John Rucyahana and Rose Kabuye

This post provides another example of Bishop John Rucyahana’s close ties to the Kagame government, not that any more evidence is needed. A bit of background to set it up:

Rose Kabuye was a fighter in the RPF invasion force that took over Rwanda before and during the genocide of 1994. She rose to be a Lieutenant Colonel and was later the mayor of Kigali and the Chief of State Protocol, a position close to the Dictator, Paul Kagame.
As part of an investigation into the assassination of Rwanda’s President Juvenal Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down in 1994 precipitating the genocide, a French Judge issued an arrest warrant for Kabuye in 2006. In 2008, Kabuye was arrested in Germany as part of this French investigation. According to this Guardian report:

Rwanda’s information minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said the German authorities had forewarned Kabuye that she was likely to be detained, but she chose to travel to Europe anyway because a trial would expose France’s politically motivated attempts to whitewash its own complicity in the mass slaughter.

Rwanda’s former Attorney General, Gerald Gahima, told me, “Kagame deliberately stage managed Rose Kabuye’s arrest (The Germans warned the Rwanda Government she would be arrested if she visited Germany) as a strategy to get the file of the French Criminal Case.” Mr. Gahima also confirmed that “Rose Kabuye was actually innocent; she was not one of those involved in the planning and execution of the attack against Habyarimana’s plane.” Kabuye was later released and received a hero’s welcome back in Rwanda. Kagame’s insiders have a limited shelf-life, so in 2010, Kabuye was dumped from the cabinet and has in most respects vanished from public life in Rwanda.

What does this have to do with John Rucyahana? Well, the Bishop had his Diocese issue a statement blasting France over the arrest of Kabuye, a statement which was published in Rwandan propaganda organ The New Times. Why would he do this? Because Paul Kagame and the RPF ordered all officials to speak up about the arrest. The United States embassy in Kigali said this about the “protests” of the arrest that took place across the nation:

(SBU) The nationwide marches were uniformly peaceful and  orderly, with security forces closely monitoring the progress  of the assembled crowds. Ostensibly called by local NGOs and  media houses, the marches were in fact organized by the  government and ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).  Instructions went out from the central authorities to all  administrative levels of the government to assemble their  populations for the marches.

So Rucyahana’s Church Diocese issuing a statement about this situation was done at the command of the State. Mr. Gahima said, “Kagame had ordered everyone, public official and private alike, to participate in activities defending Rose Kabuye.” This also sheds light on the complicity of current Archbishop Rwaje in issuing an “Ecumenical Letter” attacking the United Nations report which exposed Rwanda’s support for the terrorist M23. I surmise that Archbishop Rwaje was similarly acting on orders from the State when he put his name to his “unsatisfactory” letter.
Rucyahana’s statement, full of vitriol for France, follows after the text from the New Times:

Anglican Church condemns Kabuye arrest

The Anglican Church, Shyira Diocese, has strongly condemned the recent arrest of the Rwandan Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye.
In a statement issued last week, the Diocesan Council chaired by the Right Reverend John K. Rucyahana, said the actions by Germany and France, was a plan to ruin Rwanda.
Below is the full statement:

We consider the criminal arrogance of the said developed countries, especially France and Germany and their condescension, and contempt treatment of the lesser economically developed nations of Africa in general and specifically Rwanda as:
Tearing down our country and its political institutions and depriving our national leaders of their legitimacy for their own benefit, to a point that has up to now been and is the very reason of our instability.
Sowing divisions and hatred among Rwandans, for the sole benefit of dividing to reign and bring the nation to the brink of total collapse- France being behind all planning, manoeuvring and implementation of genocide and continued collaboration with genocide perpetrators.
These are France’s political and fraudulent manoeuvres to track down our leaders as criminals, when, these Rwandan heroes under French arrest warrants are the very leaders who halted the commissioned genocide.
We, the Anglican Community of the Diocese of Shyira, are very saddened that France and Germany are not deterred by their past criminal acts against our nation, once again shamelessly; they are on a campaign of derailing our nation.
We therefore:
Publicly, denounce France and their supporters in their despicable ill intended procedures.
We publicly, denounce those using the law and international conventions, fraudulently, to deprive others of the God given rights and dignity.
We denounce in the strongest terms, all exploitive tricks used by France to continue to deprive the people of Rwanda, of their destiny and abundance of life.
The Anglican Church, Shyira Diocese, implores Rwandans to honestly commit themselves to praying to God for the total redemption of Rwanda from colonial oppression.
The Christian community in Shyira Diocese, request the United Nations (UN) to take clear resolutions restraining super powers from overrunning the rights of developing nations as it is being done by France.
The clear example is the arrest of Mrs. Rose Kabuye which is unfair not only to her as a person but also deprives Rwanda of its sovereign rights.
The Anglican Church of Rwanda, Diocese of Shyira, joins the rest of the Rwandans, in condemning publicly the colonial derogation and the behaviour of France which deprives us of our rights and inflicts pain on our people.
The Church appeals to all Rwandans to remain united and join their forces in order to face this huge attack from France and protect our dignity and the sovereignty of our nation, which is God given.
Since the colonial abuse has been exerted upon us for too long, we implore you, the Rwandan people to take upon ourselves the destiny of our country at any cost and orient the future generations.

