Today (3rd June, 2015) Uganda celebrates Martyrs day, from 25th May to 3rd June executions were carried out in Buganda. These young men died for their new found faith Christianity. Such faith was shown by kayakers who were stopping the oil rig in the Seattle Elliot Bay, six activists from Germany, New Zealand, USA, Australia, Sweden and Austria went on board in April, 2015.
Africa was introduced to Christianity as early as 1878 when Pope Leo XIII asked French cardinal Charles Lavigerie the archbishop of Algiers and Carthage to go spread the gospel. Their trek into Africa they meet the largest and most powerful ethnic group in current East Africa called Baganda, with its level of advancement then we now attribute its development compared to other tribes around. In 1860 Mutesa took the throne, he allowed his subjects to choose from Islam, protestant and catholic but Mutesa never subscribed to any religion leaving each group to assert its influence in the kings court by preaching to high ranking officials. Christianity meant that the converts would reject the traditional religions and setting aside traditional ways of life. In 1884 Mutesa died and his son Mwanga took over the throne although he had no problem with converts during his father’s reign after he took over his attitude changed. He felt that his authority among converts and his subject was diminishing, he sought to restore that by eliminating Christianity from his kingdom by violent persecution of the missionaries and new Christians. At Namugongo, 22 Catholics and 23 Anglicans were executed on orders of Mwanga, the way they were killed was so gruesome.
Pope Paul VI canonized 22 of the catholic martyrs and proclaimed them as saints in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome in 1964 and was the first pope to visit sub- Saharan Africa to lay a foundation stone for a shrine in remembrance of the martyrs who were killed in Namugongo. On June 3, every year several 1000’s of believers make holy pilgrimage to Namugongo as a way of reliving what the martyrs went through when they were made to walk to their deaths.
|Source: New vision|
With that kind of faith climate change should be integrated into religion, where climate change topics are included in summons in churches and mosques. Where church activities include environmental protection. In the UK they created environmental Sunday, any nearest Sunday to the UN Environment Day and it has been a focus for churches for many years in the UK. With statements issued before major Christian and Islamic holidays like that issued by Anglican bishops before Good Friday, 2015 calling for climate justice from bishops from around the communion. Organizing faith based conferences like the just concluded May 17 – 21, Nairobi, Kenya dubbed Creation Care Conference. Fasting for environmental causes have been encouraged during lent period. All of the above can create an environmental martyr, just imagine all religions together in fighting climate change.
With a gathering like the above estimated to be about 10,000 people, environmental demonstrations can get the mileage needed to influence policy.
Genesis 1:26 and 28
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over fish of sea and the birds of air, over livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along’….. God blessed them and said to them and said to them, ‘be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’
When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an axe to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them?
“It is He who was appointed you viceroys in the earth……that He may try you in what He has given.”
“O children of Adam! ....eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.”
Religion is for environmental protection, as per some of those few Bible and Quran verses above. It’s the responsibility of men and women of God or Allah to preach to their followers making reference to holy books. We need to devise several strategies to curb Climate Change.
By Kateregga Dennis, BA(ECON), Dip. IEL