PRESIDENT-ELECT Edgar Lungu has asked the Church to continue praying for peace and respect for the rule of law in the country.
And the Head of State has explained that he has no intentions of abusing the Church but wants to incorporate it in the duties of the State.
Speaking during a “Thanks Giving Mass” at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in State Lodge yesterday, President Lungu asked the Church to pray for peace and respect for the rule of law. “I ask that you should be praying for peace in this country, pray for respect of law and order in this country. Some countries are already in flames because the spirit of oneness which comes through the love of Jesus Christ our lord is not there.
“We should respect the law of the land and respect one another and we should respect institutions which we have established for ourselves to govern us, the courts, police and the church. All of us have a role to play,” he said.
The Head of State also explained that his intention to have a Minister of Religious Affairs for Faith and National guidance was to harmonise the relationship between the State and the Church.
“I didn’t say that I want to abuse the Church like you have heard some people saying Lungu wants to abuse the Church. Who am I to abuse the Church? Who am I to take over the Church? God gave us different works. He gave me the work of being a president,” he said.
The Head of State assured the Church not to feel scared by pronouncements which were coming from State House because everybody belonged to the Church.
He said those who did not like the Church were already feeling offended whenever he (Lungu) was in Church. “I am sad to say that it did not go down very well with some people, they are very offended. They think I want to take over the Church,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State explained by assuring the Church that they (Churches) exist independent of the State and that the State could not take over the Church because it was subordinate to it.
“Fortunately most of us are believers in the Church and we are believers in Christ and we are members of the Church. So I said we shall work together with the Church and give them special purpose vehicle to help us structure our relationship,” he explained.
President Lungu further explained that there was need to have a way of communicating between the State and the Church so that the State could help the Church. “I have got a job, I am the Head of State and you have got your job, you are priests and you have bishops so we are just the same people when we become leaders in political arenas. We don’t stop being your members of the Church,” President Lungu said.
He also explained that as a Christian, he wanted a simplified way of communication between the State and the Church rather than anybody chancing Mr Amos Chanda or the First Lady in order to present the Church’s challenges to State House.
“But what we want is harmony whether you are Pentecostal, catholic or evangelical,” President Lungu said.