comes through the holy spirit is important. Without the holy spirit one cannot operate and will not be able to prophesise in the name of God,” Perumal said. Pastor Parama Pillay for Hermons Full Gospel Church said the eating of rattax, grass and the drinking of petrol are the misinterpretation of the Scripture. “We believe in the inspiration of the word of God. Christians are governed and guided by the Bible,” he said.