Examining Breedlove’s Defense of Rwandan Anglicans

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Proverbs 28.4

I was going to continue looking at the “Peace in the Great Lakes” effort launched last month in a new post, but instead I will tie that effort to the recent posts of PEARUSA Anglican Bishop Steve Breedlove. While at the House of Bishops meeting in Rwanda, Bishop Breedlove started a blog called exegeomai, and two of his posts to date have been apologetics for the Rwandan Anglican Church. The posts are located here and here.

PEARUSA Presiding Bishop Steve Breedlove

First a bit of background: I met with Bishop Breedlove in the Fall of 2012 after having compiled a report for him and my local clergy that detailed:

  1. Torture of Rwandan citizens as documented by Amnesty International.
  2. Assassinations carried out by the Kagame regime, such as the murder of Seth Sendashonga and the attempt on the life of Kayumba Nyamwasa.
  3. The totalitarian nature of Rwanda’s ingando camps and the “divisionism” laws which are used to silence all political dissent.
  4. The false nature of the reconciliation narrative that AMiA and now PEAR USA have been spreading in America.
  5. The connections between the Anglican Church of Rwanda and the Kagame regime.
  6. Post genocide massacres committed by the RPA and documented by the Gersony Report.

Prior to our meeting, Bishop Breedlove had apparently put questions to a bishop or bishops in Rwanda. Among other things, Bishop Breedlove told me:

  1. There are several political parties in Rwanda. The bishops are “not sure” if they are part of RPF or not. Breedlove believed they may support RPF in the same way we might support the GOP, i.e. as voters and not participants.
  2. The bishops are calling for everyone to lay down their arms in the Congo.
  3. Breedlove’s personal experience with the bishops led him to believe in their integrity, something he has just repeated in his blog posts.
  4. He said that the Rwandan bishops back the ingando camps, and the divisionism laws as salutary and the only effective alternative to “genocide ideology.” He said that a Rwandan bishop compared the totalitarian ingando camps to ‘going on a Church retreat.’
  5. He claimed that Hutus are scattered throughout all levels of the Rwandan society/power structure.

At that time I asked the Bishop if the Rwandans showed any degree of self critique or criticism for their government and he could not come up with an example or answer of self criticism.
As study after study and book after book can demonstrate, the answers he relayed to me from Rwanda are far-fetched poppycock. For example, Hutus are ‘scattered throughout the power structures of Rwanda’, where, as the US State Department knows, they are “twinned” with Tutsis who hold the real power, see this post. Another example, political parties in Rwanda are a sham and the RPF dominates life down to the household level, as Susan Thomson says, “Kagame abolished real opposition and manufactured a shadow opposition that serves only to sing the praises of the RPF. This “opposition” is active only during election season and is otherwise unknown to the general public. None of the three actual opposition parties – the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, FDU-Inkingi, and PS-Imberakuri – can take part in the elections because their respective leaders are either in prison or banned from registering their candidates on allegations of harbouring genocide ideology.”
Bishop Breedlove’s recent posts are of a piece with his meeting with me last year. He praises the openness of Rwandan Anglican bishops, which he believes is a legacy of the East African Revival, but he may not be aware that this was also a characteristic of the Church prior to the genocide:

Often the rhetoric of the Revival was introduced into the disputes. At high-profile meetings of reconciliation, church leaders confessed and sang Tukutenderza in the old spirit of the Balokole [Balokole means ‘saved‘ – editor] fellowship, but these occasions did not seem to have the power to transform the faction-riven nature of the church.

The House of Bishops meeting several years ago.

Bishop Breedlove then turns to the Peace in the Great Lakes initiative. The initiative was launched by the Roman Catholic Church in the Congo. As I pointed out in my previous post on the initiative, several bishops met with James Musoni from Rwanda about their work. The absurdity of Rwandans discussing peace in the Congo when their nation is the one that invades and supports terrorist groups on Congolese soil should not be lost on anyone. It would be like churches in the United States launching a peace effort for Iraq without addressing the glaringly obvious fact that our nation started the war. If Rwandan Anglicans want to end war and rape in the DRC, they should have adjourned their meeting and walked over to the Paul Kagame residence for a chat on why he continues starting wars with their neighbor.Bishop Breedlove describes the various economic initiatives that PEAR is concerned with, many of which may be praiseworthy, but which I suspect have a great deal to do with RPF pressure for “Vision 2020” goals from the all powerful State. Breedlove says “the government yields the platform of developing and transforming communities to the church” as if we are dealing with any old government and cooperation from the Church is just fine, but this is not the case! We are dealing with a government that tracked down and slaughtered Hutus in the DRC and inside Rwanda, that tortures dissenters, imprisons clergy for speaking up against it, and rules with an iron fist. Cooperation with such a government to advance its economic policies cannot be separated from the intrinsically evil acts it commits.

