BY Claudius Otieno
Huge donations to church have always been questioned as being on the verge of religious guidelines and procedures of giving. Kenyan politicians, particularly Deputy President William Ruto, has been attacked left, right and centre for his frequent bulk monetary donations to churches countrywide almost every weekend — which is alarming even to his fellow political giants, when viewed against his monthly salary.
Notwithstanding the allegations from political rivals, the Deputy President has vowed not to stop his donations spree, saying he was “giving to God”. But look, even as Dr Ruto is slammed by his political enemies, they also give their donations in church without anybody questioning it, which makes them look awkward.
But is the Church abdicating on its role of delivering spiritual nourishment to the people at the expense of condoning and engaging in corruption, fraud and theft of public funds?
Not long ago, investigative desks at local media houses used to expose the hidden vices of the ‘men of God’ to the extent that the Church was perceived as having become a business entity bent on reaping from the congregants by all means.
An investigative story by then-television journalist-turned MP Mohamed Ali, “In the name of God”, showed how the faithful are lured into being extorted by ‘pastors’ through offertory, tithe and donations – and ‘planting a seed’—in exchange of huge miracles or miraculous healing. A televangelist would be seen seated comfortably, specifying on TV how much his ‘sheep’ should send to ‘God’.
Tainting the Church
National Council of Churches of Kenya has played just a cameo role in restructuring the Church, including giving warnings to those tainting the Church, and coming up with standards.
A few church heads, such as Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit, have been vocal in fighting vices. He said politicians should not donate to the Church if the source of that money is questionable even by the general public.
The archbishop must have realised that politics had taken the centre stage and occupied the pulpit in the name of supporting the Church while dishing out embezzled public money from the development kitty.
Such money was set aside to help staving individuals, construct and repair roads and raise education and living standards but ended up pocketed and directed to churches to sanitise it.
This goes beyond overboard when the politicians are granted the opportunity to stand on the pulpit and hurl insults at their opponents, turning the Church into a political battlefield.
We can no longer bear such weirdness. The Church should remain a respectable place of worship and not an arena of epitomising corruption. The Church should take a firm stand and unshackle itself from the jaws of corruption that is hidden in the shroud of donations, tithe and offertory.
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