The Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya has denounced a call by Mombasa clergy that they be given guns to protect themselves from the depredations of criminals and Islamist militants.
“As church leaders, we should be on the forefront preaching for peace and reconciliation. Churches are places of worship and not a battlefield,” Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said on 1 November 2013.
On 20 October 2013 a pastor at a Pentecostal church in Mombasa was shot to death in his church’s sanctuary. At his funeral church leaders called upon the government to protect ministers – or give them the means to do so.
The call to arms received the cautious support of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), which last week issued a statement saying it supported the right of clergy to bear arms, if they complied with civil laws concerning the registration and use of guns.
However, Archbishop Wabukala told the congregation gathered at Bishop Hannington’s Teachers College in Mumias, guns were no guarantee of safety.
“An AK47 rifle will never secure anyone’s security. I beg to differ with my fellow pastors because even if they are issued with guns, how will they protect themselves from a mob. They should ask Kenyans to repent and live in peace,” the archbishop said.
It was the responsibility of “government to provide security to all. No single person can protect himself. We need everyone to be protected regardless of their position in society.”
“The murder of the pastor was wrong; the attacks on churches should be stopped. All places of worship should be respected whether it’s a church, a mosque, a temple or even a traditional shrine. We should be tolerant with those who don’t believe in our religion because we are all Kenyans,” the archbishop said according to an account of his sermon printed in The Standard.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.