Time to expose this sick religiosity

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“Each bird loves to hear himself sing,” goes a proverb by the Arapaho, a Native American tribe.

For years, Obadiah Musindo, who calls himself a “reverend”, has been singing mostly to himself. His church has not grown. Why?

NewsDay this week reported that Zanu PF had “roped in the Obadiah Musindo-led Destiny for Afrika Network Church to spearhead its election campaign by doling out 100 000 stands countrywide”.

Zanu PF central committee member Esau Mupfumi said: “We don’t need to remind you that on election day you need to vote for Zanu PF. Voting for MDC when you are a beneficiary of this scheme is inviting trouble because we will not hesitate to move you out.”

It must be asked, is it the party which “gave” State land to Destiny or it’s the duty of the government? Where does Destiny come in?

Yes, the legality or illegality of it all must be questioned because this is not private land, but State land. Is there going to be a means test or the stands will become derelict as has happened to many other freebies doled out prior to elections?

Or these will be reduced to squatter camps where outbreaks of diseases like cholera and typhoid will become commonplace? I digress.

Chipped in Musindo: “Those who don’t want Zanu PF are not going to benefit in any of our projects . . . They should know that this is possible because of Zanu PF.”

First, it’s a no-brainer because Zimbabwe is not a legislated one-party State; that’s why political parties of different views, from the cranky to the serious, and various sizes, from Egypt Munhenzva’s one-man band to Zanu PF, appear on the ballot paper.

Second, I am reminded of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) which gave theological legitimacy to apartheid by twisting the Bible as referring to blacks as “hewers of wood and drawers of waters”, making them lesser beings at the service of the white race. Similarly, according to Musindo’s warped logic, non-Zanu PF supporters have lesser rights. Says Musindo:

“We have houses for Christians, but they must support Zanu PF first and I am not apologetic for that.” What about, for instance, those non-Christians who support Zanu PF? Will they be excluded on the grounds that they are not Christian? This shows the senselessness and unjustification of it all.

The jubilant and celebratory tone at the killing of white farmers in 2000 and the minced words and feeble response to the horrific violence ahead of the 2008 presidential election runoff shows sick religiosity among some of these “system” clergy.

There is a lot of hate-mongering from system clergy. To maintain order and security for its citizens and to uphold the rule of law, the State is allowed the use of force, but only within clear boundaries.

But nowhere in the Bible is the State given a blanket authorisation to use violence, without regard for any standards or accountabilities.

This reminds one of the tragedy in Iraq where extremists from the Sunni minority, which held sway in the country under Saddam Hussein in the same way minority Afrikaners ruled South Africa caste-like until 1994, are bombing the Shi’ite majority under the pretext of protecting Islam whereas they are trying to shore up their dwindling political dominance.

Yes, Musindo is trying to shore up this regime, but it is doomed as shown in its increasingly desperate methods.

If Musindo were to read the mission statement of the Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace (CCJP) with an open mind, he would be shamed into changing or mending his ways.

The CCJP was formed by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1972 to promote integral development, justice and peace through the social teachings of the Church such as, to give two examples:

l “Subsidiarity: This principle guides the complex social relationships by defining responsibilities and limits of government, voluntary associations, civil society, families and individuals.

It is not advisable for higher levels of social organisations or government to do for individuals and groups what they can do for themselves.” But the Musindos of this world want people to be virtually enslaved to Zanu PF, to be eternally grateful to Zanu PF’s enforced benevolence; to accept the conditions of Zanu PF’s forced “kindness” or else be completely excluded.

As reported in NewsDay last month, Musindo himself is being accused by some indigenous farmers of non-delivery of inputs paid for about a year ago. At the end of it all, freeloaders take advantage of such schemes for unjust enrichment. Said Vice-President Joice Mujuru this week:

“In Cabinet, we understand there are some big names who looted tonnes (of farming equipment) and took them to their homes”; and

“Universal Declaration of Earth’s Goods: The goods of this earth are meant for the benefit of everyone.” They should be shared justly and/or equally. But in Musindo’s perverted view, only Zanu PF supporters are entitled to these.

Yes, now and then men of the cloth lose focus and stray from the Scriptures, especially if they become embedded to the system.

The whole nation — yes, the whole world and his dog — knows that Musindo is nothing but a political party functionary, a hatchet man for Zanu PF.

There is a whale of a difference between religiosity and spirituality. Without sounding as if I am on a mission to convert readers, but with the intention of taking on Musindo in his own supposed milieu, let me quote Pastor Apollo C Quiboloy:

“First and foremost, I would like to tell you that religiosity is an outward form of worship. It doesn’t affect the inward at all, while spirituality starts from within. The spirit and the heart and then, it affects the whole being of man. Many people have confused one with the other. They think that when you’re religious, you’re already spiritual. Some confuse spirituality with fanaticism that is also connected to religiosity that has gone overboard. It is an extreme form of religiosity.”

That’s why such people desecrate instead of consecrating.

As election fever rises, it’s time to expose this torrent of sick religiosity that that has corrupted the cultural, socio-economic and political systems and threatens to pervert and subvert everything in its path.

ctutani@newsday.co.zw