News / Opinion / Columns
As a devout Christian, the announcement that churches will reopen disheartens me, amid a pandemic in which the numbers of people infected and the death toll continues to rise.
I question if it’s really necessary to open churches, especially when the largest proportion of the population, at least in black communities, are the elderly.
While we want to congregate for mass and to worship as a collective, the church is only the physical symbol of a relationship with Christ. To talk to a higher power does not require one to be within walls, it requires one to speak to their God, Allah or Buddha from their heart and to practise the teachings of whatever doctrine they ascribe to.
I am saddened because I am of the opinion that it was not belief that was at the cornerstone of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) request for places of worship to open their doors. SACC general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana said the income of some churches had been seriously affected because of the effect the lockdown had on church members’ income.
Churches are reopening for economic reasons, not because we need prayer to save the nation.
This was the perfect opportunity for places of worship to reassert the notion that whichever God one may elect to worship is omnipresent, but the opportunity was lost.
When offerings are thrown into the collection basket, how will the transmission of infectious agents be prevented? In charismatic churches, when the “spirit” takes over and members collapse mid-service, how will social distancing be maintained?
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities has in the past failed to rein in churches for inappropriate behaviour. What will change now when “Covid-19 Anointing Oil” is sold to congregants whose blind faith supersedes their knowledge?
South Africans are gullible about their faiths and while some places of worship may remain true to their doctrines, the collective motive for reopening of places of worship erodes character and belief!
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.