Die Religion... ist das Opium des Volkes 

Famous words by Karl Marx, German economist and Communist political philosopher and theorist. The original German text was taken his work "in Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" in 1843. This has been translated variously as 'religion is the opiate of the masses', 'religion is the opium of the masses' and, in a version which German scholars prefer 'religion is the opium of the people'. 

The context the phrase appears is this:; "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

For many people in our present day reality, religion provides a safe haven from the tumultuous upheavals of our modern day world; hence, it becomes very disturbing when the place meant for protection and safety becomes a place of exploitation. A place where religious leader display flamboyance and extravagance to continued patronage of their leaking-pocket congragations.
In this piece, Lawyer, writer and women's rights supporter Meg Reuben takes us through the many things wrong with the  present practice of our faith especially the leadership provided by spiritual leaders on one hand, and the role expected of her as a lawyer to speak up against such ills.

I find it an interesting piece and thought to share. This article was first published by the author on her blog

You may question my true religious affiliation. 
Truth is, in order to be taken seriously as an objective new age blogger-slash-creative-writer(kinda)-slash-self-madepersonalitywannabe-slash-everything-else-in-between, you are supposed demanded by society/the world/the universe/the ecosystem to be politically correct. 

Hence, no abject declaration of your faith (if any); no expression of true racial affiliation; no revelation of true sexual affinity. You must be here and there, but neither here nor there at the same time. This is the new “Objective”.
Photo Credits: Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo (Instagram page)

I have done the dance with Religion; caressed it sometimes, and screamed foul, when it held us to ungodly ransom. You would almost perceive me atheist. (Don't be simple). 

Against all expectations of political correctness, let me categorically state this: I believe in Jesus Christ. Big bang theoretical as it may sound… I believe in the creation story. I believe in God’s love; I believe in the Angels and Saints; I believe Noah’s big, big Ark existed, and Joshua made the Sun stand still. And I hope to saunter to Heaven one day.

I also believe in the word of God, and try to observe the Bible’s tenets as much as I can.
Which is the reason, in accordance with 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15, I have not said “Pim!” adjudging any proclaimed man/woman/person/being of God as false. Or “condemning” them. Or questioning the call on their life (even though my brows are perpetually arched as to the spread-red-handkerchief-people-fall-down-and-faint methods of some). 

It is for that God I confess to do His thing on the last day; weed the chaff from the wheat, and fling the chaff accordingly into the sweet, sweet (unquenchable) fire.

That is for my Faith. (Strike 1)

But I am a member of the Bar (not the night one). Not by mistake; by choice. (And God's installation... I believe). It would be disgraceful if all I did was make my kobo-kobo on this earth, and not advocate for what is fair; for what is just, and what is right.

It is in line with this duty that I advocate with all sense of seriousness and urgency that when members of the (charitable) clergy display outrageous opulence and stupendous wealth , the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) - as is obtainable in some other climes - should be empowered to chase seriously to their heels, and invite them in for “the chat”. (Especially in these miserably difficult times. Have you tried pricing shaki and roundabout lately??)

Calm down…listen. Rest your spiritual fighting oars. It is not for me, at least, not today. It is for the devil. I am not he… or she. I am on your side; OUR side. 

Ask yourself: what would Jesus do??

If (with our knowledge of how the most High lived in the Nazarethean times) Jesus was given 200 plots of land for free by the kind Joseph of Arimathea (that should cover the cost of this Porsche…no??) do you (in all candor) believe that our Lord - this same Lord whose heart went out to the hungry congregation - would get his town crier (the ancient day equivalent of instagram) to roam the streets screaming at the top of his (town-crier’s) voice saying: 

Behold ye all! Jerusalem and beyond!!! (Bell rings) The Messiah now holds 200 plots of land to himself. (Bell rings again) His Father rocks! That is grace on a super-duper level. Galilee is the place to be. Peace out!” (Bell rings unceasingly….. till fades)??

I presume those would be antics more readily attributable to the Pharisees; which was why Jesus Himself subjected them to pay Caesar’s taxes.

(I must sound quite incoherent . Forgive me. I attempt to help the community in my head wrap this new age ‘gospel’ around the heads of each of its citizens)

My point: there is a place for blind faith. And there is a place for what is right. If you live by the world’s standards, then you should be held accountable to the world’s standards. 
Photo Credits: Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo (Instagram page)
“But do you know if he has paid his tax before you judge?” you sneer.
(See… I do not enjoy sharing corporate law 'sturvs' with you Nigerians for free. My law education was not for free).
I believe that taxes in Nigeria are (generally) paid either as Personal Income Tax, or Companies Income Tax, or Value Added Tax, or Business Premises Tax (for some states in Nigeria) or Withholding Tax. (Asides the levies and duties here and there. But don't worry... they will not come near this beautiful Porsche).

The awesomeness of our porous taxation system is that these beautiful luxurious objects may not fall into any categories, as they may purely be “charitable donations” to "not-for-profit" (cough! cough!!) organisations, in which case their 'custodians' may escape the purview of taxation.
[I reiterate: I will not touch any anointed.]

It behoves us as a society, to refrain from continuing to deepen the ailment of and hunger for the get-rich-quick syndrome, fueled by representations of ‘magical’ wealth. We owe it to us to ensure that we all are accountable to one another. Thus, when a person has publicly declared their profession as an altruistic and charitable one, in the face of such opulence and flamboyance, the least we can require that is that such wealth be accounted for, and its quota properly contributed to the economy.

I do not have it all worked out, yet (the disadvantage of a midnight rant, versus a leisurely well-planned post). But maybe we should advocate for the “Charities Bill”, demanding that every form of ‘charity’ should be taxed. 

Perhaps, we call it the “Religious Organisations/Persons Taxation Bill”, whereby religious organisations and leaders not covered by the Companies Income Tax Act or the Personal Income Tax Act are somewhat made to account for their incredulous lifestyles, and made to mandatorily contribute their quota to the earth. 

Maybe some National Assembly member who knows the real Jesus will read this, and think along these lines.

Maybe some over-zealous senior FIRS Officer instead will read this, and get so creative in the next Management meeting, that stories of unabashed unaccountable opulence in times of hardship would elicit responses of “ehhhen???” from our children in times to come.

Maybe some fine, young, anointed person – or someone close to them – would read this, and understand that this is not an attack on their Ministry. Or an attack on our God. That they understand the hurt; the immense insensitivity, bordering on sheer unkindness and selfishness, to flamboyantly display such lavishness. They who are supposed to be the altruistic guardians of widows’ mites. When they could be giving the (majority) poor masses the much needed words of motivation that all would be well, and tomorrow would be better, and that we would not be forced to eat their babies.

Or maybe none of the foregoing would happen.

(Maybe the community in my head will finally put off the generator for the night. Blow out the candle. And sleep).

May these pictures continue to haunt us all.


P.s.: My response to what Jesus would do? The Jesus I know, would not do this. Not the pictures. Not this lifestyle. 
My photoDaughter, sister, lawyer, blogger, traveler, dance enthusiast, lover of humour, life, food...and all that's beautiful (inside and out). Meg Reuben is a highly intelligent young lady who believes strong in women's rights and continues to lend her voice in challenging the many ills women suffer in our society.  She blogs via

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  1. Ahahahahahhahaa....schinellooo and the way she plays with words.

  2. JK you can say that again. Witty, Sassy, vivacious.

  3. Awwww...bless!!

    (And I love what you did with the profile)

  4. That was interesting. Thank ou for adding here those details. I am really curious to know more about this story.