Clerics should not threaten virus war

Thursday, July 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Catholic faithful follow proceedings of a mass service at Holy Family Minor Basilica before the government banned church attendance to curb the spread of coronavirus. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Since March when the government took some drastic measures in the fight against coronavirus, a section of religious leaders have been breathing hot and cold in their commitment to the cause.

Whereas a majority of the clergy have been in the forefront supporting government efforts in the battle against Covid-19, some of the men of the cloth have been swimming in the opposite direction.

This group has lately been making outrageous demands on the government since the recent part opening of places of worship.

This is unfortunate indeed. So because early last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta spelt out the relevant measures each section of society has to cautiously undertake as the country grapples with the coronavirus menace.

The President’s guidelines were informed by expert opinion and stakeholder consultations in the respective areas, among them education, health, transport, hospitality, aviation and religion.

The measures for reopening places of  worship were drawn from recommendations of an Inter-Faith Council composed of members from a wide rage of the religious community and chaired by Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria.

Among the conditions is that churches and other places of worship should not accommodate more than 100 persons at any one time, the service should not last more than one hour, and that the service should not be attended by people above 58 years and children below the age of 13.

However, some clerics - mostly Evangelical Christians and Muslims - have come out strongly to oppose the guidelines and instead pitch numerous demands, such as allowing them host congregations of as many as 10,000 people and allow the elderly and children to attend.

This, clearly, is an indication of a lack of seriousness on the part of the religious leaders involved.

It should not be forgotten that Muheria’s caucus arrived at their resolutions after lengthy deliberations with medical experts and heads of various faith-based organisations.

It is, therefore, the height of irresponsibility for some clerics to turn around and mount opposition to the recommendations, at a time when the virus is rapidly spreading across the country.

Instead of being impediments to the Covid-19 fight, these clerics should be guiding their flock on how best they can avoid infections. For they also desire to have a congregation tomorrow.

More on News