Analysis

Religious Organisations Have A Moral Obligation To Take Care Of their Members’ Welfare

When a family is in distress, say it has run out of food and needing help, the first responders after relatives should be the community representatives and the family’s church representatives.
24 Aug 2020 17:29
Religious Organisations Have A Moral Obligation To Take Care Of their Members’ Welfare

Analysis:

An important stakeholder in this COVID-19 crisis that we tend to forget is faith groups.

It is a church, temple or mosque’s moral responsibility to look after both the temporal and spiritual welfare of its members, particularly in a crisis or an emergency.

If it is fulfilling it, the faith group would have an up to date record of all its members and how they are coping.

It would mobilise its forces to take care of the needy, the poor, sick or otherwise afflicted. The church should make sure its members have the basic necessities of life, proper housing,  food, water, electricity, transport and health and medical care.

For Christian churches, they can find their guide in the Book of James in the New Testament of the Holy Bible (King James edition). In chapter 1 verse 27, it says: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Basically it is talking about the vulnerable and the less fortunate. They include those breadwinners who have lost their jobs without their fault because of COVID-19 and their families.

In many of these churches, members make donations to church funds. The donations are a form of a levy that members voluntarily pay. They are seen as a measure of their faith. The funds are used for a variety of purposes, including paying for ministers and pastors salaries and expenses. These funds are non-taxable because the faith groups are registered as non-profit, charitable organisations.

But some churches operate businesses, which are separately set up like any other business.

It would be interesting to see how many churches have a welfare programme for its members.

When a family is in distress, say it has run out of food and needing help, the first responders after relatives should be the community representatives and the family’s church representatives.

Many times people look to the Government first.  That should be the last resort.

If close family relatives cannot help then the church should step in and see how it can help.  No family should go hungry during this crisis. If the church resources are fully stretched then they can turn to the Government.

If churches are well organised, as they should, they should be able to identify their members who need help and provide the urgent and necessary assistance by mobilising their membership. There may be members who are well to do and are in a position to help. It’s a matter of identifying resources and coordinating assistance.

This would also be an ideal teaching moment. Members must learn the important principle of self-reliance. Any help provided should be designed to assistant the recipients to become self-reliant.

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