Kenya (MNN) — Three hundred bishops in Central Kenya confronted a county governor last week to protest a new bill that would charge clergy for preaching outside of their churches. The bishops, who claim to represent as many as 1,200 churches within Nyeri County, marched to the governor’s office on Feb. 12 to protest against the Nyeri County Finance Bill that includes a section on charging preachers for speaking in public.
The bill states that clergy must pay 10,000 Kenyan Shillings (approx. €85 or $116USD) per day to preach inside a stadium, 8,000 KES (€68 or $93USD) outside a stadium and 5,000 (€42 or $58USD) in rural areas. In Kenya, it is common for churches to hold evangelical events in stadia that can last from three or four days up to a week.
The two largest parks in Kenya’s capital, Uhuru and Kamukunji, are popular venues for evangelical meetings, but under the proposed law churches could be forced to pay 50,000 KES (€423 or $58 USD) per day to preach from the main stand or 40,000 KES (€338 or $465USD) elsewhere in the park. Under Nairobi’s proposed bill, street evangelists would also be forced to pay 2,500 (€21 or $30USD) to preach.
Charles Muchiri–priest of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ruiru, near Nairobi, and chairman of the 300 bishops–said that churches should not be commercialized and treated like businesses, and that the bill would leave clergy dependent upon funds to reach beyond their churches.
“The services rendered by the church to the people are free, and such a high tax imposition will greatly affect the spreading of the gospel,” he said.
The Nyeri governor, Nderitu Gachagua, was out of office on the day of the protest, but the bishops were addressed by Finance Executive Martin Wamwea, who promised a response from the County Assembly Finance Committee within seven working days.
Christians in Kenya are divided on the issue. Some argue that it is wrong to charge preachers, but others say clerics should pay the fees, a view that is bolstered by reports that clergy have been exploiting their positions to make money.
Recent reports claimed that one pastor had been charging 1,500 KES (€13 or $17USD) for the promise of salvation, while another reportedly sold holy oil for money.
The bill is yet to be debated by the local government or signed by the county governor.
Pray that governor will make wise decisions for the country. Pray that the pastors would be honest with the governor.
If the news of the Kingdom were to be bought ever since Christ rose from the dead,no one would be a Christian.That means Paul,and other renown preachers including Jesus would have made a breakthrough.The Gospel of Salvation is not a manufactured product to attract such hefty cess fees,or VAT,kuokoka ni bure,hata injili ni bure.Jesus brought us salvation for free,not for SALE.,i think its a beginning of a country that is headed for destruction.If Kenyan leadership will neglect God under the guise of County Govt pursuit for raising funds,then We got to go back to God and repent for this greedy.Already Governors,Senators are living lavish lifestyles using taxman meagre funds,yet they wanna impose more from Churches to squander moe.Those preachers that are charging for holy oil or to get salvation are Antichrist,they are self sent and thieves.We must get them out.Kenya is corrupt in all senses including clergy.But not all preachers like that.So Governors gives the Gospel its position in the quest to unite Kenyans.If it were not for the Church this country would be in shambles after 2013 4th March elections..