Be wise, children of God
Recently, social and print media have been set ablaze due to alleged shenanigans of a cleric. At social gatherings and religious fora, the story seems to have gone to an unimaginable level. This story is just a tip of the iceberg. There are so many clerics (Christian/Muslim, etc.) now quaking in their boots for fear of their own misdeeds being exposed. Some people’s silence has been bought. It is high time people began to realise that not all clerics are ‘called to lead the flock’. Majority ‘called’ themselves! Unfortunately, some clerics perceive faith organisations as very lucrative business – if they fail to own oil blocks, be CEO of banks or end up as politicians. It is rather sad because some people are divinely gifted but others have abused their exalted positions and used it to acquire unmerited wealth at the expense of the masses suffering in their places of worship.The wicked ones have used their position to sexually abuse women and their actions have gone unchallenged due to the silence culture prevalent in faith organisations. Amazingly, some female leaders in the places of worship would refuse to talk and pretend to know nothing.
There was a case of a Pastor who sexually abused women in his church in England. His wife, a co-Pastor stood by him to the astonishment of many people, particularly women. What was she to do? Majority of wives whose husbands are held to ‘have fallen’, always support their husbands, even if they know deep down their hearts, their husbands are guilty of the act they have been accused of. There was also a case of a Pastor who abused young boys. These two Pastors faced the full force of the law. They were jailed. It is only in Africa that the rule of law is not usually obeyed, especially in rape cases. Victims would have been threatened. The victims suffer in silence, which in some situations might lead to suicide.
What is not right about allegation of rape is that the female (usually the victim) is given anonymity whilst the accused (usually male) is not. This is not fair because allegedly the print and social media already try perpetrator before the case goes to court. As we all know, in the court of law, one is innocent until proven guilty. Some female congregants have fixation about their male clerics and would do anything just to be close to them. If a woman is married, the respect and attention that should be given to her husband, is diverted to the cleric. A single lady, whose fixation has no boundaries, would do anything to be close to her cleric and volunteer to be the ‘Girl Friday’ both at place of worship and in the cleric’s home. The only time the unsuspecting cleric’s wife realises that the platonic relationship with her husband has developed into a sexual one is when the husband is accused of molestation and/or rape. When a cleric is caught for his misdeed, he should humble himself by stepping aside until the investigation is over. If he needs to be imprisoned, he should be remorseful to embrace his punishment. He needs to lead by example by attending appropriate counselling sessions or in the case of receiving medical treatment to curb his excesses. This should serve as deterrent to other clerics who are unable to control their libido.
No one is above temptation and whoever is without sin should cast the first stone. To avoid committing sin of this magnitude, when female members want to see their cleric for counselling, it is either the cleric’s wife is present just like you have a female chaperone/nurse with the male doctor during internal examination – or the presence of a female member of the pastoral leadership committee. Some women are truly Jezebels, Delilahs whose mission is to detract a cleric from fulfilling his calling. It has been noted that obsession in some women make them feel maligned if their supposed love for a cleric is not reciprocated. Clerics need to be careful and not take their positions for granted, thinking that they have the right to manipulate or molest women for they will deserve every comeuppance. So many women have been silenced with material gifts and threats in their place of worship when they protest (or try to) about their clerics. For example, with Christians, the cliché is always – ‘do not touch the anointed’, ‘you want to destroy the cleric’s anointing’, etc.
There is always that silence culture which does not help in rape situations. Some rape victims fail to report the crime because of castigation and blame culture prevalent in our society. Some women who have low self-esteem are threatened with expulsion until they are lucky to meet someone who believes in them and sum up the courage to make an official report to the police. There are very few agencies or activists involved in rape cases. Women should remember that accusing someone of rape is a very serious allegation, which can wreck a man’s career and/or marriage. They must therefore ensure they tell the truth. Some women have been sent to prison in the western world when found to have told falsehood. Due to psychological effects of rape (delayed reaction), historical rape allegations have been taken into consideration during investigations and which subsequently have led to successful prosecutions. In civilised societies, alleged victims are provided with adequate counselling throughout investigations and after prosecution of the perpetrators. One aspect that is baffling is when alleged victims are giving interviews to journalists whilst investigation is underway for rape allegations. Surely, this can jeopardise any successful prosecution against the perpetrator. One can only deduce pure ignorance.
In a nutshell, we should have a personal relationship with our creator. People should refrain from treating their preachers/clerics as ‘deities’. We are no longer living in the days of old where we needed a mediator before we could seek divine intervention from our Creator. We are all blessed with divine gifts in different ways, from our Creator. Those who preach (referring to the divinely ‘called’) to lead the flock, also need prayers of their congregants.
Do not let any unpleasant situation make you compromise your relationship with God. Do not be manipulated by any cleric. Mind how you go and be wise!
Fatusin is a freelance writer, inspirational speaker, compere, social commentator based in the United Kingdom. Convener of Renewing the African Mindset (RAM) – a forum for discussing African topical issues.
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