There’s Big Money in Religion — or is there?

WHEN the six-storey building of ‘Televangelist’ Temitope Balogun Joshua (TBJ: born June 12, 1963) in Lagos, Nigeria, collapsed on Sept. 12 and claimed the lives of over 60 people – many of them South Africans – TBJ called that carnage ‘martyrdom!’

Did the deaths result from fighting for, or defending religion… Or  did they result from personal greed, bordering upon criminality?

Ironically, despite that tragedy people – gullible as humans are – still trust TBJ as a prophet and all the controversies behind his ministry notwithstanding!

Currently, Africa has a big number of self-made (read ‘fake’) prophets raking in billions from folk who believe that miracles can improve their lives, not actually ruin them!

It is sad that African Governments haven’t bothered to probe such ‘scriptural abracadabra,’ which defies logic. Is it because Governments, too, have similar burdens in this diabolical game of duping paupers? One may think that, after the ‘TBJ’ deaths were reported, the first thing the authorities would have done was to ban the movement and prosecute Joshua.

They didn’t; they haven’t… And, as you read this, Joshua is a free man who contemplates regularly visiting South Africa, ostensibly to honour his dead martyrs!

He was quoted by BBC as saying ‘I’ll be travelling to South Africa to meet people from South Africa and other nations who find South Africa easier to visit, in memory of the martyrs of faith…’

Martyrs of faith, indeed!

Joshua’s move was received with mixed feelings. While some people opposed it and called for his arrest – and others urged South Africa to deny him entry – yet others showed staunch solidarity with him!

Let’s face it. How come that people who assert to be followers of Jesus the Christ also follow run-of-the-mill prophets whose principal aim is to make money out of desperate, ‘herd-instinct’ followers?

How can a tycoon like TBJ ‘faithfully ‘follow’ Jesus Who told Zacchaeus to sell whatever he owned, distribute the proceeds to the needy – and ‘follow’ Him? Jesus implied that nobody can serve two masters, namely God and wealth! [See Luke 9:1-10].

Jesus also cautioned the world to be wary of false prophets who hoodwink millions. It is written: ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing – but,, inwardly, they are ferocious wolves!’ [Matthew 7: 15].

Aren’t the ‘wolves’ amidst us devouring the children of God in the name of performing miracles they’re really incapable of?

How can Jesus, an advocate of the poor, be associated with the rips-off routinely done to paupers? Will Joshua get away with ‘virtual murder’ simply because his ministry boosts Nigerian income whereby six-out-of-ten South Africans visit Nigeria only to attend his sermons? What have the Nigerian authorities to say about this carnage?

Although collapse of the TBJ synagogue might be seen as an accident, it nonetheless shows how dangerous our cities have become after corrupt public officials turn a deaf ear to a  corrupt construction industry and dubious landlords!

How many building in African metropolises are ‘waiting’ to collapse and kill thousands even as the authorities look the other way? We’re told that Joshua’s building wasn’t the first to collapse in Nigeria – nor will it be the last!

When that carnage occurred, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan visited the scene. Instead of reprimanding Joshua he was quoted as saying, “my coming here is to express my personal condolences to Prophet Joshua, the ‘Synagogue of All Nations’ – and, of course, the bereaved families!”

Can such a ‘leader’ tackle such problems by taking on those behind them?

People were shocked byJonathan’s sympathetic words to a person he was supposed to order to be arrested forthwith… He didn’t! Why? Was Jonathan afraid to take on Joshua for fear of losing voters from the latter’s hangers-on? Was he induced?

How many ‘Jonathans’ are political bedfellowa with the ‘Joshuas’ of Africa? How many otherwise innocent people have to die so that our rulers would wake up from the deep slumber they’re in?

It’s sad to note that, currently, African governments wantonly allow witchdoctors (and ‘witch pastors?’) to turn their people into prey while the relevant authorities stay clear on the sidelines – as if they’re not responsible for the security of their hapless citizenry! How many more should die for our authorities to act, putting a stop to the madness and dupery?