Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University, Rev Dr John Senyonyi has said faith leaders in Uganda need to recognize that churches are made up of people of diverse political persuasions, hence the pulpit should not be a tool of divisive messages but of reconciliation.
He has also said that the Church must be reminded that it is not to be the master or the servant of the state, but the conscience thereof.
Dr John Senyonyi’s remarks are contained in his letter to a state aided news daily under the headline “Politics: Where the Church may not tread!” published 10 January.
Earlier last week, mixed reactions flooded social media following President Museveni’s remarks on 31 December directed at Clergymen. In this, the President insisted that Church leaders have lost focus, purporting that they should stick to church matters and keep out of politics.
“Some of our religious people are so full of arrogance. They talk most authoritatively on all and everything even when they have not bothered to find out the truth. This is assuming they do not have evil intentions which would be worse,” Museveni noted then.
Dr Senyonyi said the Church person is a citizen of two worlds.
“Quite often those who wish to mute the voice of the church, order the church to keep her sermonizing in the pulpit. But the preacher is also a citizen of his country. If the preacher has a right to vote, he has the right to express his political opinion, most especially for the voiceless and oppressed,” he said.
“The Church must be the guide and the critic of the state – never its tool. As long as the Church is the tool of the state it will be unable to provide even a modicum of bread for men vat midnight,” he added, quoting Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr Senyonyi said preachers must resist the temptation to populism, especially where speaking about an issue that listeners are passionate about.
“Faithfulness to God’s word supersedes all the immediate objectives. Above all, for the preacher the eternal rules over the temporary: in fact, we work best when our eternal home is our goal. The eternal that makes us relevant is the transient, as it compels in us the highest goals,” he noted.