When we talk about issues regarding religion we have to be careful, because it is one of the things that fragments our beliefs, our thoughts and our world at large. Much has been destroyed in this world on the basis of religion. Atheism is a form of religion, as is Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and a horde of thousands of not-so-widely-known doctrines worldwide.
You would have read Ese Walter’s open confession on her affair with the senior pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo. If you haven’t read it, you can find the elaborate story here. Ever since she released the story, the social media has gone agog over it. The matter has been thrown back and forth. Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo has been flogged severely by comments from people who are thoroughly pissed at him. Ese Walter on the other hands has been reprimanded, comforted and even advised to go for ‘psychoanalysis’ as a particular commenter put it. I didn’t intend to talk about this issue, but I have a thing or two to say on the matter.
1. ‘Men of God’ are still men:
However disappointing this may sound, it is sadly true. Being called a pastor does not take the chromosomes in your DNA and mutate you into an angel. A pastor is a title that can be likened to other political titles like Prime Minister, President and Governor. It is an office that you occupy based on your qualifications be it spiritual, academic, political or moral merits. That a ‘man of God’ is alleged to have been involved in a scathing scandal like this does not make him a “fake man of God’. While the Judas was widely known to have betrayed Jesus, his role or deed did not erase his popular office as being one of Jesus 12 disciples. You can’t mention the 12 disciples without mentioning Judas. This did not warrant him ever being called a ‘fake’ disciple. Any acclaimed clergyman can become the subject of a scandal. These people were not born with wings. Discipline is what drives their office and the decisions to be set apart towards the service of God and humanity.
2. ‘Men of God’ have encouraged people:
I have witnessed the lives of a lot of people change positively because they have had contact with a ‘man of God’. Drug addicts have become better people. Poor, homeless and destitute people have been helped. Young children have had their education sponsored by these men of God. The ‘unbridled and carefree tendencies’ of humanity have been somewhat checked by majority of these people. Open allegations like this destroy other people’s beliefs and faith.
3. Ese Walter was not the abused:
This is what I believe. How can you call one week of non-stop sex, abuse. Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. How can she call it abuse when she willingly consented? I am astound by how this confession has become a thing of sympathy. She must have enjoyed whatever she had and wanted more, so she kept going back. Consensual sex is enjoyable.
4. He who is without sin should cast the first stone:
The reason why this is generating so much ire is because he is called a senior pastor of a church. I am forced to wonder if Ese would have made a case on this, if he wasn’t a pastor. If he wasn’t just another rich, married man. I am forced to think about how much she holds marital values and if she had never dated a married man except the pastor. If you’ve never committed fornication before, If you’ve never committed adultery before, if you’ve never cheated on your partner or wife before, cast the first stone.
5. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo abused his office:
If the allegations are true, then one can say that the ‘man of God’ abused his office, the oath he took and the mantle placed on his hand. He can be said to have used the power of the position for the wrong motives. This has a ripple effect on all other people who occupy the same positions all over the world.
6. There is more than meets the eye:
Hey but you only heard a side of the story and you’re quick to judge. Listen to the other side of coin. Are there things Ese isn’t saying? Are there other things that transpired between them that have not been stated in her epistle? This is only how far you can know.
7. This is not a legal matter:
This is not a legal issue at all, except was on the grounds of rape. The only person that is expected to make a legal action is his wife, and that would be a case of filing for divorce on grounds of mutual infidelity. Ese enjoyed it thoroughly and regretted her actions
8. Religious leaders are the victims:
These are tough times for religious leaders all over the world. They have to watch their speech and thoughts all over the world. If you are a religious leader and you oppose same-sex marriage in America, you are seen as a demented opinionist who needs primary schooling on what human rights are. If you are seen wearing a turban on your head, you are closely watched because you are believed to have affiliations with terrorists all over the world. If you own a large church, you are believed to be deceiving people and using their hard-earned more to ‘live large’. The world believes that religious leaders should take the blow and remain silent even if they are innocent.
8. Go and sin no more:
The deed is done. Ese has regretted her actions. The ‘man of God’ involved is getting all the chastisement of his life. Names have been called. It’s time to move on. It’s not time to form a movement. It’s time to move forward for all ministries involved. Ese should move on with her life. The accused should look for ways to amend the damage and move his ministry forward. He will lose members but some will remain with him.
9. Let the institution be:
That the leader of COZA has faltered does not make the church an unholy place to worship. We must filter the institutions from the servants in the institutions and let them resolve their conflict as mature people. That a country has leaders who mismanage its funds does not make the all the citizens of the country corrupt. The international society and media do not understand this fact as well.
10. Wisdom is profitable to direct:
Just in case there’s another Ese Walter out there who is having an affair with a married man or another ‘man of God’, rather than destroying more than you can create, find ways of resolving the issues or have the courage to move on. What becomes of the Monica Lewinsky’s who try to battle the Clinton’s – nothing. The world moves on. You might be a Dominique Strauss-Kahn for a moment but your shame gets erased someday and tables turn. Whistle-blowing is awesome but you should always do it with wisdom. Wisdom is profitable to direct. Don’t be another Edward Snowden.