Many evangelical churches allow politicians to politick and raise funds in aid of their projects.
It was a rare outburst by a man of the cloth at the pulpit.
The self-styled apostle James Maina Ng’ang’a is the talk of town for using the altar to insult and threaten some bishops he termed disrespectful.
While it was not the first public outburst of anger from the Neno Evangelism Ministries founder, his sharp words towards fellow ‘shepherds’ put into focus how the pulpit has been misused.
From church politics to the ordinary politics Kenyans are used to, the pulpit has been redefined.
Actually, it has been transformed to a ‘parliament’ where instead of the flock being fed with spiritual nourishment, they are fed with politics, said retired Presbyterian Church of East Africa minister Timothy Njoya.
“There is no actual separation between politics and religion, but there is a difference between parliament and the pulpit and people should respect that difference,” he said during an interview with the Nation.
According to Rev Njoya, although some mainstream churches have policies restraining priests and pastors from entertaining politics at the altar, unfortunately not all obey church laws.
The renowned human rights activist, while accepting that there is politics in church, said some pastors have less loyalty to the church than politics and politicians.
It is not uncommon to see politicians in church every Sunday. Unfortunately, most do not listen to sermons but their major purpose is to politick, said Rev Njoya.
“Politicians have a communal authority to go everywhere. Unfortunately, they have arbitrarily made the pulpit their platform,” he said, adding that it is the church ministers who have encouraged it because of ‘sycophancy’.
“They feel indebted but the Christians should not feel that way,” he said and added that the ‘bishops’ who were insulted by Apostle Ng’ang’a deserved it because they have made the church a business.
“It has become a matter of expediency, some of the politicians go to three churches per Sunday because they do not go to worship but to politick,” he said.
According to Rev Njoya, it is unfortunate that whenever politicians go to church, they send media invites to be covered at the altar while addressing the congregation.
A few weeks ago, the Anglican Church of Kenya and the Catholic Church banned politics in the church as well as fundraising by politicians.
The Anglican archbishop Jackson ole Sapit argued that corrupt politicians were using the pulpit to clean ill-got money.
Catholic Bishops said religious issues should not be mixed with politics.
Despite the actions, many evangelical churches allow politicians to politick and raise funds in aid of their projects.
As a result, many Kenyans, especially those who use social media feel that the pulpit has been converted to a conduit of hate and religious conmen.
Enock Chiteri @Notterri on Twitter said: “Pastor Ng’ang’a is clear: Neno Evangelical Ministries, just like other churches, is a business enterprise; Ng’ang’a is CEO, Nairobi church the headquarters, the #kiosks are branches, the bishops are employed managers, the church members are customers. Amen!”
This is a statement that Rev Njoya supported, saying the bishops, in this case, are workers.
While it is hard to prevent politicians from the pulpit, Dr David Oginde, the Presiding Bishop at Christ is the Answer Ministries, says it is the responsibility of church ministers to manage the pulpit.
According to the bishop, politicians are human beings and it is the responsibility of the pastors to control what goes on at the pulpit because it is hard to prevent them from greeting the congregation.