The Bishop of Soroti on Sunday centred his sermon on an interesting subject – touching on his ‘own’ colleagues in the pulpit. Bishop Hosea Odong cried out loud that some clerics were living larger than life by fleecing their flock. A sad story but great that he belled the cat.
His concerns came on a day NTV and the Daily Monitor – through the Panorama investigative arm – did an analysis on government’s plans to regulate the religious sector.
The story said if Cabinet adopts the policy, districts will have Religious and Faith-based Organisation Boards, which will be composed of three political leaders and four technical officers. Among those who will sit on the committee are the Resident District Commissioners, District Internal Security Officer and representatives of faith-based organisations.
The government came up with such a policy after finding out that unregulated religion has offered breeding grounds for cults such as Joseph Kibwetere’s where the leader and his cronies on March 17, 2000 locked believers in a church in Kanungu District that was burnt resulting in the death of more than 700 people.
To regulate or not to regulate would be debate for another day. But our take today is that those who have been entrusted with the word of God or those who have chosen to spread the word must remain within the given tenets.
Many families, especially in Uganda, see the church as the ultimate ground for moral shaping of humanity. It is in church that children are taught gospel values such as obedience, respect for one another, humility, and responsibility. It is in church that children are told never to commit crime, adultery, and many other social ills.
The church – by its virtue of preaching the moral high ground - is also expected to hold the powers that be to account to its citizens in all spheres like corruption, bad governance, and violence, among others. The church is thus seen to have a role in the political, social, economic and sometimes judicial issues.
The matters raised by Bishop Odong, by no means, reflect the moral degeneration of our society. And it makes matters worse that the church, which is supposed to safeguard against this, is where the vice is happening.
Can those called to do the work of God remain true to their calling? The church must not transform into a profit-making venture!
Our commitment to you
• To be accurate and fair in all we do.
• To be respectful to all in our pursuit of the truth.
• To refuse to accept any compensation beyond that provided by Monitor Publications Ltd. for what we do in our news gathering and decision-making.
Further, we ask that we be informed whenever you feel that we have fallen short in our attempt to keep these commitments.