Evangelical churches join ban on pulpit politics

EAK chairman David Oginde (left) and Stephen Anyenda of the Baptist Convention of Kenya address the press, August 26, 2021. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Evangelical churches have become the latest to ban politicking on the pulpit after Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) barred politicians from speaking in church.

In an advisory sent to newsrooms on Friday, signed by Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK), chairman Bishop David Oginde and Sectary General Nelson Makanda they said the decision was reached after the leadership of EAK, county leaders, some heads of churches and the National Executive Board held a virtual meeting to review the political status of the nation.

The EAK executive board said that with the 2022 General Election drawing near and the attendant campaigns amidst the Covid-19 restrictions, places of worship and funerals, have become campaign platforms.

"That whereas the leadership of individual churches and congregations have a duty to ensure that the freedoms of all worshipers are protected without infringement by visiting politicians, this duty has in many instances been neglected by allowing politicians to carry out political campaigns from the holy places of worship," read the statement.

The board advised the leadership of evangelical churches and faithful to keep politics out of the house of God.

"We further recommend that politicians should not be allowed to exploit and abuse their privilege as leaders by violating the place of worship through politicking in church. This is a dishonour to God, defiles the sanctity of worship, and violates the rights of other worshippers," said the alliance.

EAK said politicking in church risks attracting the anger of God upon faithful.

The alliance said politicians can be acknowledged and accorded due respect but without interrupting the order of service and worship.

"Any address by such leaders should only be limited to greetings and not politicking in church. Different church traditions have different ways of acknowledging visitors; such tradition should be kept as long as it honours the sanctity of worship. Offerings and gifts given by visiting politicians should be treated as any other offering in obedience of the scripture that the left hand should not know what the right has given (Matt 6:3)," EAK said

The alliance urged church leaders to preach peace in the face of heated politics.