This Christmas, the Church is at major crossroads

Archbishop of Catholic Nairobi diocese Philip Anyolo interacts with worshippers outside the HolyFamily Basilica after he conducted a service to mark this year`s Christmas day. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Church is at a crossroads. It is again at that point in time when it must take a bold stand. It cannot afford to equivocate on social, political and economic issues of the day. Yet, to do so would entail a fallout from a section of the community who are comfortable with vice. Or persecution by governments intolerant of those speaking truth to power. Worse still, it risks being deemed socially irrelevant by those who think Christian cannon is archaic and out of touch with reality.

The New Testament is the focal point of Christian doctrine. It is the point of departure from Judaism and Islam. To the ardent Christian, it is the infallible word of God, sacrosanct and inviolable. Which is why pronouncements that are at odds with its tenets are causing a stir worldwide. Consider the thorny question of gay relationships that is causing a rift in both Protestant and Catholic churches of the global North and South.

This December, according to an Associated Press article, “Church of England priests offered officially sanctioned blessings of same-sex partnerships for the first time. The article notes that this is “amid deep divisions within global Anglicanism over marriage and sexuality.” Another article from the National Catholic Register says, “Catholic bishops around the world are deeply divided on a Vatican declaration that permits non liturgical blessings of homosexual couples: Some bishops are welcoming the news, some are approaching it with caution, while others are outright refusing to implement it.”

Strictly speaking, there should be no grey area when it comes to the interpretation of Christian cannon. The Bible considers same-sex relationships, just like other licentious behaviour, a falling away from God. In fact, it expressly considers it the consequence of turning one’s back to God describing it in Romans 1:27 as “the penalty of their (same-sex couples) error which was due.”

For the avoidance of any doubt, Christians are not instructed to hate same-sex couples. For that matter, there is no biblical instruction to hate any sinner. Rather, it is the practice of sin that is abhorrent and discouraged as seen in numerous Biblical references. But it is the insidious permissiveness; the desire to fit in with society prevalent today that threatens to rend the fabric of Christendom.

The Christian in Kenya is not immune from this permissiveness. Not when moral decay and pestilence is demonstrated by some sections of church leadership. But perhaps what should be guarded against most is the seemingly innocuous introduction of programmes in schools that have potentially inimical effects. The proposal to introduce Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) must undergo thorough scrutiny lest, like in some jurisdictions, it becomes a tool for sexualising Kenya’s children and adolescents.

Material from countries where CSE is taught reveals them to depict same-sex relationships as normal. They also redefine the family unit. In this curriculum, marriage is not, as Kenya’s Constitution stipulates, between a man and a woman, but also between same-sex couples.

The reason for this season is Christ. He is the centre of our celebrations and not the unknown quality x. I am unequivocal in my disdain for x-mas wishes. It is Merry Christmas from me and best wishes for a prosperous 2024.

Mr Khafafa is a public policy analyst

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