Powerful Churches Target Kenya's Constitution over Abortion

By Baldauf, Scott | The Christian Science Monitor, May 14, 2010 | Go to article overview

Powerful Churches Target Kenya's Constitution over Abortion


Baldauf, Scott, The Christian Science Monitor


Kenya's churches are opposing a draft Kenyan Constitution they see as encouraging abortion. Three US lawmakers - targeting the abortion issue - have also sent a letter to the State Department questioning US support of the constitution process in Kenya.

A letter by three US congressmen aims to stop Kenya from ratifying a newly passed Constitution because they feel it encourages Kenyan women to have abortions.

In their May 6 letter to the US State Department's acting Inspector General, a copy of which has been obtained by the Monitor, Rep. Chris Smith (R) of New Jersey, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Florida requested an audit of US government funds on the basis of a US law that states that "none of the funds made available under this Act may be used to lobby for or against abortion."

The lawmakers' efforts come amid an initiative by powerful Kenyan churches to battle what religious leaders see as an opening to abortion.

Kenya's draft Constitution actually forbids abortion, "unless in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger...." US Amb. Michael Rannenberger allegedly urged Kenyans to vote for this new Constitution on numerous occasions, which these congressmen argue is in breach of US law.

Two years after mob violence killed nearly 1,300 Kenyans and forced 300,000 others from their homes - in the wake of an election that appeared to be deeply flawed and manipulated by Kenyan politicians who had extraordinary powers over the judiciary and the supposedly independent electoral commission - many Kenyans say that passing a new constitution is necessary for the country's very survival.

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of Kenyans, more than 60 percent, approve of the new Constitution, which many Kenyans have read because of freely available printed copies paid for by funds given by the US Agency for International Development.

Powerful churches step in

Yet Kenya's powerful churches are putting on the brakes. And the draft Constitution's provision for abortion is just one of many of their concerns.

"The Constitution is an important document for Kenya, but there is no reason why Kenyans should adopt a bad constitution," says Henry Njagi, spokesman for the National Council of Churches of Kenya in Nairobi. "For Christians don't see why they should be asked to endure a constitution that is so directly against Christianity."

Mr. Njagi says that church leaders had engaged Kenya's politicians about revising the Constitution since the 1980s, but "at every stage, they did not address our issues. So now, we have no choice but to say 'no.' "

By threatening to scuttle the constitution process, Kenya's churches - particularly its Roman Catholic and Pentecostal denominations - are moving into dangerous territory, Kenyan political observers say.

"These people are playing with fire," says Mwalimu Mati, director of the Mars Group Kenya, an anticorruption watchdog that has pushed for the new constitution.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Powerful Churches Target Kenya's Constitution over Abortion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.