Obi Egbuna Jr
WHEN Mother Africa’s children at home and abroad re-evaluate not only our collective experience, but the saga of all peoples who have courageously struggled to be liberated from colonialism and imperialism, it has been extremely challenging to accept the countless atrocities that our enemies have committed in the name of God.
This explains why Africans were not the least bit surprised after learning about the accusation that one of the world’s wealthiest mega-pastors Joel Osteen the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, was unwilling to open the doors of his church to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
What is to expected from a Pastor who lives in a 10 million dollar home, runs a church that has a 70 million dollar annual budget, openly admits his exclusive focus is the Gospel of Prosperity, that also continues to rake in additional millions from his 13 books whose core message led to former US Presidential hopeful and current US Senator John McCain calling Osteen his favourite inspirational author. Any true man or woman of God who discovers that they are embraced by the likes of Senator McCain should either thoroughly examine the core of their message or leave the church altogether.
It is difficult not to ponder if Senator McCain who oversees the agenda of the reactionary think tank IRI (International Republican Institute)that is at the forefront of strategic planning for US-EU Imperialism’s regime change agenda concerning Zimbabwe, was perusing the pages of Osteen’s best sellers when planning President Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s demise. Pastor Osteen is also an open supporter and defender of the Zionist State of Israel, this informs all of us how Pastor Osteen would view any Rabbi who would dare to open their doors of a Synagogue to Palestinian Women and Children who were forced to evacuate their homes after being bombed by the Israeli Military, under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Many of us are all too familiar with the saying the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, Pastor Osteen is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, we remember in 1987 Pastor Roberts told his followers that if he didn’t receive 8 million dollars within a period God would call him home. The sad reality is Pastor Osteen has 7 million viewers weekly and 20 million viewers in over 100 countries, many of these unfortunately African nations like Zimbabwe, where citizens are more preoccupied with pursuing the finer things in life, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and defending their sovereignty and beloved nation.
Due to the fact that the majority of Africans on the continent are Christians, we do not have the luxury of ignoring the ideological struggle being waged in the House of God, on the one hand you have Pastor Osteen’s partners in crime like Nigerian Mega Pastors like Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and T B Joshua, the other side are those carrying the banner of liberation theology and the social gospel that produced the likes of Reverend John Chilembwe who took up arms against the colonialists and imperialists in Malawi back in 1915.
During Zimbabwe Presidential and Parliamentary 2013 elections former Zimbabwe Prime Minister and MDC founding president Morgan Tsvangirai sneaked off to Nigeria like a thief in the night seeking an endorsement from TB Joshua, only to be rejected and offered a prayer, which was the equivalent of a consolation prize to the loser of a game show.
This opportunist move by Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC brain trust would appear on the surface as an act of desperation, however, this could have very well been a dress rehearsal for the next form of neo-colonialism, which could be far more dangerous than the cloaks of militarism, democracy and human rights.
It should be glaringly obvious that Pastor Joshua understood that an endorsement of Mr Tsvangirai would have turned his entire hustle upside down, simply because a self-proclaimed man of God who performs miracles on a daily basis, could not afford a high profile association with a politician whose chances at victory were slim to none.
At the height of the cold war several African Liberation Movements who reached the conclusion that socialism was best for their particular nations and our Mother continent in general, were questioned about the famous quote by the German philosopher and economist Karl Marx that religion is the opium of the masses.
One of the best explanations was by President Mugabe who said “I think the Christian Churches must take a new look at the doctrine of Marx and Lenin. True, Marx made some statements which are unpalatable, such as religion is the opium of the masses, but Marx still conceded that people must be allowed freedom to believe or not to believe. Societies aspiring to Marxist-Leninism allow religion to be practiced.
I’ve been in Ethiopia where the majority of the people are Christian either belonging to the Orthodox Church or Western Christianity and the government has accepted that. In Vietnam I went to Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, and a great gathering was organised for me by the Communist Party and comprised, apart from the party officials, the Buddhist and the Christian and religious leaders, the deputies of the assembly, the former puppet generals as they call them, and the Fang representing the Chinese nationals. This is how they are going about the achievement of their independence as a sovereign power. They are organising everybody to contribute towards the reconstruction of society”.
This lucid explanation by President Mugabe compliments the sentiments articulated by Commandante Fidel Castro to Pope John Paul II when he visited Cuba in 1998, concerning the perception that the Communist Party of Cuba was not tolerant of religion especially Catholism.
The Commandante informed the Pope that during the days of the Batista Regime, the Catholic Church was rather cosy with mafia gangsters like Charlie “Lucky” Luciano and Meyer Lansky who used Cuba as a springboard for gambling, prostitution, and heroin bound for New York City.
The colonial invader and conqueror Cecil John Rhodes granted permission to Bishop Joseph Crane Hartwell then the Methodist Missionary for Africa 13 000 acres to establish a primary school at the Old Mutare mission now called Hartzell School. During the 1980s Bishops Emilio De Carvahlo and Arthur Kulah of Angola and Liberia lobbied for what today is Africa University whose charter was officially proclaimed by President Mugabe in 1992.
Unfortunately Africa University and the church community in Zimbabwe have been hesitant to stand in diametrical opposition to the US-EU regime change agenda, and pledge their commitment to fight to have US-EU sanctions lifted once and for all.
When the US-EU Imperialist media apparatus gave the impression that Mr Tsvangirai might ascend the presidency of Zimbabwe, our sisters and brothers of the cloth appeared to be switching their allegiance, however, when Zimbabweans showed at the ballot box that a puppet could never be the face of Government many believers were caught with egg on their face.
For Zimbabweans opportunism from the pulpit is nothing new thanks to the deplorable acts of Reverends Ndabaningi Sithole and Abel Muzorewa during the Second Chimurenga, the showboating of Bishop Pius Ncube and Evan Mawarire are child’s play.
We consider it an honour to stand side by side with true believers who recognise that the fight to lift US-EU sanctions is their obligation based on the principles they claim to uphold.
-Obi Egbuna Jr is our US Correspondent and the External Relations Officer of Zicufa (Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association) his email is obiegbuna15.com.