Tuesday, October 27, 2009

According to the Figures, Kenya Should be Heaven

A Catholic priest in Malindi, who must have been taking lessons on how to win friends and influence people, has blamed women for the recent marriage between two Kenyan men in London. He says that it is the fault of women that men are now resorting to same sex relationships because women have failed to provide what they should in marriage.

If it was the priest's intention to alienate at least half, though probably a lot more, of his church attendees, it sounds like he succeeded. Women in the church replied vocally, something I have never come across in a Catholic church. Catholic services usually consist of a priest expressing his opinions and his interpretations and an audience expressing nothing other than a few set responses that have been composed by priests and other church dignitaries.

Apparently, women have failed to provide the joy that marriage should bring; the gay people who result from this failure of women go against God's intentions of procreation. I wonder if priests' vow of chastity also goes against God's intentions, but I'm sure their are plenty of arguments as to why priests should be chaste. The Catholic church has always had quite a penchant for preaching about things that they know little about.

In a separate article, African bishops have called for more 'saints' in public life, condemning some Catholic leaders for their corruption and their betrayal of their own people. Oddly enough, they didn't condemn some of the Catholic leaders around the world who have been very closely connected with the Vatican, or various Christian leaders who have, through the course of history, been some of the most destructive people imaginable.

Most meetings I have attended here in Kenya either start or finish with a prayer. Most meals start or finish with a prayer. Most people introduce themselves by saying what tribe they come from and what their religion is. Many claim to be preachers or to be 'saved' (born again; I realise these are not all Catholics but the principles at stake are the same, also, many people have more than one religion) and make numerous references to their religious aspirations. Does this mean that Kenya is one of the most law abiding nations on earth? I don't think so.

The priest in Malindi calls for more prayer but I would call for some thought to be put into the intended connection between prayer and how people lead their lives and the putative connections between religious beliefs and day to day actions. This priest also talks about the vice and evil that children are exposed to. What about the behaviour of political, business and church leaders? Children are surrounded by people who advocate one type of behaviour and exhibit a quite different kind.

Are children here more influenced by two gay men who got married than they are by the politically instigated violence of two years ago or the constant pilfering by politicians and other leaders or the daily scenes of police and other officials collecting bribes or any other sorts of behaviour that occur all the time?

The Catholic church is not a democracy and doesn't appear to have a good grasp of the principles of democracy. The church does not appear to have experience or knowledge of marriage or sexuality. Most priests and church leaders (and political and business leaders) are men and they seem to understand little about the lives of half the population of the world. Yet these are the things that priests and other church leaders seem to feel the need to lecture people about.

In fact, priests and other church leaders don't lead the lives of ordinary people. They don't have to struggle the way most of their followers do. So it is quite unclear what relevance their pronouncements have to their followers, or if they have any relevance at all.

If the numbers of people attending churches was anything to go by, Kenya should be a very law abiding country with little gap between rich and poor. But the contrary is true. I'm not saying that widespread religious fervour causes corruption, poverty, violence or exploitation but I would like to know what the result of so much ostensible religious adherence is supposed to be. Sphere: Related Content


  1. With most religions, the idea is that you *get* to heaven, a better world etc, non? Is it not the same with Catholicism? (If you had written this last week then I could answer this more fully, I was working in a Catholic school then), So maybe the idea is that you will eventually get to heaven if due to 'so much religious adherence'? (The real me would say something like: due to scoring so many brownie points with God, but then I can be terrible irreverent at times).

    [Being an atheist I am also tend to be very reticent about the whole God thing, so shall not fill this space with any more narky comments, of which there are aplenty within the sad, sorry excuse for what passes as my soul (points gravely to tummy)].

    The blog is great, btw, Simon. Keep doing whatever it is you are thinking, doing and questioning. And I am so glad you had a lovely, magical weekend!

  2. Thanks V. Well, the religious fervour here is strong even compared to Ireland several decades ago but when it comes down to it, it's dog eat dog. Religion's a funny thing, a bit like comedy, but without the funny bits. S