Robbing Humans... to pay Religion

Friday, June 17, 2016

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I found myself conflicted yesterday.

(I promise… I don’t look for the drama. The drama seeks me out)

I was trying out new work-out venues. I visited a particular aerobics studio after work last week, and asked for the changing room.

(I had only visited there on a weekend. This was my first time on a weekday)

I was pointed to a particular door.

 I turned the door knob; a lady was sprawled in the middle of the room. 


I stepped back and asked again for the changing room.

(Perhaps, they … thought I say ‘praying’ room)

I was pointed there; again.

I turned the door knob once more. This person was still totally sprawled in a mantis position.


In the CHANGING room.      

(Understand the dilemma: it was a pretty small space; I was already 20 minutes late for a 1 hour aerobics class)

Should I wait a little more out of “courtesy” , and risk aerobics class being over by the time she was done communicating with her deity; or, do I rather risk sudden lightning striking me, for daring to strip in the same enclosed space with an unseen spirit(s)?

I remembered the many, many things niceties of life members of the big-sized ministry have to suffer. The many, many sacrifices they have to make…

-      Insufficient dresses at the dress store for big sizes;
-   Being stuck with ‘boyfriend’s’ shirts rather than exhibit the tubes of glory nature has bestowed on them;
-    The coy (but pain-filled) “No thank you”s at parties, rather than giving in to the “Yes! Oh yes!!” their souls longed to express;

Etcetera, etcetera.

I have made some of these sacrifices. I have been the polite ‘No’er.

My sacrifices were not going to be sabotaged this day. The gods  would have to deal.

So I braved the potential lightning; I tiptoed around the still fervently praying person, squeezed myself into a corner of the room, began getting out of the work clothes, and into my work-out attire.

(The story is almost over. Patience)

Mid-change, prayers were finished. I was still squeezed into my tiny corner. I smiled, expectant of the brief apology for the inconvenience.

But, I met the most annoyed looking scowl I had seen in a long time from the prayer warrior, who rolled up her praying apparatus without a word, and stormed out of the room.

Or, maybe ‘attempted to storm’ out of the room; considering the door was jammed, and I had to help open the door. (Who says karma is a myth?)


I should just stop writing already. You reading this understand this; 

(My irritation…my frustration)

Or do you not?

My problem with the practice of religion in this part of the world; the accompanying sense of entitlement and intolerance. That selfish monster its practitioners allow to possess them.

As with other rights, all over the world, it is understood that your right to do a thing stops where my right starts.

For example, your right to singing stops at my right to not be mentally traumatized by horrendous noise; human made or otherwise.

Your right to believing in something should stop at my right to believing in a different thing, or believing in nothing at all.

Not in Nigeria.

You are a witch, an infidel, a demon, if you attempt to stand in the way of another’s ‘worship’. Even if the worship threatens the fabrics of your sanity.

Which is why speakers would blare at the weirdest times of the night, when your sleep motion is set to change gears; the message of which is lost somewhere between the confusing words of the preacher and the subconscious indignation of the intended audience.

I am not going to get started on the recent killings and assault in the name of religion. Enough publicity has been given them by the media. Enough lip-service has equally been given by the people in power.

For all my activism and enlightenment, I feel helpless; that this madness may continue. And there is absolutely nothing I can do.

Yes, I can write and point fingers at the government to take more pro-active steps to ensuring the protection of citizens. But ultimately, it is humans who individually and jointly perpetuate the madness. Government in: Government out.

It is this knowledge that causes me to quicken my steps on certain days of the week; to hold my pashmina a little tighter; to refrain from calling out the thieving fish merchant in the market (who robs me in the guise of selling fish) what he is: Thief.

Common-sense…no, survival instincts kick-in.

You see, it is my hope that my mother (eventually) gets her long-desired omugwo. In split-seconds, I quickly deduce that my words may be twisted to have been against a most revered prophet. My busy mind quickly flitters on my last thoughts being caught between my mother’s unfulfilled wish, and the wasted  bowls of okro soup in my freezer.

Before being reduced to charred remains, or Ned Stark.

Like I said, common sense survival instincts kick-in. I bite my tongue, and smile, with a curse under my breath. (Wisdom is choosing one’s battles)

So I might feel helpless against the large-scale sense of entitlement and lack of mutual consideration that the practice of religion in our country has birthed. I might even go against my very nature of unfiltered speech, in order to survive summary death.

But I’ll be darned if I let anyone usurp space meant for dressing/undressing, and turn same into ‘holy’ ground.

Religion has its place and space. Let humans have theirs.


Ps: I do not have a problem with Religion. I have a problem with its practice; when expressed inconsiderate of other humans.

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  1. Hello Chinelo:

    I enjoyed reading this.

    The reactions kept changing; I laughed, nodded in approval, cringed at your guts to thread the controversial territory of religion and then it ended with "this girl like wahala sha" :-)

    You see, the world has left men to measure and determine the extent of their rights over those of other people. Every man with his own ruler fa! There can never be respect for the other person's rights as long as it is subject to 'my' interpretation where my rights end or begin.

    I am thinking that this justifies the praying person's irritation but what do I know?

  2. Mmmm!!! Words right outta my lips. I once had a church bring out their speakers during their vigil. *seriously rollingmyeyes* and my room was facing d speakers.I chose not to let d devil possess me(cos I had a lot of evil thot 2do).but as it is,we filed a complaint against dem, and who says the law doesn't work. Dey were mandated to return d loudspeaker into their church

  3. Hahahahahahhahahahhahaa.....shinelo

  4. Hahahahahahhahahahhahaa.....shinelo

  5. It's actually an African factor. Always placing religion above everything but it still doesn't change who we are for good. That's why you'd find at least a religious place of worship in every street in Nigeria filled with congregation, speakers blaring not considering those it affects with hearts of the people still as dark as a pot.

    Directly adjacent my house is a church on the right and a mosque on the left, the noise that comes out of their speakers daily is deafening and i'm not even talking about the inconveniences the regular all weekend vigils causes.

    I can only imagine the reaction of the lady when she finished her prayers. LOOL. In her mind, she'd be like who's this witch that doesn't respect God. The maudlin way gloaters go about their religion and the way they expect everyone to bide by it is crazy.

    In other news, Schinnel you remind me of the character "Ifemelu" in chimamanda Adichie's "Americanah"... you have similar characteristics. Maybe it's just me.

    The wittiness with which you tell your story, always amazing to read.

  6. My dear, its an African thing o. Churches placing speakers outside their walls and are surrounded by residential houses, this gets me mad.

    I cud understand your pain. Its also about the individual and how they communicate with their creator.... ... so much can be said about this topic.

    Let the change start from us thats my conclusion. Have a swell time sweets