STATE MUST KEEP OFF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS:
REMARKS OF HON RAILA ODINGA DURING MEETING WITH RELIGIUOS LEADERS;
JANUARY 13, 2016.
The approach to religion is that the State Must Keep Off religious affairs.
1. Article 8 of the Constitution says there shall be no state religion.
2. Article 32 (2) says every person has the right, alone or with others, in public or private, to practice religion, worship, preach, teach or engage in religious activities.
The Kenya Government is encroaching on the lives of Kenyans to the extent it even now wants to regulate how they conduct their religions and how they worship. The State has no business regulating how people decide to worship, with whom or where.
1. If religious people go against the law, they should be treated like all other Kenyans. But they cannot be set aside with â€˜specific rulesâ€™ to apply to them. If a pastor carried out a fraud, it is not a â€˜Special fraud.â€™ Why are we putting up special rules for pastors?
2. If people decide to give the church or their pastors money, the State has no business telling them that they canâ€™t. In fact, all religions and churches are built on peopleâ€™s charity. To kill charity is to kill religion and church.
3. Who trained John the Baptist? Who trained Peter of Paul? Religion is a calling. Religious leadership is a gift. You canâ€™t train people into religious inspiration.
4. Taxing the church is double taxation. Itâ€™s like taxing harambee. The money going to church has already been taxed.
5. To require the registration of religious associations is an infringement of the rights to worship in community with others. No fellowship needs to be registered. Registration can only be required if the fellowship want to operate as a recognized institutional requirement for registration.
6. Religions should regulate themselves. The state must keep off religions and religious leaders.
7. The government has enough problems to deal with currently. There is no need inventing new ones. There is no need fixing what is working. There is no crisis in the church today. There is no need for the intervention of the State.
8. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy are being dishonest on this matter. The Attorney General gets instructions from the Cabinet which is chaired by the President. The President cannot now come around to order the AG to negotiate with religious leaders yet he chaired the Cabinet meeting that agreed on the rules to regulate religion.