Rwanda: A Small Nation That Takes Big Decisions

Do we ever consult a quack for our health? Can we allow an unqualified engineer to construct our house? No, right? Then why don’t we ever dare to ask the qualifications of our spiritual leaders? If qualifications and standards are required in everything, then why not in religion? The question is indeed thought-provoking. This far-reaching issue has been raised in Rwanda – a country in Central and East Africa.

The country had already faced genocide in 1994. The combat between the Tutsi and the Hutu claimed the lives of at least 8 lakh people. In order to prevent extermination in the future, the government made a rational decision. President Paul Kagame was surprised to see nearly 700 churches in the capital Kigali – the capital of the country. He issued an order to shut down a few churches and mosques (either permanently or temporarily).

The government has raised the basic issue of safety and hygiene The maximum bloodshed in the world has been recorded in the name of  religion. The attack on or from religious places has become common. The government wants the institutes to ensure the basic safety of the worshipers and visitors. The new law in this country has made it compulsory to keep the lightning rod in the churches and the mosques. In an event of a lightning strike, 16 people were killed and hundreds injured.

The most revolutionary decision of the government has been for the priests and the spiritual leaders. The minimum educational qualifications are fixed for them. The chief priest must have a graduation in any subject, plus, he should have a diploma in theology. In order to facilitate them, the government has signed MoUs (memorandum of understanding) with universities and a few religious institutions.

Rwanda is a country with 80% Christian population. The rest are Muslims and follow other faiths. But the law applies to all. Not only this, the government has assured cooperation on its part.

Another issue the government has raised is of utilization of resources. The President has requested the leaders of all the communities to control the construction of the Holy Places. It is expected that the resources should be used more for human development purposes. In India, the tradition has been going on to construct giant temples. People’s ears are still poisoned in the name of religion.

Shouldn’t we learn a lesson from Rwanda?

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Kigali Genocide Memorial/Flickr.
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