Bishop Breedlove tells us that Bishop Augustin Ahimana is one of the Anglican representatives for this initiative. Bishop Ahimana is the very man who defended Rwanda’s two murderous wars in the DRC! He wrote in Christianity Today:

It is also our duty to inform American Christians that there has been a malicious campaign to demonize Rwanda’s leaders, distorting the political situation. This distortion emanates from people often hiding behind so-called humanitarian organizations. Some have a hidden agenda of distracting the international community so that their own role in Rwanda’s tragedy cannot be exposed.

When Rwandan troops decided to pursue the genocidal forces and their sponsors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1996 and 1998, they did so in the light of day. The peace we enjoy today in our country is mainly a consequence of that action.

Bishop Ahimana

The hypocrisy of having Ahimana talk about peace when he defended the Kagame invasions of the DRC is unfortunately par for the course. Bishop Breedlove would have us believe that the Anglican Church is a force for peace and justice in the region when in fact two retired bishops were fundraising and recruiting for M23, the latest incarnation of evil in the DRC. In fact, while he was in Kigali he could have walked over to a nearby court (had he been allowed in) and seen Joel Mutabazi, recently kidnapped from Uganda, forcibly repatriated to Rwanda and tortured into a false confession. This kind of thing happens on a regular basis in Rwanda, and has the Church done anything to address it at all?

Joel Mutabazi, political prisoner.

Where have Anglicans been while Hutu Victoire Ingabire has languished in prison on trumped up “divisionism” charges? The day after Bishop Breedlove left Kigali, her sentence was *increased* by the Kagame Supreme Court. Can you imagine Mitt Romney in handcuffs and in jail for the ‘crime’ of daring to run against President Obama? That’s what this equates to in the Rwandan dictatorship.

Ms. Victoire Ingabire, political prisoner.

And yet Bishop Breedlove wants us to believe with Archbishop Rwaje that the Anglican Church is “the conscience of society” in Rwanda. I take ‘conscience’ to mean the sense of right and wrong for Rwandan society, and that should indeed be one of the roles of the Church, but it is a role that the Rwandan Church has utterly failed at when it comes to actions of the Kagame regime in many arenas. Any person or institution can have an erring conscience, which Aquinas would say is not formed correctly. Aquinas called acting on what your conscience tells you prudence. If your conscience is not correctly formed to understand good and evil as God delineates them, you have an erring conscience and the judgments you render are likely to be wrong.

Anglican bishops listening to their dictator.

In the case of the Rwandan Anglican Church, its judgments are clearly wrong on many issues. It should speak up against ingando camps, against Hutu oppression, against RPF domination of society, against all forms of torture and murder, against Rwandan meddling with the Kivu Provinces of the DRC and against the misused divisionism laws.
We should ask when have we ever heard a Rwandan Anglican bishop have anything but praise for their nation and its leaders? When have they ever asked for prayer for the oppression in the nation? When have they ever spoken publicly about the repressive nature of the regime? When have they ever mentioned its human rights abuses? Instead, what we see in America is Rwandans heaping praise on the nation, in the case of Bishop Mbanda, calling its maniacal leadership “visionary” and so on. This is an example of “praising the wicked” which the Proverb refers to.
In perpetuating the idea that all is well in Rwanda and we need to “learn from them” PEAR USA makes itself an accomplice with a false narrative, afraid to stand up for truth, content to accept tall tales from friends inside the country without reviewing the vast amount of critical literature about the situation. And in turn, maintaining relationships with African Churches that are compromised with wicked states brings the Anglican Church in North America into disrepute and is Biblically unfaithful. Ethics applies to sex, yes, but it also applies to every relationship we find ourselves in: institutional, governmental, and ecclesiastical. I am all for Church – State cooperation, I believe in nations being regulated by Biblical law after all, but this does not mean that the Church meekly listens to a dictator, no! Instead, the Church follows the example of St. Ambrose who rebuked the Roman Emperor for a massacre of his people. Such faith is not currently seen within PEAR, PEAR USA or ACNA.
Bishop Breedlove may simply be suffering from a lack of information, he needs to talk to the Rwandans, and by this I don’t mean clergy who are aligned with the State and can’t speak publicly for fear of prison or death, but instead those who have escaped the country and can tell him about the reality outside of the bubble that Westerners are allowed to see. There are many of them whom I could connect him with, and who the Rwandan bishops should meet on their many trips to the United States. Do you think that will happen?

