Under no circumstance should the church of God glorify corruption. It is a moral deviance and a vice that the church should aim to fix, not protect. Unfortunately, on Sunday, July 29th, 2018, some Christian leaders led by Bishop Chukwuma of the Enugu Diocese (Anglican Communion), pushed morality to the furthest corner of social conscience by ratifying the illicit wealth accumulated by Senator Ike Ekweremadu. This is an infiltration of the house of God by a corrupt political mafia with no moral and ethical values. What is worse is that some wayward Christian soldiers are cheering this corruption of Christianity.
The decay in our society is partly because our religious leaders have forsaken their duty to be the salt of the communities. Instead of addressing the endemic corruption in the religious and political landscape of Nigeria, Bishop Chukwuma chose to glorify corruption when he told Ekweremadu “as the Anglican Church, we stand behind you. We will very much support you in prayers and we are proud of you.” As a member of the Anglican Communion, I do not only strongly disagree with Bishop Ckukwuma, but I condemn his celebration of corruption as deplorable and unbecoming of a Christian Soldier.
It is frightening that the Gospel of some Christian soldiers is no longer the Gospel of grace but greed. The deplorable moral values of politicians our religious leaders are emboldening do not follow the Jesus I know about. That action of the of religious leaders (“prayer warriors”) led by Bishop Chukwuma that pronounced Ike Ekwremadu the “eye of God” is shameful and a tactical approval of corruption. The values Bishop Chukwuma and his team of the clergy were “protecting” stem not from Christ, but from cash and greed. These disturbing trends are shameful and should be a concern to all true Christian soldiers.
Last year, in a church in Ozubulu, Anambra State, some criminal gang members from South Africa murdered worshippers in cold blood. That was a clear example of what happens when the church and community accord undeserved accolades to “philanthropists” with questionable wealth. The Ozubulu massacre is a demonstration that the leadership of many churches has been caught up in this web of wealth by questionable means. The bane of moral decadence in our society today is the erosion of that sense of shame, right and wrong in the past three decades.
Was it not our people that say that; “A boy sent by his father to steal does not go stealthily but breaks the door with his feet.” What are we expecting from the generation that is being nurtured with election rigging, disrespect to the rule of law, corruption, ineffective school system, decay and erosion in traditional communal institutions like the churches, mosques, families, and marriages? What type of political leaders is Bishop Chukwuma grooming when he is equating a public servant that acquired dozens of properties running into millions of dollars as the “eyes of God”?
Corruption is contagious and its approval by Christian soldiers. By Bishop Chukwuma’s standard, morality does not matter and he would rather expand the social network of corruption by telling young Nigerians that corrupt leaders are the “eyes of God”. These men of God should stop polluting people of faith and conscience who want to revive the heart and soul of our democracy. The troubling thing is not that some young Nigerians are seeking material wealth at all cost, but the fact that nobody is fighting back. Not the elders, not their peers and now, not even the churches. Shameful.
The question is how do we return to the original nature of goodness before this cultural and social erosion? How do we return to the good old days before the quest for material wealth took control and led us to this present state of decadence? How do we save our valued cultures and traditions? How do we save our children from this looming cultural death? How do we challenge this moral laxity exhibited by bishop Chukwuma?
According to the idea advanced by MeniMeng Tzu, in man’s original nature, there is a sense of shame, a sense or courtesy and a sense of right and wrong. If a man relies only on his sense of perception without subjecting them to the control of the mind, he fails in evil ways. It is because of the absence of shame that public servants live extravagant lives amid poverty. It is due to the absence of shame that Bishop Chukwuma could lead the members of the clergy to pray for the protection of one of “their own” from the “enemies”.
There is only one thing more appalling than the present deceit in the defection politicians in Abuja. That is the silence of Christian soldiers to moral decadence in our society. Embrace of corruption and amassing of wealth by church leaders amid poverty in their congregation is the moral of moral failings of Christendom. Christian leaders like Bishop Chukwuma who chose convenience over confrontation; who chose to favor people rather than favor God; who chose to be popular rather than prophetic are not helping Christendom.
Nigeria has been at a crossroad as unscrupulous people, including the leadership of the Christian and Muslim groups are eroding our moral compass. Ethics in political, social and religious governance have become opaque. The Christian Association of Nigeria and Muslim groups should venture above reactive strategies and act more proactively in order to identify and eradicate the root causes of social ills and the alarming corruption. This will not happen when people like Bishop Chukwuma are promoting corruption.
My hope is that this contribution will help us move past partisan religious politics to recover the morality of Christianity. It is a discourse about the danger of letting the desire to fit in, get in the way of righteousness. It is not only a provocative and simulating call for change; it is aimed at freeing the Gospel from political captivity.
The Jesus I know was loving and gentle, but he was also bold. I have no doubt that He would have condemned the action of Bishop Chukwuma. I am, thus, content to be discontent with Christian leaders that support moral decay in our society. I am still a Christian, but I have chosen to redefine what that truly means per the scriptures. Not per the pollution and dilution of the Gospel by men of God that worship money across Nigeria.
Together, we can.
You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi