The Bishop Theologian of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Rt. Rev’d Prof. Dapo Asaju has warned the Clergy not to turn Permanent Voter’s Card to a prerequisite for church members to worship God.
He made this known in a message he sent to the house of bishops of the Church of Nigeria over the video of Bishop and Clergy of an an Anglican Diocese, making Voters Card a Precondition to Church attendance and participation in Eucharist.
My attention as Bishop Theologian, was drawn to a video recording circulating in the Social Media, of one of our revered Bishops, with his Clergy, all displaying their Voters Registration Cards in zeal for maximum Participation in the forthcoming elections.
Therein, they made vows/ affirmations, as led by the Bishop, that as from August 2022, possession and presentation of Voters Cards will be required for any member of the parishes in the Diocese to be allowed entry into the church for worship, neither will they be allowed to partake in the Holy Communion.
This action of setting political and civic requirements for Congregants’ and Communicants’ in worship, is unprecedented in the Anglican Communion, to the best of my knowledge.
On no account other than spiritual, should any member of the Body of Christ be denied access into God’s House of worship unless they had been ex-communicated. Neither should Legitimate Communicants be denied participation in the Holy Eucharist unless they have been found ineligible for canonical reasons.
We cannot for political reasons disturb our spiritual obligations to our members for reasons of political expediency. I strongly advice that we as fathers resist the temptation to overreact over citizens’ apparent apathy towards the complex and unjust Nigerian political situation. We can only pray and encourage them. We cannot violate people’s fundamental rights of choice of action neither should we prevent anybody from worshipping God because of their not possessing Voter’s Cards.
If care is not taken, we run the risk of losing many more faithful members to other churches because of such overreaction .I plead that we maintain our traditional sober disposition and culture while intervening in political matters in this Nigeria.
This is my personal opinion and admonition please.
May God bless and protect us all in Jesus’ name. Amen.