Theological Tensions within GAFCON

Andrew Atherstone attended GAFCON and wrote an insightful review of the conference (here) including this:

Theological tensions were further exposed in a seminar on the complementary charisms of catholicism and evangelicalism by Gavin Ashenden (former chaplain of Sussex University, trained at both Oak Hill and Heythrop), an entertaining but provocative speaker whose comments demonstrated the chasm between the two movements. This is one of the biggest dilemmas for GAFCON – although overwhelming evangelical, how serious is it about bringing Catholic Anglicans on board? The North American contingent, in particular, is largely catholic, since so many evangelicals left the Episcopal Church in the nineteenth century. The Nairobi communiqué welcomes ‘all our different traditions’ (misleadingly caricatured as Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics, and Charismatics) as all committed to ‘a renewed Anglican orthodoxy’. But what does this mean in practice? Is it just a temporary alliance, co-belligerence against the common enemy of radical liberalism, or something more? The Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 famously affirms ‘justification by faith’ (as did the Council of Trent) but not ‘justification by faith alone’. Some Anglo-Catholics at Nairobi were unhappy that the public worship was not more catholic in flavour; but they admitted there are only two viable options as they face an insecure future, GAFCON or the Ordinariate.

His “outside looking in”take on ACNA as largely catholic confirms my supposition that ACNA’s leadership is far more Anglo Catholic than the rank and file are, but it still isn’t proof.
Read the whole thing for what I think is a very balanced reflection on the week that was.
Also, Lee Gatiss wrote a positive review of the conference, but he also noted:

As for GAFCON, it contains its own fault lines and failures. The place of Anglo-Catholics within the broader movement may prove in the future to be problematic (and I spent many hours trying to negotiate some of this territory, with some friendly Anglo-Catholics who were kind enough to give me a great deal of their time). Some delegates expressed concern that justification by faith alone was not asserted clearly and unambiguously, and one senior Archbishop admitted that our fellowship may not be entirely gospel-focused, yet.

GAFCON and the East African Revival

This week, GAFCON speakers spoke of the East African Revival as an ideal for GAFCON to emulate. While the mass conversions it produced are an amazing testimony to its fruitfulness, we should also note some of its other aspects. Brian Stanley’s article on the East African Revival (from the Churchman magazine) says:

In May 1936 ecstatic signs began to appear in the Gahini district. Conviction of sin began to be accompanied by dreams, visions, falling down in trances, weeping, shaking, and other phenomena of near hysteria. Hymn-singing sessions went on all night.

“Falling down in trances” is probably something that most ACNA leaders would frown upon and which would align us squarely within Pentecostalism. Further, Keswick’s theology was “the Victorious Life” of sinless perfection, brought about by “a second work” of the Holy Spirit. Both of these tenets should raise alarms for Anglicans. Stanley says of the British missionaries:

Keswick implanted in them a hunger for personal holiness, and an expectation of revival as a norm which Christians should constantly be seeking to realize.

And this rubbed off on the African converts:

A theological tradition whose constant goal was holiness and victorious Christian living proved enormously attractive to African Christians who knew that beneath much of the appearance of so called conversion lay an undiminished commitment to traditional beliefs and practices. Doctrinal teaching which came close to advocating the necessity of a ‘second blessing’ seemed to offer the answer to those dissatisfied with the results of conversion. But once they had been revived, the emphasis on a second blessing was in practice obliterated by the new distinction between those in the revival fellowship-the ‘balokole’ or ‘saved ones’-and those outside. To be revived and to be saved became virtually synonymous. Writing in April 1937, Joe Church posed the question:

As one looks at these two or three hundred changed lives in Ruanda and Uganda what is one to say? Were they saved before, and were now just revived; or were they never really born again? Almost everyone of them would answer you himself that the latter was his experience. All seem to state unmistakably that they only had a nominal Christianity before.

The division into the ‘balokole’ and the rest, provided the African Christian with a universally applicable spiritual standard of radical implications. Polarization within the Church was inevitable. Geoffrey Holmes, writing from Gahini in April 1939, lamented the division of the station into two camps:

those who are in with the ‘abaka’ … and those who are not in with them. Actually here at Gahini most of the native Christians are in with this new group. There is no real fellowship between those who are in this group and those who are not. Those who are in it are continually seeking to convert those who are not to their way of thinking, and every means of persuasion and moral coercion are employed.

As I have previously noted, in the Rwandan context, Keswick revival theology produced an apolitical Church that did not confront the evils being committed by the State, with the result being that they were silent prior to the genocide. Roger Bowen wrote:

The more conservative attitude to Scripture, and the associated controversy, led to an emphasis on evangelism rather than any engagement with the public life of the nation or critique of the sociopolitical context. Indeed, the missionaries were dependent on the goodwill of the colonial administration and sought to be apolitical.

In some cases, all Scripture in interpreted to give the same message, often interpreted through the lens of the revival experience, rather than letting the diversity within the Bible be heard. Inadequate exposure to the whole counsel of God has meant that Church leaders were often left without the theological tools to engage with the complexities of relating to newly independent African states, to issues of economics, development, justice, human rights, and ethnicity.

Bowen says that the practice of sharing testimonies from the East African Revival led “to a lack of Biblical input and instruction, with the danger that personal experience becomes more important than the Word of God.”

