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Friday,September 20,2019 11:39 AM

Separate church and state

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th December 2000 03:00 AM

PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Aggrey Awori was on Wednesday thrown out of the mosque in Bombo where he had gone to join worshippers celebrating Idd el Fitr.

PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Aggrey Awori was on Wednesday thrown out of the mosque in Bombo where he had gone to join worshippers celebrating Idd el Fitr. Awori's woes started when he was asked to vacate a front row seat he had taken in pews specially reserved for the clergy. Later on, an attempt to address the congregation was opposed by one section, while another supported it. Of course Awori is not a Muslim, though that in itself should not disqualify him from attending Islamic prayers. He should be able to attend any prayers, anywhere as a worshipper. The problem in Uganda is when politicians want to extend their domain into places of worship. This has had disastrous results, as our religion-based political parties profile has shown. Of course politicians find what should be a ready audience in a congregation. Ready in the sense that the numbers may be available, but as Awori's experience shows, the ideological orientation may not be there. More critically, any congregation is united by their spiritual beliefs, which is the cardinal and sole reason that they gather in a particular house of worship. It is no wonder that there is harmony in such places. But the various individuals so gathered will have their different political and ideological leanings, which may not necessarily cloud their spiritual beliefs. This is why the principle of separation of church (encompassing all religions) and state, as evolved by some of the more mature democracies, stands those societies in good stead. Preachers desist from using the pulpit to advance political ideas, and politicians keep away from addressing congregations within the house of worship. It is fine for the politician to "greet the people" outside, as Awori eventually did, so that not every worshipper is compelled to listen to what is of secondary importance in a house of worship. Ends.

Separate church and state

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