Reports of men of the cloth who are caught on the wrong side of the law or morality are on the increase and this is a cause for concern.
Yesterday, the media carried a story about a pastor who stole money pledged by congregants as tithes. Recently, we carried the story of a Zaoga pastor who was on the run after raping and impregnating a woman from his church. Another pastor was recently arrested for impregnating his 15-year-old daughter for the second time. Such examples are countless.
The Church is one of the most important social institutions in the modern era for it plays a very big role as an agent of socialisation. In this country, the majority of citizens profess to be Christians and this means that the link with the Church is strong among Zimbabweans.
The Church provides a convenient and shared gathering point where members of the community connect to remind each other about the moral teachings of the Bible and their application to current circumstances.
These teachings include raising children in a socially acceptable way, justice, love, philanthropy and self-control.
Society invests a lot of trust in this institution and by implication, in the men of the cloth. But when these men of the cloth start to exhibit behaviour—and unashamedly so—that is contrary to the tenets of morality, the nation has to be worried.
What kind of morality would such people teach others? The Church should be a place where children are influenced into upright individuals and where adults are encouraged to cast away their evil deeds to live an upright life for the benefit of society.
This cannot happen when the church is led by men and women accused of rape, theft, murder and fornication.
Men of the cloth should remember that society looks up to them for guidance; the way children look up to their parents. We are not saying that the man of the cloth is infallible, but that by pledging to be leaders of the Church, it is incumbent upon them to raise the moral bar. They should be role models. Society considers them as the leading light. After all, they spend most of their time preaching morality and they should stick to what they preach. The “Do- as- I- say- not- as- I do” attitude does not work in this case. Institutions such as churches and schools must never be led by people with loose morality. Their role in society is so important that it impacts on several generations. Churches should thoroughly vet who leads them so that those of weak morals do not lead generations astray.
It is sad that these people have made, of all places, the church their hunting ground for rape, theft, fraud and adultery, among other things. They take advantage of the gullibility of the innocent who follow them to steal from them and to rape the women among them. They should never lead this important institution called church.