The East African Revival is over, however it lives on in the large and vibrant churches of East Africa. GAFCON is rightly looking for Anglican churches to wake up (or be revived) and exhibit obedience to Christ and his Word, however, I hope that in doing so we do not embrace the false doctrine of sinless perfection or the apolitical acquiescence to evil that we have seen in Rwanda – and are seeing again.

The Disintegration of The Catholic Church Of Rwanda, II

Saskia Van Hoyweghen’s article The Disintegration of the Catholic Church of Rwanda gives us a window into the pre-genocide climate amongst Christians. She writes:

Historically the Catholic Church in Rwanda developed into a prominent institution, of which the subsequent regimes have often been called mere extensions. As such the Church was, just like the state, used by competing indigenous groups as a channel to power, prestige, and wealth.

This close identification of the Church with the Rwandan State continues in some measure today, but with the Anglican Church having largely taken the place of the Catholic Church. Van Hoyweghen identifies a Thomist vision of society undergirding the genesis of the Rwandan Catholic Church:

The success of the ‘Tutsi Church’ was in tune with the vision of the colonial religious and political establishment. Leon Classe, Vicar Apostolic sine 1913, was the embodiment of the theocratic, thomist vision within Catholicism. He dreamed of a hierarchical state-church and found a supporter in the Belgian colonial administration, which wanted to rule through the ‘traditional’ political system but trimmed it to ‘manageable and rational proportions’. The Tutsi were regarded as the noble rulers and the Hutu their subservient farmers. As a result the vision of a Catholic aristocracy, informed by the Faith and leading a subject peasantry along the paths of righteousness and economic development materialized. While authority had been complex and diffuse in pre-colonial times, the Church had become the generator and stabiliser of class structures.

Van Hoyweghen says that two differing strands of Catholicism, one being a Thomist vision of stability, the other being a more “Vatican II” social justice strand, — competed with one another within Rwanda:

By the 1940s, however, the political climate had changed sufficiently to generate among the new generation of missionaries and administrators sympathy for the Hutu cause. In the seminaries a Hutu counter-elite was formed. This elite could move to power because it successfully rallied the support of ‘social Catholicism’. The clergy experienced in Europe the burgeoning emancipation of a working class and the growth of trade-unionism. Hence it felt it had a moral duty to speak out on social injustice. This view was opposed to the ideas of Classe, who saw society and structure as neutral and the individual as the safeguarder of morality. These two strands within Christianity have never been at equilibrium in the Rwandese Catholic Church. While Hutu abbes found the support of an emancipating social Catholicism, the Tutsi abbes on the other hand expressed anti-Belgian and anti-White Father feelings and developed a nationalist discourse which was eventually turned against them. 

She poses the question of whether it is even proper to speak of the Church as an institution when individuals participated in it for their own (often ethnic) reasons:

While Tutsi were driven out of public office, they ‘would not let go of the Church’ as a channel for influence. Tutsi dominated the clergy because Hutu could finally take up positions in the public sphere. The Church played a major role in the economic development of the country and became the biggest employer after the state. It was therefore the focus of both Tutsi and deprived Hutu, mainly from the northern provinces in search of social promotion. The Church hierarchy however remained ‘faithful to the revolution’. The clergy reflected the fissions within society: while 90 per cent of the Christian population was Hutu, 70 per cent of the lower clergy were Tutsi, and most bishops Hutu. In this sense the Church was penetrated by society and faced difficulties becoming an independent institution with control over its flock. The question is, then, to what extent can the Catholic Church be considered an institution rather than a collection of people who all had their own reasons for being part of it? From the very start the indications of the potential weakness of the Church, have been largely overlooked in accounts of Rwandese Church history.

For most of its history, the Catholic Church in Rwanda was silent about the enormous evil perpetrated by the successive governments it was allied with. She writes:

The mute Church

In the midst of all this turbulence the Church remained silent. There was no reaction regarding the murder of Sylvio Sindambiwe, a journalist of the Catholic journal Kinyameteka. He paid with his life for an article he wrote on corruption. Amongst those arrested in October 1990 were several Tutsi priests, but again there came no reaction. The mark ‘mute Church’ would prove difficult to lose. Social justice had for long been absent from the Church’s vocabulary. The curriculum of the seminary of Nyakibanda, where Mgr. Perraudin had taught Kayibanda the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, had concentrated on liturgical matters and banned the discussion of social issues. The same Perraudin had kept silent when, years later, Kayibanda was imprisoned after the coup and died in prison of ‘neglect’ in 1976.

