AFRICANIZATION OF RELIGION
by Nayaba Arinde
''Our church has always striven to have an
Afro-centric perspective, that is why we have a Black
messiah in our church,'' said Rev. Herbert Daughtry
head of the House Lord of Church.
As folk from: desperate U. S presidential candidates;
to podium-standing, award-accepting hip hop/R'n'B
greaters; to sweating, crying, bible thumping
tele-evangelists - oft times publicly invoke the name
of the god they serve, it is seen as nothing new in
this separate-but-not-really-church-and-state society.
As many proclaim fervently that Jesus was a Black man,
and was made in God's image, a move made by African
Anglican bishops on Monday in Nigeria, is in keeping
with reclaiming the historical and geographical
'truths,' of the stories of religious books such as
The Bishops announced that they might establish a
theology, which reflects the attitudes and behaviors
familiar with the African Continent, including being
against same-sex unions.
While saying that they will build new African-centered
theological institutions, at a press conference,
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola would not go as far
as saying that they will make a new African
Issues getting heavily debated are the ordination of
gay priests and same-sex 'marriage.'
''The Western world is embroiled in a new religion
which we cannot associate ourselves with,'' the
Associated Press quoted Akinola saying.
The continental chair of the Anglican bishops added,
''We have to find ways of developing our own
Akinola trained at the theology school in Alexandria,
Va., but slammed the fact that same-sex couples are
welcome there,'' Men and men are cohabiting, which is
taboo in African culture,'' he said.
The AP continued that Africa accounts for about half
of the world's 76.5 million Anglicans and Nigeria's
Islam and Christianity vie for face time on the
Continent, much lesser so are the centuries-old native
In so many of the wars in Africa - unfortunately
instigated, funded and arms-supplied by the West,
religion can be cited as the source of conflict.
Nations of peoples battle over two imposed-religions,
which do not reflect - and even denies their African
selves in the text, dogma and practice of the
Africa has the largest Anglican congregation outside
A church of some description, on every corner in parts
of towns and cities in countries such as Nigeria and
Ghana, the Anglican religious industry is reportedly,
the fastest growing globally.
Akinola made his suggestion at a conference in Lagos,
attended bishops from Africa's 12 Anglican provinces.
Three hundred delegates were present, from regions
such as the so-called 'Middle East,' which some call
North Africa Extended, Asia, and Latin America.
The AP said that most bishops agreed with Akinola.
They quote Bishop Joe Seoka of Pretoria, South Africa,
saying, ''Our effort is to recapture our own needs as
Africans, so that the church reflects the presence of
the Lord as we understand Him.''
Aside being a meeting spot for various grassroots
groups and causes, Rev. Daughtry's church is also the
home of a huge mural of an Afro'd Jesus Christ,
surrounded by his Black disciples, painted by Brooklyn
artist Menelik III in the early 1970s.
The activists minister told the Daily Challenge, ''We
wanted to have an image an that would reflect the
historically accurate image of what we believe is the
African origin of Jesus and all major world religions.
So all of our 46 years of ministry have projected an
Daughtry said he pushed this viewpoint long before it
was populist to do so.
''When we incorporated this, it was in those days
before Black power had hit the scene, when we were
still called colored people and Negroes. We said 'No,'
we are Africans and Jesus was an African. Many of
those who fought against us then are more African now
than anyone else.
''We had to recreate the way we worship. The struggle
for human rights and rights and self-determination was
being lost in the church, and so many of them were so
Europeanized, that we no longer struggled for the
freedom of our people. Instead, we took our cue from
Billy Graham and white missionaries, and they were not
about to support the African Liberation Movement. So,
when we came on the scene, we were isolated. It was
shocking to me that even in Africa they had a European
Jesus on their walls. They were still worshiping
whiteness as a standard for everything.
''So our church made an effort to reverse that. That's
why we welcomed the godfather of the African
Liberation Movement - Joshua Nkoma in 1977, and Winnie
and Zinzi Mandela. Our church was the home for
liberation struggle - and still is. So, we welcome the
bishops Africanizing the church.''
On the other side of the religious argument is Dr.
''Man wrote the bible and made religion, '' said the
prolific author, lecturer and famed Egyptologist.
He told the Daily Challenge, that even though he was
born into the Hebrew religion, ''I don't observe any
religious practice - the Hebrew religion, Christianity
or Judaism. I practice my own interpretation. In my
concept it includes a goddess and a god.''
With no religion incorporating the value and role of
women on the level of 'god,''' Dr. Jochannon said, ''
I have no affiliation to any religion.''
The doctor, who had been in negotiation with the
Nation of Islam to donate his 35,000 books to them,
insisted that going back to Africa, is an essential
rites of passage, with a mindset that acknowledges the
Continent's original beauty.
German theorist Karl Marx wrote, ''Man makes religion,
religion does not make man. Religion is indeed man's
self-consciousness and self-awareness so long as he
has not found himself or has already lost himself
again. But, man is no abstract being squatting outside
the world. Man is the world of man-state, society.
This state and this society produce religion, which is
an inverted consciousness of the world, because they
are an inverted world.''
Politics and religion and sure-fire room-clearers or
heat-seekers for controversy.
In this political season draws to the close of a new
beginning, self-righteous indignation of the Christian
right runs parallel with the committed cynicism of the
atheist and agnostic. The former possibly has more
access and influence in the established halls of
Debates rage the world over.
Spiritual preservation and upliftment or perfunctory
navel-gazing, where sharp preachers are able to both
make a person reassess and rebuilds, and keeps it
moving, while convincing them that at least 10% of
their earnings is the price for the advice?
Religion was used to both sanction and 'morally'
legitimize the European kidnapping and enslavement of
Africans for hundred of years.
Mimicking the enslavers, so many Africans brought to
these shores, those subsequently born here - and those
subjected to the calculated widespread, imposition of
European-stylized religions; took them up, embraced
them and began to swear by the faith of the enslavers.
Religion has often been used to justify wars and
invasions and white supremacist ideology actualized. A
subdued populace waiting on a better tomorrow, or all
good things coming in an after life.
Marx called religion the ''opium of the masses.''
Others say that it is an emotional crutch that has
believers putting faith, and sometimes responsibility
and accountability in the unseen hands of another
Daughtry said that the institution of the church must
have spiritual, political and an economic perspective.
''Churches must incorporate into their teachings the
liberation struggle,'' he concluded. We must always
maintain the bridge between where we have come from
and where we are going. We reach out to our family
across the Diaspora, and we work towards freedom,
equality and justice.'' http://www.challenge-group.com/News/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=49721&sID=4