By Clergy Daniel Amum Odwel
It has become crystal clear that the government of South Sudan declared war against the church. The most important thing is that, it had decided to antagonize clergymen that were announced in daytime before the congregations by the Vice President. Those worshipers were people, who are being hunted and gunned down by unknown gunmen under leadership of Vice President Wani Igga. Those innocent bloods are crying before God and you will give an account for such merciless killing of citizens of South Sudan.
Vice President Wani Igga, can you explain to the public and entire world how clergymen instigated the violence in South Sudan? Was the political difference within the SPLM party in 2013 that led to baseless war initiated by clergymen?
Was the target killing of Nuer ethnic group in Juba instigated by the clergymen? Was the massacre of innocent civilians in Yei and other places in Equatorial region caused by clergymen?
Was the destructions and displacements that occurred in the whole Upper Nile region made by clergymen?
Was the war at J-1 between your party and SPLM-IO part of that criminal act by clergymen?
To mention few, all those crimes were committed in your presence as Vice President, and you never reacted or challenged those heinous acts.
I think these days your chair is flaming up with fire of uncertainty for your future that maybe the crucial reason that caused you to reiterate this poisoned statement to silence the clergymen.
I want to alert you that your allegation against clergymen is going to awaken passive and dormant clergies who support your notorious government that never cared about its own subjects.
Mr. Vice President your attitude and behavior is similar to that of Saul, who marched out to murder and threaten Jesus true followers, Jesus had to face Saul to protect his disciples, and I believe He will deal with you in the same matter.
Mr. Vice President Wani Igga, you're ignorant about the church and its mandatory tasks. But let me narrate to you some of them, the church is voice of voiceless and she shouldn't go in bed with ruthless system or murderers.
Church is holistic institution that has obligation to address any issue affecting its members whether political, social, economical and physical. In case the church failed to challenge oppressive powers, then that church becomes dormant, static, an abstract and irrelevant in the society it serves. To knowledgeable person political is meant to define the affairs of state and to make decisions that is applied to all members of each group without discrimination. Indeed, any politician that never fulfills its duties it should be critic by the clergymen in order to transform their malpractices.
Mr. Vice President Wani Igga it is real sad and shocking to discover that you never understand your Bible. Please bear with me for a moment and listen careful to political statement uttered by Jesus Christ by saying '' The Spirit of the Lord is upon him to preach good news to the poor and to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for blind, and to release the oppressed'' (See Luke 4:18).
Again, Jesus told people who came to listen to his teaching that ''the kingdom of God is near and they must repent and believe the good news'' (Mark1:15). In God's kingdom there is true justice, equality, peace and freedom. In case the nation failed to grant those elements, in order to ensure togetherness and oneness than the church is in full position to criticize those problems.
Furthermore, John the Baptist told the Tax collectors that they shouldn't collect more than what was required by law, also he told soldiers that they shouldn't extort money and shouldn't accuse people falsely and let them be content with their wages (Luke 3:10-14). These were political statements that were intended to warn political leaders of not taking care for poor, not doing justice to everyone, and to avoid oppressing desperate and destitute people. Also they should avoid corruption, embezzlement of national resources for their selfish benefits.
Indeed, the church must challenge giants involves in misappropriation of public funds, and who discriminated against their subjects. When the church failed to address issues affecting parishes then for sure, the church will be irrelevant to the people for not articulating its teaching in the right way because the church is the voice of voiceless.
Ironically, All Saint Cathedral Church of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in Juba was annoyed and regretted your abusive accusation when they gave you the chance to greet the worshippers as a leader. But your exploded argument qualified the criminal intention of the government to kill people and no one is allowed to criticize or challenge the government. This is a naïve position, and maybe that was the reasons that people termed you with bad names.
Mr. Vice President Wani Igga, backbiting and cowardice is not good for outstanding leaders, you were supposed to mention the names of prominent clergymen that had encroached on the political territory and had become the breeders of violence. Sorry, you were not courageous enough this is why you gave a generalize allegation. In this juncture, people will conclude that you are suffering from inferiority complex and low esteem personality that caused you to live in this self denial position out of fear from your boss.
Analysing the statement you have made that "Some clergymen have resorted to preaching against personalities in this country'', it is a wonderful one because the essential characters of the church in the New Testament are: The church is God’s people (1Pet.2:9-10); the church is the body of Christ. This means it is the foundation of their lives, unity and gives them energy to service the world. The church is the means of Christ work in the world, it is his hands, and feet, his mouth and voice (Eph.1:20).So how can the world silent the church not to speak against evils practiced by the world leaders.
Mr. Wani Igga you claimed that clergymen ''are misinforming believers that President Salva Kiir or government is bad''. Do you want to deny the fact that the government is bad? it is shame on you, what kind of government you wished to defense? Do you want believers to support the bankrupted government, the one that killed its own people, and the partial government that protect one particular group in expense of other communities?
Mr. Vice President Igga, you claimed that ''the religious leaders were misinforming the believers that the government had failed in its mandate''. It is absolutely true that you failed in your mandate which is well known to all, and the only thing clergymen are trying to do is to inform the believers about the consequences of government failure and how can they become proactive in this terrible situation imposed on them by failure state, so that they may cope up with life with hope that God will rescue them in His own time.
For your information the church which is unable to ensure physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of it members is not a real church of Christ. The proclamation of the church is meant for transformation of lives in-gathering of believers into worship communities, depth of understanding, stirring up the conscience about those things for which the gospel stands for like justice and righteousness, love and peace. Those things should occur wherever the gospel is good news about God power and grace.
Mr. Vice President Wani Igga, your accusation to clergymen of misusing the pulpit is going to create deep gap and mistrust between your government and people of South Sudan. They will realize that you want to dismantle the church, in order for it to be passive and dormant while you continue committing cruel and inhumane crimes. Yes, the church leaders are the fiercest critics of Kiir administration, because it destroyed the nation and broken tribal co-existence of mutual relationship.
In case you wanted the clergymen not to give direct criticism to you and Kiir, you better transform your performances and live to the standards of national figures rather than tribal chief.
In conclusion, the church should avoid giving it pulpit to any political leaders that attend the service and must regard them as just worshippers. It is a full responsibility of the church to address issues that enslaved their worshipers without fear, knowing that the church is sacrificial entity left by Christ to transform the world into better place. Mr. Igga if you have nothing to do, it is better to leave the church alone to approach the issues of concern in its own perspective.
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