When Power Meets Faith: The Perils of Manipulating Religion in Politics
In the intricate dance between religion and politics, powerful leaders have often sought to leverage faith for their gain. It is a phenomenon that has been repeated throughout history, and unfortunately, it continues to manifest in modern times. In the context of Kenya, the intertwining of religion and politics during the 2022 Presidential Campaign brought forth a narrative of divine selection and condemnation of opponents.
However, as the dust settles and the regime’s actions diverge from their promises, questions arise about the role of faith and the responsibility of religious leaders in holding the political class accountable.
God Cannot Be Manipulated
Religion can be a powerful tool to mobilize and unite communities. But when politicians try to wield faith for personal or political gains, they risk compromising the integrity of both religion and governance. God is not a puppet to be manipulated; His righteousness transcends human machinations. Attempts to portray a political regime as divinely chosen while demonizing rivals as ungodly is a dangerous game that can lead to disillusionment and division.
The Responsibility of Religious Leaders
During the 2022 Presidential Campaign, some religious leaders, especially Evangelicals, played a prominent role in endorsing the political class, giving credibility to the claims of divine selection. While it is natural for religious leaders to engage in public affairs, they must do so with a clear conscience and genuine commitment to uphold the principles of justice, compassion, and righteousness.
The Silence of the Shepherds
The shift in the behaviour of some pastors and religious figures after the elections raises concerns about the motivations behind their initial vocal support. When religious leaders go silent on critical issues after receiving perceived “goodies” from a regime, it erodes public trust and raises questions about their independence and moral authority. True spiritual leaders should never trade their convictions for material gain or personal benefits.
The Call to Walk the Talk
If Kenya indeed has a majority of Christians, there is a collective responsibility to uphold the values preached within their faith. Walking the talk requires not only living an ethical and righteous life but also standing up against injustice, corruption, and oppression. The current ills plaguing the country, such as violence against innocent citizens during protests and cases being thrown out due to political connections, demand a unified and unequivocal response from the Christian community.
God’s Judgment and the Fall of King Saul
The example of King Saul in the scriptures serves as a cautionary tale against those who attempt to manipulate God’s will for personal gain. Despite his anointing as king, Saul’s disobedience and self-serving actions led to his downfall, and God ultimately chose David to be the next king. It is a reminder that leaders who misuse their power and betray the trust of their people will ultimately face consequences, be it divine judgment or the will of the electorate.
The intertwining of religion and politics can be a potent force for good or ill. When used responsibly, faith can inspire leaders to serve with integrity and compassion, seeking the welfare of all citizens. However, when faith is manipulated for personal gain or to further political agendas, it can lead to disillusionment, division, and the erosion of trust in both religious institutions and the political class.
In the case of Kenya, the events surrounding the 2022 Presidential Campaign and its aftermath offer lessons for both leaders and citizens. It serves as a reminder that God cannot be boxed or manipulated, and that true righteousness requires not only vocal proclamations but also active resistance against injustice. If the nation’s majority Christian population wishes to see positive change, they must hold their leaders accountable, maintain their moral compass, and ensure that politics remains firmly grounded in ethical principles, justice, and compassion. Only then can they hope to create a society that reflects the values they hold dear.