Communism is a government system that adopts a religious agenda for or against specific religious beliefs. Just like the current situation in Uganda now.
Religion is based on an opinion of belief which therefore should not be enforced by government law as a requirement for all citizens against their free will to believe or not believe or change their beliefs whenever they wish to.
Below are some of the questions that I and you should frequently ask ourselves about the proposed "Religious and Faith Based Policy" in Uganda.
What is the religious policy about and why now?
It seeks to take away every citizen’s basic freedom of consciousness and freedom of expression in any sector and this include business, journalism, politics, academia, worship, associating, companionships, science, culture, entertainment among others.
The policy is about creating a state religious system that unites the values and customs of selected religious groups against minority or emerging groups which seem be out of favor with the regime in power.
Religious policy in Uganda seeks to give some religious groups monopoly over demining religious doctrines, gatherings in exchange for using their religious platforms to enforce and promote the regime's political agenda against opposition groups.
It is about removing the people's powers to self-regulate themselves when exercising their freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of worship on religious grounds which is protected by both the constitution and laws of registering organizations which all provide for self-regulation and freedom of expression for or against the regime's policies.
The policy is about making it more difficult for groups of people to register new Christian based religious groups with doctrines that contradict existing religious groups and to impose additional burdensome regulation on Christian groups that don't comply with political interests of the regime.
Are you for or against the religious policy and why?
I am against the religious policy because any policy on religion seeks to reduce or remove people's freedom of conscious, freedom of worship and freedom of expression as provided in the constitution.
For concerns of abuse/ breaking of the law by any individual or religious leader, there are sufficient laws in Uganda to investigate or sue or criminalize individuals caught doing or promoting criminality under religious disguises but the state should never be seen to be fighting against any religion or its members.
And like any other legal organizations in the country, there are many laws that both regulate and protect citizens’ rights to exercise their freedom of association to worship with like-minded individuals willingly by registering their organizations for religious purposes according to their religious constitutions where self-regulation is provided and regulated by bodies such as NGO Bureau. There is therefore no need to require religious organizations to bear extra burden of being registered by the President’s Office.
It would also be illegal for any policy or laws to be suggested/tabled which seeks to deny religious groups the right to self-regulation under religious constitutions and policies like any other non-governmental organizations that promote their beliefs , which do not need to conform to other beliefs nor to conform to the Presidents political agenda.
The idea of a religious policy of any kind cannot avoid using state machinery to legalize and enforce religious discriminations, conflicts and social strife whose power is undermined by the constitution promoting secular state of the law. Any attempt to regulate the religious component of any organization will require the state to first form a state religion or selectively adopt some religious groups to be elevated by law as determinants of public conscious and moral beliefs against freedom of worship or conscious.
Why do some religious leaders support this policy?
Old-time religious leaders are more interested in this policy than youthful religious leaders because of fear to lose their jobs to younger clergy whose teachings seem to be more vibrant and appealing to contemporary audiences than the teachings of old clergy.
Politically, the Old clergy are seeking to secure retirement packages from the president if they give him powers over the leadership and future of religious affairs in the country.
Some Religious Leaders of the old traditional churches are seeking to use government policy to stop the large number of followers defecting from their churches and traditions to join new church groups and fellowships whose teachings are more appealing to the public and youth.
Who are the people behind the religious policy?
It is obvious that it is not lay people who are pushing for this religious policy but it is religious leaders such as Fr. Hon. Simon Lokodo who is also the Minister of Ethics and Integrity in the President's office and Rev.Aron Mwesigye the director for Religious Affairs in the same ministry .
The inter-religious council of Uganda which is a non-government religious body of willing religious leaders who have established common values and projects to collaborate, is supporting this policy in order to secure government laws that gives its members monopoly over religion in the country.
And it vividly believed that the president has allowed this for political reasons to help him fight his political opponents using religious machinery.
What is the danger in forming a government body to specialize on regulating religious organizations?
Firstly, any government body that specializes on religious affairs of organizations has to inherently become a religious public organization which is unconstitutional and illegal.
