Thursday 17 June 2021
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Bushiri: Fostering Religion Without Ethics

There is one thing that is not about to go away from the African public – religion. Thus, the need to begin engaging religious figures in the public discourse, especially on ethical issues.
The recent arrest of a South African based Malawian religious figure who calls himself a prophet and claims to have abilities to supernaturally reveal aspect of people’s lives, calls for a renewed alertness.
An alertness against the unrelenting nature of his kind of religious figures who use their status to manipulate their members for profit making.
While religion continues to contribute the social equilibrium of humans all over the world, we can’t pay a blind eye to obvious human abuses and ethical violations. By nature, religious leaders ought to live by high moral standards, sadly, this is not always the case. Or it could be that religion has been hijacked by charlatans and con artist who want to make a quick living from the naïve and unsuspecting masses.
Bushiri isn’t the first religious figure to be charged with criminal offences especially those involving financial abuses. His prison sentence is none of my business, I can only trust that he will get the justice he deserves.
The issue is the obvious unethical conduct (greed, arrogance, boastfulness and materialism) which he unashamedly has embraced and promoted in public as something normal. First, the unashamed materialism he’s portrayed as evidence of God’s blessing and something his followers should emulate.
For someone who claims to be a pastor that lives in a society in which poverty, illiteracy, unemployment etc are normal occurrences, he ought to be deeply ashamed that he lives a life of opulence, only matched to that of celebrities and thieving politicians. He has a different explanation for his wealth and his adamant self-defence simply indicates his shallowness on the depth of the matter. Bushiri’s religion as an attack on our being human by encouraging unrestraint materialism, often coupled with greed.
Secondly, because snake oil religious figures like Bushiri and many others within his line have loose ethics sifts, their worldview has been transferred to their members.
Such that their followers have cast off all sense of discernment and blindly follow them in activities that a socially destructive. For example, many have given up their medications after being told that they were cured from cancer or AIDS related illnesses. Instead of engaging in work, they have come to believe that one can simply sit in front of tele-screen and receive God’s blessing of money, wealth success etc.
Empty, greedy and ruthless religion as we have witness with the prophet movement only contributes to social instability. And it is time that the thousands of people that follow such destructive religious figures should be confronted for how they are part of distabilising social order.
Freedom of religion and religious expression isn’t just a matter of faith but also includes our responsibility towards the progress of our societies. Given that many of these claims to be Christians, belonging to a religious movement that promotes social disorder – doesn’t reflect love for one’s neighbour.
Whether Bushiri is found innocent or guilty in this case, is immaterial. Although I personally think him to be an arrogant con artist. What matters is that society should take responsibility of their own religious affiliations, and not be blinded with manipulative gimmicks.
This is not religion but a whole patched up system of religiously sounding practices, which has no sense of morality. They con desperate members, cheat in their taxes, defraud governments and engage in various illegal practices, all under the guise of religion.
They run companies, schools, hotels, recording studies, financial services etc under the names of their ministries, just to dodge taxes and enrich themselves in the process. The very people who claim to have the interest of the poor and downtrodden of society, live amongst society’s high placed, with the monies swindled from these poor people.
This is religious deluge which has not sense of integrity but how to use such influence to enrich themselves. It is established to create a personality cult that manipulates people into placing their hopes in one fallible, ignorant deceptive individual. These kinds of persons can only cease to be, when society takes the steps to withdraw their actions – especially their financial support.
In conclusion, I’m glad the law finally caught up with Bushiri. This is not a witch hunt again religion or Christianity in particular, it is doing justice and protecting society from charlatans who are relentless in their pursuit of defrauding the poor and desperate people.
While we all have the freedom of worship within this republic, we should use our senses and not allow to be crooked into fantasies and lies.
And as far as Bushiri is concerned regardless of what many people in their lack of judgment say, he has nothing substantial to offer to address the social ills of our nation, he’s in this for himself and that’s where it ends.

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