HARARE - Revelations by medical experts that many people are being misled by church leaders including pastors and fly-by-night prophets to forego medically proven drugs and rely on faith alone are really saddening.We believe that the church is there to provide the moral compass to the person and the spiritual food to the soul.
We are aware of the importance of religion in any setting and we are thus disturbed by some church leaders who convince their followers to abscond their medication.
True, Zimbabwe is a deeply religious nation and whenever misfortune visits many tend to visit traditional doctors, prophets and other soothsayers, but these people should not abuse their roles to mislead their desperate and often gullible followers.
We are obviously worried that the fight against diseases such as cancer and HIV/Aids are being hampered by the advent of church leaders who are misleading their sick followers and we would like to call upon the powers that be to install mechanisms that guard against such practices which border on criminality.
It is worrying that instead of encouraging people to visit medical centres when sick, most faith-based Pentecostal churches are undermining their sick congregants’ survival chances by using their influence to keep them away from time-tested and scientifically validated medical services.
We call upon the church to work hand in glove with medical experts for the two must ever be complementary and never opposed.
Deaths caused by the simple and annoying reasons that a person would have postponed seeking medical management in the warped belief that church leaders would heal them are indeed unfortunate and regrettable.
It is trite that delaying getting medical attention would only result in the spread of disease and those culpable should be made to pay.
This is however, not to say that all the clergy is misleading its brood, in fact we are aware of other church leaders who actually encourage their followers to seek medical attention and that is refreshing.
Popular preachers, Walter Magaya and Emmanuel Makandiwa do encourage their followers to visit doctors.
All churches must persuade their members to seek timeous medical attention and those that resist such must be punished because they not only put the lives of their congregants in danger but of the whole nation, especially if the disease is commutable.
While some church leaders have claimed to cure diseases such as HIV/Aids, it is scientifically possible that the virus can even reach undetectable levels, meaning that it will be in the body and some then claim that they would have cured those inflicted.