PREVIOUSLY on this column, the reasons for the banning of the Universal Church by the state in 2005 were highlighted. It was highlighted that the church was banned for security reasons and the safety of its pastors, members and property.
This article aims to expose the various lies that were perpetuated by various religious leaders here in Zambia concerning the Universal Church’s existence in other countries. Former President Levy Mwanawasa will also be extensively quoted especially in regards to his comments concerning the deportation of Pastor Carlos Barcelos and his colleague.
Following the closure of the church, the massive persecution of its members and then deportation of its pastors, a worldwide outcry and protest was directed to Zambia’s State House from over 200 countries. People sent letters to the President Mwanawasa expressing their disappointment at Government’s closure of the church and deportation of its pastors on accusations that were not proved.
The protest was so great and viable that late President Mwanawasa asked the Universal Church Administrators to help stop the nations from sending the letters of protest to State House. He said “…public perception of the church is still negative, any action to reverse the deportation will lead to the breach of peace and the pastors’ lives maybe in danger as a consequence.”
Once again, we are seeing the reason of the Government’s action against the Universal Church. No Satanism was mentioned either in the closure of the church or deportation of its pastors. At no time did the government or the President say the pastors or the church were Satanists. The President said the perception of those who accused the church was negative.
Therefore the church, its pastors and members suffered the great tribulation of being deregistered, stoned, arrested and deported and had their right to freedom of worship and belonging to an association of their choice including assembly, infringed. All these infringements were due to security reasons.
But you may ask, why is a church able to bring insecurity to the nation that can influence the authorities desire to finish it? The reason is the Bible (See John 11:44-48). When Jesus came healing the sick, baptizing and changing the lives of many people, the Pharisees, teachers of the law and the high priests felt threatened. They wanted to eliminate the LORD. He was a danger to their existence.
The same can be said of some religious leaders in Zamia who are on record as having influenced or were happy at the closure of the Universal Church.
The November 26 2005 looting of the Universal Church properties in Lusaka were sparked by a rumour that the church was Satanic. A damaging program was earlier aired on ZNBC’s Radio One ‘Ilyashi lya pano Isonde’ and ‘Kodi Muziwa?’ in which the presenters called on people to reject the church because it was sacrificing people. Some pastors were called to that program and spoke terrible things about the Universal church. A Chinese truck that overturned at that sharp junction of Lumumba and Kafue Road on November 20 2005 was highlighted by the ‘Ilyashi lya pano Isonde’ presenter as having been caused to sacrifice people for the opening of the Universal Church Cathedral.
The following Saturday on November 26, a mob of street kids stormed the Universal church premises at Lusaka’s 2Oth Century Building along Katunjira Road near Kulima Tower bus station, put fire on the banners displayed in the foyer and caused a great commotion in the city centre. They claimed that there were two naked people in the church premises painted in white!
They were led by Ormond Musonda, a ZNBC presenter and pastor of a local church who claimed on ZNBC News that he had seen two naked people painted in white at the church and they were locked up in a room (until today, only Mr Musonda’s eyes— out of the thousands of people who flocked the 20th Century building— have seen those naked people). That was a week before the inauguration of the Cathedral of faith near Kafue Round About. Later on that day, the mob went down to Kanyama at the Universal church branch where they shared the church furniture and iron sheets before they demolished the entire building. The looting continued till late in the night.
The days that followed were harsh for all Universal church members. On Wednesday November 30, the Universal church was deregistered. Hundreds of members faced the most hostile treatment from relatives, workmates, school mates and neighbours. Others were fired from jobs, disowned by relatives, evicted from homes, jeered on the streets and stoned.
Some religious leaders in the country came together to condemn the Universal Church and accused it of Satanism with the church mother bodies in the forefront of hailing its ban.
On a live Radio Qfm program on Wednesday November 30 2005, a Lusaka based cleric Pastor Chiluba claimed that the Universal Church was also banned in other countries in Africa because of its Satanic background adding that Zambians must also reject it. He accused the church of many vices that angered many people.
Look out for this column next week as we continue looking at the truth about the Universal Church. We also respond to lies that the Universal Church was also banned in other countries.
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