THE stance taken by the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) to oppose the creation of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs is ill-conceived.
The two Church mother bodies have chosen to deliberately turn an idea and decision devoid of politics political.
It must be noted, however, that the creation of a Ministry of Religious Affairs is not novel.
We are certain that both CCZ and ZCCB are fully cognisant that Dr Fredrick Chiluba had equally created a desk for Religious Affairs during his tenure of office.
Needless to say that it was under the second republic that we had the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation, a seal that is to date chronicled in the preamble of our supreme law of the land, the Republican Constitution.
Be that as it may, Zambia has maintained as a sovereign democratic republic and not a theocracy.
Can the creation of a Ministry for National Guidance and Religious Affairs bring about a theocratic republic? Is the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs meant to compromise the Church?
It worries us when people who are learned embark on a path that deviates from the core of their calling in propagating human goodness.
Instead, they choose to mislead the flock they were called on to shepherd.
Democracy and theocracy are two systems of governance totally different from each other, and one cannot mistake one for the other.
Theocracy is government by divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.
In many theocracies, government leaders are members of the clergy, and the State’s legal system is based on religious law.
Democracy, on the other hand, is government of the people, by the people and for the people.
We do not think the two types of governance are in any way similar in definition or implication.
In this vein, it is a misconception to think that with the creation of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs that would foster the establishment of a theocratic republic.
It would actually be an absurdity for someone to think so.
In our considered view, we do not think this Ministry would all of a sudden turn all government leaders to being members of the clergy, let alone make the State’s legal system be based on religious law.
If anything, that is not the ultimate goal, aim or objective of the creation of the new Ministry as stated by President Lungu.
We hold a conviction the thrust is well intended and meant to foster a healthy working relationship between the Church and Government.
It must be understood by those opposed to the formation of this ministry that it shall not only encompass Christianity but all other recognised religious traditions.
It is simplistic to posit that the Ministry shall in any way engage in the promotion of denominational or doctrinal teachings.
We think the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs shall help bring sanity among churches particularly with the mushrooming number of churches in residential areas which are hell-bent to steal every ngwee from the unsuspecting followers.
Some form of regulation is needed to ensure those churches that advance queer teachings are barred from misleading and robbing the innocent people.
We have no doubt that many Zambians out there are in full support of the new ministry for all the virtuous intents it has been created for.