Manipulation in the name of religion

09 Jun, 2018 - 00:06 0 Views
Manipulation in the name of religion

The Chronicle

religion n gender

Bongiwe Nkomazana
IF you were born before 1990 you qualify to sit with those of us who have pleasant memories of not only Zimbabwe but of the world in earlier times.
It is a sad truth that the world has turned into a gruesome place. How we manage to live in it and function normally with a smile on our faces most of the time is a puzzle to me. The world used to be a safe place back in the day when people genuinely cared for one another.

We locked our doors only because they came with that function, our children would play on the streets until Santa Barbara came on TV, oh, and church or religion did not trend for violating its congregants, the female ones in particular.

I think we all agree that there were crimes, but nothing that compares to today’s crime rate and nature of monstrosities.

No area is sacred and the church has become a play ground for sexual abuse/assault perpetrators. From the infamous convicted rapist, Robert Martin Gumbura who had given himself the authority to lay with any female congregant of his choice in his church regardless of their marital status and could “loan” them out to their husbands down to this week’s Chronicle headlines from Tuesday to Thursday about supposed “men of God”.

On Tuesday, we had the faith healer who raped his 19-year-old patient three times as written by Sylvester Chiramba. On Wednesday, Andile Tshuma wrote on the pastor who disappeared after impregnating his wife’s relative and their helper and then on Thursday, Codelia Mondela reported on a bishop who had raped his daughter since she was 14-years-old while telling her that the Holy Ghost had instructed him to do so.

I am listing them in this manner so that you take in how often these incidents occur.

Religious spaces are quickly becoming very scary. The irony is out of this world because ideally, a church and its leaders are supposed to be a place of refuge for God’s people but according to recent headlines and patterns, the contrary is true.

First things first, this is not an attack on churches, I am Christian and church is the perfect place to rejuvenate your soul and spirit and to keep you excited about your beliefs. So I understand its importance.

However, what has become of concern is all the other harmful activities that have occurred, to women especially, in the name of God but are anything but Godly. It is on that same note that I felt that we should bring to light how we as women see how other women are exploited by religious men.

It is not the right representation of Christianity and it is a definite violation of human rights.

As we read these stories, it is only normal to question why any woman would allow themselves to be in such situations.

How have women become the victims in this slot of crime in particular? Okay, so when we go to church or when we pray we are almost always looking for divine intervention in our lives for the countless problems that we have as people.

Men usually fall for the “your riches will double” tagline while women are drawn towards the solutions to more home-bred issues. For example, it is usually men who are rumoured to have money-making juju and women are always accused of having husband-keeping juju.

It is just an example people, I am just trying to make a point. As a result, women will go to ultimate measures to keep their home in order.

Unfortunately, malicious clergymen have realised our weakness and have forged an industry dedicated to exploiting our desperation.

Picture this; a woman goes to a church leader/prophet crying about how she is failing to conceive and so her marriage is falling apart, her in-laws are looking at her sideways and she just wants a baby! It is a lot of pressure for one woman and she is just hopeless and powerless.

The last thing I would expect as that woman is for the church leader/prophet to prescribe his body as a cure or treatment for my condition.

However, because the woman has probably tried everything in her power to no avail and now this religious man whom she presumes to be the expert and most knowledgeable in this area is imposing alleged facts that she knows little about, she is bound to fall for his “treatment”.

Deformation of the truth is the number one cause of manipulation in religious spaces. Ill-natured preachers are exceptional benders of God’s word.

They are able to take a verse from the Bible and use it to support their evil intentions. For example, 1 Timothy 2 verses 11 to 12 says that, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness, I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man; rather, she is to remain silent”.

This verse can be easily distorted to mean something else and I bet that it has been told to a woman who is either a victim of some type of violence to keep her a victim or to a powerful woman to try and tame her.

I am no theologian but I am pretty sure that in this verse God did not mean that women should take rubbish from men lying down because even I know that He declared that He has plans for us and that they are plans for peace and not disaster.

What is happening with these dubious religious leaders to females is a straight up disaster, so no thanks.

I have heard people insist that women who find themselves handing over their undergarments to pastors for prayers against barrenness are just plain lovers of things.

They are just gullible and will ride on any trending wave and want a quick fix. I beg to differ. The only reason a normal person would go through such humiliation and absurdness was if they sincerely believed in their hearts and heads that it was the only way to solve their issue.

For them to actually believe that it is the only way they have to have been manipulated.

Opposing leadership of any sort is always a daunting task and to refer to anything sexual is absolutely cringy for the average Zimbabwean but it has to be done sometimes.

The more we talk about some of these violations, we create awareness and reduce the chances of more women going through similar situations.

Lastly, I believe God is not complicated, after all, He allowed us to talk to Him at any time through Jesus Christ and He would not send someone to strip your dignity for any type of healing.

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