There has always been the controversy about the desirability or otherwise of religious houses being taxed just like other non religious institutions.
The argument is predicated on the fact that so many religious organisations have businesses, that generate income and so should not be exempted from tax payments. Practically all the major churches have elitist universities and other commercial enterprises that bring in tonness of money.
In other words, a General Overseer that oversees a major church that has many business enterprises under it is not just a pastor but a de facto CEO of businesses.
So, hiding under the cloak of religiosity to evade laws that apply to other business enterprises is disingenuous.
The idea here is that legislations concerning anything religion is a very delicate thing to do, as we are a very religious country.
Recently, the governor of Kaduna state, Mallam el Rufai attempted to take a further step regarding regulating religious practices by trying to make it mandatory for pastors and imams to be registered with the states for them to have legitimacy.
Now, a court of law has ruled that the governor lacks the power to do what he tried to do… to get pastor and imams to get a license before they can practice their ‘trade’.
Naturally, many people objected. but then I asked some.. if a doctor needs a licence to practice, just like a pastor or a lawyer, what stops a vocational pastor from being licensed as well since it is also a preoccupation like any of the other professions earlier mentioned?.
Someone, a pastor says,
Licensing preachers is a breach of their fundamental human right to free speech.
Every Christian is commanded to preach the gospel.
Now in a conflict between a spiritual law and a law crafted by humans which takes preeminence.
If churches and mosques are mandated to be registered, what can be wrong in requiring those who run those institutions to be licensed as well?
isn’t licensing part of regulation?
The impassioned reply was,
The argument for the registration of churches and mosques is predicated on their being institutions. I agree that institutions need to be held accountable (which is the basis for registering all corporate bodies).
However, insisting that those who run churches and mosques should also be licensed / registered is similar to insisting that people who run companies and NGOS should be registered.
That would appear extremist.
I also don’t think that people need to be registered or licensed before they could be personally held accountable if they are in breach of the law.
I’m of the opinion that this comment is not totally correct. Pastors and imams tend to the spiritual well-being of their followers just like a doctor tends to the physical well-being of his patients.
Just like verbal violence may be more injurious than physical violence, spiritual ministrations can also have more impact on the lives of people more than physical things like doctoring.
If a doctor or an architect is required to be registered as a professional, then any Professional Pastor should also be registered because there’s not much difference between the two.
More importantly, all these professionals have the power to cause damage if they’re not monitoring some way. A situation where Chukwudi or Danladi can just wake up one day, buy a few benches, set up a canopy, get some people to start clapping and call himself / herself a pastor is very worrisome
There needs to be more sanity in the religious arena.