And she points to what I consider to be another key point of contact with the current Anglican leadership, particularly Archbishop Rwaje, Archbishop Kolini and Bishop Rucyahana – namely, the failure to address political problems such as the torture and murder of citizens that the RPF practices. The pietism of the Anglican Church seems to also be present in the Catholic Church:

The Church did not regard violence or corruption to be a structural problem but an aberration. It has become a hierarchically structured charity that did not question the political structures in which it comfortably operated and extended its development activities. The Church showed its clerical, hierarchical face again and remained deaf to Vatican II. Missionaries formerly active in Rwanda confirmed that the Rwandese Catholic Church was a very liturgical church, concentrating on individual salvation. This attitude has undoubtedly encouraged the development of a charismatic movement within the Church. Longman insists that this is even more true for the local parish. As social and economic centres they focused almost entirely on the development of personal faith. Problems were regarded as individual, and economic problems were never discussed in their broader sociopolitical context. It can be argued that the Church had an economic interest in supporting the existing status quo because as a cumbersome, extensive institution it needed a stable environment in which to operate. By the 1990s the changes in the air spelt a reshuffling of the cards if not instability. The Church hesitated to speak out. While the episcopacy remained silent, Christian organizations working under the umbrella of the Church took part in the rally for democracy. Both the Christian journals Kinyamateka and Dialogue had long been very critical of the regime and so were several Christian movements, such as youth organizations. The senior clergy, however, who had profited from the symbiosis with the regime, had no eye for social injustice nor the oppression of its own Tutsi clergy.

Switch “Hutu” for “Tutsi” here and you have a picture of Rwanda today! Finally, in 1991, voices from within the Church began to speak out:

The fact that the opposition remained united and credible explains why it managed to push through its demands. At this point it had also received an extra voice. On 1 December 1991 the Church broke its silence. Mgr. Thaddee Nsengiyumva (who is not related to the Archbishop Mgr. Vincent Nsengiyumva), Bishop of Kabgaye, published a pastoral letter entitled ‘Let’s Convert and Live Together in Peace’. This brave and self-critical document came as a real bombshell. Firstly it criticized the Church’s silence. It also accused the Church of corruption: the links with the grassroots were neglected because the Church had become part of the ruling elite in search of prestige and material rewards. Secondly, Mgr. Thaddee Nsengiyumva condemned the war. The political issues in the letter were in tune with the demands of the opposition. He was also of the opinion that the solution of the refugee problem would give the RPF no basis to continue the war.

The Disintegration of The Catholic Church Of Rwanda

Writing in 1996, shortly after the genocide, Saskia Van Hoyweghen provides a portrait of the Catholic Church in Rwanda up until the genocide, and it is a portrait that is somewhat mirrored in the current Anglican Church of Rwanda. She says:

Until 1988 Rwanda was one of the best performing countries in the region. Rwanda, ‘la petite Suisse, pays des milles collines’, became paradise for NGO’s and missions, the favourite of the international aid community. The skill of the president in establishing a ‘postcolonial historic bloc’  should not be underestimated. Habyarimana understood that in ‘search for autonomy of the state’ a coalition with both the Church and the international community was valuable. Hence the completion of the Church-state symbiosis. On the top level the collaboration of state and Church was embodied by Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva, who was close to the presidential family and an active member in the committee of the MRND (Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour la Democratie), the single party. The Church and state elites had a mutual interest in maintaining good relationships. The Catholic Church controlled most of the provision of education and health care, which was financially beneficial for the state, as education and health care are major expenses on the national budget. The state on the other hand could set the rules under which the Church had to operate by applying, for instance, (ethnic) quota systems.The central committee of the MRND was a forum where members of the same class, both Church and state leaders, could defend their often mutual interests. A position in this committee involved immense prestige and wealth. So Vincent Nsengiyurnva left this position only in 1990 under pressure of the Vatican, on the eve of the visit of the Pope, but he maintained friendly relationships with the president’s family. On every level, clergy were members of all sorts of development commissions. Habyarimana’s slogan was development, but it was the relatives of the presidents’ wife, Agathe Kanziga, who ate the largest part of the national cake at the expense of both Tutsi (the Gitarama-based establishment of former president Kayibanda) and of the rural population in general.

The Reformation was About Idolatry

Peter Leithart has a post up today about the centrality of idolatry to the Reformation. I strongly concur with what he says, and I think his point is largely lost in modern Protestant polemics. The emphasis usually is placed on justification, when idolatry was every bit as large a concern, and I believe that you see more drift on idolatry in Anglican circles than on other issues. As Leithart says:

In short, throughout the Reformation, idolatry was the problem; high sacramentalism allied to a high Christology was the solution.

That, to put it mildly, is not how the Reformation is characterized in textbooks and pulpits, but this double concern with theological and practical idolatry were as much at the heart of the Swiss Reformation as of the Lutheran, and Calvin’s resolution of these issues was the same as Luther’s.  Interwoven with his satiric attack on the idolatrous veneration of relics, for instance, was Calvin’s insistence that relics were spiritually destructive because they pointed sinners away from those designated sites where Christ had promised to make Himself available — in the water, where the word is opened, at the table, in the fellowship of saints.

Did Paul Kagame Just Admit Rucyahana’s Support for M23?

The New York Times carries a long profile of Paul Kagame called “The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman” this week. The article gets into quite a bit of Kagame’s dark side, without dismantling his entire facade. But what jumps out at me is this startling sentence:

He acknowledged that some Rwandan churches have been sending money to Congolese rebels, as part of a Tutsi self-protection campaign.

