Followers are required to contribute towards the Church throughout their lives, whilst the government takes care of the educational system. A parallel, two-tier taxation system is established—one to the Church, the other to the government. However, the Church does not manage infrastructure or contribute towards any physical or social services required to improve or sustain the lives of its followers.
When infrastructure crumbles, followers direct their inquiries to the government. Most times, if not always, the Church’s income as a charity is not audited. It directly funds the ostentatious lifestyle of the pastors and their families. The government is responsible for managing the state, yet taxes are paid to the Church; why is this the case? Over time, churches developed a strong focus on financial matters, to the point where they actively coax churchgoers with increasingly sophisticated methods to pressure them into making donations.
A nation’s economic sustenance is highly dependent on taxation; no country can sustain itself without it. Currently, the majority of Nigerian Christians donate to the Church. For lack of a better term, they are bribing the creator to grant them favours through a human representation of their pastors. In the case of the Catholic and Anglican Churches, these contributions are siphoned to Europe, where they have their headquarters. The leftovers are channelled towards the priests’ overheads. These can sometimes be luxury items like automobiles and building more churches to generate more revenue. Unfortunately, educational institutions, childcare facilities, healthcare facilities, agriculture, and other essential sectors are not often included in the church’s largesse. It is common for priests and pastors to proudly display their luxury cars and private jets while misleadingly urging their members to make monetary contributions under the guise of being faithful followers of Jesus. Christ Embassy Church has a financial institution in Nigeria (Parallex Bank). The members must have bank accounts, and tithing has been automated with the financial institution.
In addition to financial contributions, churchgoers in Nigeria dedicate around 10 hours per week to church-related responsibilities, resulting in a monthly donation of 40 hours to the Church. However, many churchgoers are unwilling to participate in community service activities such as cleaning their city or engaging in public discussions. They prioritise Church engagement over charitable or other neighbourhood-related communal affairs. They believe that heaven is their end destination; thus, earthly presence should be devoted to the work of God. In this case, Church affairs. The Catholic Church employs about 2 million Africans on a salary-free engagement. Millions of Africans devote their lives to the Catholic Church, which has been involved in corrupt practices and has supported the enslavement of Africans. Not to mention, the rape scandal permeated throughout the Catholic globally. Additionally, the Church backed European colonisation in Africa and is currently perceived as a racially exclusive institution led by elderly white men.
The Catholic Church is nowadays the primary entity that extensively exploits African labour, providing no compensation except for the assurance of salvation in the afterlife. At the same time, Africans are succumbing to destitution and contributing massively to the already rich institution. How can our society progress if institutions such as the Church earn gratuitously more money than some governments? They even receive more attention and time from the people without an equivalent contribution to the societies they represent.
Should evil still be defined?
By Nnaemeka Ogbonna