Earlier this year the Kenyan authorities, under pressure from religious groups, deregistered the Atheists in Kenya organisation. They claimed the non-believers were a ‘threat to peace and good order’.
If they thought this would serve to silence the group, they were proved wrong, for Harrison Mumia, above, President of Atheists in Kenya, is now demanding that the word ‘God’ in the National Anthem be expunged.
According to this report, Mumbia said in a statement:
As non-believers, we feel that the National Anthem is not representative of us, and goes against the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution.
His group argues that having the word ‘God” in the first stanza of the anthem does not promote the spirit of inclusivity, since:
Not all Kenyans believe in God.
The atheists point out that Kenya is a secular state and therefore singing the national anthem with the word God is in contravention of the Constitution.
The National Anthem starts with “Oh, God of all creation” and is recited as a national prayer for prosperity, love and unity.
It is a song taught to every child in each school and is considered to be the unifying factor in the country.
The anthem is sung in numerous occasions for instance before the opening of any official function.
Atheists want to feel proud when we sing or listen to the national anthem. This pride must arise from a sense of unity with shared values and ideals. The word ‘God’ disenfranchises atheists.
He said a petition will be presented to Parliament, which ironically has its own religious parliamentary prayer, which read in part:
Almighty God, who in Your wisdom and goodness have appointed the offices of leaders and parliaments for the welfare of society and the just government of the people, we beseech You to behold with Your abundant favour, us Your servants, whom You have been pleased to call to the performance of important trusts in this Republic.
The group was originally granted registration on February 18 this year, but was suspended by Attorney-General Githu Muigai in May following opposition from religious groups.
In a statement then, Prof Muigai said the organisation’s fate will be determined by the Supreme Court.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn