The Church might lose its moral authority

Posted: December 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
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By NYONGESA B. LEMMY
Posted Friday, June 25 2010 at 16:54

The Church has been accused of political complicity and acts of confrontation in both the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and in the holocaust in Germany during the World War II.

It is strange that in Rwanda, a country where 62 per cent of the population is Catholic and over 80 per cent are Christians, people killed each other the same way they did in ancient pagan Rome.

There is no doubt that throughout the history of Rwanda, church leaders have had ties with political power.

The Church was also involved in the policy of ethnic division, which degenerated into ethnic hatred.

Tom Ndahiro Tom, a Rwandan human rights commissioner, wrote about the Church and the genocide in Rwanda. He had evidence that it was the only institution that was involved in all the stages of genocide.

He wrote to underscore the view that the Church establishment was instrumental in manipulating ethnic identities and creating divisions between Hutus and Tutsis.

Schools and seminaries helped disseminate ethnic theories, and from 1959 these were angled towards keeping the Hutus in power. Instead of speaking out against discrimination and injustice, the Church became complicit with the political regime.

Generally, in Rwanda, the leadership of the Christian churches, especially that of the Catholic Church, played a central role in the creation and furtherance of ethnic ideology.

Church authorities contributed to the spread of ethnic theories mainly through the schools and seminaries over which they exercised control.

However, in June 1996 some honest Christians met in London and declared: “The Church is sick. The historical roots of this sickness lie in part with the ‘mother churches.’ She is facing the most serious crisis in her history.

“The Church has failed in her mission, and lost her credibility, particularly since the genocide in Rwanda. She needs to repent before God and Rwandan society, and seek healing from God.”

Currently, more than 50 churches in Rwanda have been turned into museums, but instead of viewing artifacts celebrating life, visitors come here to stare at bones.

THESE BONE MUSEUMS ARE A SILENT indictment against many clergymen who were involved in the genocide, in which 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were put to death in just 100 days – a faster killing rate than that achieved by the Nazis in Germany.

The Church in Kenya has failed in its moral duty to condemn or guide political leaders and the entire nation in curbing tendencies towards civil strife.

By virtue of its proclaimed aim of spiritual guidance, the Church should play a more significant role in the prevention of repeat crimes against humanity as witnessed in 2008.

The main allegation concerning the Church is that it has switched its allegiance from the pre-reform momentum of the 1980s and 1990s to the current anti-reform stance.

In such a position, it risks assisting the creation of deeper rifts among Kenyans, and it runs a danger of propelling anti-reform leaders to the pinnacle of power.

The Church has become the vassal of the secular powers instead of acting freely to speak with sincerity and courage when it proves necessary.

In order to succeed in its mission of uniting people, the Church must examine its attitudes, practices, and policies that are encouraging divisions among Kenyans.

Instead of the Church negatively highlighting some contentions issues in the proposed harmonised draft constitution, some of which can have multiple interpretation depending on how one wants to look them, it should pray for the nation and try to restore its tainted credibility by contributing to the process of justice.

The Church should use its moral superiority to calm down the rising tension in the nation instead of fuelling it through controversial press releases such as one published in a local daily on June 22, 2010.

– Nyongesa B. Lemmy is a member, Architectural Association of Kenya

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/The%20Church%20might%20lose%20its%20moral%20authority/-/440808/946588/-/view/printVersion/-/8xilwxz/-/index.html

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