Church stand on politics smacks of hypocrisy
Posted Friday, June 29 2012 at 18:34
The prayer rallies have ceased, thank God, and politicians have resumed campaigning in the market place looking for votes, popularity and sympathy.
The egos and bruises of the ICC Two have been massaged but hardly healed. The intercessions and blessings have not removed the threat of trials— only a miracle could have prevented that.
The public too have begun to accept that The Hague process is unavoidable, confirmed by the fact that the promised collection of millions of signatures in support of the accused never got off the ground.
But what of the churches that hosted the prayer rallies and the ethnic alliance meetings in Eldoret and Limuru?
Have they learned anything from those events that brought shame and disgust to their congregations? Have faith leaders developed a charter for elections that would guide their faithful in a consistent and fair manner?
Archbishop Lele and his eighty priests in Mombasa were the first to categorically state that they would neither host prayer rallies nor allow their facilities to be used for promoting divisive ethnic groupings.
However, when the Catholic Bishops issued a joint pastoral letter after Easter entitled ‘Let Light Shine out of Darkness’ they spoke on many issues of concern but gave no clear guidelines on how to deal with politicians who hijack houses of worship and give large donations to harambees.
That was regrettable. All the more so when we recall that Prof George Saitoti and Orwa Ojodeh were headed to a fund raising event in Homa Bay Catholic Diocese when they met their maker.
Churches are silently saying that politicians are welcome if they come with large amounts of money and some candidates and parties are more welcome than others. In the process they are compromising their integrity, independence and mission.
The Anglican head Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said they would not accept any donations from politicians unless they can verify the source of the funds. But how realistic is such a proposal?
The Seventh Day Adventists have shown the most consistency by politely reminding Mr Mudavadi on May 29 that he was welcome to worship with them but they do not permit politicians to address people in houses of prayer. Kudos to them.
But mixed signals smack of inconsistency and hypocrisy.
Here is a summary of what our parish leaders decided on this matter: All candidates are welcome in the pews with no preferential treatment.
They should not be accompanied by the media since houses of worship are sacred spaces. No politician will be allowed to speak in church.
However, if they wish to sell their manifesto they can hire the parish hall after the service. In that way, the faithful can choose to attend or head home for lunch.
Each candidate will be warned by parish leaders to ensure that he does not use insulting or hate language. He must accept to answer questions from the public about their agenda and performance.
Finally, we will not request nor accept any donation from a candidate during this campaign period.
How would politicians or religious leaders find such a charter?