Who must intervene for the masses when people are humiliated in the name of God?
All parents know that there are times when they have to intervene to save their children hurting themselves physically or morally when they act recklessly.
Freedom is an innate impulse. All children feel throttled and rebel when parents place restrictions on them. But they see the value of restrictions later in life.
But restrictions don't apply to all children all the time. Specific restrictions kick in whenever self-harming delinquency manifests itself in this or that child. Children who behave are left alone.
The South African state has always treated religion as a domain of absolute freedom, a playing field where players do as they will, or as "directed" by a deity.
It is well and good for people to pray or worship their preferred deity. But is not okay when they get harmed or harm others in the name of religion. When this happens, the state, like parents who protect their children from self harm, must intervene.
The idea that the state should regulate religion always arouses controversy, for the philosophy behind all religion is that there is a force greater than all humans. Such a force is presumed to direct all cosmic and all metauniversal life. "What is man to regulate the affairs of his Master?" the logic goes.
The problem is that the "Master" does not intervene to stop so-called men of God from making black people in SA eat grass. The "Master" does not intervene to arrest foreigners who act in His name to swindle poor black South Africans' to buy private jets, expensive villas and luxury cars.
It must be a cruel "Master" who does nothing when His people are sprayed with insecticide by chance-takers who act in His name.
We have now entered a dangerous terrain where even the very sacred thing - life - that the holly book tells us it the exclusive preserve of the "Master" is gambled with by clowns acting in His name.
There are certain petty crimes that should not lead people to jail, just as there surely must be certain petty sins that must not condemn souls to eternal damnation. But to play profit-seeking tricks with life must rank among the highest sins.
To organise a real hearse to bring a real coffin to church, carrying a living human being who feigns death while a swindler-priest claims miraculous resurrection, must be the most cardinal of sins.
The acclaimed writer Yuvan Harari coined the concept "Homo Deus". "Homo" stands for human, and "Dues" for god. Harari contends we humans have now acquired powers that used to belong to God - hence Homo Dues, Human God.
But even so fertile an imagination as Harari's never grasped the possibility of a dead man being brought back to life.
The powers that caused Harari to attribute "godly" capabilities to man are those of science, not the hocus-pocus magic that claims to transform death to life.
The most troubling thing is that as all this unfolds, the "Master", in whose name the whole circus is performed, does not intervene.
We are left to our own devices. Poor black South Africans continue to be swindled by a young clown who fled grinding poverty in Malawi and came to amass untold riches in SA in the name of God. The harm is enormous. It is far greater than those who drink petrol.
The collective image of all black South Africans is at stake. The world looks upon us as a bunch of idiots ready to be manipulated by all manner of swindlers.
Given that the "Master" does not intervene, who, then, will save us?
The state must introduce stringent laws that will make it impossible for our people to harm themselves, just as parents intervene when children harm themselves.
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