While I am captivated by Ejike's manicured and savvy presentation of view points. I am totally disappointed by the content of the opinion. First of all, there is no conclusive study which shows that the impediment of economic progress in black race stems from the financial investment in Churches or that the equal investment on Churches if geared towards the economic goal alone could have putting them on equal footings with other races. If blacks lacked strong financial and economic foundation but have diverted all other resources into spiritual foundation, then what's wrong with it and who are we to judge? How can we determine that economic stability is far much better than spiritual stability?

If folks are willing to spend millions of Naira or dollars to building Churches, what's wrong with it, is it not their money? After all, King Solomon spent fortune to complete the Temple of Jerusalem which was destroyed by the Babylonian troops under King Nebuchadnezzar in 900 B.C., and that Temple in today's value worth more than a billion dollars according to the historians. If such fantastic monument could be set up then in the name of God in spite of the level of poverty then, therefore, why worry about building ten square foot of Churches in comparison with what King Solomon had built more than four thousand years ago?

You are a strong advocate of building modern Hospitals, banks, paving roads and other multi infrastructures over building modern structures of worship but have forgotten that those givers and worshipers are people of faith. In their mind-set, they should not give to God crumbs and worship him in the shanty buildings and for anyone to suggest or subject them to doing so will be an infringement into their freedom of worship. What if they decide to invest their last penny to their Churches? That is their money, their faith and prerogative. All roads did not lead to economic and material things alone.

There is no doubt; economic stability is a driven engine that propels bread and butter into the global family tables. But Church plays the role of spiritual medication that heals the wounds of both past and present. It acts as glue that holds family together in a mutual and spiritual bondage. To diminish the role of Church in our society today is an indirect way of expelling God in our midst. 

The significance of Church even goes beyond human imagination as Paul amplified in the holy book of EPHESIANS. Wives should submit to husbands while husbands should love wives as Christ loved the Church Ephesians 5:22-28.

Not withstanding the above stated case: many top decisions been made that uttered the way of our lives today were been made by people with strong Christian backgrounds and have made those decisions based on their religious convictions. Lincoln for example: his Emancipation proclamation that ends the Constitutional rights to own slaves and his zeal to use the Union Army to crush the Confederate troops during the civil war of 1860's; a decisive move that put an end to slavery in United States was based on his religious conviction that "man's inhumanity to man is evil". 

William Wilberforce: his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1785 had uttered his political approach to a position of strict Christian morality. His eloquence and charming speech of 1789 in the British House of Commons gave way to the final abolition of slavery in Britain and West Indies.

Rev. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech in Washington D.C that hastened the Civil Rights movement in United States and eventually forced the Congress to pass the 1964 and 1965 Civil rights act that lifted the disenfranchisement against the Negroes.

In South Africa, we all observed the significant role played by the Anglican Bishop, Desmond Tutu to dismantle the apartheid regime in South Africa. I couldn't tell how many trips he has made to United States and how many times he testified in the US Congress to slam sanction against the apartheid institution in South Africa.

Even President Kennedy would testify that he drew a conclusion from the scripture which condemned pride as a way of life during his confrontation with the then Soviet Leader, Chairman Khrushchev during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Had he not swallowed his pride says the President, his approach with Khrushchev could have been different and the out come could have triggered the nuclear World war three.

The role played by Church in our society is quite obvious and could be felt by even the blinds. The framers of constitution were not stupid when they separated Church and State and at the same time made the Church a tax free entity.

If very few of the spiritual leaders for their own selfish means decides to mishandle the money entrusted to them by their congregations or dupe them because they have no way of knowing, leave them alone, they will give the account of their stewardship down the road.

I am in no way defending the actions of few Churches and its functionaries who chooses go astray or protecting those who drive Rolls-Royce or SUVs to the Church and at the same time, am not going to advocate the financial swap of building banks and colossal investments over building Churches. 

The question I have for Ejike is this: "are our beliefs, principles and ways of doing things strong enough to accommodate other people's faith and way of life?"

I believe, "the faith in religion and construction of mega Churches is an art of will and personal commitment embedded in individual free will and such rights and privileges should not be trampled in any form or shape by those who felt repugnant about the movement, unless those rights has proven to have created enormous danger to the public at large."

To diminish the role of Church and in our society and the blatant indictment of Church as the creator of human misery to me sounds more like a political demagoguery that lacked common sense and reasoning.

Isaac Ike