Clerics, stop coveting political seats; you belong in the pulpit

Priests should refrain from hankering political positions or politicking. [iStockphoto]

Billy Graham, the renowned American evangelist, once said, “Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left.”

Graham’s sentiments are applicable to all priests in their many forms, manifestations and orders. The clergy should avoid being lured into seeking political seats because in politics, they have no God’s protection and God is not to blame for their failure or when they fall into political quagmires.

We know of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of Jesus is Alive Ministries. She was Member of Parliament for Starehe Constituency between 2007 and 2013.

We know Pastor Pius Muiru of Maximum Miracle Centre. Pastor Muiru contested for presidency in 2007 under Kenya People’s Party ticket. He emerged fifth with 9,667 votes. 

In the 2022 elections, Pastor David Mwaure Waihiga ran for the Presidency under Agano Party. There is also  retired Bishop Boniface Enos Adoyo of Christ is the Answer Ministries who vied for the Nairobi Senatorial seat in 2013 and Titus Khamala the founding bishop of Cornerstone Ministries in Kakamega and a Member of Parliament for Lurambi Constituency since 2017.

The list of men and women who have left alters to serve politics is long , some like Bishop Kawira Mwangaza, Governor for Meru County, are serving—I do not need a prophet to understand why she is going through political fire.

Toward the 2022 general election, I was invited to a church youth summit to speak to them regarding Christians and politics. The big question was, should Christians engage in politics? I said a big yes! It is the prerogative of every Christian to elect leaders in the spirit of “Rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

However, I insisted that those called into priesthood should avoid hankering for politics and political positions because politics and priesthood are incompatible—they serve different masters.

God is categorical and clear about professions. In the book of first Samuel when King Saul was enthroned, God in his wisdom maintained a three-tier nation. There were the Priests (clergy), the King (politician), and the People (citizens). God, from what we observe, distinguished the roles of each of the three categories.

For example, the King (politician) was not supposed to offer sacrifices before the Lord (on the altar). Stray Kings, like Saul and Jeroboam are excellent examples of divine non-conformists because during their times, they usurped the roles of priests—they offered sacrifices.

It was the reason God later rejected King Saul, who took it upon himself to offer sacrifice in place of priest Samuel. King Jeroboam (I Kings 12:28-33) decided to reform religion politically and appointed himself a priest and it ended in premium tears.

King David engaged in expansive conquests of territories, a process that involved shedding blood. The Bible says the reason King David could not qualify to build God’s temple was because he had shed a lot of blood.

Regardless of King David’s curriculum vitae, God would call him, “a man after my own heart”.

On the other hand, priests were not supposed to hold ‘political’ positions or reside in the palace. At least we have no evidence of priests holding political positions, either elected or appointed.

Even the popular biblical Daniel was not a priest like most clergy are wont of justifying—he was a mere civil servant, a paragon of integrity in the workplace. The same can be said of Joseph who became the prime minister in Egypt. At least all clergy agree that God has not changed, is not changing, and will never change!

In conclusion, our politics require Christian values and principles, but priests are set apart for divine purposes and should refrain from hankering political positions or politicking. Those we know who ventured into politics never recovered from the murk, because politics is murky!

-Dr Ndonye is a senior lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Kabarak University


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