Church And State
Of everyone in Nigeria, a good percentage of us are either Christians or Muslims, with the remaining ones being Traditional Worshipers, and a lesser percentage being Atheists. Walking through streets in major cities of Nigeria, you will find it difficult not to notice a mosque or church on a street. Some streets even hosts multiple churches with mosques. Some hotels and nightclubs even double as a worship centers.
A social scientist in saner climes would see this as a recipe for peaceful co-existence, honesty, growth, progress and morality; but Nigeria being Nigeria, the reverse is the case.
As a student of “Government and History” in secondary school, you get to learn about the principle of separation of “Church and State”. This was done to reduce the impact of one on the other, to prevent conflict of interest and stalemate in “power show”.
Nigeria has adopted this policy, albeit in a different way. As a matter of fact, a politician who doesn’t publicly display his religious beliefs can never win an election, rather it is in our daily living that “church” (or religion) has been subtracted.
Neighbors who attend same church keep malice, someone with a church sticker on his shop’s door would still cheat you, a trader with his chaplet on his neck would rain abuses on you for not buying his goods and buying from his neighbor who has a “Jesus is Lord” poster on his door.
Events organizers shut down business during Ramadan, but once that is over, “the floodgates” are open again. Meanwhile, during Lent, it’s business as usual. Parents order their children to lie on their behalf, ten years later, they wonder why their teenage kids just won’t be honest with them.
Not to keep highlighting the negative, but the level of moral decadence we witness right now is an anomaly in proportion to the amount of religious houses. At the same time, watching spiritual figures being involved in scandals ranging from financial to marital, sexual, human rights, trafficking, and others, it puts things in perspective.
Church and state have to be defined differently in Nigeria. Firstly Christ has to be put back in Christianity. When the Bible mentions that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” it didn’t give us the definition of the word Christian there. That might have made a lot of difference today.
A Christian is not someone that goes to church, that is a Churchgoer; Someone that believes in the existence and supernatural nature of God is not a Christian, that is a Believer; A person who fears God is not necessarily a Christian.
A Christian is someone who lives like Christ. After accepting the Lordship of Christ, one begins to live their everyday life the way he has commanded. A Christian would pass up on the chance to embezzle a little or large sum of money, knowing fully well that no one would find out.
She won’t cheat on her spouse, even if it will cost her job. Nor with his permission. He won’t sleep with someone else daughter despite the fact she gave him the “green-light”. He passes up on a business opportunity because it’s execution while legitimate would leave some people improvised and victimized.
She helps her neighbor knowing fully well that he is an ingrate. He helps his subordinate despite the fact she could never repay him.
Bringing back Church into the State doesn’t begin with our political elite becoming born again. Wedding church and state for the betterment of the Nation begins with everyone ditching nepotism for meritocracy, Sharing a news about a career or educational opportunity with someone in dire need of it, lending a helping hand where needed, even at your own inconvenience.
My Bible tells me “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” – James 1:27 (KJV)