This is amazing. I would like to know what question led to this answer, but to me, the only likely basis for the question is the support of bishops Rucyahana and Kolini for M23, publicly noted in three United Nations reports. What other reports of church funding for M23 have there been?
If so, this means that at the highest possible level, from the mouth of the dictator himself, we have total confirmation of the activities of Rucyahana, Kolini, and who knows who else, in support of M23. Just this week, Human Rights Watch said of M23:

Just in the last two weeks, M23 fighters executed two local chiefs, shot and stabbed to death a boy, and shot dead at least three other men. Their shelling of populated neighborhoods in and around Goma killed at least seven civilians and wounded more than 40. A 16-year-old girl was killed while bathing when a mortar landed outside her home. A 14-year-old boy was killed when a mortar hit his home as he slept. Another mortar landed on a school, crushing to death a child playing.

Since April 2012, the rebels have committed widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and forced recruitment of children.Yet Rwanda has supplied them with weapons and ammunition, provided them new recruits, and backed them with military forces. Other armed groups and Congolese soldiers have also committed serious abuses.

We may now have a case of “Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you.”

Some Fawn Brodie Sources

Many of the books that Fawn Brodie consulted in writing her famous biography of Joseph Smith “No Man Knows My History” are available from Google books or other sources. Here are links to some of them:

Gleanings By the Way, by John Alonzo Clark. See pages 216 and following.

Mormonism Unvailed, by E.D. Howe.

History of the Mormons, Henry Mayhew.

A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, John Corrill.

Mormon Portraits, W. Wyl.

The Philosophy of a Future State, Thomas Dick. This book lies behind the cosmology of The Book of Abraham.

Absurdities of Mormonism Portrayed, Oliver H. Olney.

The Mormons, or Knavery Exposed, E.G. Lee.

Early Days of Mormonism, James Harrison Kennedy.

An Address to All Believers in Christ, David Whitmer.
The City of the Mormons, Henry Caswall.
A Narrative of the Adventures and Experiences of Joseph H. Jackson, Joseph Jackson.
The History of the Saints, John C. Bennett.
Fifteen Years Among the Mormons, Nelson Winch Green.

The Actions of John Rucyahana in Rwanda

An article from The Wind of Change blog about Bishop John Rucyahana came to my attention. The article makes some very serious accusations about Bishop Rucyahana, which American Anglicans should take notice of. The original article is located here, and an English translation follows:

The Ill Heart, Conspiracy, Plots, Disrepute and Shame of Bishop John Rucyahana

Who is Bishop Rucyahana? Rucyahana is known to call himself a true ‘Tutsi’, but to many this is questionable and that is why he hates Hutus and works tirelessly to make the Hutus suffer, because he wants to prove that he is a Tutsi. However, it is known that one of his grandfathers was a pure Hutu.
According to those who know him, Rucyahana, was born in the Kideho commune, [on] which he agrees. In 1959, he fled into exile with his mother to Zaire (the DRC), after a few years, he left Zaire and moved to Uganda where he studied and continued to the United States where he completed his studies. This is the reason why Rucyahana calls himself a Rwandan, a Congolese and a Ugandan and it is also alleged that he has an American citizenship. This is another reason: Rucyahana is always involved in the conflicts of the great lakes region.

Rucyahana is in the inner circle of the Rwanda ruling Party (the RPF), Rucyahana and a few other blue eyed boys of the RPF include: Gen. James Kabarebe (Minister of Defense), Senator Karangwa Chrysologue, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba all work very closely with His Excellency President Paul Kagame and the Chairman of the RPF. The above mentioned names are the Rwandan government and RPF decision makers especially when it comes to sensitive matters. For nominations to government positions the above personnel are the ones who vet the selected names and approve them, including drafting the bills to parliament and ordering the MPs to pass the bills without wasting more time debating on the bills in Parliament – to pass them immediately. Everyone named above heads a secret department in the RPF Secretariat. Rucyahana governs the Northern Province and he is the one who endorses and authorizes new churches to operate in Rwanda. On the other hand, Rucyahana authorizes and gives permission to all NGOs to officially operate their duties within Rwanda or revokes them.

The Specialties of Rucyahana:

The above named people are all ill hearted but for Bishop Rucyahana it is exceptional, for he conspires, plots and brings disrepute on the name of the Church. Rucyahana promotes divisionism, hatred among the Rwandan people, he promotes tribalism and he always calls the Hutus the enemy of the state everywhere he goes. In all the Church projects and other projects he is heading, Rucyahana has tried his level best to marginalize the Hutus but he has failed due to the fact they are the majority, at times he finds it difficult because he cannot progress or set up a project without the Hutus due to their numbers. 

Rucyahana does not want to work with people who are literate in Church projects. The reason is that when the financiers or the donors for the Church  projects who are mainly whites come to visit, he will be the only one who will remain explaining things to the whites, and the whites (Americans) will not get a chance to communicate with other people, because there  could be the chance of revealing the scandals that are involved in the Anglican Church projects. If one is educated, Rucyahana will try his level best to see that he is transferred to a distant place where donors will never have a chance of meeting him. 

