Robert Mugabe as “prophet of God”? :: Police break up Eucharist in Zimbabwe

Police in Zimbabwe have violently disrupted an Anglican communion service, according to the Int. Herald Tribune. A schismatic bishop loyal to Mugabe, (so loyal in fact that he seems to have confused Mugabe with King David, calling him a “prophet of God”) has apparently brought the thuggish machinery of the Zimbabwean state down upon the heads of the faithful. If the outline of this story is correct, this pseudo-bishop’s actions ought to be recognized as a heretical and brought before ecclesial authorities. Here are a few excerpt of the story above: 

Over the past three Sundays, the police have interrogated Anglican priests and lay leaders, arrested and beaten parishioners and locked thousands of worshipers out of dozens of churches. “As a theologian who has read a lot about the persecution of the early Christians, I’m really feeling connected to that history,” said Bishop Sebastian Bakare, 66, who came out of retirement to replace Kunonga. “We are being persecuted.” 

Despite a High Court order requiring that Anglican churches be shared, church officials say that only people who attend services led by priests allied with Kunonga have been allowed to pray in peace.

There are as many dissimilarities as connections, but having spent the fall with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I cannot help but see echoes of the Kirchenkampf–the struggle between the nationalist German Christian Movement and the Confessing Church. 

Pray for the church of Zimbabwe in the months ahead—especially the church facing violence for its recognition of the difference between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Robert Mugabe. The unrest in that nation will only increase as the quasi-legitimate run-off election approaches (now set for the end of June) and Mugabe does his best to ensure that he’ll die at the helm of a bleeding country (rather than find himself alone in the disrepute he has justly earned for himself). The church can organize Zimbabwe’s people, hold them in solidarity, and call the government to account for its brutal mistreatment of human beings. Pray for the church to remain faithful to her one Lord and Savior, whose body is broken for the sake of those people bearing the sins of others on their own bodies. 

[5.17.08] Update: Here is a story from Christianity Today with more background on Kunonga,  H/T: Conger

zimbabwe :: a word from the churches

Amidst the continuing electoral crisis in Zimbabwe, the church of that nation is calling out to make public the oppression and violence being perpetrated on the people. The crisis seems to consist of nothing more than the ruling coalition’s inability to recognize that they have lost the election—despite all their efforts to “steer” the outcome.

People are being abducted, tortured, humiliated by being asked to repeat slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support [that is, ZANU PF, the party which has held power for 28 years under Robert Mugabe], ordered to attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the ‘wrong’ candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for President, and, in some cases, people are murdered.

I urge others to make the statement of Zimbabwe’s churches more widely known, and to join in prayer for the people of Zimbabwe—that they would not succumb to chicanery and intimidation, and that peace and justice would be restored to this ravaged land. Lord have mercy.

a voice of hope :: reduced to silence

Pius Ncube, archbishop of Zimbabwe and one of few outspoken advocates on behalf of the Zimbabwean people against their tyrannical mismanagement, has resigned. The reality underlying his reasons is unclear. The minimum information inferrable would seem to imply both that Ncube was involved in some form of sexual misconduct, and that the government was more than passively involved in the matter. At the end of the day, the unfortunate result is that one of the voices most able to counter the lies and trickery coming out of Harare will now have to do so from a much smaller platform.