Religion as Opium

A couple of days ago, on Thursday, 16th February 2017, it was a public holiday in Uganda in honor of the Late Archbishop Janan Luwum (St. Luwum) who is believed to have been murdered in 1977 on the orders of President Idi Amin. It is believed that St. Luwum  was murdered for his moral courage to speak truth to power. He refused to stay silent in the face of evil and refused to condone policies that endorsed brutality.

Twenty years later, Uganda seems to have come full circle, some argue. The brutality may not be exactly the same as that which prevailed in 1977, but brutality there is nevertheless. That many are hungry and are dying of hunger in a country that is gifted by nature, some argue, is exactly because of insufficient moral courage among Uganda’s leaders as whole, and particularly so its religious leaders.

Time and  again religious leaders in Uganda have failed to elevate their moral standing and to draw a line that would have them, as St. Luwum did, on the side of good. Ironically, religion today in Uganda has become a commercial venture.

While many are dying of hunger and are hungry, there is a self-proclaimed ‘man of god’ who has branded rice from the harvest of his commercial farms as ‘holy rice’; which ‘holy rice’ he is selling at 50k shillings per kilogram. Ordinarily, a kilogram of rice is 3.5k shillings. How is this ‘man of god’ allowed to get away with such pure evil?

That many affluent Ugandans can actually afford to pay 50k shillings for a kilogram of rice while many of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen are without food is a clear indication of gross inequality. Policies that allow for such gross inequality to prevail cannot but be categorized as brutal.

That there is money to afford tens of expensive cars and humans for protective convoys for Uganda’s ‘dear leaders’ and there isn’t money to afford sanitary towels for school going girls is the height of immorality, some have pointed out.

How is it that women  in high positions instead demand that public funds be allocated to purchase public helicopters to ease their travel and not for provision of sanitary towels for school going young girls?  How is it that many are out of touch and have lost their humanity? These are the questions that many ordinary Ugandans are asking?

While St. Luwum practiced his faith for the good, the current practice of religion in Uganda is as opium – the ‘you-are-poor-for-you-have-not-prayed-enough’ crap.

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