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Poll: Christians side with Watoto Church on wedding rules

Pastor Garry Skinner presides over the weeding of ‘Watoto daughter’, Jessica Namuli and Mr Joseph Bongomin. Friday, 6 January 2017. WATOTO CHURCH PHOTO.

News broke on Thursday about a petition addressed to the Constitutional Court of Uganda seeking, among other things, to have all Watoto Church weddings rendered unconstitutional.

In the petition, Mr Aboneka Michael, a practicing Advocate and Human Rights activist accused Watoto Church LTD of imposing rules that “violate fundamental human rights” on wedding couples before endorsing their union.

He told the Constitutional Court that he wanted to get married at this particular Church, and made initial bookings with the Ministry, but “is now in dilemma as his free will is constrained by the mandatory requirements that he has been asked to furnish before he can be wedded.”

This website cannot certify (yet) if the Church has written defense against the petition however, a public poll by the Daily Monitor on Friday revealed that majority of the participants found nothing “strange” or “evil” about these rules.

Participants, who identified themselves as Christian – or further more members of Watoto Church – expressed discontentment over the petition and advised the petitioner to find another Church whose rules he finds appropriate, or sit around a table with the Watoto Pastorate over the matter.

“There are a thousand couples Watoto Church has wedded and still wedding more and those couples have been able to meet the standards the church has set. So what’s the problem with that couple? Let them find another church that has no standard rules to endorse their marriage. By the way, these rules are there to safeguard your marriage from family issues in future,” Social media user under account name, Akankwasa Moses said.

“The rules are not strict but reasonable. If any body thinks they are too much then let them go to other churches or legal practioners and marry from there,” Kisakyamukama Esther said.

Jackson Omega said: “All those conditions are not Biblical. They are man made. So I encourage that man to speak with the senior Pastor of Watoto Church to streamline those conditions for him to wed. But not to sue the church. The Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians not to sue brother in Christ in court. But to go to the elders among you to sort out any matter arising among brothers- Read 1 Corinthian 6:7. It’s not Biblical for a brother in Christ to sue in court a Pastor or church that is unbelieving behavior. A believer in God must adhere to the WORD of God. Not thinking like non-believers. That man must be careful least God stands in court to ashame him.”

“But surely suing Watoto church because of such lame excuses is uncalled for. We serve a God of order.There so many options. If he feels he can’t agree with the set rules let him find another church to wed from. Unless he’s hiding his HIV status from the bride there is absolutely nothing wrong with the rules.Life is a choice not chance.” Vicky Kayanja remarked.

Owen Romeo said, “For a serious person/couple,that should be looked at as a small thing and so advantageous for not only commitment but healthy relationship and marriage.”

Others said they help reduce divorce rates.

The requirements are:
1. A letter of consent (blessing) from the parents of the bride-to-be
2. A pastor’s endorsement of fitness for marriage
3. Evidence of HIV status tested at one of the specified hospitals
4. A counselling report issued by the respective hospital

The section of Christians – or otherwise  – who supported the petitioner noted that the restrictions can be a “night mare” and are “uncalled for since some of those issues are legally confidential.”

Levis Karugaba, a practicing lawyer with MACB Advocates said, “Our Marriage Laws are clear and they have not been amended to effect all the above conditions. Without fulfilling the church’s conditions does not render your marriage illegal.  What I know is that where there is an express provision of the law relating to doing any act, that law takes precedent.”

He added: “The constitution under article 31 clearly establishes the requirements for marriage, and under article 2 it is expressed that any other law, practice or any other act that contradicts the provisions of the constitution are null and void. In my opinion, the church’s conditions set for one to be married are in total violation of the Law.

Mpagi Moses said: “I don’t think churches should put such strict rules because love is between two people not between people and church.okay, the first and third can work but not that necessary. It’s God who binds the two people together whether one is HIV positive and another is not

“As long as the two people have agreed to get married – and to take the church to court is also not necessary. Because if Watoto church has refused to marry you together, go to another church.  Those are the principles of Watoto. If you can’t fulfill them, just quit there are so many churches and mosques that bind loved ones,” he added

Find Full Petition Here: Aboneka V Watoto Chruch Ltd

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