Secondly such a body will have to adopt a set of religious beliefs which it supports and those which it does not support in form of religious discrimination.
Thirdly once such an organization has adopted religious beliefs it supports, religious leaders shall not be allowed to change their beliefs without seeking permission, yet change of faith or belief is a factor of enlightenment not of regulation.
Government officials will be given a license to abuse their powers as the determinants of messages, inspirational or propaganda based in order to compromise the independence of religious leaders from exercising their spiritual or cultural professionalism correctly according to their beliefs spiritual laws or traditions, consequently denying the public their freedom of worship.
Since those who win political power have their personal religious beliefs and are free to change those beliefs , such a state religious organization is likely to have religious leaders only from sects or beliefs that support the president and his ruling party.
These organizations will be an instrument to punish those religious groups whose beliefs contradict the religious beliefs of politicians who win political office. This would make politics and governance religious based instead of constitutional based, because of the high stakes of religion in power.
Religious opinions of different groups are fundamentally meant to differ and divide people based on historical interpretations.
And also humans will from time to time disagree on which invisible creatures to submit themselves to in service of spiritual purposes and agendas which decisions and choices should not be mandatory by government policy or laws but should remain in the domain of free public choice of preference, lest those in opposition to government and those in opposition to the religious beliefs of politicians will be maliciously discriminated against along religious lines.
When has Uganda historically adopted religious policy?
The first religious policy was in acted by Kabaka Mwanga when he ordered the execution of Christian believers whose faith he deemed a political threat to the throne.
This led to religious wars and political strife based on religious affiliation in the Kabaka's courts and in their "lukiko" parliament.
Many Ugandans died because leaders of religious groups needed to fight against opposing religions in order to dictate the opinion of the king, the courts of justice and parliament law making to follow religious interpretation.
Now, the first political parties were along religious differences such as Democratic Party (DP) was for Catholics and Uganda Party of Congress was for Anglicans.
Because the colonial government advantaged the Anglican British based religion over the Catholic French based religious group and other groups generally in the runner up to independence in 1962. Allocating of government offices was primarily based on which religion you subscribed to.
In 1976, President Idi Amin dictated a ministry of religious affairs and set up the first laws determining which religions were legal to practice in Uganda and which rendered all non-mentioned religions illegal.
This was followed by the murder of Archbishop Janan Luwum in 1977 February who stood "against the religious policy" which was being used by police, intelligence and army to arrest and persecute Christians in high level offices suspected to be against the Muslim president.
If government regulates churches, how will churches hold government accountable?
Churches tend to hold government accountable to higher standards of morality and spirituality based on opinions of a given religious groups of their interpretation of justice.
If government takes away the ability for churches to self-regulate then, government and the public that are usually subject to lower standards of spirituality and morality will lose the benefit of insights from professional spiritualists and moralists seeking to improve government practice , systems to continuously improve towards higher ideals of spiritual laws.
Governments are subject to people not to spiritual or moral ideals which make them subject to lower moral and spiritual standards.
Individuals however may seek to subscribe to such moral standards without government infringement of such rights.
Why do you think ministry of internal affairs and the ministry of justice are silent on this matter despite the fact that they are responsible?
I think they either don't see the gravity of the matter or they have been forced by the president of Uganda to be silent in the matter.
Otherwise they should be speaking out to discredit the ministry of ethics for proposing such a policy which is a threat to national and social security of the country which has allowed citizens of different religions to live as neighbors and people of different religion to vote people of another religion based on other merits other than religion
There is no expert on religious cultures and spirituality.
I am glad to say that religions are opinions and conclusions made by people about their beliefs in invisible realities sometimes governed by spiritual laws which a secular state cannot verify using physical means of testimony and evidence.
This is why religion cannot be regulated because everyone appointed to execute the policy has a religious bias and seeks to promote the interests of their religious groups against those groups which are perceived to be competitive or cultic.
Therefore, as an African and also a Uganda, I say NO to ‘Religious and Faith Based Policy’ in this Nation.
For God and My Country!