Unchristian goings-on in Zimbabwe’s Church of England
Posted by CM on January 7, 2008
Summarised from the Zimonline website:
There was chaos as the Anglican’s St Mary’s and All Saints Cathedral in Harare yesterday after ousted controversial bishop Nolbert Kunonga held a rival service under heavy police presence.
Kunonga, who is a vocal supporter of President Robert Mugabe, is refusing to leave office as archbishop of Harare after he arbitrarily pulled out the diocese from the Province of Central Africa.
The Province of Central has since appointed the retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare to take over from Kunonga.
The warden said they had to hire the police force for protection during the service after violent skirmishes that have rocked the diocese since Bakare’s appointment.
Kunonga’s supporters have allegedly been attacking parishioners who back Bakare.
Kunonga has in the past vociferously defended Mugabe over his controversial policies particularly the violent seizure of white farms for redistribution to landless blacks eight years ago.
These events strike me as bizarre on several levels.
One is the obvious one that here are people who wear their religiosity on their sleeves for the whole world to see acting in a way that one would say is in shocking contradition to the message they preach!
But there is also this: Kunonga unconditionally supports Mugabe on the basis of the latter undoing the legacy of colonialism’s race-based land ownership legacy. While many would agree with the basic philosophy of social economic justice, there are those who do not forgive Kunonga for overlooking Mugabe’s many “sins” over the years.
Kunonga says that his support of Mugabe is the real reason he has got into trouble as head of the Zimbabwean branch of the Church of England.
But I find it odd that a cleric who expresses strong feelings about undoing the colonial legacy would see no contradiction between that and being a bishop in the religious outfit that is arguably the quintessential representation of British empire and colonialism, the Anglican Church.
I have often wondered why Kunonga did not just say good riddance to the Church of England and start his own religious outfit, as so many modern day “prophets” say they are “anointed” to do.
I don’t quite get how he reconciles the glaring contradictions.