When my article titled Ban noisy churches from suburbs was published, I got a lot of feedback from many people who are disgruntled with the way some of these churches operate.
One reader said: “These churches do not see the irony of their actions compared to what they purport to stand for. Kamurai, it is clear that some of these churches are actually creating hell on earth for other people yet they preach against hell. The whole thing is centred on the love for money and power and has nothing to do with winning souls for heaven. Why would a God-fearing person cause others sleepless nights as you pointed out, creating hell for them?”
I then thought there was truth about these churches creating hell not only for other citizens collectively, but for families and individuals as well. Unfortunately, women are more at the receiving end. Some of these churches have become havens for sexual abuse. We have been informed week in week out through the media about how some pastors have become masters at sexually abusing women and girl children. It is obvious that what comes out of the media is a tip of the iceberg judging from the amount of power and wealth some of these pastors wield (others prefer calling themselves prophets). Many cases are swept under the carpet in churches if they involve the powerful.
I can imagine the hell that some women go through for the rest of their lives after suffering abuse from the preachers. One can imagine what trauma victims of sexual abuse go through in such circumstances. You can imagine a rape victim feeling helpless because these pastors have power, money, influence and the backing of their churches and corrupt systems to sweep cases of rape and sexual abuse under the carpet. Some of the women fail to report such cases for fear of wrecking their marriages. This is why cases involving these hell-creating pastors take years to come out in the open or they might not come out into the open at all. Such women would carry the burden of knowing that the popular pastor is a rapist and his victims suffer in silence. They trudge through hell in life.
I have encountered parents who suffer in silence as they watch helplessly when their brainwashed children give expensive gifts that include posh cars and up-market houses to their pastors.
Despite the sacrifices made by the parents to send them to school, the same children shun their parents, telling them that they can’t associate with them because they would not have “received Jesus”. The parents do not receive an iota of help from such children. When I was at college, there was a young man who was doing medicine and he declared to me: “I have nothing to do with my father because he is living in sin. He will never get a cent from me until he repents. I would rather buy groceries every month for the pastor’s family because they are now my family. They know Jesus!” Of course, the biological father had footed all the tuition and related expenses for this misguided chap up to university. I could imagine the hell the parents of this chap were going through as they watched their child shunning them. Of course, the money-loving pastors encourage such type of thinking as long as it benefits them.
A friend told me how his marriage had broken down because of such churches. “My brainwashed wife no longer listens to me, but to her pastor. She always quotes her pastor when we have a dispute and accuses me of being possessed by a demon. The family hardly benefits from her earnings now, but she buys groceries and expensive clothes for the pastor and his wife. I am suffering, my friend. I no longer have a wife.” Two years down the line, the two are now divorcees.
At present, councils and citizens are at a loss on what to do with churches that mushroom at illegal sites. These churches disregard the law and the rights of other citizens. Some of the spaces they invade are earmarked for recreational purposes. Others are close to residential areas and the church members defecate at these open spaces because such places have no ablution facilities, posing a health hazard to residents near such areas. They cite victimisation and freedom of worship if they are informed that their illegal activities create hell for other people. They insist on creating hell for others in the name of Jesus.
An old woman from Masvingo narrated how there was hell at her grandchild’s funeral when the church insisted that the family members should take a backseat during the burial of their deceased relative while the misguided church members took the lead. The burial, ironically, took place at the parents’ homestead. “We did not bury my grandchild. We were so angry with the conduct of the church that we left them burying him and camped at another relative’s homestead. The way the church handled the burial of my grandchild haunts us as a family to this day,” the old lady said in tears. This means she will live through hell because of such memories triggered by people who think only they themselves know God.
An old woman close to a church in Chitungwiza said to me: “I am old, my child, and I suffer from arthritis and severe headaches. It is so painful that almost every night I can’t sleep because of the noise coming from that church (pointing). The moment they start with their speakers at full throttle, my head seems to burst and my bones start aching. Why these young people decide to bring hell to the old ones like me every time, is a puzzle. This new type of worship must be from hell itself. Of course, no one can help us,” she said resignedly.
One pastor said to me: “We want everyone to know God. Contrary to what you and others think, we are busy creating a path to heaven for them, not creating hell on earth as they think. They should join us to see that we are doing nothing wrong.” So much for the Christian God.
After that conversation with this overzealous and misguided young pastor, I am in total agreement with the reader who inboxed me saying that these churches are busy creating hell for others in the name of their imagined God.