As Christians, we have a higher duty to correct any injustice in this society and even a higher one when it comes to injustices occasioned by our own churches.
EVEN CHRISTIANS ARE BOUND BY THE LAW
By Michael Aboneka
I have read and heard many arguments that have pointed to the church not being subjected to the laws of their land rather than the Bible. They are nice arguments that can pass for a theology class but not a legal one. Uganda is a secular state, which means that every person, authority or organisation must submit to the law of the land and it is stated in Article 2 of our Constitution.
The same Constitution recognises the freedom of association and worship, however, whatever the practice or religion it is, they must conform to the Constitution (Article 29 (c)). It is therefore imperative to note therefore that there is no one above the law and as such, everybody must heed to the Constitution.
Article 3 of the Constitution calls for the defence of the constitution. This means that if there are attempts to amend the constitution in any unconstitutional means or in a manner that is likely to jeopardise the spirit of the law, then a citizen is expected to stand up and protect it. Further, any citizen of this country has a duty to promote the constitutionalism of all practices in Uganda. It is therefore no offence for any person, authority to bring to attention any injustice, irregularity that in their view is inconsistent with the Supreme law of the land.
Registration of Churches
Many churches are registered as Trustees, companies limited by guarantee and others in their own right. This means therefore, that they are submitting to the authority of the republic of Uganda. A church cannot therefore say they are bound by the bible and not the constitution. Did they register with the Bible society of Uganda to give them legal status of operation? No, they derive their authority from the Government of Uganda. Jesus paid his taxes and respected the earthly authority, therefore, as a Christian and a church, you can deviate from this. Romans 13 further emphasizes that Everyone must submit to governing authorities For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. This therefore means that whichever church does not respect the authority and governance of Uganda, they are simply disobeying God and as thus, they are on a wrong path.
Obligations of Churches
Most churches are lienceds to conduct mariages on behalf of Government of Uganda. No wonder, no church or minister can conduct weddings unless they have been licenced not by God but by the Government of Uganda. This therefore means that whatever they do must conform to the Constitution of the republic of Uganda which is the supreme rubric. How many churches file monthly marriage returns? Do Christians ever bother to find out whether their marriages were ever registered at the Registry-after all they paid wedding fees? Do Christians ever stand up to challenge injustices occasioned by these churches (anything done outside the constitution is irregular).
The holy water, holy blood, holy rice, and holy rings-has the Uganda National Bureau of Standards certified them as fit for human consumption? Who is asking these questions? Many people are spending all their time praying and later begging from others-who is asking these questions? Many churches are polluting the environment (noise) throughout contrary to Article 39 which guarantees the right to a safe, healthy and clean environment.
Churches are perpetuating acts that violate the dignity of a human being, such as stepping on their stomachs, slapping their faces, all in the name of deliverance. Who is speaking out on these? As Christians, we have a higher duty to correct any injustice in this society and even a higher one when it comes to injustices occasioned by our own churches.
The church is to fulfil God’s mission on the earth. This is spiritual, social and economic transformation. If you belong to any church that deviates from these three, then you have to run for your life. Why would you continually become poor simply because you have to contribute to a pastor’s birthday every year, pastors’ phones and bills? God wants to bless the woks of your hands so you can prosper and bless others and give Him glory.
I, therefore, urge Christians to stand up and challenge all the irregular practices and also call upon the Government to enforce the law and wipe out all practices and Churches that do not conform to the law of the land because God desires that we respect the earthly authority which comes from Him!
The writer is a partner of Thomas & Michael Advocates and Member of World Youth Alliance & International Youth Committee (IYC)