Fake miracles: South Africa President warns church leaders against using religion to profit from vulnerable

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In a week where South Africans were shocked by the unravelling of staged ‘miracle’ performances, President Cyril Ramaphosa called spiritual leaders to task for mismanaging the power of faith.



The president weighed in after a video clip went viral this week showing Pastor Alph Lukau praying over a man dressed in a white suit in coffin.
While Lukau prayed, the man sat up in the coffin while some onlookers gasped.
Ramaphosa says that South Africans need to work together to get rid of bogus religious leaders.



“Those who are doing things that are completely shocking, of trying to hoodwink the whole nation and saying that someone has been raised from the dead, it is actually bringing the name of the Lord, of God and of churches into disrepute.”
The President warned church leaders against using religion to profit from vulnerable, unsuspecting people after a Johannesburg-based pastor made headlines claiming to have raised a man from the dead on Sunday.
Following the incident, President Ramaphosa believes the government needs to talk to churches and religious leaders to stop them from taking advantage of South Africans.



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“We are now given an opportunity to engage faith-based organisations on how can we work together to ensure we rid our country of bogus religious leaders who are taking our people for a ride, who are doing things that are so shocking and hoodwink people into believing they raised someone from the dead,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said the controversial behaviour of some pastors was bringing the name of the God and of churches into disrepute.



‘HEAVEN TRIP’
Last year, a controversial Johannesburg ‘prophet’ claimed on Facebook that he had visited heaven and took pictures on his Samsung Galaxy smartphone. The pastor then tried to sell the heavenly pictures for $360 (R5,000) each.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities proposed to regulate religious practices following the investigation into the errant behaviour of some churches.



read: ‘Prophet’ Elvis Mbonye: the refined, English-speaking witchdoctor

The commission was concerned about “rogue priests” who masquerade as prophets, coaxing congregants to eat grass or snakes, or exposing them to harmful substances such as the insecticide Doom, as part of “spiritual healing”.

Pastor Lukau’s Alleluia Ministries Church has released a statement denying that the pastor ever claimed to have raised the dead.
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