Churches are places of worship

Alleluia International Ministries pastor Alph Lukau 'resurrects a dead man'.
Alleluia International Ministries pastor Alph Lukau 'resurrects a dead man'.

The question of whether churches, religious practices and people's beliefs should be regulated is again a popular topic on online platforms, in office corridors and at dinner tables.

This after a video of pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries apparently bringing a "dead" man back to life, went viral on social media.

The video showed, during a church service, the coffin with the man's body being removed from a hearse as congregants gathered around. A woman who claimed to be the deceased's landlady told Lukau her tenant had fallen sick and started coughing on Friday.

He was taken to hospital where he apparently died in her arms. The man of the cloth lays his hands on the man and prays. Seconds later, "miraculously", the man sits up in the coffin with his mouth and eyes wide open, as congregants burst into cheers.

A few years ago, the same pastor was allegedly paid up to R5,000 by women he prayed for to find husbands.

SA's constitution protects the right to freedom of religion, and discrimination based on one's religious beliefs is prohibited.

We also believe that this freedom should not be tampered with.

But, recent developments suggest that the so-called pastors claiming to be performing miracles "in the name of God" are becoming more brazen by the day.

How long are we going to turn a blind eye as the vulnerable of our society are swindled daily by the so-called "men of God" whose aim is solely to enrich themselves?

Enough is enough, we need a regulatory body for religious practices. This is long overdue. The body must not come from government, as that would go against the right to freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution. We call on the religious community to come together with members of the public, from different professions, and form an organisation that will monitor religion.

Set strict guidelines that would ensure no religious leader becomes rich by exploiting his followers' vulnerability. Swindling anyone of money in this country is a crime and should not be allowed to continue happening in places of worship under the guise of religion. Our churches should go back to being places of worship, not of making money for rogue pastors.

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