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Editorial - Churches should be regulated

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

Editorial - Churches should be regulated
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The horrendous tale of Sofia Simuma Ndumba's nightmare of biblical proportions, allegedly on instructions of a self-proclaimed pastor by his adjutants, reminded us again why this industry should be regulated. 

Ndumba (40) survived five litres of a boiling liquid concoction being poured into her, a ‘treatment’ she voluntarily submitted to, and paid for, after a sibling who visited the 'pastor' before encouraged her to go for ‘prayers’. 

Three of her relatives died in the ordeal. 

While Namibians should also stop being gullible, there is clearly a need to ensure the less sophisticated and desperate among us are not taken for a ride. 

When pastors made churchgoers eat snakes and drink petrol, the South African Council of Churches asked that country's government to protect the human rights of congregants.  A commission investigated how those churches conducted their practices and the reasons behind them. They recommended self-regulation but that parliament would enact laws to provide the regulatory framework.  However, in Namibia, the Council of Churches (CCN), now an emaciated shadow of its former self, has not peeped a word on the horrendous incident – and as far as we know, by the time of going to print, it has not consoled the family, or offer counselling or assistance to bury three members of that household. 

We have also not seen any of the charismatic church associations condemn this terrible tale.  

While Namibia and the world have endured the most tumultuous time in 100 years the Namibian church has only been heard when they complained about the lockdown that curtailed their attendance numbers and limit their income. 

Individual churches may have offered help here and there but the church, as the consoler and carer-in-chief, has been found wanting during the pandemic. 

The church has not accepted vaccines as currently the only available way out of the quagmire but instead amplified quackery and conspiracy theories. 

Surprisingly, the Alliance of Christian Churches in Namibia (ACCN) this week said vaccination should not be made mandatory and no one should be forced to take the vaccines. 

During a press conference, they promoted vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaccine sentiments, which would only further delay Namibia's return to normalcy.

It is puzzling that a group, whose good book preaches "...If one part suffers, every part suffers with it...", would promote the selfish disdain for the health and safety of communities, of the unhinged antivaccination brigade.  

In these trying times, we cannot continue to pontificate on the bile that divisive conspiracy theorists cook up.   Some of these self-proclaimed prophets claim they can perform miracles, heal illnesses and ruthlessly take the hard-earned money from those who often can not afford to give any away.  

Buying salvation has unfortunately been normalised. 

Such wild activities and messages should be subject to rules.  How these businesses (because that is what they are) operate, keep their money, where they operate and who can call themselves a pastor, prophet or evangelist should not be left to any smooth-talking person with a willingness to tell tall tales to get their grubby hands on people's money.  

Ndumba and her family have been violated by the Prophet of Victory Church but they have also been let down by Namibia, who allows anyone to set up a dingy structure and call it a church. 

They have been further let down by the church, who has shunned them in their hour of need. 

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

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