Every morning, I see a handful of old ladies, men and at times fairly youngish ladies stealing flowers and leaves and what-not from private gardens in the name of the Lord! I see beautiful buds and blooming flowers being plucked. As I walk around the corner in the wee hours of the morning…quite an unearthly hour for a walk according to my daughter, I only see these silent figures in the dark, lurking around people’s gardens. They tiptoe stealthily, waiting to pounce on that beautiful and flourishing blossom and then offer it as a form of appeasement perhaps?

This morning there was a rather harried owner standing in a small patch of garden space of her ground floor house. Her precious magnolias had been plucked and there was not a single one in sight. She was ranting at the guard who had a comical expression on his face – bordering between interrupted sleep and ignorance. As he continued to scratch his head, she muttered something about people’s lack of manners in just asking instead of slyly stealing. She had a fair point and I had a good mind to tell her about the nepharious activities but was unsure about her reaction.

Many people do not appreciate interference or even advice from strangers and so the next best thing for me to do was draft out an email to the estate manager of my society and list out precautions that could be taken or people could be sensitised about such matters, including things like not throwing garbage from the upper floors! These are basic courtesies that should be followed but are not…

And then we have the other ‘holy’ ones who say if we give them all our money, only then will we have hopes of salvation. Isn’t that baloney? A hand on your shoulder…spare a dime they say…the blessings are all yours…give us some money…and all is forgiven. They may steal all that is yours but apparently your soul is saved!

As kids we were taught that conscience is an open wound; only truth can heal it and so a cold shudder runs through my spine when I see how some people who call themselves spiritual leaders behave. Most of them are rotten and worse than the devil himself. Call this blasphemy if you so wish. I don’t care. They all steal hypocritically in the name of religion to survive. After all, that is their business – their so-called occupation.

I am not referring here to the honest, humble and hardworking ones – which are a rarity in my opinion but the luxury-seeking crooks who are using religion to amass wealth. These men and women don’t want to be called by simple, modest and humble titles but want designations that will awe, subdue and mesmerise their prospective victims. These people are highly-talented, intelligent and skilful.

Their two primary goals are a life of luxury and being hero-worshipped by their docile followers. The leeches have easily found fertile ground within the liberal fraternity whose doctrine does not place any emphasis on repentance and salvation but dwells on euphoria, emotionalism, materialism and the prospect of a life free of problems.

People are being fooled into parting away with their hard-earned money and expensive possessions with promises of an ‘earthly paradise’ as the clever preachers laugh all the way to the bank. The willing victims of this shameless deception are duped into believing that once they ‘plant the seed’ it will germinate and bear fruits in form of a prosperous, blissful, worry-free life.

Have you listened to any recent religious sermons? They are carefully tailored to appeal to the wildest fantasies of the listeners. They are so cleverly delivered that the victims are rendered completely helpless, blinded by the prospect of a ‘heaven on earth’. And in this massive deception education is not a factor at all. Both the illiterate and learned have been innocently swallowing the lies with gratitude. They will shout, clap their hands, whistle, hop up and down and ogle their eyes in sincere ecstasy as they are bombarded with one lie after another as if they are excited at the prospect of salvation.

The cheats will convince their flock that they are giving to God when they are actually financing their luxurious lifestyles and making them wealthier by the day while they remain wallowing in sin. How often do these people beg you to repent or warn you about the ghastly consequences of dying in sin in their sermons?

To ensure a steady flow of money and material donations some of them are cleverly investing part of the booty in magnificent houses of worship and auxiliary infrastructure. They have also opened schools and orphanages, and are giving generously towards charity. Don’t be fooled. It is a smokescreen.

The working class are promised promotion, better jobs with higher pay and job security while the business people want multiplicity and security of their wealth, personal protection and longevity. Seldom is repentance preached for it does not sound attractive in the ears of these groups. The poor, sick, jobless, single and childless are driven into the hands of these deceivers by desperation and the prospect of relief while the working class and business people are spurred by nothing but greed and materialism.

Isn’t it time that we face the truth? It all amounts to stealing… All in the name of religion! Be kind… Be nice… Be compassionate – That will appease all Gods no matter what name he goes by!