Collaborate with State only if you are ready to lose believers, Gen Sejusa tells church leaders
POLITICS | Cavorting with the State in the name of taxes or tithe will only cost the church its believers, Gen David Sejusa has said.
The former coordinator of intelligence agencies and erstwhile comrade turned foe of President Museveni, was responding to recent comment by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga that the government should tithe salaries of Christians on behalf of the chruch since many of them no longer give to church.
In a series of tweets, Gen Sejusa warned that such a move could backfire as believers would feel forced and since the target would be Christians, those who feel aggrieved would consider abandoning the faith.
Recently, Lwanga caused public stir when he announced that the Catholic Church in Uganda is considering compelling the central government to embark on the compulsory deduction of the 10% tithe from their monthly salaries from Catholic faithful.
Lwanga made the remarks while addressing congregants at Lubaga Cathedral, where he raised concerns over the failure by many Catholics, who have been found of ‘cheating’ God by abdicating their religious role to pay the tithe, saying this has slowed pace at which the Church carries out its work.
In his summon, Lwanga was quoted as saying that some Catholics lie to God that they pay church tithe off their monthly salaries and at the time of mass, Catholics just pick whatever they get from their pockets and give in yet the tithe the Bible stipulates is 10% of their monthly salary.
He furthered his argument by citing an example in Germany where the Government takes the responsibility of collecting the church’s monthly tithe from salaries and hands it to respective Catholic Church leaders.
Lwanga’s proposal was met with a lot of public criticism and saw one guest on NTV Men who goes by the names Pyepar Faisal who remarked that, “The church will one day ask the state to enforce Sunday service mass attendance. It has started with tithe.”
Sejusa draws from Europe
Sejusa responded to the tweet noting, “As in Europe, in Germany which levies 9% of annual income tax. Result, Last year alone, Shs700,000 Catholics left the church! Actually 600 catholic churches have closed! Collaborate with state at own peril.”
The former bush war General’s remarks come at a time when President Yoweri Museveni pledged Shs500M to support the construction of All Saints Cathedral on Sunday and handed the church leadership Shs50M cash pending completion of the balance.
However, Lwanga isn’t the first man of God to find himself in the eye of the storm over tithe remarks.
In February 2018, Pastor Robert Kayanja of the Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral, asked President Museveni to consider allocating 10% of government’s annual budget to the Church as a tithe offering to God saying this would be critical at putting an end to the country’s perennial dependence on other countries and world bodies for development.
Kayanja asked to have the 10% national budget placed in the hands of President Museveni to hand it to his church, “because he is a believer and most trusted in the country to carry out the biblical duties.
“There is a blessing that comes to people when they tithe. Israel has survived on that. You (Museveni) have given much, such as cars to bishops, you have financed many church projects and…you have opened up more churches than any other president. But now there is much more, when resources are given to any leader for the purposes of God. Our 10% as a nation if given to God, the remaining 90% will do much more,” Kayanja said at the time.
The 2018/2019 National Budget is worth Shs32,567.4 tillion and if Government was to take up the advice of Kayanja, that would require it to set aside about Shs3.2 billion and with Works and Transport sector having walked away with Shs4.7 trillion, their budget accounted for 16% of the budget.
This would mean that the church would earn more money from Government compared to critically funded sectors like; Education Shs2,776.53 trillion, Health Shs1.714,26, Security Shs1,353,10 trillion and Energy Shs2,575,83 trillion.