The Church fails in its role as defender of truth

Friday, October 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
Dr Timothy Njoya.

The slippery slope on which the Church is perched rattling down the hills is on course and for now it is not clear where it will end.

These are days far from when the Church stood up for moral positions, the wise voice in the room of our social environment, and when the public held their breath waiting for guidance on socio-political issues.

It has been ages since voices of reason such as those of Maurice Cardinal Otunga, Henry Okullu and Manasses Kuria stayed the course of moral clarity.

Timothy Njoya of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa has been drowned out since being pushed from the mainstream of the church and into retirement.

It is not that these men were faultless, but they tried to stay the middle ground.

Instead, a new order has emerged. Towards the end of the reign of the nation’s long-serving President Daniel arap Moi, the Church teamed up with civil society groups to demand a new order. But it seems to have found the new order attractive and stayed the visit.

In the process, it has invited mammon to its hallowed ground, freely turning the pulpit to men and women with no collar who now appear to be the apologists of God.

Deputy President William Ruto  has said that he is coming up against the organised State order “with the people and God” on his side. The church appears to have nodded in agreement.

He has not stopped there, but essentially positioned himself as the defender of faith, even adorning the sacred apparel of the church complete with the sign of the cross.

The church appears to acquiesce to the new order. Some priests have welcomed the donations coming from the political class, blaming the lean times wrought by Covid-19 virus. But there is always a price to be paid for this largesse.

Church has for long remained a place for refuge to which people run to from the excesses of politicians.

It was to the church that mothers of political detainees ran to during the height of dictatorship in the land when the country’s jails swelled with the population of political detainees. 

The pulpit kept politicians at bay and made its proclamations independently.

Politicians would, in those days, be uncomfortable worshiping in just any church.

Then the bug of ethnic correctness stepped in and politicians from a church’s stronghold would welcome their sons and daughters to worship with them.

The worship soon extended to allowing their sons to greet the congregations and make an offering, but it is this trickle that has morphed into a gushing stream where there is now no more sacred space.

Majority of the sections of the church in Kenya are ethnic-based. There are only a handful of churches where anybody from any part of Kenya can feel comfortable and rise within the leadership ranks.

A majority of sections of the church however, easily conduct their business in mother tongue without disadvantaging anybody.

But it is the political marriage of convenience with the church that is becoming the undoing of the institution.

Politics is a highly bipartisan enterprise in which individuals agree to disagree. 

The church has for long provided the space of escape where all, irrespective of their affiliation, would occasionally retreat to for spiritual succour.

But imagine the challenge of retreating to the shrine for spiritual nourishment only to find your political opponent is the defender of God there.

In a world where the church has allowed God to be held captive by the propertied class it is in fact those holding God captive who are in charge.

It is irresponsible for the church to sit back and allow some to proclaim God to be on one side.

It is the role of the church to provide the truth–– it is not possible to box the omnipotent and omnipresent. God does not vote.  — The writer is dean , School of Communication, Daystar University

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