For reasons I can understand, a good number of religious operators read this column. And again for reasons I understand, after dutifully reading the little essay, the Ndeeba-based Victory Church ‘apostle’ and boss, Joseph Serwadda, consistently distorts or dodges my main arguments at his Sunday 6:30am Impact FM and Dream Television talk-show, where, with another ‘apostle’, Charles Tumwine, and Bishop Mukiibi, he often attempts to repair any damage I may have inflicted on their faith.
The other ‘apostle’, Tumwine, is puzzled why a critic of religion persists at his work. But he obviously takes it for granted that he (Tumwine) has a duty to ceaselessly spread his interpretations of the scriptures, however irrational.
Last Sunday, although he clearly had not read my article, Bishop Mukiibi thought very deeply, then opined that I might be inspired by Satan.
What, actually, did I say last Sunday in “Why pastors, witchdoctors hate followers who become pastors, witchdoctors?”
In simple terms, rulers of the vampire state, leaders of fanatical religious groups and witchdoctors often have a common interest; manipulating or indoctrinating the citizens to believe in a false magical future of great wealth and happiness, even of heaven. But it is the manipulators who benefit, whose wealth and power grows.
Secondly, in spite of pretences to the contrary, those who are already in control tacitly agree to frustrate or openly fight serious rivals.
Joseph Serwadda did not like that observation, but the example he gave to demonstrate the generosity of spirit among the pastors was astonishingly self-revealing.
Background: Serwadda claims that God directly instructed him to start this “Passover” thing he has staged at Namboole every December 31 since the early 2000s.
The plot: For months, his Ndeeba organization distributes thousands of cards and envelopes around the country. Devotees write on the cards their desires for the following year. They put the card and some serious cash in the envelope and take it to Namboole on December 31.
The gimmick: After removing the money, the cards are taken to Ndeeba. Serwadda’s organisation prays for the piled cards every Sunday for six months.
God uses the next six months to deliver any miracles he has not yet delivered. Then the cycle is repeated.
This is pure witchcraft. I repeat; this is in the same category as witchcraft, fake-branded with Jesus to hold the gullible for twelve months.
Just as lotteries, sports betting and crypto currencies catch millions of victims, the Namboole extravaganza attracts thousands.
The enemies: Other pastors saw the opportunities and started their own December 31 put-ons at other venues, also claiming God’s instructions. Although not amused, Serwadda says he wishes them well. So he suggests that these imitators should remove and keep the money, but send the cards to his Ndeeba outfit, where the “correct” prayer regime is administered.
You are smiling. Copyright? Patent? Or a Ndeeba cult thing? Instead of teaching the other pastors to do it right, Serwadda’s ‘generosity of spirit’ amounts to a warning that they are frauds. It is barely disguised advice to devotees to take the cards (and the money) to Namboole.
But does God need to read cards when he can directly reach human hearts?
Pentecostals always disparage Catholics for worshipping through artistic visual representations. Are the written cards any different as physical representations of a devotee’s spiritual appeal?
Is the six-plus-six-month cycle different in principle from the various cycles in the traditional churches that Pentecostals dismiss as mere ‘religion’?
Moreover, with a full six months, is God still an ultra-egocentric Mosaic village King who craves interminable begging?
What if God has reviewed his ‘instructions’ to Serwadda, recognised the absurdities and has already dictated substantial changes elsewhere?
Indeed, what if Serwadda is in exactly the same trap as those he has implied are false prophets? Can God be saved from these prophets?
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.