New Rules on Religious Belonging

New Rules on Religious Belonging

Kenya (Cisa)

KENYA: New Rules will Impact Negatively on Evangelization, Bishops say.

NAIROBI JANUARY 12, 2016 (CISA) – The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) have decried the proposed Societies (religious societies) rules 2015 saying if implemented they will have “direct and negative impact on the evangelization mission.”

Speaking during a press conference at Waumini House – Westlands today, Bishop Philip Anyolo Chairman KCCB, said the proposed new rules are a clear violation of the constitution which draws a clear line between the Church and state.

“The same constitution is also explicitly clear on the freedom of worship… how then, we ask, does the government purport to regulate how Kenyans worship?” posed Bishop Anyolo of the Catholic Diocese of Homa Bay.

The bishop termed the laws which demand that all faiths keep records of followers as “logistically unrealistic and untenable” and that this will only serve to convert churches into mere registration centres.

“To demand that Churches keep records of their followers will effectively reduce Christianity into a game of numbers, and water down the mission of the Church which is evangelization and assisting people to become better persons,” said Bishop Anyolo.

“Matters of faith are not about numbers. They are about conversion of the soul,” he added.

Bishop John Oballa Owaa vice Chairman KCCB, speaking at the same press briefing said while the Church acknowledge government’s concerns over rogue religious leaders, the new rules will not adequately address such cases.

“The government already has at its disposal mechanisms to bring to book rogue religious leaders in the country,” said Bishop Oballa, adding the government already wields the power to register and de-register Churches.

The bishop further faulted the government for not engaging in wide consultations with all religious leaders in the country in the formulations of laws and said “the new laws are therefore an attempt to micromanage worship and should be dropped.”

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