Editorial: Christians should use Easter to repent and make amends

Rwanda is a predominantly Christian country and a heavy presence of religious organizations in all spheres of life.

In order to spread their influence and beliefs, early missionaries built schools and health centres to teach the natives western ways of life.

They targeted the children of the most influential members of society and slowly relegated traditional cultural norms to the bottom drawer of scorn. The social fabric that held communities together was slowly but surely replaced by religious dogma.

Today, Easter, all Christian churches and prayer centres will be full to the brim with the faithful celebrating the rising from the dead of Jesus Christ.

It is difficult to reconcile the fact that it was similar throngs of the faithful who spearheaded the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It is equally very puzzling that it was people like those who will be standing behind the alter today, preaching the love for one another, who sowed the poisonous seed of hate.

Those seemingly pious Christians did not hesitate to desecrate churches by turning them into abattoirs, in most cases with the full blessings of priests, nuns or pastors.

Some like Father Athanase Seromba ordered the demolition of his church in Nyange where more than 2,000 Tutsi had taken refuge. He used bulldozers to reduce the church into rubble, with the people inside.

If someone like Seromba could be entrusted with the spiritual guidance of thousands, why should we be surprised that his docile students turned out to be demons?

Spiritual leaders should take this Easter opportunity to join their flock in repentance, even though, unlike Christ, there is no chance of bringing back from the dead the millions who perished in the Genocide.