Regulations on Faith Communities Proposed in Rwanda
After closing more than 700 churches and some mosques in March, Rwandan government officials have moved to institute guidelines for the operations of faith-based groups in the majority Christian country. Proposed guidelines have been brought to Parliament that would require Christian and Muslim clerics to attain university education before preaching in churches or mosques. The guidelines would also bar clergy who have been convicted of crimes of genocide, genocidal ideology, discrimination, or other sectarian practices. Those in support of the guidelines state that the law will put necessary structures in place that will prevent churches from taking advantage of the poor. Opponents of the guidelines feel that putting university education requirements on faith leaders will stifle the growth of the church because denominational seminaries are scarce. The draft law received wide support from most legislators in Rwanda’s Parliament. It will move to the committee stage, after which it will be brought back to Parliament for endorsement.
God of all nations, we lift up to you the people of Rwanda. Strengthen the resolve of the people whom you have called to serve your church, thwart the plans of the evil one to destroy, and equip the leaders in Rwanda’s parliament to make decisions that would aim to promote, and not hinder, the flourishing of your church.