There is a scandal where Rucyahana recruits youth from the Adventist Church and they are given scholarships. Mainly these youth are Tutsis and this is done at the arrangement of the RPF. After studies, these youth become Anglican pastors without even following the procedures of the Anglican process to become a priest. This issue of scholarships has strongly divided the Rwandan Anglican Church and a good number of Christians have stopped attending services. 

Rucyahana’s Shame:

Rucyahana has become a disgrace to the Anglican Church and this has made a section of Christians call him a “Snake”, they all see in him disloyalty and have no respect for him and the Church. Many say there is nothing like the work of God here, it is the work of Kagame instead that Bishop Rucyahana is offering.

Rucyahana’s Embezzlement in the Construction Shema Hotel:

According to Bishop Mbanda who replaced Rucyahana, he told the Christians that Shema hotel was constructed by the Americans’ donor money through the organization called Compassion. 

But in few days, Bishop Mbanda was shocked to receive letters from the Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) notifying him that that Shema Hotel will be auctioned for the BRD’s loan they acquired when it was under construction, and Bishop Rucyahana claims that Shema Hotel belongs to him he takes it as his personal asset. Shema Hotel was constructed on the land of and borders with the former EER (Eglise Episcopale au Rwanda) which is now called  EAR (Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda). 

And to the surprise of many, it is Bishop Rucyahana who is looking for the buyers and bargaining for the price. It is alleged that the hotel was leased by Americans for thirty years, and Rucyahana doesn’t want the hotel to be auctioned as was supposed to be done.Christians have on many occasions demanded explanations and details of the hotel: who is the owner, who constructed it and Bishop Mbanda has kept quiet after knowing that Rucyahana is well connected and if Mbanda gets involved and he reveals the truth about Shema Hotel, he is likely to lose his life. 

Every Christian is supposed to pay 1500 Rwanda Francs per month to reimburse the RDB bank loan. 

Since the hotel started operating, it has never employed a Hutu and when it was under construction, the Hutus were the ones who were the porters and builders. 

What is sadder is that Rucyahana employs people from Restoration Church, Zion Temple and Adventist churches due to the fact that they are Tutsis. And in the records that are sent to donors the names of the Hutus are also included as beneficiaries of the hotel. 

Some Christians are pushing Bishop Mbanda to lodge this complaint in court and have Rucyahana’s properties confiscated. 

Here is the List of Bishop Rucyahana’s assets: 

  1. Former Police School called EGENA (Ecole de la gendarmerie nationale) which he acquired without any tendering procedure or auction. 
  2. Former Ruhengeri Airstrip, former Ruhengeri regional Stadium and former Muhoza Army barracks which he acquired in the name of the Anglican Church. He was to set up a Christian University but now the land belongs to Bishop Rucyahana. He acquired all these due to the influence he has in the RPF and   many say these plots are written in his name but he shares them with senior people in government. 
  3. Sonrise boarding school, which was constructed to help the orphans, especially genocide survivors. It became a home and a school for sons and daughter of the government ministers and other senior government officials. 
  4. Haki Construction Company 
  5. A house under construction located in Kagogo in the district of Burera. 

In all the cases mentioned above, no Hutu has a chance to be employed and those who work there (who are Tutsi), have no employment interviews conducted, they are all sent by the RPF secretariat. 

Rucyahana’s Conspiracy

1. Rucyahana used his influence and ordered the Police in Northern Province to ban bicycles riders, saying that these riders are causing accidents on the roads and they give him a hard time for driving his car and those of other important people in the province.These bicycles riders are mainly Hutu youth who have nobody, no organization that caters to them. They are mainly the sons of those who lost their parents in the war. Even FARG (the Government Assistance Fund for Survivors) is not allowed to assist them to go back to school or do any other business, because FARG helps only Tutsi orphans. 

2. Rucyahana betrayed very many people during the invasion of 1997 and they were killed, including pastors, calling them collaborators with FDLR. Many were doing the work of God and he knew they would not have allowed him to obtain what he owns today. 

3. He caused many to be languishing in prisons today as he gave their names to RPF agents and they whisked them away. 

4. He introduced the campaign of bringing down the houses that were constructed with mud bricks, they were all destroyed. Some are constructing their houses today with them, but no Hutu can dare to use mud bricks. 

5. He started the gospel congregation to bring together worshipers from the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda but his aim was for this to be the easiest way to transport recruits to destabilize the Congo and act as Kagame’s agents for espionage in the region . 

6. In another scandal he betrayed an American called Caleb and he allowed the police sniffer dogs to be used in church and they sniffed the worshippers because Kagame was coming for services. It was suspected that some had grenades.

Rucyahana uses an armored vehicle when he is going to baptismal services and is escorted with a machine gun.

All these have made the Anglican Church lose worshipers because they are confused about which direction the Church is heading.