Religion And State BY VENATIUS IKEM

In Breaking News, Columnists, Entertainment and Lifestyle, Opinion

Our Constitution guarantees a secular state. It also guarantees freedom of worship. God’s centrality and preeminence in our lives is not underscored by the appointment of any Religion’s agents as Religious Assistants to the Heads of Government, however described.

When did our Governor suddenly discover that he needs this much Religious assistance? I hope he understands the separation between religion and God!

What I can advise him for free is that what he needs is more of God’s grace and mercies, not Religious Assistants!

I can take him on a historical journey that will include the atrocities that Religion visited on society and how God, not religion came to the rescue. At some point Church and State became one. Indeed it is on record then that reading the Bible became heresy for the non clergy and punishable with death!

Atrocities are still committed even in the modern day Church in God’s name. Many high ranking men of God are standing trial in various courts around the world for violating innocent underaged children under their care including a Cardinal and an Archbishop to mention only two.

Modern church intellectualism will easily confound you with the theory of the Church as the “body of Christ” , but I will retort to you that left to St. Paul, the preacher of such theology, women would not even have a place in the church! The patriarchy that runs through St. Paul’s theology is, to say the least, embarrassing in the light of today’s realization of the role of women in God’s Kingdom and indeed against the background of the same Church’s veneration of the Queen mother of our Lord and the special place of Mary and Martha in Jesus’ Ministration.

St. Paul’s epistles clearly demonstrate the shortcomings of man as the messenger of God as distinct from Christ’s original preachings. Of course these are acceptable, with the understanding that afterall Paul himself was a mere human being. This is not helped by the fact that Paul was a latter day convert who didn’t have the privilege of witnessing Christ first hand.

This is not to diminish his impact or the impact of his mission. It, however, underscores the infinite imperfections of Man as a human being! This is further emphasized by the fact that despite St. Peter being one of Christ’s first Apostles that were called to the Ministry, “one of those he loved”, St. Peter consistently faced Christ’s rebuke for his frequent gaffes and misunderstanding of the essence of Christ’s true mission. Indeed this went on to the very end of his ministry when at the most critical moment St. Peter, despite having been “crowned” by Christ as the “Rock upon which he will build his church”, meaning his successor of sorts, still managed to deny him just before his arrest, crucifixion and eventual death, as predicted.

It is remarkable still that Christ through it all never withdrew the mandate he gave to Peter as the head of his church. The reason is obvious: he wanted us to appreciate how infinitely imperfect man is! He taught us what tolerance means.

Consequently, we live on and at His Mercy and by His Grace not because of anything we have done or that we EARN it. We can never earn His Grace by any action of ourselves but by the free gift of His Grace from the Holy Spirit!

5 dozen men of God “Assisting” the Governor cannot earn him the grace of God. It is freely given. Titles cannot earn it. Visiting men of God wouldn’t.

Just stop corrupting everything in the name of Politics because you risk annoying God further by desecrating His sacred Temples and sanctuary thinking that you can BUY His Grace by buying the men of Religion!

The gospel of Christ is a message of love. Love for everybody even those that make it so hard to love them. Love is for everybody not just a select few and family.

If you love those who love you only, then you haven’t truly loved. True love is when you love even when there’s no reason to. True Love is demonstrated in loving the downtrodden. St. James said, “True Religion is helping the windows and orphans”! Loving the stranger, like the Samaritan. True Love is not in vendetta and settling of petty scores.

Christ’s last act as man was to forgive those who crucified him because he said, “for they know not what they do”!

I know how impossible this is for some people and that’s why Christ said salvation is as difficult as passing a camel through the eye of a needle!

Herein lies the challenge and it cannot be solved by appointment of Religion Assistants! Our land needs healing because atrocities are crying out for Justice! No man of Religion masquerading as God’s messenger can pray that into being!

The Injunction is simple: seek Mercy and forgiveness. But no one grants you forgiveness except yourself. It’s that simple: if you want forgiveness from God, go and forgive those who offended you so that you will gain forgiveness from those you offended. That’s the Lord’s prayer!

A word is enough for the wise!

Happy Sunday!

Venatius Ikem, a lawyer who served as National Publicity Secretary of the PDP is also a former guber aspirant.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Venatius Ikem and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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