TRIMMING THE FINANCIAL WINGS OF THE RELIGIOUS BODIES

Someone says,

Organised Religion needs to be more organized.

Let’s start with financial (sources & uses) transparency.

And that’s when the debate started!

Someone wondered out aloud,

Does the source of money taint the money itself?

Now, it is not just humongous money that necessarily could be tainted.

If you don’t want dubious money in places of worship, those places will simply become extinct. You can’t organize anything without money.

That vulcanizer who overcharged the car owner, the mechanic who cheated on parts, they all drop money in the offering basket like the Yahoo Boy who just ‘hammered’ and offered to install split unit air_conditioning throughout the worship building.

So, are we going to be investigating the source of all those?

Best bet.. keep preaching holiness and uprightness, and hope the attendees embrace the strait and narrow path. Forget pondering on the source of their money… it is an exercise in impractical futility.

The uses to which funds are put can easily be tracked, but tracking the source of funds ? By the church / mosque?

Someone chipped in,

I think you made a valid point but there are those we ourselves can identify as looters e.g Politicians, yahoo boiz, etc. Should religious leaders still play dumb even when they know?

Good point, but then,

Legally, you can not assume anyone has made his money illegitimately, without proof.
Without this proof, you can only leave things to God.

Note that assumptions can also be wrong.

The religious organizations are not involved in juridical matters. The law enforcers and prosecutors are.

So, the Pastor who has NO PROOF that the fat cheque someone just offered is from some clandestine business deals can not really do anything about this. And if he receives that donation, he has not erred.

And like I said earlier,most of us are crooked. The big crook gets a mention, but how clean is the average poorer Joe in the street?

And the argumentum ad hominem:

Commot jare

Why use your creativity to provide “crooked explanation” like the ones here? A Pastor/Imam receives regular contribution of Nmillions from a police DPO and he does not think he has a divine duty to question enquire about the source?

Or a 29-year old without a known business enterprise builds and maintain a church and you don’t think God will question you as a Bishop in that church?

Pleaseeeeee!!!

Anyway, what I’m advocating isn’t even the moral self-compliance but for Government to do its job of bringing sanity by creating proper statutory framework for managing these religious organizations as non-for-profit/charities and this should include the duties of regulating, supervising and auditing their sources and uses of funds.

The bulldog still holds on to his view , this:

Churches are not enterprises. Are you advocating taxation of religious organizations too? Once government starts interfering in religious matters, you could he opening a can of religious worms

I know a pastor who has never used a car in his life. His first car, bought recently was a Hyundai Elantra, new. From afar, you would wonder how he was able to buy this car suddenly.

Well, he got the money from a modified form of MMM. Just saying, the pastor or Imam can’t jump to conclusions based on purely circumstantial evidence.

The advocates for more stringent regulatory framework for the religious organization, rounded the discourse up this:

Whether the imam/pastor questions the source of the offering made to his mosque/church, they should be made to disclose all donations they receive.

They should also report how they are spending their funds. We must not forget that what they are doing has serious implications for not just their members but the general public.

Policing them should include thorough auditing of their accounts. Any mosque or church that does not accept this should not be allowed to operate.

Churches and mosques owe their existence to licences issued them by the corporate Affairs Commission.

While companies operate under the guide of Companies and allied matters Act (as ammended), voluntary agencies such as churches operate under the guide of NPO- non profit orgs. By same law, they ought to submit their financials to FRC-Financial reporting council for scruitiny periodically.

Outside Nig, voluntary agencies including churches do not operate freely. The laws guiding them are held in high esteem but in Nigeria, political expediency and mere sentiments are relegating the strict implementation of our laws. So unfortunate

.


All said and done, I think all these are mostly ‘mere grammatical gymnastics’.

Running religious bodies like companies in Nigeria? Not damned likely.

Didn’t we highlight the critical role of religion in society and the fact that Law Is Often Subservient To Religion?

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