With Nigeria currently in the season of elections, major and minor political office holders as well as their respective political parties all duly engaged in the business of politicking;
From campaign rallies, presentation of manifestoes and and policy documents, press release and briefing, spreading of propaganda, creating online followership and awareness, radio jingles and T.V adverts, posters, billboards, branded wears, and lastly inducing the electorates with meagre cash gifts and even food items in some cases , all these are done in a bid to secure the required votes that would see a candidate return elected and in some extreme situations, the use of thugs, maiming and even assassination are all employed all in a dirty thirst for power.
Be that as it may, the double edged sword of our politicking process shall not be our major concern, our interest will be the church’s role in politics, should the church be involved in politics?
In my last post “Church Fashion: How to dress for church” I briefly touched on the duties of religion, which is; it serves as a moral compass for man society, succinctly put;
it is the conscience of society
Having stated the above, lets go down memory lane, examining the connections between the church, society and politics. The origin of christianity dates back to over 2000 years ago, that is as far back as the time of Christ. Within this period, the church was heavily persecuted as recorded in the bible as the apostles of Christ were all haunted leading eventually to their gruesome death in most cases.this narrative shows explicitly that the church had little or no involvement in politics, rather it was the subject of attacks and persecution.
The middle ages brought about a change in narrative as the Roman (catholic) church became organised into an elaborate hierarchy with the Pope as head in Western Europe. He established supreme power, and many innovations took place in the creative arts and the social welfare of society as the church was greatly involved in the politics of the day.
As much as the middles ages was charaterized by conflict as many towns and cities began to spring up and wanted their own self – control, thereby resulting in the intensification of political involvement and social thinking as far as the politics of the day was concerned.
With this the church played a major role in the everyday life of the people. It served to give people spiritual guidance and also as their government too, dictating the norm for day-to-day living.
With the above being said, looking at our present day society, its evident that the church’s involvement in politics is at a minimal or zero level, this can be attributed to the various revolutions and wars that have occurred over time thus shrinking the stronghold of the church and its involvement in politics. In present day Nigeria, with close to 50% of its population as christians, the church’s involvement in politics isn’t strongly felt, a few reasons could make up for this; first amongst all is the presence of too many denominations which in some instances are caught attacking the beliefs of other denominations, another is the ever rising numbers of fake prophets and preachers who often times their prophecies are questionable, added to these is the inability of the church to involve itself in the politics of blood and money as is often the case in our society.
All these and many more sum up the dossier of reasons that has put the church’s involvement in politics on a regressive slope.
From an optimistic point of view, some rays of hope can be gathered from what the church (Catholic) has been able to do in Anambra State, South East Nigeria.
Over the past decade the church has played a strong and decisive role in determining who governs and holds key political offices in the state (producing the governor on three occasions) irrespective of the fact that the state houses a good number of business made billionaires scattered across different denominations with variance in their political interests.
This indeed shows the church is in deed and word decisively involved in the politics of the day either as a result of overtly religious influence or the prossession of some magical wand. But it sure leaves a lesson for its members scattered across the country.
In Conclusion, the church has a great role to play by getting involved in politics, for it is the moral backbone of society religion wise, and its precepts are hinged on reason and faith for the good of man and the society.
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