Saturday, June 12, 2010

Is the Kenyan Church Leadership Sincere on the Draft Constitution?


Isn’t it amazing that most of us “men of the cloth” almost always pretend to speak on behave of the “voiceless”! As Gayatri Spivak asks, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” During the current constitution debate in Kenya, the “voiceless” ought to speak-out for themselves!

The Church in Kenya has trivialized constitution making by zeroing only on two "minor" issues without considering the whole document. While the issue of religion in most occasions raises people’s emotions that we at times are unable to think rationally, it is important for all people of good will to recognize that the GREATER GOOD must prevail for the sake of our REPUBLIC and not just for some religious disagreements.

In my opinion, the problem with the current stand taken by the Kenyan church leaders on the draft constitution is a psychological one. Psychologists refer to it as compensation or simply passing the buck. In this case we fail to acknowledge our own failures and simply blame it on the pro-abortionists and Muslims. Has anyone noticed the kind of lifestyle lived by the ministers of the Gospel? One needs to visit his local pastor's home and then visit a couple of the ministers' parishioners and you will be surprised by the economic disparities thereof. Ministry is no longer a calling or a passion but a lifestyle. No wonder our Christian leaders are quick to blame the Kadhi courts and Islamic expansionism for the rapid rise in Islam mainly in our poor communities such as Kibera.

I also think it is insincere for the Church to dismiss the inclusion of Kadhi courts in the draft constitution, without proper understanding of how Sharia Law (which most Christians are quick to quote) is practiced in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Northern Nigeria? How does it compare to the Kenyan situation? I must also add that Kenya is not a Christian state and neither is it Islamic even though from colonial days Christianity has always been the favoured child. Christians are afraid of losing this privilege and that is why I still maintain that the current church's position on the draft constitution is more political than religious.

Therefore, when I read such ultimatums as the ones given by church leaders, I see political mischief in the guise of Christian activism. The Christian leaders’ perspective is based on limited knowledge, misinformation, ignorance of constitutional making and prejudice. Their position is backed by half-truths and misrepresentations. It compares to fear-mongering evident in America today - which is basically championed by the American Religious Right. Christian fundamentalism is as dangerous as Islamic fundamentalism! The current Christian leadership in Kenya is behaving as though it was the left wing of the Jihadists in Somali or Nigeria only this time clothed in cassocks and holding Bibles (instead of wearing turbans and holding guns).

Although Kenyans’ amnesia is astounding, one does not need to seek far and wide to read this political mischief. Before 2007 general election and the violent events that followed, most of the Christian leaders now marshaling support against abortion and Kadhi court were busy rallying their troops behind candidate “A” (mainly the one from their tribe) while opposing the “enemy” of their candidate. But did the Christian leaders answer to their higher calling? The IDPs are still languishing in hovels and abject poverty. The Church seems to have lost its moral voice. Unimagined scale of violence continues to bother every right thinking Kenyan; people are being murdered at will; Mũngĩkĩ killers who are now hailed as Christian converts remain free – and what have the Christian leadership done about these things? Your guess is as good as mine.

What is my point? It is simply this, before we can accuse others of the speck in their eyes, we must first take care of the log that continues to hinder our beatific vision of the Kingdom of God. We need to wear sackcloth instead of mourning the expansion of Islam. We need to return to the God of old, who still demands that we walk upright, love justice and walk humbly before Yahweh. God cannot be mock! Kenya’s destiny is in God’s hands and no Kadhi court or Islamic scholar or Muhammad’s sword can sway the hand of Yahweh. Let us do our part and let God be God! God will take care of God’s own. God is the Author and the Finisher of our Faith! We should not be casting stones at Islamic fundamentalism while we ourselves live in glass houses. The God I worship has no time for such “righteous” grandstanding. God is interested in a humble and a contrite spirit - a spirit that bears the Spirit of the Living Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the one whom the Father raised by the Power of His Mighty Hand.

Kĩriakũ wa Kĩnyua

The Making of a Constitution