Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Exploitation of the poor by Christian Pastors

One of the worst types of exploitation that I have witnessed in Southern Africa is the ruthless exploitation of vulnerable people by so called Pastors. What I would call the business of being a Pastor is rife across much of Sub Saharan Africa. Self professed ministers of God - often claiming to be literally guided by the voice of God - target the poor, the sick, the recently bereaved and make them promises of great blessings from God. They often convince the vulnerable, and usually uneducated, that they are suffering because they have displeased God and that by placing their faith in Him they will be blessed with countless riches. The Pastor often claims that God has told him, or occasionally her, that if the person repents and puts their faith in Jesus Christ as their 'Personal Saviour' then such blessings will follow.

To be fair some of these Pastors do bring short term comfort to the needy. They are there to comfort the bereaved when the mainline churches often fail to do so. This is largely due to the logistics that the mainline churches face of a handful of priests/vicars/ministers serving vastly populated pastoral areas. The Pastors however are usually quick of the mark when someone in their neighbourhood has been bereaved. The cynic in me can't help believing that this is because they want to comfort the bereaved before their rival Pastors do the same! You see these Pastors are everywhere and their is a sickening competetion between them. Afterall being a Pastor in Sub Saharan Africa can be a profitable little number!

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