WHAT can the State do when a sane adult is made to buy an orange fruit for $20 in the belief that they will receive some mythical blessing in return? What can the State do when an adult is made to buy a sticker and some bottled oil for a ridiculous amount in the belief that the sticker would protect them? What can the State do when a person who endured four agonising years in university allows the tearing down of their degree certificate because of religious belief?

Over the last few years, we beheld religious abuse of unmitigated proportions from sects that deny congregants basic rights; leaders who rape and sexually abuse women. We have even heard of homosexual abuse by supposed priests. The result has been that the State has been at a loss whether or not to interfere with religious affairs.

Even following my last instalment on the issue of child-marriages rampant in Marange, some, in response, contend that the State must move in to ban the sects as opposed to dithering for political expediency. Most people who wrote me believe political convenience explains why the practices in Marange have continued unrestrained for decades. There have been calls against some popular charismatic movements where people have been made to buy a common brick for $10 because “it has been anointed.”

Most people have even given away things of immense value like vehicles with promises of blessings and some of the matters have ended up in the courts. Just a few days ago, one prophet was roundly condemned for selling ‘anointed pens’ to students sitting for their final exams. The question that has featured prominently relates to whether or not to ban those practicing religious abuse.

Now, as much as sober considerations of some religious groups reveal outright abuse and manipulation, the point must be made that the call to ban is profoundly uncalled for. There is a fine line between religious acts and religious foolishness. State should not have any role in regulating people’s religious beliefs as we all know where this has led, especially in the Dark Ages.

It always turns out ugly when the State gets in the way of religion. It is a throwback to the Dark Ages. We have all seen Christians being butchered to death in the Middle East where the States enforce the preferred religion of Islam. A woman currently faces the hangman’s noose in Egypt for marrying a Christian. Where the State prefers a particular brand of religion over another the consequences have always been fatal.

Imagine if a government would be pro-atheism, what would happen to a plethora of religious groups. It is in this regard that we must not confuse religion with criminality. It is criminality which the State can and should deal with, not religious acts even if such acts be perceptibly foolish. The state should, by all means, move in with its full apparatus and apprehend perpetrators of criminal acts.

A case in point is the child-brides practice in Marange, which should be properly called sexual abuse of children. The acts in Marange are outright criminal. A twelve year old belongs in school and deserves protection Under the Children’s Protection Act. The apostolic sect is engaging in a criminal practice and the State is within its mandate to act.

Likewise, we have had cases of pervert prophets who indecently assault and even rape women congregants; these are classic criminal and not religious acts. Criminality should be treated separately from religion. There is little that can be done about ‘religious foolishness.’ Surely, what can be done about thousands of people who queue to buy a wrist band to ‘protect’ them when the prophet himself is actually protected by bodyguards? What can the State really do when a normal adult is made to buy a common brick for $20?

Can the State do much when one gives their entire servings to a prophet because they have been promised of a tenfold harvest? Evidently, this is religious foolishness which the State can do little about; there is no remedy for people who choose to be duped by pretentious con prophets and vultures that create cults. Surely, if an entire church believes that a pastor should first be intimate with the bridegroom as was practiced in one church whose leader is now jailed; can the State really move in?

There should be a fine distinction between religious acts and criminal acts. It remains unfortunate that some become willing victims in their abuse because they have not taken it upon themselves to study the Bible. Absurd as religious acts maybe; it is only an act of criminality that can be regulated not religious beliefs.

If a sect denies children their right to an education, then clearly there is a constitutional violation of children’s right to an education and the law can move in. This is detached from an adult who goes on to burn their drivers licence because of sect doctrine.

Indeed the State has no role in religious affairs and the only thing that Christians of goodwill can do is to keep on scripturally exposing the deception rife in the world today.

Remember this is the Last Hour.