“Education is the key of life,” so the saying goes. However, some religious leaders seem unimpressed with the draft bill governing religions tabled before the parliament’s political affairs committee last month. The bill requires religious leaders to have a Bachelors degree!
When the bill becomes a law, some articles seem not to favour other religious leaders based on the different ways others have perceived it hence calling for amendments.
Amongst articles that have been highly criticized include Article 21 that requires one to have a minimum number of 100 members in order to start a religious denomination.
Although this article raised concern, Article 32 (clause 4) that requires a legal representative of a denomination to at least hold a Bachelor’s degree caused mixed reactions.
The leaders have reacted basing on scriptures most notably that “the bible says where 2 or 3 will gather, God will be in their midst!” One representative of a certain denomination said challenging the required 100 members for one to start a denomination, in case the bill is passed as law.
“Starting a church does not require someone to be academically qualified but it’s a calling,” another religious leader said referring to the Bachelor’s degree requirement for initiators of religious groups.
Some believers had this to say about the bill:
“It’s right to have educated leaders, but setting a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement for our religious leaders is challenging since even the qualifications of a member of parliament are not as high as that. Other people who are not believers but holding academic papers might decide to start churches,” Robert Banyenzaki, Businessman.
“Many Christian or Islamic leaders have served well irrespective of the education background which may not be as high as the bill is calling for.
I therefore believe that academics and religion are two different things,” Abu Mutabazi, Teacher.
“Religion is not about the number of believers, but how one believes. I have seen a church which has started with less than 20 people but for over a period of time, it has grown to having over 150 believers,” Allan Mugesha, Student.
“The bill is not bad but what believers want is not how good the leaders are nor do they want to see many believers in church who may not depict the right image of believers, but how religion can be improved so that we can get the right meaning of religion in the country,” Amina Uwamahoro, shop keeper.
The education level that the law may call for caused more reactions compared to all other articles.