Nigerian Christians desiring to wed someone of a different religion are being married en masse by fake pastors, the Christian Association of America (CAN) reported Monday.
CAN's Kaduna State chapter said that people posing as pastors are marrying couples without premarital counseling, HIV testing, and other routine investigations.
In addition, the chapter's secretary, Rev. Sunday Ibrahim, said that marrying people of different religions is not traditional Christian practice.
"To us, it is deceit and an imposition of Christian clergy, and for the avoidance of doubt, there is no inter-religious wedding in Christianity, it is unbiblical and a politicised charade aimed at smearing Christians and their faith," he told All Africa.
"There are scriptural bases for marriage in Christianity ranging from adhering to strict principles to marriage counselling and cross-checking to ensure absolute sincerity and honesty."
There are also health repercussions for marrying individuals without proper screenings. Nigeria has the second highest annual rate of new HIV infections in the world.
"There are... recent trends that have to do with checking the health status of prospective couples and other issues which most churches have specialists that handle. Based on these, we hereby dissociate ourselves and Christian pastors from the proposed mass wedding," Ibrahim said.
CAN reportedly sent letters to Christian churches, warning them and their congregants about the unethical practice. They also called for the imposters to stop their activity.
"Our earlier position stands, count us out of inter-religious mass weddings," Ibrahim announced. "It is mischievous and insensitive against pressing issues that demand urgent attention from government and the people as well." he said.
Ibrahim called the mass weddings a distraction from the real issue at work – persecution of Nigeria's Christians. The Boko Haram terrorist group has targeted churches and Christian schools in deadly attacks and kidnappings.
"If there is anything that government needs to focus on, it is to bring an end to the killings and violence in the state," he said.